After slipping and sliding on the ice on our way to and from church on Sunday morning, Dusty and I gave the boys lunch and put them down for naps. Per my usual routine I grabbed a snack (a cookie) and the laptop and sat down to peruse the internet for a bit. "Why on earth are my palms so itchy?" I thought to myself. As I thought about it and tried to scratch my palms, I realized they'd been really itchy all day, and much more noticeable after I sat down to relax.
So began an internet search for "itchy palms during pregnancy." I had no idea whether it was a pregnancy symptom, or simply a matter of dry, winter skin. The information I found pointed to the fact that most of the time it's from increased estrogen levels during pregnancy. However, there was also a slight possibility that it could be something called cholestasis. It doesn't affect many pregnancy women, but it's a problem with the mother's liver that can also cause problems with the baby.
I figured I should call the on-call OBGYN just to make sure there wasn't anything I needed to do immediately since I had a doctor's appointment in two days. She recommended I come on in to Labor and Delivery to have a non-stress test done to rule things out and check on the baby.
I sat there hooked up to the baby monitor machine for about an hour, answered the nurse's questions, and finally saw the doctor. What she told me caused a tinge of panic to set in. Everything looked good with the baby, thank God. However, the test for cholestasis is a fasting test which meant that I would have to wait until Monday to have it done. Also, the lab would have to be sent to Mayo, and results could take 5-7 days to get back. The problem was this: one of the possible effects of cholestasis is that the baby can die while in your uterus. Doctors don't know why it happens or how to prevent it.
My options were these: 1) induce that evening with an increased risk of a C-section (because I'd already had a C-section, inducing increases the risk of the scar rupturing during labor); 2) wait until Monday to see how the itchiness was, have the lab done, and possibly induce depending on how I was feeling; or 3) have the lab done Monday, and wait until test results came back before making a decision.
The doctor seemed really hesitant to induce since I'd had a C-section. Thankfully, there was no risk developmentally for the baby since I was 3 days away from my due date, so we didn't need to factor that into the decision. I called my husband to talk everything over, and although I was leaning toward inducing that evening (and I think he was, too), we decided I should call my mom to see what she thought. Her thoughts were the same as mine: worst case scenario with inducing that evening was that it wouldn't take and I would have to have a C-section; worst case scenario with waiting was that if I did have cholestasis, our baby girl could die without warning. I called Dusty back and he was on board . . .
Phew - decision made. Now to just run home quick to grab a few things and say goodbye to the boys. That's when the nurse told me they didn't want me to go home before inducing; they just wanted to get things going. I hadn't even packed a bag! I assumed one of two scenarios would take place: either I would have a scheduled inducement and have plenty of time to pack things, or I would go into labor on my own and still have time to throw some things in a bag before having to go to the hospital. Silly me for thinking I knew everything. God's plans are not our own! I also had a meltdown when she told me I couldn't go home because I didn't get to say goodbye to the boys. The last I saw them was when we put them down for their naps, and I so wanted to explain things to them, hug their little bodies, and kiss their little cheeks. But, that was not to be.
And, who would we have watch the boys while we were in the hospital? We had had freezing rain most of the day and everything was ridiculously slippery (i.e. I slipped and fell walking to the car). Thankfully, Dusty's parents said they could come, but didn't know how long it would take since it's a 3 hour drive to begin with, and the roads were slick. They set out immediately, and I called some friends from church who readily agreed to drive into town to watch the boys - thank the Lord for good friends! And thank the Lord that the boys were with people they know, who also have kids similar in age for them to play with. It was a huge, huge relief for me to know that the boys wouldn't be panicking while we were gone.
After all of those logistics were figured out, it was time to wait for Dusty to come, and of course, wait for them to break my water and see where the night would take us.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Labor and Delivery :)