Dear Lemon Drop,
You have officially made your presence known to me! I started feeling fluttering sensations in my lower abdomen a couple of weeks ago and since then, your kicks have gotten stronger and steadier. In fact, just a few days ago my hand was resting on my belly and I actually felt a kick from the outside for the first time. This is very exciting and definitely one of my most favorite pregnancy symptoms.
Speaking of symptoms, I’m also pleased to announce that most of the pesky side effects I was battling in the first trimester have dissipated by now. My appetite is back in full force, my mood swings have tapered off and I can actually make it through an entire day without a nap. Unfortunately, a new issue reared it’s head a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been battling it ever since.
PUPPS or Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Translation: really, really miserable rash!
Actually, “really, really miserable” doesn’t do justice for this thing. It looks like a cross between a heat rash and hives and in some cases, can cover a woman’s entire body except for her hands, feet and face. I guess I’ve been lucky in that (so far) my battle has been restricted to my trunk – front and back. The itch is unlike anything you can imagine. It’s been likened to feeling like your organs itch, it’s that deep, and some women actually go mad with the pain. The really twisted part is that PUPPS occurs in about 1 in 200 pregnancies (usually first pregnancies) and almost always in the final weeks before delivery. When you consider my rash broke out at 16 weeks and that I had absolutely nothing like this with Savannah that makes me pretty damn unlucky I suppose.
The icing on the cake? The only cure is delivering the baby!
I’ve been to a dermatologist and of course seen my obstetrician and all hope is not lost. The dermatologist gave me some topical steroids and the obstetrician recommended an oral steroid but I didn’t feel comfortable with either option. Instead, I scoured the internet and did a ton of research and for probably the first time ever, Dr. Google came to my rescue. There’s a whole movement of women – small but mighty – who have suffered from this horrible ailment and they’ve all shared their stories online.
Through this network, I discovered some alternative forms of treatment and immediately began gathering supplies. What’s working for me? Dandelion root (I take one capsule, twice a day and drink the tea once a day), a magical soap called Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap (I found it at Sprouts and shower with it twice a day), a daily antihistamine, and a combo talc/calamine powder. Funny thing about the powder, a few years back, your daddy got a gag gift called Anti Monkey Butt Powder. It’s sat under his sink untouched ever since. Well, in my desperation I was willing to try anything and it turns out this silly powder has stopped the itching better than most of the expensive creams we’ve purchased.
The good news is the rash is shrinking, the swelling is dissipating and the itch while still consistent is actually tolerable. There’s hope for me yet. I still know the oral steroid is there if this thing comes back with a vengeance but for now, I feel pretty good about my status and very proud that I’ve attacked this thing in the most natural and holistic way possible. It’s not ideal but I can actually live with this for five more months – which I would not have said a week ago. And I’m hoping it only gets better!
So, aside from this latest pregnancy woe, all is great with you! I had a check up on Thursday and you are developing beautifully. You’re getting big, your heart rate is a healthy 144 and I can already tell that you’re strong and mighty. My second trimester blood screen came back normal and as of this moment, there’s nothing for us to be concerned about.
We have our big anatomy scan in about a week and we’re still planning to hold off on finding out your gender. The more we sit with it the more excited we feel about the big surprise and to be honest, the uncertainty doesn’t seem to concern your sister a bit either. She fluctuates between thinking you’re a boy or a girl but most of the time she’s convinced her baby sister is hanging out in mommy’s belly. She’s started calling herself “Big Sissy Nana” and she showers you with kisses every morning and every night. There’s no doubt it’s going to be rocky at first but I’m 100% confident you’re going to have the best, most adoring, big sister in the world.
Those are the big highlights from the past few weeks. I’ve gotten back in my meditation routine and I find myself looking forward to our daily 20 minutes of bonding time every night. That was such a huge part of my pregnancy with your sis and despite how insane our days seem to be I refuse to miss the opportunity to share that experience with you too.
November is beginning to feel very close and something tells me summer is going to fly by and before we know it the big day will be here. Until then, please know that our love for you grows by the minute. I hope you can hear us talking about you, planning for your arrival and imagining what sort of little character you will be. You are cherished.
Loving you always,