Sunday, 15 December 2013

Itchy Liver - Part One

I've had a funny couple of weeks.  I stopped work on the 26th November, just over 2 weeks ago.  I managed to get most things sorted in the couple of days following that, buying all the bits I needed for my hospital bag (giant nightie from Evans - check!!) and generally had a busy few days with school fairs, drama finales and labour ward tours (never did write about that...)

Then came the sickness.  It started with excruciating pain between my shoulder blades which kept me awake most of Sunday night.  The pain literally took my breath away at times and I genuinely could feel my resolve to have a natural birth ebbing away from me, "How can I birth a baby naturally if I can't even cope with chronic indigestion?!"

By Monday morning I was a bit of a mess and begged Andy to stay at home with me that day.  He got Scarlett off to school and prepared to go to a work call from here, meanwhile I was glugging Gaviscon and Peppermint tea on the birth ball and praying for the pain to go away.  I even called Labour Ward because I had no idea whether I should be worried.  They weren't worried and told me it didn't sound obstetric and to go A&E.  Oh.  No sooner had I hung up the phone to them, the pain started to ease, and finally by 8:30ish I felt normal again.  I sent Andy off on his call and sat on the sofa watching The Goonies.  I managed to stay awake until 1ish to pick up from the station and then came home and promptly fell asleep.

Then the itching started.  I woke at about 6:00pm itching all over, but especially on my hands and feet.  Oh shit.  I immediately did a Google for Obstetric Cholestasis and decided that was what I had.  I kept mostly quiet to Andy that night despite itching like mad all night long.  By the time his alarm went off at 5:30 I felt terrible asking him to take another day off work but I really thought I needed to get it checked, not least of all because I hadn't really felt bub move since the previous evening and panic had set in about that.  I called Labour Ward who took my details and advised me to go straight to the Maternal Assessment Unit for 8:30.

I managed to get myself into the shower and dressed, worrying the whole time about bub.  The previous evening when I'd looked it up, the only thing which popped out was, "It can only usually be cured by giving birth" and I immediately started preparing myself for a caesarean.  We had seen the two theatres up on Labour Ward the previous week and I was in some ways thankful, I could clearly picture where our baby might be born and the process that would take place.  I reconciled myself to this pretty quickly.  Which probably all sounds so bloody melodramatic but I was pooping myself with worry!

Long story short, we went to MAU, they did bloods and monitoring of the baby which was all good.  We then spent the afternoon running around buying Moses basket mattresses and picking up the car seat base, both essential items we still hadn't sorted but figured we might need by the weekend!  I then proceeded to spend the next 2 days in MAU each morning for bloods (I had to go again on the Thursday as they also needed to do a full blood count to check my platelets which they'd forgotten to take on the Wednesday!)

So what is Obstetric Cholestasis (OC)?  As far as I can understand it's to do with bile salts and liver function.  I still don't understand the ins and outs of it but everything pointed to me having it.  My bloods came back that my bile salts were okay but my liver function was raised.  Apparently as soon as you have the itching and raised liver function, they class you as having it.  Though I wasn't told that until this week and finally prescribed tablets - one set to help with the liver, Vitamin K to help with clotting (as it can cause your platelets to drop) and Piriton to help the itching.

I'm pleased the report that with regards to the latter I haven't itched since the weekend, I felt okay by last Wednesday but did have another bout over the weekend which thankfully was nowhere near as intense and was mainly just my arms and feet.

So by the time it got to Thursday 5th December I had my mind set that I would ultimately probably be having a caesarean to get the baby out and stop anything going further wrong with my liver.  I requested an appointment with the Consultant's team to discuss my options which was booked for Tuesday 10th December.

Back to MAU on Monday 9th December feeling absolutely fine, shortest trip there yet!  Good trace on the baby, although they thought he was possibly squeezing the cord after each movement which was worrying them but he soon stopped and I was released!

Then came Monday evening...  I just really was not well at all and I think we'll leave it there...!

So come Tuesday afternoon and my appointment with the Consultant's team I was ready to get this baby out....

Part Two of my Itchy Liver Adventures will be posted at 8:30am on Monday 16th December so do check in if you want to hear more....