31w

I don’t have Cholestasis!

But I’m still itchy…

They’re going to prescribe me a new steroid cream to try and help. For the most part though, I’m dealing with it. Even though nothing has brought me relief from it, I’m really coping well. The only hard days are the ones following a night of a particularly bad flare-up when I end up standing in the bathroom scratching myself like crazy for hours so I don’t wake up my husband. Those nights aren’t fun. But the little Lady wakes up with me and makes me feel better with her pushing, prodding and kicking. Little nuzzles. And often some painful stretches where I’m sure she’s screaming, “I need more room in here!”

We’ve made some progress in her nursery, her crib is just about finished, just need to pick up a bed skirt. Then we’ll start decorating the walls. I found a lot of wall decor that I love at Hobby Lobby, but I’m going to wait till next week to buy them as they weren’t on sale today. I’ve got some painting and craftiness to do in the meantime.

10 more days till we get our 15% Target registry completion coupon! I know it’s lame to be so excited about a coupon but we will be getting most of our remaining big purchase items on that bad boy, so it’s rather exciting. 

We spent a whole Saturday last week moving our dining room into another room to make space for what will be the play area in our living room. In order to do that, we ended up having to clean & organize the whole garage, move our pantry shelf to a nearby closet and finally move a hutch into the house that’s been sitting unused for months. I had high hopes of refurbishing it but never got around to it. I still have 2 chairs and a kitchen table to finish sanding and painting as well, who knows when I’ll get back to that project.

I have lists hanging all over my house of things we need to buy and projects I need to finish in the month of November. I decided all my work needs to be done before December because I’ll likely be too huge and too tired to do anything by then. We have guests coming starting the first week of December and then intermittently until mid February so I want to make sure the guest room is functional and pretty. We were able to pick up a nearly new queen mattress set from someone in our neighborhood, now we just need a frame, headboard, and new sheet set. We used to only have a full set in there and that’s just not big enough for visiting couples.

Financially all of these things on my to do list are making me a little anxious. Even with a very strict savings schedule this year we didn’t meet our goal for the amount we wanted to have in savings by now. Our two vacations to Knoxville caused the biggest setbacks, as well as just extra expenses in preparing for baby. Prioritizing has been weird. For example, my car has been sitting in our driveway for 4 months now because we can’t afford to get it fixed. It’s made running errands during the day a little difficult, but it has also kept me from making my weekly bored Target runs, which were probably not too financially responsible to begin with. We also eat like college students, a habit that was probably a good one to learn over the last few years since we just can’t afford to eat fancy all the time. Going out for us involves either a drive through window or a coupon. We actually have three Chickfila calendar cards so we can maximize on the freebies each month. Chickfila is practically its own food group for pregnant me.

In other news, my newly acquired sweet tooth problem has become irrationally uncontrollable. I can’t believe some people live like this all the time, it’s insanity. Praying like crazy this goes away after she’s born. I had an Oreo McFlurry tonight and it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

9 weeks to go!

30w4d

Waiting for diagnoses can be agonizing. For me, it’s just been one tedious hour after another. I haven’t posted an update lately because I’ve been waiting to receive a positive diagnosis on something that’s been going on for over two weeks now, but the blood work takes a week to go through. I’m realizing now it’s probably important for me to document how it feels to be in this seemingly perpetual waiting period.

About 2 weeks ago, I started experiencing some severe itching all over my body. Now normally this wouldn’t raise any red flags for me, I have had sensitive skin my whole life. A year ago I went to the ER with a severe allergic reaction to our new laundry detergent when we moved here. I had hives all over the place, my eyes nearly swollen shut. However this itching is different – this itching isn’t causing a rash or hives at all. I get little scabs from itching too furiously, and sometimes at night I’ll develop a slight heat rash of tiny bumps, but they generally are gone by morning. The itching intensifies at night and is all over my body, excluding only my palms, soles of feet and face.

Needless to say, I’ve been losing some sleep over this.

I called my OB and they wanted to see me right away. After seeing no rash but clearly seeing I have been suffering from the itching, she told me there is a pregnancy related condition that I could have called Intraheptic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Basically with cholestasis, in the third trimester, the flow of bile in your liver becomes obstructed, causing a buildup of bile acid in the blood, which causes the rash-less itching. The condition has been known to cause preterm and stillbirths in pregnant women, worst case scenario.

So they had me do a blood test that day, even though it usually calls for an 8 hour fast. A week later they got the results back, and my levels were just below their cutoff mark for diagnosis. Unconvinced, they had me submit a fasting blood test the next morning. I’m currently waiting for those results.

In the meantime, I’ve tried every antihistamine, cortisone and at-home itching treatment safe for pregnancy with no success. They’ve prescribed me a stronger antihistamine pill which honestly only works to knock me out for a couple of hours at night. I take one right before bed, and another the second time I wake up usually around 3 am. I wake up on average 4 times a night to go to the bathroom now that Adelaide is head-down most of the time. The itching flares up the worst at night. I have gotten so overheated from it I make the whole bed too warm to sleep in. They also prescribed me a steroid cream which has no effect at all.

It’s not like an on-site kind of itch, it’s a creeping itch. Like I could start scratching anywhere on my body, and the itch would just spread down my leg or across my belly, until I’ve got red scratch marks all over, and the stretch marks on my baby belly are fire-engine red. 

I’ve had days where I’ve worried (okay, panicked) about the baby’s health. How can something that is affecting me so severely not be hurting her? However, her heart rate is perfect and strong, and her movement has remained active and regular. Beyond that, without a diagnosis, there’s not much more we can do but keep counting kicks.

With a positive diagnosis for cholestasis, they’ll put me on a prescription to help reduce the bile acids in my blood, and hopefully help with the itching. I would be tagged “high-risk” pregnancy, and I’d probably be referred to get a level 2 ultrasound to check on the baby and make sure she’s really alright. Then we would do a weekly monitoring of her, and if anything starts to go south, they will induce me. Worst case scenario.

If.

It’s the worst feeling not knowing if something is wrong, and not being able to do anything about it. Oddly enough, as incredibly annoying this itching is, I’m more irritated by not knowing what could be affecting her than I am by the fact that I can’t alleviate my own symptoms. Cholestasis wears off by itself after the baby’s birth, but it is highly likely that I will have it with any future pregnancies as well.

I’m not accepting any bad news or diagnosis yet. I’m staying really positive, considering. I have a strange peace that whatever is happening, she’s going to be fine.

I thought waiting during the third trimester was hard enough, now adding in this diagnosis and jeez. But I suppose things could always be worse, and I am choosing to still be thankful for all these moments when Adelaide is playing xylophone in my rib cage.

27w3d

We have a name!

Introducing our first daughter, Miss Adelaide River 🌻

So relieved to have finally chosen her name, and to be able to call her by it now. I had no idea we would struggle so hard to find a girl name we could agree on. They say you never know how many people you hated in life until you have to choose a name for your baby. Hubs seems to have something negative to say for just about every name in the book except Adelaide. Thankful, because this is actually a name we have adored since we first started dating in 2009. Now that it’s chosen, it’s so perfect. Couldn’t possibly be anything else.

  
We finally decided on the name while we were on a long vacation to our hometown in Knoxville. It was actually a fantastic trip, all the time we got to spend with our friends and family was just good quality time. 

   
    
 We spent 2 days for ourselves at our honeymoon hotel in Asheville, North Carolina for a short babymoon getaway. It was so worth it to just indulge ourselves (for the last time in a LONG time…) and just enjoy each other as husband and wife. It may have put us back a little financially, but I know it was worth it. We had such a good time.

   
 
   
The rest of our time in Knoxville was jam-packed. We had a friend’s graduation from cosmetology school, another friend’s wedding to photograph, maternity photo shoot for us, and my baby shower – which was very sweet!

  
We enjoyed loving and being loved on by the people who are most important to us, for this last visit before our lives change forever. Before who we are changes forever.

Some of the realities of parenthood are starting to hit me. Like how my husband tends to be quiet and distant whenever he is deprived of sleep, and worrying how our relationship will be affected by weeks/months of living like zombies with a newborn. Or how my body will cope with the trauma of labor, how it will look afterwards, how I may never look the same after this pregnancy. And the general feelings of inadequacy are creeping in… I’ve never changed a diaper in my life, and now I’ll have to do it like 10 times a day… That’s like 70 diapers a week… How are we going to afford this?!… How can I be a good dog mom when I will have to focus all my attention on a newborn?… How can I be a good wife?… Will my friends hate who I’ve become once I’m a mom?… Will they get annoyed with me when she is literally my whole day, start to finish?… Will I like myself, the person I’m about to become?

Trying as hard as I can to not just cast these thoughts aside, as I have for the past 6 months. These are real things I have to cope with, and it’s all becoming more real every day. With every new stretch mark on my growing belly, every pound of baby weight I put on, every new baby gift we receive, every Braxton-Hicks contraction I have (which are so weird by the way!), and every time I walk into her blossoming nursery. 

  
The feels.

Not a whole lot more to report right now. I’m officially in my third trimester, had my glucose test this morning, and I’m measuring right on track. Getting antsy to meet her. It’s gonna be a long 3 months!

I say as she kicks my ribs on both sides, somehow…