I have three healthy ICP children


When I was sixteen years old, I fell pregnant with my first child. Everything related to my health and pregnant was perfectly fine until I was 30 weeks pregnant. I remember going to sleep when I was 30 weeks exactly and woke up to some strange itch. I took it to some 'pregnancy itch'. But it got worse. My hands, feet, legs, face, my whole body was just itching like crazy. As I was living in my Dad's house at this point, I went to go wake him up early hours in the morning because I was crying as I didn't know what was wrong. My face was sore from scratching so much, as well as the rest of my body.

I had a book given to me a few weeks before, the one most pregnant ladies get, called From Birth to Five Years. Packed full of information and so I had a look through and found something about itching during pregnancy. A bit was talking about 'Obstetric Cholestasis' - Also known as ICP. I was a little confused by it and also worried. That morning, I phoned my midwife, and she wanted to see me as soon as possible.

When I arrived to my appointment, she instantly knew I'd been itching as she saw how sore my head was from all the scratching. I had some blood tests taken, and I was then sent straight to the hospital, to the maternity unit to be put on a monitor and take more tests. A few hours later, it was confirmed that I had Obstetric Cholestasis. At this point, I knew absolutely nothing about OC. All I knew, it was a liver disorder in pregnant. That was it. I trusted the midwives and the doctors.


I had an appointment at the hospital twice a week to be monitored, and blood tests took once a week to keep an eye on my bile acids and other bloods. I was also seeing a consultant every couple of weeks to discuss my induction date and just making sure everything was running smoothly. I also had a few extra scans nearer the end.

The last 10 weeks were awful. I struggled to sleep and not even the cream that the hospital gave me was working. Nothing soothed it. As weeks went by, the tablets I was on was somewhat working but not fully. It helped calm the itch a little bit, but not much. I lost a lot of sleep, I was exhausted and feeling down even worse than I was feeling already with everything else going on.

I was induced at around 39 weeks, and luckily, everything was perfect. I had a great labour with lots of support. I was stuck on the monitors and was a chance of a c-section, but everything went smoothly afterwards, luckily.

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Second pregnancy

There was a possibility that I was going to get the liver disorder, Obstetric Cholestasis, again. I knew that from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I was around 18 weeks pregnant when the palm of my hands started to itch. I knew that second that the condition was creeping back. I mentioned it to my midwife at my appointment, but it was brushed off. She didn't take any notice, and from that moment, I was confused. I didn't know what to think. I kept thinking that I was over exaggerating a little bit, but in my head, I knew that it was the OC coming back.

A few weeks down the line, closer to 27 or so weeks, it was confirmed that OC was back. Again, the same as my first pregnancy, I was booked for monitoring, scans and consultants throughout the pregnancy until I was induced before my due date, again.

The second time around was harder. I had Mia, my first child to look after. As well as the guilt hanging around me about bringing a second child into the world. I think most Mums suffer from a similar guilt when they are pregnant with their second. I was worried I wouldn't love my second as much as I love my first, all kinds of thoughts went running through my head.

A lot of things happened during my second pregnancy, from moving house to live with my partner and just learning to live on my own, learning to live a 'proper life'. It was a huge step, but it was a good step. Again, I lost a lot of sleep due to the itching. I fell into deep depression when I was around 30 weeks. The itch and the lack of sleep worsened it. I struggled to look after myself, I struggled to feel myself and struggled with everything.

Luckily, again, my second daughter was born healthy and weighed 9lbs 8oz.

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Third pregnancy

This was the pregnancy I struggled with the most. Mainly because I had two other children to look after. I had school runs twice a day, other days I had to do them 4 times. It was draining and exhausting. As well as coping with OC, yet again.

This time I was diagnosed with OC when I was around 14 weeks pregnant. I called in as I was itching, again. The doctor confirmed that it was the beginning of OC and that I was to be monitored and kept an eye on. I had the bloods taken and the rest, same as my previous two pregnancies. This time around was different. I knew ten times more about OC than I ever did in my last two pregnancies. I read about it and learned myself more about it.

It was much more serious than I thought.

Babies have actually, sadly, passed away because of OC not being treated.

How sad is that?

This time around I was more picky about what was being said to me, and I was listening more to everything. I honestly felt like they were brushing me off at times. I was always having different doctors talking to me, and they all said different things. One was concerned when the other wasn't. I was nervous, I was confused, and I was exhausted. Again, due to the lack of sleep, I was getting from the itch, as well as being tired from looking after my other two children.

I had to push my consultant to put my induction date early. She would have let me go over my due date if she could, but I wasn't having it. I was not risking my baby, I wasn't risking absolutely anything. I wanted my baby to born safely. I got an induction date but went into labour on my own 3 days before my induction date, which I was so happy about.

I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on the 16th of July 2016.

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Why?

I've never really spoken too much about Obstetric Cholestasis / ICP before. I did mention my updates through my pregnancy updates, but actually talking about how it was for me and what it exactly is, is something I've not done before. I think it so important that every single woman knows about OC. Unfortunately, not every single midwife or doctor knows or understands how dangerous it actually is, especially if it's untreated.

If you have an itch, any itch, please go and get yourself checked out. It's mainly an itch to the palm of your hands and under your feet, as well as all over the body. There is no harm in you asking for a blood test to be taken for a possibility of OC. It is better to be safe than sorry.

To know more details about Obstetric Cholestasis click here.

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