In preparation for birthin’ babies and because my doctor had been insisting that I spend more time in bed with my feet up for the previous six weeks, I started working from home on March 31. See? I listen. Eventually.

And in return, that’s the day the itchies started. At first it was tolerable. But then it was flirting with annoying. So at my April 3 appointment, I mentioned it to my doctor. And she suggested I try an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream. I was already using Caladryl but found that drying agent in that was counterproductive to my daily-expanding belly.

BellyShot at 36w0d.

IT WASN’T HELPING. By Sunday April 6, I was waking myself up in the night having scratched my belly raw, bleeding. At that point, the point beyond intolerable, I was trying Caladryl, 1% hydrocortisone, Aveeno bath wash, wet wash cloths, ice packs and prayer. Every two hours, twenty four hours a day. I was getting rare 5 minutes of relief in each section. I told the Beloved that I was demanding delivery.

So on Monday, April 7, at our doctor’s appointment, I mentioned the symptoms and then lifted my shirt. I ended up with nurses coming in JUST TO SEE THE CONDITION OF MY BELLY. We did the non-stress test monitoring, and thankfully, the RJBs were doing GREAT! But my blood pressure had crept up to 140/90 (no doubt in part due to the tension of the itchies). I actually cried at the doctor’s office. SO UNLIKE ME.

Doc thought it was PUPPPS. OR…my liver was shutting down. And I was all “Oh, that? no, that’s just my SANITY.” So she had some blood drawn. In the meantime, she gave me a prescription for a topical steroidal ointment, as well an oral 6-day pack steroid. The topical would pass through to the RJBs, but she told me that a low dose steroid, for a short period, would not harm them. Sure, I said, they’ll just come out 7 pounds, hairy, and talking. But I was willing to try anything if in return it meant that we kept them in the oven a little longer. We agreed, though, that we’d touch base again on Thursday, April 10, and if need be, we’d deliver on Friday, April 11.

On Tuesday, they called to tell me that we’d have to re-do the blood work because the lab didn’t prep the sample correctly. I still wasn’t feeling better. AT ALL. And every time I put that topical steroid on I felt guilty for giving the RJBs something after having gone this far without so much as a Tylenol for a headache.

In my day job, one of the things I do is risk management. And we’re in renewal period right now. And I’m in contact with brokers locally, and, through them, in negotiations with underwriters both domestically and overseas. People actually listen to me – CRAZY! Even our Counsel. So one would think that I could convince a 5’2″ physician to deliver me, right? Not so much. She was set on term delivery at 37 weeks. And, of course, so was I, provided she could get me some relief.

So I had to go in yesterday morning to have more blood drawn. Except by yesterday, I was actually feeling better. So my argument for delivery was not so compelling. I did, however, convince them to let me see the available doctor (mine isn’t in the clinic on Wednesday’s) and get my what-would-have-been today’s appointment out of the way to save me a trip. Agreed.

I’m happy to say I’ve been scratch-til-I-bleed-free for two days. Which equals a 1000% improvement over four days ago. Oh, it still itches and burns. But nothing some over-the-counter Sarna and Aveeno Anti-Itch lotion can’t handle to make it at least tolerable. I think after this morning, I’ve officially weaned myself off the topical steroid ointment and will only use it under acute circumstances. I saw my acupuncturist today, too – to “remove heat” and something about “the winds”. Um, ok, so long as it helps me stay off the topical steroid.

All I can say is that if I had known enemies, I wouldn’t wish this upon them. And bless those women who have to deal with more severe versions or those who do not get relief and go weeks with the condition. I experienced ten days of it and was prepared to deliver the RJBs myself if necessary.

Here’s a photo two days after I wasn’t itching/scratching as bad. And those aren’t stretch marks down there on the bottom of my belly, those are scratch/nail marks where blood has pooled at the surface. Like I said before, pregnancy ain’t all pretty.

PUPPPS at 36w0d - profile
PUPPPS at 36w0d.

After some meds and relief, this is me in the final approach to delivery:

BellyShot_36w0d (with steroids!)
36w0d after steroidal bliss.