Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Writing from within a drugged fog

I guess it was just a matter of time before I ended up in L&D. No babies yet, so no worries. Just the insane itch that has been diagnosed as PUPPP. PUPPP is an itchy rash that only occurs during pregnancy (and sometimes postpartum) and starts - at least in my case - as intense itching in the stretch marks themselves. It’s slightly more common in multiple gestation pregnancies (probably just due to the extreme stretching) and in my case it’s more pronounced in a spot where I’ve had a lot of baby activity and stretching. It’s also, somewhat mysteriously, potentially linked to having a male fetus. (Something about having found male fetal DNA in the skin irritation. Not sure how it would get there, but that’s what I read.) There’s no treatment that makes it go away, just attempts to stop - or at least reduce - the itching.

However, since I was getting checked out at L&D I was hooked up to all the regular monitors, which showed that I was having fairly frequent contractions. So then they did the whole pre-term labor routine on me - including the most uncomfortable speculum exam I think I’ve ever had (was that because she was checking my cervix? She had mediocre skills at calming patients, which was most noticable in her inability to tell me what the heck she was doing down there. Not cool, I say.), an ultrasound to check cervical length (interesting, since NotMyDoc seemed to think there was no point anymore...) and a fluid check. Lots of ultrasounds, lots of time on the monitors. Oh, the monitors. Which they had a hard time getting in place for Baby A (the same babe that is generally camera shy at our ultrasounds) and which, when secured, were stretched directly across my itchy belly with scratchy elastic bands. Fun. Plus, we didn’t have a room, just triage, so I had to go up the hall to pee. Several times. Ugh.

After all this time and fuss in L&D (which got me thinking quite a bit about hospitals and hospital policy and what I really want out of a delivery - more on that later) they finally came to the same conclusion I’d reached on my own at home. PUPPP, not the rarer (and more concerning) ICP, and despite the contractions, my cervix is fine - long and closed and hanging in there. So, that’s the update.

Not very poetic of me, today. I blame the Benadryl, which does take the itch off for a couple of hours, but also takes the sharpness out of my brain. I have a prescription for another antihistamine which I suspect will do the same - we’ll see what works better for me. And of course, I think I can only be on these meds for something like 10 days, so we’ll see how much longer I can make it after that.

The nursery has finally taken shape, and with it seemed to come my ability to contemplate the babies actually being here. Of course I want them inside for as long as possible, but if I can make it 10 more days with meds we’ll have passed the 34 week mark, which is a good place to be. (I’m still trying for 36+ but I just can’t think that far ahead - right now I’m thinking about making it to 34, and when I do I can work on making it to 36. One milestone at a time.) Oh, and we bought diapers. So this is starting to seem real.


  1. Thalia just mentioned something today about an article that showed link between recurrent secondary m/c and a male first born child- the theory being that the male hormones kick up your immune system. Not exactly your situation, but I wonder if its a similar issue (eg, autoimmune reaction to male fetus).

    I'm sorry about the itching- I've had hives/itching during pregnancy and it sucks.

    And I'd get the prescription just to have on hand- if its zyrtec- I tend to find that more effective than benedryl.
    Good luck hanging on a few more weeks. I hope those little ones stay put for at least another 10 days.

  2. I'm so, so sorry about the PUPP nastiness. It sounds completely unbearable. But very glad to hear that your cervix is holding fast!

  3. I couldn't think ahead any more than you can and just took it one week at a time. When they came at 34 weeks, I was ready!

  4. Having made it to 32, 34 is my next goal too. I got hooked up to the monitor for the first time today and, man, they ARE scratchy. Sorry to hear about the PUPP, but glad it's not ICP.

    And dude, you bought diapers :)

  5. that doesn't sound pleasant, but you're handling it like a trooper. And you've bought diapers!?!? Eek, you're making me feel like a slacker.