35 Weeks Pregnancy Update: Being Induced Early
Hello from 35 weeks (and 4 days)! Looking at the photo above, taken at 35 weeks and 2 days, makes me laugh a little, because all looks splendid. I suppose in the moment I was happy to be outside in the sun, and in reasonably warm weather (50s in February, hallelujah). However, the pregnancy lately has been really, really hard.
Several weeks ago I started to become unbearably itchy. The kind of itchy where I was typically only sleeping in 25-45 minutes intervals at night, and getting up constantly. It was not uncommon to get out of bed 7-10 times every night, attempting to soothe the itchiness via relatively ineffective means, like calamine lotion, pine tar soap, freezing my skin with cold packs or cold showers, hydrocortisone cream, and so on.
After days and days built with sleep deprivation every night, at times I would start to feel like I could RAGE. I was so, so tired and going absolutely insane. And as a result of the sleep deprivation, I came down with a horrible cold on top of everything else. I felt like a total zombie and I knew something was wrong.
At first the itchiness was not taken seriously by the medical staff. I was told by the on-call service that I could not get a call back or urgent appointment for “itching,” and was also told by a nurse over the phone a day later that I should try rubbing on some cocoa butter. Oh…how angry that made me.
I eventually got an in-person appointment with a doctor and she knew immediately what my symptoms indicated, a more serious condition called Obstetric Cholestasis. There is a lot to read about Cholestasis, but basically the pregnancy hormones start to interfere with the proper functioning of your liver, and you begin to get a buildup of bile salts in your blood.
In a nutshell, the reason I was itching like crazy (but not having any rashes) is because the itchiness comes from the blood, not from the skin. While not particularly dangerous to the mother, cholestasis is increasingly dangerous for the baby as the pregnancy progresses, so it’s something you are typically induced for around 37 weeks.
I am scared about being induced, as I’ve heard some negative things, but a stillbirth would be devastating, and my doctor said risk of “fetal demise” increases the longer we wait. I hope and pray that I do not lose this little boy in my belly and he is born healthily. He is currently 6 pounds and 4 ounces, so he has a decent weight to him already, fortunately.
My doctor is still waiting on blood results that are supposed to come tomorrow, but from how quickly I responded to medication that she put me on immediately after our appointment, we are assuming that I have this condition and I will be induced anywhere from a week and a half from now to two and a half weeks! Whoa.
Anyway, this is probably my last pregnancy update, since labor seems very close. Pete are I are scrambling to make final preparations for baby. Time has seemed to escape me lately, partially because the potential delivery date has moved up pretty significantly, but also because the past couple weeks have been spent filled with a lot of doctor’s appointments, fetal monitoring, and trips to the hospital.
It looks like the time has come to start paring things down here and focus on my health and this baby. I have some already-finished posts that I’ll be sharing in the first half of March, but generally things will start slowing down as I prepare for baby. Thanks for all your support and your kind notes throughout this process, and I will continue to share updates as things progress.