Rather, there is a baby at the end of the tunnel! Thank goodness because I need some kind of reward for these past 9 months. I mean, I didn’t hate being pregnant the entire time. Some of it was cool- getting boobs for the first time; seeing him move around as the ultrasound tech showed us all his organs, spine, brain and face; feeling him kick for the first time. But, man, was I miserable from 6 months on. And what a newb I was! If I knew what I’d be going through in these last couple weeks maybe I wouldn’t have complained so much.
Honestly, my pregnancy was super easy most of the time. I was able to stop working (thanks to my amazing boyfriend) a few months ago. Anthony and I had to buy next to nothing for baby Ant. And I had no complications, until now.
At about 34 weeks, I started getting really itchy. I thought it was just dry skin, so I bought some good lotion. That didn’t help. The itchiness got so bad that I couldn’t sleep. It felt like there was fiberglass in every inch of my skin and my body would compulsively start to shake. I called my doctor’s office and told a nurse what was going on. She said she’d talk to my doctor and call me back to let me know what I could take for it.
SIDE NOTE: remember a few blogs ago when I said it was important for a pregnant woman go find a doctor she really loves, and that my doctor was awesome? Well a weeks ago she left the practice and I was transferred to the other doctor, along with many of my previous doctor’s patients. My first appointment with this new doctor was before I called about the itchy skin. The appointment was brief and rushed, which made me uncomfortable.
So, back to the phone call. I waited a few hours and the nurse never called me. I called again just as they were closing and the nurse told me to take Benadryl. I wondered if she was even going to bother calling me back, but, whatever. The Benadryl worked pretty well the first couple days and it made me drowsy, which was awesome because I hadn’t been sleeping. However, the itching eventually became worse, especially at night.
All I could do was cry. I looked up my symptoms and found something about cholestasis of pregnancy- a condition that occurs in the third trimester and is cause by the liver’s inability to process high amounts of pregnancy hormones quickly enough. I figured I didn’t have cholestasis because only 1 in every 1,000 pregnant women get it and cholestasis mostly caused itchiness in the hands and feet… mine was all over. But, I figured I’d mention my symptoms to my doctor again just in case since cholestasis is life threatening and can cause late term fetal death. At my 35 week appointment I told my doctor how severe my itchiness had become.
My doctor immediately sent me for an ultrasound and blood work, then put me on the fetal monitor. This was my first time on the monitor and I got really anxious and worried. Once baby Ant was determined healthy and active, my doctor told me I’d come back in a few days to get the test results. She told me if it was cholestasis, and she was certain it was, she’d have to induce me early.
I was so scared. Too scared to ask questions and, since this conversation took place in the hallway, I felt like I was being rushed out the door. I drove home, stuffed my face with McDonald’s and broke down. I cried and cried. All I could think was what if my baby dies before I even get to meet him?
My 36 week appointment didn’t make me feel any better. The results from my blood test weren’t back yet. The doctor told me that, although she’d be treating me for cholestasis, she could not induce me yet because there were no difinitive lab results and I wasn’t yet 37 weeks. That sounded like bullshit to me. She gave me two meds to help with the itching and make me sleep. I was also scheduled to come in every other day for fetal monitoring and was instructed to go to the ER if I noticed a lack of fetal movement. To me, that translated to if you think your baby is dead, go to the ER so we can confirm your worst nightmare. Every day since then I have been staring at my belly, praying for Ant to move and show me he’s okay.
Although they didn’t stop the night time itching, the meds helped me take some sweet daytime naps. I have had a few scares and trips to the ER (two for white, bloody stools from the cholestasis and once because Ant hadn’t moved all day), but at 37 weeks Ant is healthy and active. At my 37 week appointment I felt my doctor finally took time to listen to my concerns and answer some questions. The week before she had mentioned a possible c-section because of my small frame and the baby’s large size. When I told her that I was uncomfortable with that procedure she agreed to deliver the baby vaginally. I’m scheduled to begin induction at 8:30 pm tonight. I could not be more relieved.
The past couple weeks of worrying and sleeplessness have been so hard. Not knowing that my baby was okay at all times triggered a few panic attacks and I felt out of control. Thankfully, we have a great support system. Very soon Anthony and I will be parents! We are crazy-excited! And we know it will all be worth it in the end!
Do any of you mommas out there have labor and delivery advice or a story to share?
Post it in the comments below!