Adventures in Pregnancy: The Cantaloupes

Last week, I noticed that the sole of one foot itched.

I assumed it was a mosquito bite.

A few days ago, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed that my palms itched.

I assumed it was a mosquito bite.

Except that everywhere else itched, too. All over.

Of course there weren’t any mosquito bites.

And, yet, I went to bed.

All night I woke up itchy. Scratching. Stopping myself from scratching cause dem nails can do some damage on soft pregnant skin.

And this itchiness, of course, was on top of the hips that don’t lie and the titanic belly and the sinuses of awesome.

Basically, I didn’t sleep.

Of course.

But then the morning hits and we’re expecting the internet technician to visit and the cleaning lady to visit and PROS.alpha woke up particularly early to protest about life, the universe, and being three, and I forgot that I couldn’t sleep and was super itchy until the cleaning lady left and the internet technician confirmed he couldn’t fix the signal and would be sending a more experienced engineer next week and I realized just how utterly tired I was from the lack of sleep.

Then I scratched my belly.

Then I scratched my scalp.

And then I scratched the palm of my hand and remember the night of itchies and here’s what I did which is exactly what you should not do and I highly recommend against it but I did it anyway cause I was so damn sleep deprived.

I looked up the symptoms on the internet.

“pregnant itchy skin all over”

I’d like to say the first result was the predictable, “cancer / death”. And we all had a good laugh except that it sounded just reasonable enough to be absolutely terrifying.



“In most cases, itchy skin will not affect your baby. Rarely, severe itchiness in your third trimester can be a sign of a liver problem called obstetric cholestasis (OC). There is another name for this condition, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), which you may also hear. The exact cause of OC is not clear.”


“For example, severe itching without a rash can be a symptom of cholestasis of pregnancy.”


“The itching is often more noticeable on the hands and feet, but can be all over the body.”


“Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, a condition that produces severe itching, can be fatal for unborn babies.”


I should also add that this past weekend I had three relatively mild crashes. I never got to the point where I was throwing up uncontrollably.


I had these three moments of sobbing this past weekend and I didn’t call the hospital because I knew I knew I had a regular appointment on Tuesday.

The doc totally scolded me for that.


I called.

Now normally when I call the hospital, I’m enrolled within a very specific clinic for pregnant women with mental illness such that I dial a specific ’emergency’ phone number, explain that I’m enrolled in said clinic, give my birth date, and they say come on in.

I was enrolled in this clinic for the pregnancy with PROS.alpha. And I am again because I still have said mental illness, so you can imagine my surprise when not only did the secretary push back against my lack of Dutch, then input my birth date incorrectly and try to tell me to call my GP, THEN said she’d have a doctor call me.


Let’s just say that I’m glad I’m a stronger person now than I was for the first pregnancy.

I translated all my symptoms into Dutch. Repeated my birth date and insisted that, No, I would not be calling my GP because I AM enrolled in this specific emergency clinic. And then got the doctor’s credentials (gynecologist) along with an estimated wait time before I’d be calling back.


The part that kept me calm was the possibility that this itchiness without a rash could be fatal for the twins.

The doctor called back within five minutes, confirmed my symptoms, in English, and invited me in immediately.

“It’s 1530 now. When can you come in?”

“I can be there in fifteen minutes.”

“Great. See you shortly.”

It’s like my brain split into two parts – the part that was super calm and logical and followed the next steps to troubleshoot the issue. And the part that was super freaking the fuck out about the worst case possibilities.

Thankfully the logical side was in charge.

I called P, let him know what was happening, that I didn’t need him to join me, to take care of PROS.alpha, and headed to the hospital.

They monitored the twins – strong heartbeats – for forty minutes. Lots of kicking. Lots of squirms. No red flags.

Then they took my blood.

I kept P updated. I snoozed. I waited for results.

And DING DING DING, I tested positive for obstetric cholestasis.

“Yes, it’s bad, but it’s not THAT bad.”

“Okay. What does that mean?”

“It means you have cholestasis, but the bile levels from your liver aren’t THAT high. I’ll bring you a prescription. And we’ll monitor you every two weeks. And you need to pay even more attention to the movement of the twins.”

“So I can go home? With a prescription?”

“Yes. We’ll double check your levels on Monday at the next appointment.”


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