Tuesday, December 27, 2011
hope everyone had a very merry and wonderful christmas! we sure did. i told craig today it was my favorite christmas i've ever had because i still got to feel giddy about it the whole time, like being a kid again, but i didn't get any of the post-christmas blues you always get as kids when it's all over. i'm just so happy for the time we got to spend with each other and family and how completely blessed i know we are. i missed my family back home and got to talk to my mommy on the phone for a while on christmas and it was such a wonderful conversation. i love talking to her every time i do but this time i realized how soon i'll get to see her again, she's going to fly down here a week after babykay gets here and that could be so soon! i'm also so excited for next christmas and spending it with an almost one-year-old baby girl, craig and i have really been thinking hard about how we want christmas with our little family to be and what we want to teach them about this time of year and we're so excited to put all our plans into action!
the rest of our weekend was spent eating and sleeping and sleeping and eating. we spent lots of time in our pajamas, and then some more time in our new pajamas. i played A LOT of video games, haha. craig's little brothers came over to spend the night after christmas and play more video games. we had christmas eve with craig's grandpa gary's posterity and the festivities just kept going from there until craig and i ended our four day weekend eating out at a new grill in town and ordering the most expensive and delicious chocolate chip cookies i've ever had. i'm still being super careful about eating sweets and dairy and i passed up all sorts of baked goods this weekend but man, those cookies. they were worth it. then we watched our favorite tv show until we couldn't stay awake anymore and everything was just so lovely and cozy and perfect.
this is the last day of week 34 of my beautiful pregnancy and after all this time i still haven't gotten better at taking good belly pictures on time. oh well, your favorite ones are the ones i take of myself in the mirror anyway, right? i knew it. the happiest thing about this week is that i am now PUPPPs free! almost completely! it's amazing, i want to tell everyone ever about it. i want to write a book about it so that no one ever has to suffer through weeks and weeks of it again. the rest of this post will pretty much be a recap of my PUPPPs experience so if you're interested, read on, if not, look at my cute belly some more, there's an adorable baby in there and she rocks.
i went in for a prenatal appointment and my doctor asked if my tummy itched and said it looked like PUPPPs. the day after it spread to my legs and just kept right on spreading for about a week, it was everywhere, hands, feet, back, bottom, legs, tummy. the interesting thing though was that while everywhere else was getting worse my belly, which has been itching for about a week and a half longer than everything else, was getting better. it really helped me feel like what i was doing was working and maybe in the not to distant future it would all be over. by my next appointment two weeks after my doctor said i had PUPPPs i bet she would've thought she was wrong and i didn't have it at all, it was that good, it was almost completely gone in just two weeks [i didn't end up seeing her, i switched baby doctors and hospitals, but that's another story]. it's been such a blessing and i can't even believe how quickly it healed. granted, that first week of spreading was torture, but some women deal with this for whole trimesters. i still get a little itchy or bumpy occasionally, my arm had a few bumps the other day and my tummy is a little itchy today, so i've been keeping up a lot of the things i was doing to heal it just to make sure it doesn't come back.
the two things i think helped the very most were apple cider vinegar and the things i did to help my liver and kidneys heal. PUPPPs doesn't have a known cause but i couldn't just sit back and accept that, i needed to do something about it or at least feel like i was doing something about it, so between my mom, my big sister and craig we figured that what it could be was just my liver or kidneys getting run down supporting me and a little person's waste after all the poor eating i had been doing after halloween and thanksgiving. nothing was "failing," my organs just needed some help and so it was enlisting my skin to help get rid of waste. this unfortunately seemed to be transitioning quite effectively into itchy, painful bumps all over my body. so the very first thing i did was change my diet. i ate strictly fruits and veggies for the first few days with lots of fluids [V8, cranberry juice, water and water and more water, lemon juice, etc] but it's hard to keep a ravenous pregnant lady full on fruits and veggies so i worked in some crazy dave's bread and eventually adopted a more open, generally vegan diet. i still more or less am eating this way, avoiding excess meats and almost all dairy and being SO good at saying no to processed sugars or flours. i still have some of these things sometimes, i don't want to feel like i'm depriving or punishing myself, but if i make good choices many more times than making a less than good choice i feel like i'm on the right track. giving my body less garbage to have to process and get rid of was how i was going to help it be able to take care of itself properly again.
the other thing i used right from the beginning was apple cider vinegar, which is amazingly good for you. it's a cure all in my family. it's the same pH level as your skin so it can help burn away anything on it that shouldn't be there. i was drinking it and rubbing it right on my skin at least once a day. for a minute it would burn and hurt so bad i would literally shake all over but then my skin would stop itching for a while and it was so worth it. it felt like it was helping pull things out of my skin and away from me. for the rest of the first week i kept sane by taking oatmeal baths until we ran out of oatmeal and then using a soothing oatmeal scrub my friend jessica made me every night. if i didn't bathe or shower in some way i just couldn't sleep a wink the whole night, so doing this helped a lot. i also bought some sarna lotion, recommended by quite a few people, it would help keep me from itching at night long enough to usually get me back to sleep again after waking up scratching. if it wasn't working i would put ice on that area until it melted and then use the sarna lotion. all of this helped keep me alive until the calvary arrived, which is what really saved the day.
when i was almost to the point that the PUPPPs was done spreading, but i still really felt like i needed something to help suck it out and heal it before it would go away, amazon.com emailed me to say that the bar of grandpa's pine tar soap that i was expecting to get there the next day hadn't even ever shipped and wasn't going to [the soap was something that might've worked but probably not, i read it helped sometimes but it was mostly just all i could think of at that point]. the same night i got an email from my sister drashell saying that her and my mom were sending me an emergency care package of things that would help heal my skin and once it got here i just watched those nasty bumps disappear. my mom gave me a big bottle of castile soap to wash with, which is SO good for you, and they sent me a giant bag of epson salts to rub all over the bumpy itchy areas. i would have never thought of that on my own and it was pure genius, it felt sooooo nice to rub salt into all the terribly itchy areas and no one [coughcraigcough] could even get mad at me for "scratching" because i wasn't using my nails and spreading infection but it was just as satisfying as scratching. i was still using apple cider vinegar but then i was topping everything off with a mixture of amazing, soothing oils that my sister had mixed up for me. i feel like that stuff is made out of pure gold and i'm considering getting a vault to keep the rest of it in.
the one last product that arrived is something i'd recommend anyone used, even someone who thought everything else i did was completely wacko and crunchy, because it's the perfect product for PUPPPs and any other itchy, painful rash infliction. it's a little container of dr christopher's sen sei balm. my mom said it was eight dollars [less than what i spent on the bottle of sarna lotion] and drashell told me to use it on areas that itched and then resist scratching for just a couple minutes and when i did it felt amazing. it was cold and soothing and super healing and it would get rid of the itch for ages, i keep it in the fridge and now if i get itchy or bumpy anywhere i put that on first and i usually don't have to do anything else. i think anyone who is having pregnant itchy problems would be happier using that stuff than any other lotions or drug store treatments, it's seriously so wonderful.
there it is! my epic PUPPPs saga. now that's it's mostly over i feel like even after how miserable it was it was still a blessing in a way, i really needed a reason to start eating better. i did really, really well eating healthy up until halloween candy went on sale and then it was all just a growing mess after that, you have no idea how much thanksgiving cream cheese pumpkin roll i ate and i will never tell you, it's shameful. i'm glad i had to make a change so that little babykay could keep getting the nutrition she needed and so i would stop building her with excess dairy and processed sugars. i'm also glad something went horribly wrong with my "perfect" pregnancy because it helped make me a little more humble but it wasn't something permanent or damaging to my baby, and i'm so grateful for that. i'm also just so grateful for no more itching! yay! now i don't need to be afraid of being induced or losing a chance at my natural, dream labor. remind me to tell you about that sometime. on paper, it sounds pretty darn awesome.