I had never even heard of this pregnancy disease before. I was 28 weeks pregnant with my first baby, my son. I woke up one morning suddenly itching like mad, on my hands and feet, so of course I googled wondering if this was just normal for pregnancy!! First thing I read was about obstetric choloestasis, it seemed pretty rare and quite dangerous. I definitely didn’t think I would have that. I called one of my friends who also agreed it was just a normal pregnancy related itch. The itch continued so that evening I contacted my midwife just to be on the safe side. straight away I was asked to go up to the hospital to have some bile acid bloods taken. I then had to wait for a few hours for the results. Those few hours I researched more and more about obstetrics cholestasis it frightened me.....This liver disease can cause your baby to be still born, the phone rang and the results were in....I had it, I had cholestasis, I had to go straight up the hospital the next day to be put on some medication to keep my baby safe and from then on every week I was up having regular bloods to make sure my levels weren’t over 40....Anything over 40 is high risk of still born!
With this liver disease they advice you to monitor movements constantly and if any pattern changes or movements decrease then you have to go in to be put on the monitors. I was in quite a few times....First time mum anxious about everything and worrying something was wrong with my baby. I was consultant led for the rest of my pregnancy too. Every week my blood levels rose so my medication was constantly upped to ensure my little one was safe. The itching at this point was horrendous I couldn’t sleep at all, I slept with windows open a fan on me and no covers just to keep my skin cool, I can only describe it as being eaten by little red ants.
I was booked in to be induced because going over 37 weeks can be very dangerous to the baby, usually your levels tend to triple at this gestation and will cause too much stress. My levels continued to rise so I was given a sweep at 36 weeks to get my cervix ready for labour. I had previously had a lettz procedure for CIN3 and the scarring on my cervix was pretty bad, my midwife was concerned my cervix wouldn’t be ready for the induction. The sweep worked and a few days later I lost my show and went in to early labour!! During the early labour process I realised I hadn’t felt my son move, we went straight up to the hospital, the ward was so busy so we were left waiting in one of the rooms, half an hour later the midwife came in and had a chat with us, she realised I hadn’t had a contraction at all since talking to her so she decided to give me another sweep and send me home. Still in a total blur his heart beat was never checked! We got home and within an hour i was having regular contractions very close together so we when straight back up to the hospital, I was given pethadine for the pain and told to go to sleep. Two hours later I woke up in agony the midwife came in and said I couldn’t have anything else and to go back to sleep, I went to the bathroom and I was pouring with blood, then my body began to push so frightened I waddled to the labour bed, the midwife came in and I instantly shouted he’s coming then I remembered I hadn’t felt him move for hours...She looked at me horrified grabbed the Doppler and tried to find his heartbeat....she couldn’t, I panicked and started crying and she called someone else in....They also couldn’t find his heart beat. They shoved my legs up and said his head is crowning you have 10 minutes to get this baby out, push even if you don’t need to. I looked at my husband and said hes going to be still born isn’t he? My husband also extremely scared at this point. The midwife had her hand ready on the red buzzer waiting to see if my baby was born alive or not. That last push, the burn, the tearing.....Jasper was born and there was no crying, the midwife shouted he’s in his sac, he’s still in the amniotic sac i tried to look but I couldn’t, still in pure shock and agony, jasper popped himself and she pulled him up to my chest, then he had his first cry.
He was so blue but they never mentioned anything about It so I assumed he was fine.
When we bought him home the baby blues came, I had never felt so low in my whole life, so numb. I cried 24/7 I was so afraid of loosing my baby, my mind went on over drive all I could think about was cot death! I didn’t eat for weeks and I cried for days and days, I started having panic attacks when my husband went back to work because I was so frightened of being alone with my baby and something happening to him. I didn’t want anyone to touch him, look at him or sniff him he was mine. I was so in love with him and I thought someone would take him away from me. My labour made something click in my brain pure anxiety and I promised myself I would never have another baby again! I never wanted to feel that way again.
Fast forward 17 months when I fell pregnant with our now 1 year old daughter....I again was diagnosed with obstetrics cholestasis, this time at 23 weeks but I had prepared myself and was consultant led again straight away, this time I had 14 episodes of reduced movements, my levels started off quite high but we managed to stabilise them with the medication. I had constant scans to check she was doing okay and she was, except at 36.4 weeks when I had another episode of reduced movements and I was sent for a scan, she didnt move at all, they could see she was breathing but no movement. I was sent home again but I didn’t feel right then I got a phone call to say my levels were too high and I had to go in immediately....She had to be born they couldn’t risk leaving me another 2 days before my induction date. I was hooked up to the monitors and her heart rate was strong but again no movements. I was induced straight away had my waters broke....she was stressed and she had pooped inside me (this happens when levels get so high and the baby gets very stressed) they wanted me to go for a c section straight away, but they said they would try the drip and if nothing happens I needed a c section. The drip workEd and she was born 2 hours later a very healthy beautiful baby girl.
The liver disease goes as soon as the baby is born. After going through all of this we decided that we wouldn’t have anymore baby’s. The stress and the anxiety is too much to cope with, I have two incredible baby’s that were born safe. But I have seen so many stories where babies are not. If you start itching all of a sudden please go and get checked out, we were told if I hadn’t have had my bile acids done that day and I was left until our induction date our daughter may not be here today. It really isn’t worth it. Itching or reduced movements isn’t something to be ignored.
Thanks for reading x