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When Pregnancy Gets Complicated: My Story So Far

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014

Today I am 32 weeks (and 1 day!) along. Things haven’t gone smoothly, if I’m being honest. Nausua & vomiting have kept me up many nights. My asthma has gotten worse. I have heart palpitations that are a mystery to my doctors, and resulted in me having to wear a heart monitor for over a month of my pregnancy. And don’t get me started on my heartburn…

But it’s easy to deal with these issues when you know that it’s all because of a little girl that is growing inside you. I’ve got my amazing boyfriend who will get me a cup of soy milk for the heartburn, tell me to rest when my heart is racing, and who gives me encouraging words when it sometimes feels like too much.

About three weeks ago, one of ailments came back that I had been experiencing long before pregnancy: itching. I have eczema, so my skin is often dry and itchy. But around the time I hit my third trimester, the itching was getting bad again… it was keeping me up at night and it was EVERYWHERE. Nothing would help the itching either… not benydral or a shower or lotion.

So I found myself Googling how to relieve itching when pregnant (there are a lot of medicines, both internal and topical that you need to stay away from when you are pregnant) and of course, each article I clicked on briefly discussed a serious condition in which extreme itching was the main symptom. But since I had eczema and have been dealing with itchy skin for quite some time, I read past it.

After a week, the itching was getting even worse. It had spread to my feet, which was getting itchier every day. Normally my feet were pretty safe from the itching, so I decided to give my OB office a call and explain the situation. The nurse asked me a few questions, like where am I itchy and if I have a rash, among others. They scheduled me with an appointment the following Monday. When I saw my OB, she told me to make an appointment with my dermatologist, but also ordered some blood tests. I remember her saying, “I don’t think you have it, but there is one serious condition that itching can be a symptom of, but we just want to cross it off our list.”

I had to fast for 12 hours before the blood test, so I went in the next day. Let me say, asking a pregnant woman to fast for 12 hours is crazy! That was so difficult. Anyways, a few days later (the day I turned 31 weeks) I got a phone call from one of the nurses. It turns out I had developed ICP, Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. It was the condition I had skimmed over when I had Googled itchiness weeks before. She told me it had to do with my liver functions. She also mentioned that with this condition, there is a risk of stillborn and chances are I will have to deliver the baby early.

It was scary.

So, as she had requested, I made an appointment with a high risk doctor right away. Early the following week, I went in for my appointment. They started with an ultrasound, and it was so cool to see how the baby has developed since the last time I’d had one. I kept asking if everything looked normal, and thankfully it did. The technician even switched things over to 3D and we “awww”d together at how cute her face looked. When I saw the doctor, he confirmed that the ultrasound looked great and the baby was healthy.

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He then confirmed I had ICP and went through what will happen next. Because ICP increases the risk of stillborn (and they don’t know why!), he told me they will not deliver past 37 weeks. He put me on a medication that helps with the itching, but it is not known to help nor harm the baby or the condition. He also set me up with twice weekly non stress tests, in which they hook you up to a contraption and monitor the baby for a period of time. I will still see my regular OB as usual, and then I will see my high risk doctor again in the following month. During that time, they will determine when the baby should be delivered.

So that’s that… When I originally estimated I would have eight more weeks to prepare for the baby, I now have no more than five. My baby shower is exactly three weeks from today, and we had planned to wait until after to buy anything… so right now we have, well, nothing. We have so much to do and what feels like so little time. And do you know what’s five weeks from today?? My birthday! I could have a child who shares the same birthday as me; it’s crazy.

I am so thankful that my doctors know about ICP and the severity of it. I’m not too scared. I’m nervous, but optimistic. I have done a lot of online research (not the most viable, I know) and have observed many ICP Support forums since I have been diagnosed, and there are sooo many women that have doctors who do not know how to handle (or even diagnose!) their condition. I just can’t be anymore thankful that I am handled by highly trained Cleveland Clinic doctors who understand the severity and know what to do for ICP.

I am glad that I mentioned something to my doctors about the symptoms I was having. Sometimes, especially when you’re pregnant, it’s easy to feel like a bit of a hypochondriac. You want your baby to come out healthy and strong, and you worry about every single issue that seems to effect your body. It’s hard to draw the line between overreacting and being proactive. I still don’t know where that line is, but I would advise that to anyone, pregnant or not, if something feels off, you should let your doctor know. You’ve heard it many times before, but it’s better to be safe than sorry…

For more information about ICP you can go to: ICP Support

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We’re Having A Baby! + Plus Some Old Wives Tales

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014

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Jeremy and I are so excited to be able to, very soon, share our world with our child. As unexpected as this blessing is, we were both very quick to realize that it was, indeed, a blessing. One that will change both of our lives in ways that we cannot imagine. We are both so appreciative of all the support that we have received from friends and family and coworkers. We are looking forward to providing her with a loving family and a slew of siblings!

There will now be TONS of talk of baby and name choosing and our ever growing mile high to do list on this blog, so I’m tempted to apologize… but I won’t because this is our life now and we are so happy about it!

I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the “old wives tales” that aim to determine whether you are carrying a boy or a girl. And then compare that to what has been the case during this experience.

So here it goes…

Heart Rate : If the baby’s heart rate is above 140 bpm, it is said that the baby will be a girl. If it is under 140 bpm, then it will be a boy. When we went to the ultrasound clinic, the first thing they checked was the heartrate. Immediately my mom declared it’s a girl. Turns out she was right…

Shape of Belly : If you are carrying high with a big, round belly, you are having a girl. If you are carrying low with a smaller belly that sticks straight out, it’s a boy. I have no idea; a big belly is a big belly (to me anyways). I guess it doesn’t help that I don’t have anything to compare to.

Feet : Are your feet colder now that you are pregnant? If so, you just might be having a boy. If your feet have stayed the same before pregnancy and during, you’re having a little girl. My feet are changing temperatures constantly. One minute I want socks, the next I’m taking them off and throwing them across the room.

Hands are Dry : If your hands are constantly dry, it’s a boy. It’s not my hands that are dry, it’s every single other part of my body that’s dry.

Nose : Do you feel like your nose is growing and getting wider? If so, you might be having a boy. Um, no… It’s the rest of my face that’s getting wider!

Baby Names : It is said that when you can only think of specific names for a boy or a girl, you will have that particularly baby. I had my heart set on a certain name if we had a girl; we didn’t have any options for a boy. Unfortunately, Jeremy just does not like the name I want so we’re back to the Name Game.

Headaches : If you are having headaches, you might be carrying a boy. I’ve always got headaches…

Morning Sickness : If you had a smooth pregnancy with no morning sickness, it’s a boy. If you were sick or felt really nauseous during your pregnancy, count on a girl. Well, in that case, I must be having triplets… all girls.

Protein : When a pregnant woman craves meat and cheese, count on a boy. Does this mean I’ll never have a boy? Because I’ll never crave cheese, but sometimes chicken… just not right now.

What Do You Think? : 71% of the time, the mom-to-be knows what she is having. I thought it was a boy, so…

Hands : When the pregnant woman is asked to show her hands, it’s a boy if she keeps her palms down and a girl if she shows her palms up. I always show them with my palms up. (Unless someone just wants to see my nails!)

Dad’s Weight Gain : If the dad-to-be gains weight while you are pregnant, it’s a girl. If he doesn’t gain weight, you’re having a boy. We were just laughing about Jeremy’s belly yesterday. He’s been working out, but he’s definitely got the sympathy cravings and is almost always desperate for chocolate, resulting in quite the tummy.

Clumsy vs. Graceful : If the pregnant woman is graceful throughout her pregnancy, she’s having a girl. If she becomes clumsy, she’s having a boy. So clumsy. There is absolutely no grace with anything I do.

Side You Most Rest On : If a pregnant woman prefers to lay on her left side, she’s having a boy. If she prefers resting on her right side, she’s having a girl. Laying on my left side gives me heartburn and my stomach doesn’t stop making noises. I have to lay on my right.

Dream of Sex of Baby : If you have dreams that you are having a boy, you will have a girl. If you dream about having a girl, it will be a boy. Dreams show the opposite of what you are having. My sister dreamt it was a boy. My grandma dreamt it was a girl.

Moodiness : If you are really moody, you are having a girl since you have another extra girl hormones in you. Your pregnancy will make you smile and be more happy if you are having a boy because there’s a little penis inside you. So moody. I get so frustrated with myself about it, too.

Mom’s Beauty : Basically you are having a girl if your beauty disappears during pregnancy. It is said that the girl “steals” the mother’s beauty. If you think that pregnancy has never made you look more beautiful, you might just be having a little boy. I definitely have not been feeling beautiful. Definitely not.

Time of Conception : The person that is most aggressive in bed at the time of conception is the opposite of what the baby will be. Well that would be correct that it’s a girl.

Legs : If your legs get really big, you’re having a boy.  If your legs stay in shape and lean, it’s a girl. My legs haven’t gotten too big. It’s my face and my arms… and every other part of my body.

History of Parent’s Kids : You can find out the sex by going off of your parent’s kids and the order. If you are the first born, you will have what your mother had but starting with her second child. If you are the middle child, you will have what she said, but starting with the third child. If you are the last child, you will have what your mother had in the exact order. I feel bad for my little sister; she’ll have to try for more than three kids if she wants a chance of a boy.

Shape of Mom’s Face : When your face gets fuller and rounder when pregnant, it means you’re going to have a girl. If your face is long and narrow, it’s a boy. It’s definitely getting rounder…

Acne : If you have acne while pregnant, it’s a girl. It’s thought that acne during pregnancy is caused by the extra hormones. Thankfully, I’m not experiencing any acne.

Cravings : People believe that if you are craving salty foods while pregnant, you can count on having a boy. If you crave sweets, fruit, and orange juice, you are having a little girl. I crave both. I love my fruits, but I love my french fries too!

Mayan Tale : The Mayan tale adds the mothers age at conception and the year of conception. If the result is a even number then mom is having a girl. If the result is an odd number then a boy is on the way! 26 (my age) + 2014 (the year) = 2040 (even number)

Looks like there’s way more pink than any other color, so for the most part these Old Wives Tales seem to be correct… Very interesting… I guess there’s a few things I’ll change around the next time we decide to have a baby!

These tales were found at His Boys Can Swim.

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