Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PUPPPS awareness.

So I figure that not enough people in the world know and understand what it is that PUPPPS really entails for a pregnant woman. What is it you ask? I am going to do a copy and paste of the most commonly known information about it:

Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), also known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy, is the most common rash in pregnant women. It normally occurs in first pregnancies during the third trimester with an average onset of 35 weeks. Thankfully, PUPPP does not usually affect subsequent pregnancies.

Appearance of PUPPP
The rash of PUPPP almost always begins in the stretch marks (striae) of the abdomen. It does not involve the belly button distinguishing it from other common rashes of pregnancy. The rash itself consists of small, red wheals in the stretch marks that grow together to form larger wheals on the abdomen. Sometimes the rash can include small vesicles. Over the next several days, the rash can spread over the thighs, buttocks, breasts, and arms.

The rash is very itchy, or pruritic, hence the name. This condition is harmless to mother and baby, but can be very annoying. It lasts an average of 6 weeks and resolves spontaneously 1 to 2 weeks after delivery. The most severe itching normally lasts for no more than 1 week.

Cause of PUPPP
The cause of PUPPP is unknown. It is not associated with preeclampsia, autoimmune disorders, hormonal abnormalities, or fetal abnormalities. Some investigators suggest that the rapid abdominal wall distension damages connective tissue and causes an inflammatory response. One study has shown that male fetal DNA can be found in skin biopsies of the rash. Since 70% of women with PUPPP give birth to boys, a new hypothesis is that male fetal DNA acts as a skin irritant.

Diagnosis of PUPPP
The diagnosis of PUPPP is clinical, meaning it is based solely on the appearance of the rash. There are no laboratory tests that detect PUPPP. Skin biopsies are not generally performed unless there is a question about the diagnosis.

Treatment of PUPPP
The treatment of PUPPP is symptomatic. High strength steroid creams or ointments, such as clobetasol (Temovate) or betamethasone (Diplrolene), used up to 5 to 6 times a day usually relieve the itching and prevent the spread of the rash. Once the rash is under control, changing to a lower strength steroid used less frequently is advisable. For severe cases, daily oral steroids may be necessary to control itching. Oral antihistamines such as atarax, benadryl, and zyrtec, are generally less effective for itching than steroids, but may be useful at night to help with sleep.

How did PUPPPs affect me, do you ask? Well it sucked. It has been taking this pregnancy and filled it with a lot of miserable itching, ice packs, prescriptions, scabs, and general discomfort, modesty... The list goes on. I am almost certain I will have scars on my arms and legs from the scabs left behind from this. Hot showers didn't help me, oatmeal didn't help, aloe, diaper ointment... anything that you can slather on your skin.... Olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter... Nothing. Even the steroid creams didn't 'help'. Now, I have general control over the problem because I have been told to take 4 steroid pills a day, 5 antihistamines a day, 2 different creams, and even have a sleeping pill for when it gets super bad. I got about a week and a half of the welts being under control before they started forming on my upper belly again. I currently still have them, but since I have my medication, it hasn't gotten as bad as it was. I have some pictures that I artfully (not) took myself to help you see what it is I have, in case you may have it too. Please disregard my poor job. :)
Under my arms...
and my belly of course. I was unable to take pictures of my own back... but I had plenty of welts there as well. Really, my body was covered. Even on my bum! Terrible. In the information I posted, it says it can be 'annoying'. But this is really the understatement of the year. Most women who have it this bad will explain how it is the worst thing they have ever experienced, as one feels a huge sense of helplessness. I felt as though I was slowly losing my mind, the constant itching and nothing being able to scratch, my skin felt and looked disgusting, covered in red welts all over. I was embarrassed to go outside. And still mostly am. Most people do not understand this condition, as it only affect 1% of pregnant women. So being pregnant, and covered in huge red welts everywhere, constantly itching everywhere, or as I am now, covered in disgusting scabs, and still itching everywhere, people just don't know why it is. And the many nights of sleep I lost because I was up crying helplessly, not understanding why I couldn't be like all the other pregnant women who didn't suffer from this, and how was I to deal with this for so long... my poor husband was so amazing, and did everything he could to ease my suffering. He brought me fresh ice packs... rubbed oil on my skin when the itching got so bad that I was practically convulsing, and his awesome support really helped me so much.

Please ladies, if you are suffering from itching in the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet, and do not have a rash, go to the doctor immediately! There could be a problem with your liver! They can determine this with blood tests. The doctors checked my blood as well, to rule out that problem for me. And if you are suffering from this terrible rash, I understand. I hate reading the line 'it is harmless to the mother' as it does hurt, physically and mentally and emotionally. If you need support, or have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I am really just having a rough time. Bear with me.

Remembering to not rely on anyone but myself. Remembering to not let hope become a false reality.

Friday, January 15, 2010

week 32

So I have made it to week 32. After several doctors appointments, several prescriptions, several steroids and antihistamines later, I am moderately controlling my PUPPPS. Even though my skin is covered in scabs, irritated skin, and the general overall itchiness one gets with this condition, I suppose it is better. My spirits are a little dampened by the whole ordeal, although knowing that by little Noah is coming in so few weeks is definitely a thing to look forward to. My friend Brooke just had her baby, and I congratulate her profusely and with such admiration and pride for her. Her little baby, Jude Lawrence, is absolutely beautiful. Really, seeing a friend who was very close in time to me in this whole experience, but being able to watch her just a bit ahead of me has been lovely.

We are moving into our new home this month. My birthday is next week. 25. A 'homeowner' at 25 isn't half bad to me, with a little family of my own. Things could definitely be a lot worse. Pardon me if my typing sounds a little ungrateful or cynical or pessimistic tonight, as I am feeling rather blank. Exhaustion perhaps?

I am a tad bit miffed that my family will probably not be able to make it in time for me to have Noah. And by this, I mean the day that I am actually having him. To have my mother in the room, holding my hand, telling me that I am strong enough to do this, to bring another human into the world, and that it is all worth it. And that I am not alone. And that this country doesn't have to feel so small. That I don't have to feel so small. To know that I am not a terrible person for living so far away from my family that they won't have as much of a chance to know their little Noah. I am constantly struggling with these thoughts on a day to day basis, and I have to remember to just be grateful for the things like the fact that they can come meet him at all, and finally see this country, this place, this story and truth I have of Iceland. The validation that my life is not make believe. Family seeing that I am what I say I am. Who I am, living the life that I am.

Gibberish. I don't seem to be making much sense. Check out my Etsy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

30 weeks pregnant!

I have come to the time in this pregnancy where my lack of luck is really showing through. I have a rash called PUPPPs. It is the most horrible itchy rash I have ever had. Think of chicken pox and fire ants all over, all the time. I am covered in flaming and itchy hives and welts all over my entire body. I have gone to the doctors 3 different times in hopes for something to help relieve my pain. I went back for the 3rd time last night at 2am, and they prescribed me with oral steroids. I had already been prescribed steroid creams and an antihistamine pill. They didnt do anything though, and my only friends were those icepacks you put into your lunchboxes. I am really at my wits end. They say the steroids will take a few days to kick in. The rash just keeps spreading, and my skin looks so angry. I just want to cry, really. The frustration of not being able to get away from it for any length of time gets to you after a while. And to think of having it for another 10 weeks... Doesn't perk up my spirits any. I just want Noah to come so that I can have some relief and have my beautiful boy in my arms.

I have found a yarn store downtown that makes me giddy to go to. So many types and colors of yarn, and decent prices, makes me feel good to keep finding stores that I can pursue my interests in! I should be putting my new stuff up on Etsy as soon as I take better pictures.