Friday, June 24, 2011

But it's Soooooooo Much Better!

I debated just titling this post "Look Away!" because it contains a gross picture of my belly, so if you have a problem with that, come back tomorrow.  I really am appreciative of how lucky I am to have been able to get pregnant three times and to have two healthy children and a third on the way that by all medical measures is cooking along just fine.  So I hope this doesn't come across as too complain-y, but I would be remiss to let this pregnancy pass by without recording what has been the most difficult thing about it.  (How else am I supposed to lord it over my offspring later?) 

11 Things I Have Learned From Having PUPPS:  

1) "How are you feeling?" is the second most common question a pregnant woman gets asked, second only to "When are you due?"

2) People ask "How are you feeling?" to be nice and sympathetic, because it is a well known fact that many women experience all sorts of uncomfortable pregnancy side effects.

3) The thing is, a lot of those side effects are either gross or embarrassing.  Almost no one really wants to hear about them.  The proper response is, "I'm fine!"  

4) My tolerance for pain may be higher than my tolerance for itching.  Miserable, miserable, bathe in oatmeal, keep you awake at night, sleep with ice packs type itching.  I'm really bad with skin stuff.    

5) If you cry on a dermatologist's office voice mail, they may be able to get you in sooner.

6) If you complain to your midwife, she may be able to pull some strings and get you in with another dermatologist for a second opinion in a day rather than a month. 

7) You may wash your hair with baking soda, use paraben free makeup, clean your face with olive oil, and make your own deodorant, but when you feel like clawing all your skin off at 4 a.m., and the doctor says "this is safe" you do not ask questions, you close your eyes to anything to the contrary found on the Internet, and immediately start popping Zyrtec nightly and slathering your body in high-powered steroid ointments twice a day. 

8) Someone needs to invent a bendy icepack that will stay on a round belly.  It would also be useful for other non-brick shaped body parts, like ankles, fingers, thighs, and elbows. See:
PUPPS w/scarf ice pack
{Self-portrait at work, taken with cell phone.  Winter scarf being used to hold ice pack in place.}

9) You may have a problem if your semi-verbal one year old is often found toddling around the house saying, "Mommy itchy."

10) Authors of articles describing PUPPS as "benign" or "harmless" have probably never had it. 

11) Never Google images of skin conditions.  You will regret it.

My case of PUPPS is atypical in almost every way.  They thought originally that it was a form of eczema known as contact dermatitis -- in other words, an allergic reaction to a cream used on my back by a physical therapist.  PUPPS affects only about 1 in 150 pregnancies, but it usually occurs in a woman's first pregnancy and does not return for subsequent ones. It almost always starts on the abdomen, and the onset typically occurs late in the third trimester.  My case unfortunately started at around 21 weeks (and is still going on), it started on my back, and obviously this isn't my first pregnancy.  The good news is, my case is not even close to as bad as it can be (again, do not Google the images to verify that - just trust me), and it has gotten much, MUCH better.  Like 1,000 times better.  My belly's 98% clear now, and the rest of the PUPPS rash seems to move around from place to place like a batch of poison ivy or hives that I just can't seem to shake.  There is one thing about PUPPS that makes me really want to be the textbook case:  it's supposed to go away after delivery. 
{During a flare up.  Gross, right?  I warned you at the top of this post to look away.  No bears or unicorns were harmed by this rash.  I just had to do some creative photo editing to hide my exposed thighs.}

The point of this post was not to garner sympathy, because I cannot even tell you how much better I'm doing now.  It's not gone, but it's live-able, manageable. At around 29-30 weeks, early inducement was sounding pretty attractive, but now things are tolerable.  I'm even off all the steroid ointments for now - yea!   

As you know, my hunch all along has been that we're having a third girl, but lately I've been joking that maybe I'm allergic to boys.  Because that's another interesting statistic about PUPPS:  70% of expectant mothers with PUPPS are carrying boys.


sea legs girl said...

No no no! That is TERRIBLE! I can't believe you have PUPPP. I know how bad it is because at the hospital I worked at we would induce women early (as you mentioned, too) because they were MISERABLE. I feel so bad for you and wish I had a remedy -but glad the rash is mostly cleared up now. If it flares up again, you will have the option of being induced! Obstetricians know how moms can suffer with it. I will keep my fingers crossed your itching only decreases.

Ann said...

Oh no! Had no idea you were going through this. What a way to make the third time memorable, huh? And here I thought that the obscene varicose veins and compression stockings I'm stuck with were the worst thing. I'm giving you a poor, poor baby and hope this kid comes at least a week early to give you a break!!

Frances said...

Oh, Kate! I hope it continues to clear up and that you are PUPPS free in the next few weeks.

Emily said...

Ugh! And you felt bad about a treating yourself to a donut?!!?!?!

Cindy said...

So glad you are feeling better. The things we do for our children. :)