In October 2013 Tom and I were expecting our first child. Life was fantastic and I felt great. I was full term so we could finally relax and look forward to becoming parents of a gorgeous bouncing baby. We had no idea that devastation was around the corner and we would never take our baby home.
At just before 38 weeks I developed an excruciating and constant itch on my palms, soles of feet and legs but other than that I felt fine. The doctor was not worried so neither was I. However, only a few days later, our darling baby Oliver was stillborn after his heart stopped beating due to a pregnancy-induced condition called ICP, which had also caused the itching.
In fact, ICP (Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy) affects around 1 in every 140 pregnant women by affecting the mother's liver function and causing a build up of bile acids. These bile acids cause symptoms including unbearable itchiness like red hot ants crawling under your skin. Only in very severe cases and past around 38 weeks does it tend to be life-threatening for the baby and stillbirths are still thankfully rare. But obviously 'rare' is still too often, so please everyone be aware that in pregnancy a scratch can be more than just an itch.
It is very highly likely that I will get ICP again in future pregnancies and I know that I will be relying heavily on the wonderful people at ICP Support to get me through what will be a frankly quite scary time. Although they are a small charity they are fantastic - going above and beyond to give support to those affected by ICP, research the causes of the condition as well as raising awareness among both the general public and medical professionals.
Thank you for reading this and thank you for your donation. By raising funds and awareness, together we really can try to prevent other parents having to go through the overwhelming grief we have to endure every day - and more importantly save babies' lives.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Emily & Tom xxx
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