20 Weeks

20weeks.wordsAh, the official “normal person” half-way point in pregnancy! Yay! But alas, I am not normal. Blah. I think the insanely nice weather we’ve been having has made the itching worse…I’ve been trying to walk 2 miles/day, but I find it really exhausts me. That, and the warmer my body feels, the more my skin prickles. I’m trying to stay VERY hydrated and drink plenty of water & my favorite lemon-lime Gatorade. It’s such a crappy situation.

Because my itching as gotten worse the past few days, I have been referred to the Perinatal Clinic (high risk) at Meriter hospital for a consult, and see if they can offer any more relief. I mean, I’ve been waking up with bloody scratch marks on my legs, and I’m pretty positive we don’t have a poltergeist in the house. ;)

Also, last week I met with my hepatologist (liver specialist), and he told me the medication has lowered my levels from 44 (toxic for baby) to 25. Much improved, but still elevated (10 is normal). So that’s good. AND ON TOP OF ALL THIS, my doctor also suspects that I have “carpal tunnel syndrome of pregnancy,” because my right had has been getting numb/tingly, so I’m supposed to wear a wrist brace when I sleep. Not sure if that’s gonna fly. Anyway, on to the survey:

How far along are you? 20 weeks, 2 days. He will probably be here in 4 months! That’s crazy.

How big is the baby? According to my BabyCenter App, it’s about the size of a banana.

Weight Gain? Still 7 lbs.

Maternity clothes? Loose work-out clothes (still yoga pants & sweatshirts)…helps the itching.

Stretch marks? Tiny ones on my inner thighs. And my boobies.

Sleep: Sleep has been better, I’m just taking 2 Benadryl before bed every night.

Best moment this week? Pregnancy-wise, Baby Boy’s movements have dramatically increased the past week or 2. Oh, and someone called me “tiny” today…definitely haven’t been called tiny in awhile. Haha.

Movement? Yep! ^^

Food cravings? Last week it was French Onion Soup. Yum! And yesterday I posted the recipe for all to enjoy!

Food aversions? Nope.

Labor signs? Nope.

Gender? BOY!

Symptoms? Itchy. And now whenever I sneeze, McKenzie asks, “Did you pee, Momma?!” Hahaha. Joy.

Belly button in or out? In. With McKenzie it just went flat…it was never an “outie.”

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or moody? Pretty happy.

What I miss: My hubbs. But I think we’ll get to speak every Sunday now. Yay! Something to look forward to.

What I am looking forward to: 20 week Anatomy Scan tomorrow! I’ll probably post pics ASAP. And I’m also looking forward to meeting with the Perinatal Specialist to see if there’s any itching-relief in my future. And tomorrow night I meet our doula!

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So, now I’m high-risk.

itchytummyAs I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been really, really itchy lately. Well, for weeks actually. It is TERRIBLE. Like, wakes-me-up-in-the-night-type terrible. I even mentioned it at my 9 & 14 week appointments. “It’s just hormones,” they said. “It’s your skin stretching,” they said. “Itching is a 3rd trimester thing,” they said.

Well, I self-diagnosed weeks ago with ICP (Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy), characterized by severe, wide-spread itching without a rash. Basically, your liver doesn’t process the bile-acids properly, which makes your histamines go crazy (hence, the itching). And I’ve always had an asymptomatic liver disease (since birth), so it made sense. It fit my symptoms perfectly. I even called the after-hours nurse line because I was freaked-out. When I spoke with the nurses at my doc’s office the next day, they were unconcerned. “It’s just hormones,” they said. “It’s your skin stretching,” they said. “It’s too early, it’s a 3rd trimester thing,” they said.

But guess what showed up in my labs, after demanding that they test me for it?! ICP. Yeah, I f***ing knew it. Moral of the story? Always, always listen to your body. It normally shows up in the 3rd trimester. At 17 weeks, I’m nearly half that. My doctor told me she was “shocked,” and that in the other cases she’s dealt with, none of the other women had it before 35 weeks. Lucky me.

This diagnosis officially makes me high-risk, but it should disappear within days of giving birth. It’s a “complication.” It doesn’t affect the development of the baby, cognitively or physically, but mothers with ICP have a much higher risk of stillbirth (for reasons still unknown) and babies are more to have respiratory distress after birth…which is exactly the thing a pregnant momma doesn’t want to hear. =( To minimize the risk to the baby, I will have weekly ultrasounds starting at 24 weeks (viability) until my 32nd week, when I’ll start having Fetal Non-Stress Tests (NST’s) 2x a week. Because of the increased risk of stillbirth, doctors induce between the 37th-38th week of pregnancy. That means we’ll have another late-August baby…I’ll literally be pregnant an entire month less than McKenzie (who was super, duper late). Maybe Jon will actually get to be there if it’s planned?

I comfort myself with the knowledge that, if delivered before 38 weeks, the risk of stillbirth is less than 1%, which is the same as normal pregnancy. My silver lining is that I get to have more ultrasounds (did I jinx myself with that last post?), and we get to meet *him* sooner.

I’m trying to stay calm. It’s still scary. And I’m still itchy. But hopefully the medication I’m taking 2x/day will have these wicked bile-acids under control soon.

And this makes me miss my husband that much more, I SO wish he was here right now. Thankfully, I got to speak with him briefly yesterday to tell him what’s going on…and he hadn’t gotten my letter yet, so I told him it’s a boy. Another silver lining? I’m trying to stay positive, it could always be much worse. =)