I went off birth control in May of 2013, and it took us eight months to get pregnant. As every month went by, I started to worry about fertility.
When I a received a maternity shirt as a Christmas “gift,” it took everything I had to smile and laugh at the not so subtle sign that my mother-in-law was hoping for a grandchild, which was also just a few days after I got my period – just another reminder that we weren’t pregnant.
I had been tracking and counting days and felt so blessed the day I got that positive pregnancy test!
When I called the doctor to make my first OB appointment, I was astonished that I had to wait EIGHT weeks to be seen. It felt like forever!! My first appointment went great, but we decided to keep the pregnancy a secret until after the first trimester. I wanted to err on the side of caution (side note: I have since changed my view on this).
During this time, my sister announced she was pregnant as well! She was due two weeks before me. At 12 weeks we made a trip to the upstate to tell my family the good news with a “Big Cousin” onesie in hand as the reveal.
Other than being extremely tired, I didn’t have a lot of morning sickness and everything was progressing normally. I kept active, ate well and read way too many online articles. I started feeling very itchy but didn’t think much of it. I mentioned it to my doctor, and she didn’t seem concerned.
My childhood friend, who is a nurse at an OB/GYN office, came to Charleston for my baby shower, and I mentioned the itchiness. She told me to make sure I got it checked out right away. I read online about cholestasis of pregnancy and PIPPS, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions or be paranoid or high maintenance.
The next week (35 weeks) I mentioned it to my doctor again. She told me that it was most likely from my skin stretching and that cholestasis of pregnancy was very rare. She said we could do a blood test if I wanted…just in case.
That was a Friday. The next week I still hadn’t heard anything about the blood test results. I called the office and left a few messages. I later got a return call telling me to go to the hospital for prenatal monitoring.
Wednesday I sat for two hours waiting to get an ultrasound at MUSC. Thursday I saw a specialist, and Friday I checked in the hospital to be induced on Saturday.
It was official. I had cholestasis of pregnancy.
The biggest complication with cholestasis of pregnancy is stillbirth. Reading about infant loss breaks my heart, and I cannot fathom being in that situation. What if I wouldn’t have mentioned my symptoms or pushed for the blood test? Would waiting a week have been too late?
Looking at my amazing daughter I can’t even entertain these questions. I am lucky that I pushed for the testing and that I called MULTIPLE times to get the results. YOU are in charge of your health, and it is important that you are your biggest advocate. During your first pregnancy, it is hard to know what is “normal” and what is concerning. It is important to make your voice heard and to take your health into your own hands.
I didn’t want to be high maintenance or paranoid, but I’m glad I was! It is worth it.