Hard to believe it has already been 5 weeks since my post about my pregnancy going from low risk to high risk overnight. I was so so touched by the outpouring of love and wonderful thoughts sent my way. As hard as it is to share such personal and upsetting news, the comments and support that I receive truly makes it all worth it.
These last 5 weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life. I have had very dark moments, where I felt absolutely defeated. But of course when there is dark, there is also light. I have moments where I feel truly proud of myself for keeping things (mostly) together, moments where I realize I have never loved my husband more - his strength and wonderful ability to be a caretaker has brought us even closer. I have received numerous touching notes from friends and family, the support helps me so much during this challenging time.
Itching seems like such a trivial thing - but it has truly taken over my life. The kind of itch that I get cannot be soothed by a scratch or eased with Benadryl. It comes from deep within and varies in severity. Sometimes it feels like a regular old itch - and other times it feels like I have fire ants swarming all over my body. It can burn and hurt so bad and feels like it will never go away. It can make you feel crazy, and dirty, and depressed. Sometimes all I want to do is scream and cry, especially when I wake up in the middle of the night, body on fire, and cannot get back to sleep. Somedays I feel completely defeated by the itch, I can't focus on work or really anything at all. All I can do is lay with cold compresses and hope that I will fall asleep so that I don't feel the itch. When you tell people the main symptom of ICP is itching, they don't understand how terrible it can be - but honestly there are moments that I would not wish this on my worst enemy.
On a lighter note, my itching has not been quite as bad the last few days. My doctor prescribed a higher dosage of my medication last week and it feels like it is finally kicking in. I have been sleeping mostly through the night and my day-time itching has not been as severe (though still uncomfortable). The baby has been growing a lot and moving around a ton. My belly is starting to really pop and I am actually looking like a pregnant lady to the outside world! Last week my lab test results (that track my progress with this illness) had all decreased - which is a good thing. I also met with my high risk specialist and felt like my voice was truly heard. We have a good plan in place - and while this condition is completely unpredictable - I at least feel like I have a team of doctors supporting me.
I have been able to get in a few working hours most days and am finally wrapping up a lot of the client projects I have had ongoing. I will be sharing more of my new work this week! I have also been feeling more personally creative and am working on creating a shop of hand-made goods to sell over the next 2 months. I have decided to not take on any new clients in June or July and will only be working with finishing up current clients and my one retainer client. I am hoping that the shop will help to keep me afloat financially for my maternity leave. With the shop I know that I can start and stop whenever, but when you take on a new client you are in a long-term commitment - and I don't want to leave anyone in a lurch if I have to suddenly stop working.
For my personal shop I will mostly be selling hand-poured soy wax candles. Candle making has been a hobby of mine for the past year, and I absolutely love it. I have been having a lot of fun coming up with packaging concepts (so many I keep changing my mind!). But I think I have finally decided on hand-painting jars with fun abstract patterns and then attaching the simple sticker you see above. I decided to hand-write the scent because I want to have the flexibility to make small-batches of different scents when I feel like it! I am also going to be adding original artwork to the shop and other fun hand-made items. Working with my hands and away from the computer is a great distraction from my itching, and also just makes me very happy. I know these next two months are going to be very challenging - so I wanted to fill my time doing something that makes me happy. I still have a lot to do to prepare my shop, but it is a wonderful and fun distraction. I hope you will all consider buying a little something ;)
My motto since the diagnosis is to take each day one day at a time. It is easy to get depressed thinking that I will have another 2 months of this severe itch and incredible worry over the health of my baby - but all I have to do is get through each day. It has been 5 weeks already and that has passed fairly quickly, so I know I can do it! Before we know it, we will be holding a (very small) but hopefully healthy and beautiful baby boy. I am of course overwhelmed by the task of becoming a mother, but I truly cannot wait to see his face.
Once again I have been truly touched by your support and I have been feeling very lucky to live in a world where I can feel such compassion from people I have never met.
Hope you had a wonderful long weekend :)