Remember this post? The one when I got super dark and confessed feeling so miserable about my pregnancy that I just wished it would end sooner than later? Well, I’m obviously a) a monster and b) capable of sorcery because, unfortunately, I’m going to be getting my wish.
After several weeks of pain and discomfort, I’ve finally been diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). WTF is that, exactly? From the ICP Care organization:
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) is a liver disorder which occurs during pregnancy. This condition affects the normal flow of bile. Bile acids are chemicals in the bile of the liver that help with digestion. With ICP the bile flow begins to slow down in tern the bile acids build up in the blood.
The symptoms are utter crap: Intense itching, — and I mean intense — usually on the soles of feet and palms of hands, but otherwise anywhere; right upper quadrant pain (that’d be directly under the right breast) that varies from a stabbing to a throbbing ache to a burning sensation, like having heartburn in your liver; nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. It sucks. It sucks big time. And what does it mean, other than extreme discomfort? From ICPcare.org:
ICP poses several risks that are of great concern. It is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth (intrauterine fetal demise), preterm labor, fetal distress, respiratory distress, maternal hemorrhaging and meconium passage in utero… With active management that include the two most important factors in the treatment are reducing the bile acids in the bloodstream with the medicine Ursodeoxycholic Acid and delivering the mother as early as lung maturity will allow, often by 37 weeks gestation.
Yikes. After my appointment with the perinatologist yesterday, it’s been determined that I’ll need to be induced at 37 weeks to get the baby out of what can quickly become a toxic environment. I’ve exhaustively researched this disease and every source concludes the same: the baby’s gotta come out early. This is an instance that truly qualifies as a medically necessary induction. I’m heartbroken and terrified.
I’m a birth advocate. I advocate for normal birth, for choices in childbirth, for access to midwives, for evidence-based practices, for safer births, for better outcomes for mamas and babies. I, myself, was a homebirther (with transfer) for my last pregnancy. Being induced isn’t something I’d have ever sought or wished for myself (despite my anxiety-induced ramblings that temporarily suggested otherwise). That’s just not how I birth. I let my babies come when they’re ready. I cook them until well done. This diagnosis is a big deal to me.
To compound the fear of being induced, I also learned yesterday that my little girl is quite small. All those weeks of not eating during the second trimester did her no favors. She’s hanging out somewhere in the 6th percentile, which would put her at about 5 1/2 pounds at birth (and three weeks early, to boot). So I’m on strict orders to up my protein intake which is no easy feat considering how limited my diet is. I’ll be adding two grassfed whey protein shakes per day to my food intake and hoping for the best.
Terrifying, right? I mean, this pregnancy is just relentless. It’s been one thing after another (I could write a whole post on my ongoing DVT scare that’s fortunately turned out to be compartment syndrome in my left leg, but is nevertheless excruciatingly painful).
And I can’t help but feel depressed about the fact that this is yet another example of my lemon body failing me like it’s done so many times before. “Trust birth!” us birth advocates say. “Trust your body! Women’s bodies were meant for this!” Well, what was my body meant for, then? Because I’m 0 for 3 now on being able to birth a baby without medical intervention. And THIS time, I was crazy stupid healthy when I got knocked up. I wasn’t obese and sedentary anymore. I ate an excellent diet, exercised regularly, had my anxiety at a manageable level, and got my BMI down to a normal range. I was supposed to have a healthy, active pregnancy and an easier labor this time. I feel cheated. I’m pissed. And I’m scared.
If you’re the praying type, send some up for me and my little girl. If you’re the happy-thought-thinking type, send those vibes out, too.
11 8 weeks to go.