Do you hear that? That scratching noise that sounds like someone is about to peel her skin off. You don’t? I still do.
Three weeks before my son was due I developed what the professionals like to call PUPPP, short for “kill me now because I can’t take another day of this itching”. Well, not really. It really stands for Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. A clever name to disguise the fact that doctors know little to nothing about this condition — and even less about how to alleviate the itching. A storm began brewing LOOOONG before his birth.
Yes. Three weeks before my oldest son was due, I began to develop little itchy chickenpox-like bumps ALL OVER my red pulsating stretch marks. Yes, I know the image is quite lovely. It started out around my navel and slowly spread outwardly on my enormous belly. Soon enough, it had spread to my arms, legs, neck, and not-so-convenient/unscratchable places. But it didn’t matter that I couldn’t scratch them, because the scratching just made the need to scratch more intense. Even the slightest breeze would make them itch. Moving made them itch. Breathing made them itch. Get the picture? Everyday it became worse, and everyday I prayed that the little boy inside me would decide to make an appearance because apparently the only cure is birth.
The gods must have been laughing at me because my son was TEN days overdue, and I could do nothing more than beg my doctor to induce me because I literally felt like tearing my skin off. I tried a billion and one remedies and creams. The only thing that seemed to work was ice (temporarily of course) and Benadryl, which I refused to take, but caved in and took one night just to get some sleep. That was really the only reason Benadryl worked. It knocked me out cold so that I was oblivious to the itching. Most nights I was up crying, scratching, and wanting someone to end this cruel joke.
My doctor eventually took pity on me and, nine days after my due date, she scheduled an induction. One more night of hell I told myself, but my son would have the last laugh because I went into labor that very morning. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I finally found some relief. You know, once I got past the 28 hours of intense labor, an epidural I said I wouldn’t take — and shouldn’t have since it didn’t work — and 30 minutes of pushing. Yes. It wasn’t until after six weeks from his birth that the last few red screaming bumps disappeared, and I settled into the routines of my new life.
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