Also known as Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP), this is a potentially serious pregnancy-related disorder of the liver. It is estimated that 7 out of every 100 pregnant women are affected in the United States each year. In short, this condition affects the flow of bile (a liver-produced substance that aids in the digestion and absorption of fats) to a woman’s body. It results in a build-up of bile acids in the blood, which in turn can lead to severe itching, and in more rare cases, jaundice. More importantly, if left untreated, this disorder could lead to pre-mature birth, hemorrhaging, fetal distress, or even still birth.
I am writing all of this because Leslie was recently diagnosed with this disorder. Although it was caught early, and has been closely monitored for the past several days, it is yet another layer of uncertainty in the whole pregnancy process. The past two fetal monitor tests have given us comfort because little Ellie seems fine; but if things start to go south, they will have to induce labor and get her out. Thankfully, today marks Leslie's 36th week of pregnancy, a crucial milestone since 44% of all cases with ICP don't make it past 36 weeks before they have to induce.
Other than having very itchy hands and feet (a common, yet annoying symptom), as well as bouts of fatigue, she's in good spirits.
The immediate future holds a couple of scenarios, but the likelihood of her carrying to term is slim to none. Although we've been hoping to have our baby girl in this world before Christmas, our main concern is good health for both mom and daughter. Our biggest prayer is that the good Lord continues to guide and protect us all in the days and weeks to come, in the hope that we will meet our newest addition on His time and no one else's.
We will continue to keep you all posted on this process, but please don't get upset if I can't post again before anything happens!