Faiza’s Christmas itch
My name is Faiza McKahey. I was 37 when I had my son and I live in Dundee in Scotland. I have had two ICP pregnancies. My second child Aydan was born on 11 December 2015. He was due on 1 January 2016, but due to my bile acid results and a decrease in movements the medical team who had been monitoring me every week (from 18 weeks) and then every other day in my third trimester set an earlier date for a planned section. This planned section was brought forward another three days due to a spike in my levels. My son was born healthy and thankfully did not require any medical assistance after his birth.
Due to my first ICP pregnancy I knew that there was a good possibility I would have the condition in my second pregnancy also. I had already discussed this possibility with my GP. She thought it would be best if I contacted maternity triage directly if I had any symptoms instead of going through her.
As soon as I started to feel a bit itchy (mainly on my hands and feet), I called the maternity triage and they asked me to come in for some blood work. After a few hours it came back with raised ALT and bile acids and one of the consultants saw me that day. I was fortunate that I was quickly diagnosed but I think that was in part due to my own knowledge through my first pregnancy.
I subsequently became extremely itchy all over and remained like this throughout my pregnancy. I learnt to manage it a bit by diet, cold baths and showers, ice packs and menthol cream. These provided brief but blissful relief.
Due to it being so close to Christmas I didn’t quite get the usual magical feeling that you do at that time of year. Instead I just lived for each day, worrying every time I didn’t feel any movement and just willing and hoping that my baby would arrive safe and well.
The condition had a huge impact on my mental and physical health. I lost my appetite and was almost two stones lighter on the day I had my section. This pregnancy had such a significant impact on mine and my family’s life that I knew I would never have another child as I couldn’t go through this again.
But it’s not all negatives. Despite having gone through this twice I have to say as soon as you hold your baby in your arms for the first time all of the pain, discomfort and negativity leaves you and you are just left in awe of the little being that you made and birthed. All the negative feelings are instantly replaced by love, relief and happiness. My itching went away within hours and I was left to enjoy every second with my baby.
After we came home I definitely had the Christmas feeling and we went all out and had the best ever Christmas ever as a family of four.
My advice to fellow suffers would be hang in there. There will be good days and bad days but take each one as it comes. Talk and share how you feel, you are not alone! The ICP support group is an amazing platform to share your feelings and worries. Everyone on there has gone through what you are going through, so they know what it is like and how debilitating the condition can be. But most of all stay positive and remember the importance of monitoring your baby’s movements.
If you’ve been affected by ICP, we have a closed (i.e. private) Facebook group in which you can find support and information about the condition.