Thursday, 8 September 2016

Obstetric cholestasis you b*****d

I make no secret of the fact that I never want any more children for various reasons (see earlier post Just the one please... ), one reason being my anxiety regarding my Daughter's health and well-being is tough-going. Another reason being that I had the most horrific pregnancy I could have imagined. I don't want to bore with the ins and outs of morning sickness and thyroid problems bla bla bla but I'm bloody going to. I suffered and so should you. 
  • My morning sickness was so bad that at one point my boss was scraping cupcakes out of the sink that I had vommed up in work as I couldn't keep ANYTHING down. 
  • I was a permanent shade of grey.
  • My thyroid decided to go into overdrive and make my body work at a constant 'light jogging' pace.
  • My boobs barely went up a bloody cup size! 
  • I couldn't eat cake or curry.
  • I developed a craving for washing powder. I would literally sit at the kitchen counter with a box of it inhaling all of it's soapy goodness (still would probably do that now in all fairness)
  • Did I mention that I couldn't eat cake or curry?
  • I developed the complicated condition obstetric cholestasis.
Obstetric cholestasis is basically a build up of bile acids in your bloodstream that cause a constant itch. That's the medical description of it. To anybody who has ever experienced it, it is HELL ON FUCKING EARTH. I am not saying this lightly, it is the worst thing I have ever experienced in my entire life.

It started when I got back from a Holiday to Greece at about 29 weeks. I had itchy palms and feet which gradually became more and more unbearable. So I went to the Doctors and they tested me thinking it was just heat stroke or mild pregnancy itching, "every woman experiences a bit of itching". Except it wasn't a bit of itching, it gradually progressed to all over my body every single minute of the day. The next day when the Doctor confirmed I had extremely high levels of whatever it is they look for in these tests and that I had obstetric cholestasis, I did what any sane person would do- I googled it. I read the facts and despite the itching, I wasn't feeling too dis-heartened. Until it got worse. The only way I can describe it is that it felt like I had lots of little ants crawling underneath my skin and no matter how much I itched until I bled, the sensation would not go. I was still working full-time running on about 45 minutes sleep per night. I would stay up scratching and googling for forums for sufferers to write in hoping there would be some sort of miracle solution that I hadn't thought of. Reading about other people suffering helped (in a weird way.) I would read their posts detailing their experiences and I would feel relieved that I wasn't alone. Then I would look at the date they posted and see it was 2 years ago and I would think "lucky cow has had her baby, she isn't itching anymore!" I would phone my Mum at all hours of the morning sobbing saying I wanted to jump out of the window (I lived in a block of flats at the time so God knows what mental torture I put her through.) I would be taken to hospital for observations and beg the Doctors for a sleeping tablet whilst scratching furiously at my skin with my earrings (my scabby bitten nails just weren't cutting it- no pun intended.) At one point I covered my entire body in menthol aqueous cream hoping it would give me enough relief to get some sleep but instead I lay on the bed shaking like I had hypothermia (think Kate Winslet lying on that door at the end of Titanic.)
I had already decided at that point I would never put my body through this again, I would never have another child. Obstetric cholestasis has a 60-90 % chance of returning in subsequent pregnancies and I was struggling to keep sane when I just had me to look after, let alone if I had a child to look after too (Obstetric cholestasis and Snakes and Ladders do not go hand in hand.) It also is extremely dangerous if left to go over 37 weeks so when I got my induction date, I was thrilled. It may sound selfish that I was over-joyed my baby would be given her eviction notice three weeks early but I was looking like something from The Walking Dead at this point. I took my maternity leave early and it was lucky that I did as I didn't make it to my induction date. Obstetric cholestatis can also cause premature labour and I ended up giving birth at a little over 32 weeks. The itching stopped and my concern now was keeping my Daughter safe and well while she resided in the NICU. 

You can never predict what will happen during pregnancy. Some have it smooth, most people suffer. It was worth the suffering for my Daughter but I don't think I've ever quite 'got over' the whole thing. Even writing about it gives my body a little tingle (like when someobody talks about nits and your head starts itching.) If you happen to be reading this and are suffering from OC, I can't offer you some miraculous solution that will stop the itching. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that it does stop eventually once you give birth. It's almost worth the pain of labour just to stop the bastard itching. I hate the term 'survivor' but if you can get through it without absolutely losing your shit and getting sectioned then you are a bloody survivor because it's horrific! If you are reading this and thinking "shut the fuck up woman! I'M going through this right now, you're not" well, I don't blame you. My mailbox is always open though if you need to chat or rant or scream blue bloody murder. I will reply, because I would have done anything at that time to have somebody to talk to that understood.

Much love,
The Kitschy Mumma 





Mummuddlingthrough
Diary of an imperfect mum

23 comments:

  1. I was totally the same.
    I look at friends babies and think... maybe just one more, then I'm like, nahhhh thanks. I remember my pregnancies.
    Over half of my pregnancy with Freya I was on hospital and probably about the same with dom.
    The things we go through ay soph. <3

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  2. I'm in the middle of it right now. Clawing at my skin all night. I wish it was summer so I could have cold showers and wear less clothes. 2 weeks to go til my 37wk caesar. the goal is to hold out til then.

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  3. I really feel for you Sarah! It's the worst! I really really wish I had some advice that would help the itching for you, the relief you will feel when it's gone will be immense! Stay strong X

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  4. Oh god this sounds horrific! My SIL had this but she never really described how awful it was! She was "lucky" in a way that she got it at 37 weeks, so was induced a week later so didn't suffer for too long. Also, I really feel for you not being able to eat cake - it's largely what got me through my pregnancy! #coolmumclub

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    1. Thanks for reading. Hopefully your SIL won't get it again if she ever has another baby. The cake was hard, I've more than made up for it since haha! X

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  5. Shit, that sounds HORRENDOUS! Never heard of that condition before, Thank God I have never had to. You my dear, deserve a Mum-medal. Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

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    1. Thankyou so much, I think all us Mummas deserve medals for going through pregnancy haha! Thanks for reading X

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  6. My god, you poor thing. This does sound absolutely horrendous. The things we women put our bodies through is impressive enough as it is, let alone when additional challenges like this are thrown at us. Well done you! #ABlogginggoodtime

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    1. Thankyou! We are pretty amazing creatures aren't we?! πŸ™‚ X

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  7. I think that pregnancy bloom thing is a myth. I never got it, either time! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. I'm envious of women that 'bloom', I don't think I ever looked glowing once haha thanks for reading! X

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  8. YES YES YES! THANK YOU! I have not yet come across another blogger who had this, I am so happy I found you! Not happy you had to suffer of course, but happy that someone else GETS it. I have two boys, eldest is 4 in Nov and youngest is 8 months, I knew it could come back 2nd time but had deluded myself into believing it wouldn't be so bad.
    People still DON'T BELIEVE ME when I try to explain that both of my pregnancies and labours were so horrific I actually have considered going to the GP about possible PTSD. The thought of ever getting pregnant again gives me anxiety attacks and makes me feel physically sick with dread.
    I had the 'scratch the palms of your hands until you bleed at 2am instead of sleeping' thing, I also had to be induced both times at 37 weeks (I'm sorry to hear you had a preemie labour, that must have been scary!) and by the end of the second was in constantly for monitoring due to stopping growing and moving on babies part (turns out he was just fine though!)
    I have never felt so alone as I did while pregnant, no one believed how bad I felt and no one had ever heard of OC! I want to write posts about it but actually feel the beginnings of an anxiety attack coming on if I even try thinking about it that deeply, so I know it will be a long time before I am ready. Thank you so much for writing about your experience, I don't feel so alone now xxxxx #coolmumclub

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    1. Wow this is amazing to hear from somebody who had it as bad as I did! It's so hard to explain how awful it really is! I'm sorry you had it with both pregnancies, you want to believe it won't happen again but unfortunately having no control over our bodies is, well, really shit! Thanks for reading and commenting X

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    2. And I completely get the PTSD. I don't think I've ever been quite the same since, I genuinely feel like I'm a little crazy and more scatty since it happened. If you ever want to talk about it my ears are always open! Much love X

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  9. I hear you sister! Had this when pregnant with my twins, as you said HELL ON EARTH!!!! Up all night rubbing ice cubes all over my body etc etc etc, no sleep for days, ended up having an emergency c-section at 34 weeks WITH AN INCOMPLETE ANASTHETIC!!??! Just to finish me off.!.......anyway, still here, slightly crazier, had two more after that and luckily it didn't happen again. Hope your little one is doing well now and thanks for sharing, I think its good to talk about these things, it can be really healing actually Xxx #coolmumclub

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    1. Thankyou! It really does help having an outlet and possibly giving some solace to other Mums going through it. Just when you think it can't get worse and then you had a really hard labour, I so feel for you! My Daughter is 4 next month and only has mild cerebral palsy as a result of it (and some other complications) but when I think that the chances of stillborn birth increases I feel very lucky! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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  10. Wow I can only imagine how horrendous that must have felt. I didn't suffer with it, but I had a huge allergic reaction straight after birth and ended up covered in head to toe hives which drove me insane. I can't imagine how you got through a whole pregnancy like that? And not even any cake to make it all better?? *sobs* High five to you Momma! Xx #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Hives after the pain of giving birth?! That's awful! What we put ourselves through eh! The lack of cake was hard haha but I've had 4 years since to make up for it πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Thanks for reading X

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  11. My Mrs., she had teh itchy thing going, and I hate to say it, but her top left arm still itches her to this day. Now our littles are 8.5 and 6. She draws blood. Is overwhelmed and we have tried everything short of askin graft to stop it. The other night we were at my inlaws for dinner, and don't you know, her mom was busy scratch the same portion of her arm. W-E-I-R-D! Still, as a grandma. Oy vey. Anyhoo, much luck with your horrid problem and I hope that our situ is not yours. <3 <3 <3 #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Oh god I cannot imagine still having any sort of itch, how strange! Thanks for reading an commenting :) x

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  12. Oh bless you. Once I got over my morning sickness I actually enjoyed pregnancy until the very end but sounds like you had it pretty rough!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Ahh I wish I loved pregnancy! Rough doesn't even cover it haha thanks for having meπŸ™‚ Xx

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