I had my 39th week doctor’s appointment yesterday (Oct. 25). Everything all right with the baby? Movements? Weight, blood pressure? To everything I answered yes and vitals normal. This is, thankfully, so far, an event-free textbook pregnancy.
Until last week when I suddenly experienced this intense itching in my feet… I figured it must be because of rubber flip flops that I frequently use. I applied lots of cream but it only got worsened until it wakes me up at night 2-3 times. I tried to bear it down while scratching it profusely until my skin bled and the itch spread into my hands! Internet search lead me to suspect that I am having what is called Obstetric Cholestasis or Cholestasis of Pregnancy – a rare condition where normal flow of bile in the gallbladder is affected by pregnancy hormones. 1 in 1000 pregnant women suffer from this.
In short, bile is a toxic substance that would be dangerous for the baby when it enters the mom’s bloodstream and the only way to prevent the bad effects to the baby (namely, fetal distress, pre-term birth and in some cases, still birth), the best “cure” is to deliver the baby as soon as cholestasis is diagnosed.
My world is shattered – I have been managing my weight well, blood pressure and sugar levels excellent and have been active throughout this whole pregnancy and then suddenly towards the end, being told I have a rare pregnancy complication is nothing short of shocking.
What is the cause of cholestasis? I asked the doctor.
“I wish I can tell you, sweetheart.”, was the only answer I got.
One thing I got lucky with is that I am a few days before 40 weeks and there is no problem whatsoever if I deliver the baby now. Some women have been diagnosed with cholestasis as early as 28 weeks and have babies spend days at the neonatal ICU.
I was admitted this morning and induced for labor just before noon. Now, I wait for pain to start. How long it will take, no one really knows.