The Itch Didn’t Stop: Cholestasis Continued

Once I was diagnosed with cholestasis, my 3rd trimester became an emotional roller coaster for me. I was going to my OB twice a week for non stress tests to monitor little man. Though it was super nice to hear his heart beat so frequently, I was also so nervous every time I went.

I constantly thought, what happens if he is not okay? What happens if he is under stress? What happens if they rush me to delivery today? It was such a relief every time I was told he was okay until the next appointment. I was constantly worried. I cried a lot to Chad. I was an emotional mess. I read so many stories of heart break and I just couldn’t imagine. My heart goes out to any Momma who has experienced that heart break.

And then there was the itching. Even with the medication my skin did not stop feeling like it was crawling. It was so bad at night. I used to get into the shower before I would go to bed and turn the water super hot and essentially scold my skin, then turn the water to super cold and freeze it. I would then use an anti itch for eczema body wash while doing that. I would get out of the shower and apply this thick lotion that was anti itch and get dressed quickly, lay down in bed and pray I fell asleep before the itching became extremely bad.

I tried to stay the most positive that I could an enjoy my third trimester but it was hard. So many tears shed for worry and for uncomfortableness. I started just telling myself surviving another week was one week closer to little mans lungs being fully developed and ready for delivery. I was so fearful internally. Fear of something happening, fear of being a new mom, and fear of the delivery process.

My OB and I had discussed that I would be induced at 37 weeks once his lungs were ready. My goal was to just make it to that with no complications. I would lay in bed every evening, rub my belly and tell Chase, buddy we can do this. All you have to do is tell Mommy everyday you are okay. Just grow big and strong, that’s all you have to do and Mommy will do the rest.

Having cholestasis was really hard. Like I said it took a huge emotional toll on me and Chad as well. He says to this day that it was so hard to watch me go through that and be so uncomfortable for so long. He was very fearful to the future as well. He kept me sane and was my person to lean on and pull me out of that dark fearful hole that I fell into multiple times. Because of what we went through, we are very unsure of having another child. We are very thankful and blessed to have one healthy child who is our entire world.

If you feel you are suffering from symptoms of cholestasis please contact your health care provider who is managing your pregnancy immediately.

Up next will be my birth story and being induced at 37 weeks

  • Callie

Cholestasis Of Pregnancy

Callie Here 🙂

Pregnancy story continued:

Everything was great until the week of Christmas.

I was 27 weeks pregnant and I started to have really itchy hands and feet. It was winter, and there was snow on ground so I assumed it was just the usual winter dry skin. I figured it was worse this year because I was pregnant and lets face it hormones make everything worse. I tried lotions all over my hands and feet with no relief. I was loosing my mind. I could not stop scratching. I was cutting my skin all over my hands and feet from scratching. Finally, I decided to call my OB because I just could not take it anymore. When I spoke to the nurse, she said we need you to come in tomorrow for a visit…… Oh Wow… I did not think I was going to get that response. So I hung up the phone and of course did what you are NOT suppose to do… and googled and WebMD pregnancy itching in hands and feet.

What I read, made my jaw drop…

I went into my OB the next day explained my itching and had labs drawn looking at my liver levels for cholestasis.

What is cholestasis of pregnancy? Thought you would never ask!

Cholestasis of pregnancy is the pregnancy hormones affect liver function, resulting in slowing or stopping the flow of bile. The gallbladder holds bile that is produced in the liver, which is necessary for the breakdown of fats in digestion. When the bile flow in the liver itself is stopped or slowed down, this causes a build up of bile acids in the liver which can spill into the bloodstream.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Itching, particularly on the hands and feet (often is the only symptom noticed)
  • Dark urine color
  • Pain in the right upper quadrant (RUQ), without gallstones
  • Pale/Light coloring of bowel movements
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Less common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellow coloring of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
  • Upper-Right Quadrant Pain
  • Nausea

How does it effect the baby and the mother?

Cholestasis may increase the risks for fetal distress, preterm birth, or stillbirth. A developing baby relies on the mother’s liver to remove bile acids from the blood; therefore, the elevated levels of maternal bile cause stress on the baby’s liver. Women with cholestasis should be monitored closely and serious consideration should be given to inducing labor once the baby’s lungs have reached maturity.

How many pregnant women are at risk for this?

1 to 2 pregnancies in 1,000 are affected by cholestasis.
The following women have a higher risk of getting cholestasis during pregnancy:

  • Women carrying multiples
  • Women with previous liver damage
  • Previous family history Cholestasis or ICP

Holy Cow…

After reading this and getting my results back from my OB I was shocked. I blacked out in the room with her. She told me they were putting me on a medication to help with my liver levels and I was going to be hooked up for a fetal monitor non stress test. My husband was not with me for that appointment. As soon as my OB left, I started sobbing in the office. My hands were shaking, and then next thing I knew, I am hooked up and hearing my little guys heart beat and tracking his movements. I sat there and just cried. I was so scared. I was so anxious, nervous and full of complete fear for our future. Being this far into my pregnancy and the thought of a stillbirth I was an emotional mess.

If you feel you have any symptoms of cholestasis please contact your provider as soon as possible and speak with them regarding your symptoms.

All information for this post was taken/cited from the American Pregnancy Association

Cholestasis of Pregnancy