My name is Ellis Robbins. I was 26 when I fell pregnant with my daughter, who is now fast approaching two. Time really does fly as a new parent!
My pregnancy was plain sailing for the most part. Almost prophetically, I read an article online about ICP and told my partner about it. I said to him: ‘If I get itchy though, don’t panic, it’ll be normal pregnancy stretch itching’. Luckily for me, when I woke hysterically crying, scratching and complaining I was intensely itchy two days later he knew not to ignore it. At 27 weeks 5 days pregnant we rushed to A&E. I was diagnosed with ICP that night after blood tests. I was given medication to try and help. Looking back now that I know the symptoms, I believe my symptoms started around the 16 week mark.
It was 10 days before Christmas when I was diagnosed. We spent our Christmas concerned, stressed and unsure what this meant for our baby. In a way, the hectic Christmas period allowed us to have periods where we were distracted from the ICP and could just enjoy ourselves. But every day and especially every night, the itch was unbearable. Living on the Isle of Man, we were concerned about our baby arriving early and not having the required neonatal care available if the baby came super early.
I had ultrasounds every fortnight, weekly blood tests and weekly foetal monitoring to ensure everything was okay. I was induced at 37 weeks 5 days and gave birth to our gorgeous daughter in February 2018, healthy although initially very jaundiced.
Although the pregnancy was incredibly difficult with ICP, the minute I saw my daughter, everything was worth it. And I would do it all again.
It’s true what we ICP mums say – your baby really is worth every itch. However, my one piece of advice is that if you ever have an itch during pregnancy, especially on your palms and soles of feet, get checked. It could save your baby.
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.