i'm not nearly as cheerful about bearing children as i was last week. no. sir. and i'm about to complain about it. a lot.
remember my itchy skin on my belly? well, i was dealing with it, rubbing goops on it, going along my merry pregnant way and all was fine and dandy. i didn't even mention it to my doctor, it just seemed so normal and minor, but when i lifted up my shirt so she could listen to babykay's heartbeat she asked me "does that itch?" uhm, yeah, really bad. she said it looks like i have PUPPPs. and boy, do i.
PUPPPs is a skin condition that occurs in only about one in about 200 pregnancies, usually first time pregnancies with boys or twin pregnancies during the third trimester. it starts out as small, itchy bumps INSIDE the stretch marks on your belly. my belly. making it itch something fierce for the last week and defying all dry skin, anti-itch stuff i've been rubbing all over it. that's not the best part though. what i think the best part is that it SPREADS. to your legs, arms, back, chest, etc! everything i've read so far says it always spares the hands, feet, and face. well it's been a week since my doctor saw it on my stomach and told me what it was. and now it's definitely on my hands and feet. next stop, face? please no.
the cause is completely unknown and the only cure is having a baby. let me say that again, to get rid of it you have to not be pregnant anymore. yikes. there are various things used to treat the itchiness but from what i've heard they're mostly ineffective and i'm not comfortable with some of the extreme treatments, like oral steroids. i've been told some cases are pretty minor but of course all the ones i've read about so far have been so bad that women have scratched their skin off with steel wire [or something similar], so of course my brain now thinks that's the only option. and it sounds so tempting right now.
this is so fiercely and incredible painful. i don't know when i've been so uncomfortable. sometimes it just aches and aches, sometimes i want to scratch my skin off and be done with it. the worst is at night when all i want is sleep and all i can feel is itching and crawling all over my body. the day after my last appointment [just in time for me to know what it was] it started popping up on top of my thighs. now it's down to my feet, all around my belly and waist, up and down my arms and fingers, and on my butt. my butt! where i try to SIT! i feel diseased and hideous. i feel like i have the chicken pox forever. or leprosy.
by about friday i felt like i was losing my mind. i was not being a good sport about this at all. i just sat in the tub or shower and cried, or laid in bed and cried and insisted how i definitely "couldn't" do this anymore. 8ish weeks more of this sounded like death. all my dreams for a perfect labor involve using techniques that require me to be calm and relaxed. i just wasn't sure how managing that was possible anymore. i couldn't stand clothes touching me, i couldn't stand blankets touching me, and i couldn't stand air touching me. anytime i spent at work the itching was [miraculously] slightly milder but i was going crazy trying to sleep at night. i just wanted to "quit." i'm not sure how i thought that was possible, but i wanted it bad.
i'm not quite so hopeless anymore. after waking craig up on friday night with another fit of scratching and crying and mindless babbling he prayed with me, looked up how to make an oatmeal bath, made one for me, and stayed up until 5:30 with me until i could fall asleep even though he had to be up less then four hours later. then he let me sleep in until 1:30. and after talking and comforting me and reminding me i'm a selfish worm that doesn't deserve him one bit [my words, not his] i feel much less like a victim and more motivated to just try handle this. it's been a perfect pregnancy so far and i kept feeling like it was "ruined" by PUPPPs but now i'm just trying to be glad it's something that actually goes away someday. i don't have anything that's going to last forever or hurt my baby and there's nothing at all wrong with her. she's so strong and healthy and that's such a blessing. so now i'm trying to be optimistic about this even when i really don't feel like it. crying in the bath surely wasn't very becoming anyway, and it probably wasn't just the hideous bumps on my body.
we're trying lots of things to help maybe improve my new condition, including apple cider vinegar on my skin every day [it hurts so bad i shake, that's how you know it's good for you though, right?] and drinking it every day, mild but soothing lotion, cold showers, peppermint oil, and a change in diet. i'm essentially mostly eating vegan now, which is hard when you're ravenous and pregnant, but i'm most insistent on saying no to sugars and refined flours and all the delicious things i've been enjoying over the holidays. the cause for PUPPPs is unknown but i'm sure there has to be one and my theory is that my liver is just worn out trying to take care of me + another mini person and after overloading it with halloween candy and pumpkin rolls it just can't do it's job anymore and it's enlisting my skin to help rid my body of toxins, starting with the stretch marks on my belly where my skin is the weakest. it may sound crazy but i like at least feeling like i have some sort of control over this and that if i keep at it then maybe it can get better sooner than eight weeks from now. here's to hoping. pass the V8 and cranberry juice.
i'll spare you pictures of my leprosy. instead, look at my cute baby belly.