We have a secret.
Recently, we got the feeling that not everything was normal with Regi’s pregnancy. But, being first time parents (pregnants?) we really didn’t know what to compare it to.
Regi has been nauseous for most of the pregnancy, with just a bit of a reprieve during a few weeks of the second trimester. She has had acid reflux. Her stretch marks have been very itchy. These are all things women experience, so we just attributed them to ‘normal’ pregnancy. But still, it seemed like it was worse for Regi. We knew we had to talk to the doctor when Regi’s itchiness resulted in crying herself to sleep at night, waiting for exhaustion to kick in to finally get some peace.
We began looking up what might cause her symptoms and kept coming across the term cholestasis, a rare pregnancy condition that affects about 1 in a 1000 women.
Yesterday, our doctor confirmed our suspicions. We are still waiting on the blood tests (10 days to read!), but our doctor said that the symptoms Regi has are consistent and indicate that she has cholestasis.
Basically, her raging pregnancy hormones are causing her gall bladder to malfunction. this means that bile is building up in her liver and spilling out into her bloodstream. If you’ve ever smelled bile, you know that it is foul stuff and has no place in the bloodstream. The bile acids are now circulating throughout her body and building up, causing her to itch and scratch uncontrollably. This buildup of bile can lead to fetal distress, stillbirth, and hemorrhaging.
Thank the Lord, we have a doctor who is one of the nation’s best high risk pregnancy specialists, who also happens to be a family friend. After spending the weekend panicking about a stillborn baby and a toxin filled mother, our doctor reassured us that everything will be fine. While there is some danger and Regi is now ‘high risk’, He has safely delivered many women who have this condition. He was laughing and joking as we spoke about what was going on. This really helped us to breathe easy. Regi was prescribed a medication that should take away the itchiness in the next day or so.
Immediately after our doctor visit, we were sent upstairs for fetal monitoring and an ultrasound. The fetal monitoring was to ensure that Imogen has a steady and healthy heartbeat. They want to know that Imogen is not being affected by the buildup of bile. The fetal monitoring test came back perfectly normal. We even got to see what a contraction looks like on paper. The lady that ran the test was very helpful and kind, taking time to talk with us about what was going on and what the test meant.
Next, we went to the ultrasound tech who measured how much fluid was in the uterus. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing that excess fluid would mean a buildup of meconium (baby poop). The tech said that everything looked great. As a bonus, we got to see our almost ready for prime time daughter bundled up and waiting for her big adventure. She looks pretty smooshed in there. Her foot and her hand were up and covering her head. We did get to see her opening her mouth and floating about. The ultrasound tech said it looked like she was blowing us a kiss. Again, the staff were kind and made a potentially frightening situation much easier to deal with.
We do not want you to worry. Our specialists are not worried. In fact, you may not want to read up on cholestasis, because the picture the interwebs paints is far more grim than the reassuring smile our doctor gave us. With monitoring and treatment, everything should go smoothly.
We would of course love your prayers and thoughts. Untreated, Regi’s condition could be life threatening for her and Imogen. Thankfully, we do not live in the dark ages. Our team is very capable of handling what is going on and has assured us that everything will be all right. If things begin to look abnormal, they will simply take Imogen out early. After the pregnancy, everything will return to normal. Well, normal medically speaking. Our world will be turned upside down at that point by diapers and crying fits.
Yesterday Regi started talking about how much Imogen was moving inside her. I responded. “The pool filter’s broken, and she pooped in the water. What would you be doing?” We had a good laugh.
It all just makes me realize how blessed we are to be alive. Every birth is a miracle, and every life should be lived like this is true.Tags: acid reflux, bile, cholestasis, fetal monitoring, high risk, hormones, itchiness, life threatening, nausea, pregnancy