A Late Night Update & Some Photos

I gotta say — the newness of being diagnosed with ICP and the need for an early induction has worn off and I’m left with, well, itching. Lots and lots of itching. Thankfully it’s mainly just at night. The itching is unmistakable — sometimes it feels like bugs crawling under my skin, and other times it feels like I just got bitten by a fire ant (so I guess that would be bugs crawling above my skin). Usually it’s the later. I often do a double take to see if there’s an insect on my skin. It’s a very strong sensation, and it gets annoying very quickly!

So I am averaging 3-5.5 hours of sleep a night (please no one tell me that this is good preparation for those sleepless nights when the baby comes, because there are days that hearing that will only discourage me). I took a Benadryl last night and a cold shower and I was so happy to fall asleep rather early and get more sleep. But I don’t want to get in the habit of taking Benadryl every night (even if it is category B) so I will just have to live with the itching and save the Benadryl for when I’m in desperate need of sleep. I’m surviving, but it’s hard not to be frustrated at being up and awake, feeling recklessly itchy every night. It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve fallen asleep before midnight.

Thankfully, our little baby girl has looked awesome on every single NST so far. And I’m thankful (even though I’m scared) that she’ll be coming early. I have read in several places that the stillbirth rate of undiagnosed, untreated ICP is 15%. A scary-high statistic. Breathing a sigh of relief that I am both diagnosed AND being treated (with Ursodiol). From everything I’ve read, my OB is treating me appropriately and taking every precaution.

There are many things coming up that are out of my control. The induction is just 3 weeks away. I have no control over whether my body will be even slightly ready or not for labor (I’m guessing not). I have no control over my GBS status (to be determined at 35 weeks). I have no control over whether the induction will be another horror story, or whether (if I choose to get one) my epidural will actually be intact and working this time.

Surmounting all other unknowns, I have no control over how our baby will do. Will she latch on and nurse well? Will she breathe okay? Will she be jaundiced?

(This control freak doesn’t like uncertainty, apparently.)

The nurse setting up my NST the other day asked how long kick counts were taking, on average. “About 20 minutes, probably,” I replied. “Great” she said, “But if they take up to two hours, you go straight into L&D, okay? And even if you have to go into L&D every single day, no one will fault you for it. Cholestasis is no joke.” Gee, I thought, thanks for freaking me out, lady. When I got home from my appointment that day, I retold the conversation to my mom (who had been babysitting) and found myself suddenly holding back tears. I realized that I still felt scared for our baby, even though I was on medication that was supposed to decrease the risks and even though I had an early induction scheduled. Childbirth is already scary without complications, but the reality of having a high-risk pregnancy was hitting me that day like a ton of bricks. Thankfully, since then I’ve had time to process, to adjust my thinking and also my expectations for the next three weeks (as well as for our baby’s birth). Also, seeing as I’m up most nights, I’ve also had a lot of time to research and to know with more certainty what the risks truly are and what to expect.

I’ve also spent some time memorizing the following verses to meditate on during the next 3 weeks. I cannot tell you what peace Scripture and prayer have brought me:

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Isaiah 26:33 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

John 14:27 “Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

I know I’m not immune to struggles, fears, or life scenarios worse than I ever imagined. Being a Christian doesn’t mean life is easy in any way. But I do know this: No matter what happens, the Lord will be with me. He will give me grace to endure and a faith greater than an easy life could ever produce. So tonight as I stop typing intermittently because of this itchy skin, I have peace about our situation, and I have hope. I’ve gone from incredibly surprised (at being diagnosed with ICP) to incredibly scared to now just incredibly excited to meet our little girl. Peace in the midst of any trial is truly a gift from the Lord.

{Thanks for praying for our baby girl whom we are set to meet in just three weeks!}

And here’s some pictures from the past week…

The things that fascinate toddlers... it makes me laugh.

The things that fascinate toddlers. It makes me laugh.

Fruit snacks are the most amazing thing on the planet to this kid. I think he’s deciding which one to eat first  (big decision!).

Who says an 8 month pregnant mama won't get down on the kitchen floor and play with her toddler?

Who says an 8 month pregnant mama won’t get down on the kitchen floor and play with her toddler? (Now can someone please help me back up?)

Helping Daddy put together sister's new diaper pail.

Helping Daddy put together sister’s new diaper pail.

“What ELSE is in the box, Daddy?”

My creepy looking hand on an ice pack, which was keeping my palm from itching so much.

My creepy looking hand on an ice pack, which was keeping my palm from itching so much.

33 weeks pregnant. My mom has said twice now that my belly size has plateaued. Of course now that baby is coming early, I want to gain more weight and my belly to grow as much as possible. Oh, the irony,

33 weeks pregnant. My mom has said twice now that my belly size has plateaued. Of course now that baby is coming early, I really hope to gain more weight and want my belly to grow as much as possible. (Oh, the irony.)

My little guy. Love this kid to pieces, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that he's going to be a big brother in less than a month.

My little guy. Love this kid to pieces, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that he’s going to be a big brother in less than a month.

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