One of the most common side affects of a twin pregnancy is Cholestasis – a severe itching of the skin which is the pregnant bodies reaction to the lack of bile flowing from you liver. Believed to occur because of the higher than normal level of hormones in a multiple pregnancy, here our resident blogger and twin Mom – Kate DiRienzo-Payne discusses her journey with Cholestasis in her twin pregnancy and how it overtook her birth plan:
My first visit to Labor and Delivery was at around 27 weeks. As it turned out I just peed myself. However humiliating it was to hear I was peeing without my knowledge, it was kind of thrilling to pull into the ER and have someone valet my car so I could head straight to L&D. And when you say pregnant with twins, people move even faster. A brief moment in time when I was more important than anyone else around. A perk of being pregnant.
First trip to the Hospital
Two weeks later I was back at L&D with contractions. Turns out I was just dehydrated. While I sat on the bed getting pumped with fluids my husband and I talked about how exciting it was to arrive at the ER and again get whisked off straight away to L&D. This is just a teaser of what is to come. That moment when we are at home and suddenly we have to go to the hospital. Would it be at night? How many more weeks? Would my water break at home? Could we labor a bit at home? All those questions and all the excitement of what was to come dominated our conversation. We left the hospital super pumped for our impeding delivery day and went home to make sure our bags were packed and we were ready to go.
At 36 weeks my hands and feet started to itch. I had almost forgot to mention it to my doctor at our next visit until my hand started to itch during my appointment. She ran some blood work just to check. I never asked check what? I just figured it was a common pregnancy symptom. A day later she called to say I needed to come in to discuss induction because I had cholestasis. I had no idea what she was talking about but I did not plan on having an induction. I had people flying in for the babies delivery. I had dealt with the increasingly itchy feet and hands by sleeping with ice packs on them. I could last a couple more weeks. I figured it was more important for the babies to stay in the womb as long as possible than it was for me to have any skin left on my hands and feet.
Change of plan
However, all that quickly faded when our doctor explained that cholestasis was a liver disease that inhibits the flow of bile from the liver. It occurs late in the pregnancy and can often be a result of a multiples pregnancy. It can also be fatal to the baby. My doctor told us that they don’t know why exactly but have seen on an ultrasound a baby suddenly die from a complication of cholestasis.
She didn’t need to say anymore. We were getting induced in 2 days. People changed their flights, my doctor changed her schedule so she would be on call during the birth and we changed our attitudes. Instead of being surprised, we knew when our babies were going to be born. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to let go of the idea of my husband screeching up to the ER timing our contractions. But I did have to mourn that loss a bit. I wrote a letter to the babies, relished the last two days of being pregnant and said good-bye to the time of it just being the three of us.
In some ways being induced made it a bit easier, I was able to eat a big breakfast the morning of, we could drop our dog off at my brothers, our apartment wasn’t left in a state and I was able to look put together in case anyone took pictures ( that lasted until active labor started, all bets were off after that).
I was given cervidil to help dilate the cervix, slapped some ice packs on my ever itching feet and waited. It happened fast, I never ended up needing Pitocin, contractions came on quick and the babies were born a little over 8 hours later. It ended up being the perfect birth story with two gorgeous, healthy boys and two hands and feet that immediately stopped itching. I was in heaven.
Are you pregnant with twins/multiples? Come join our Expecting Twins Classes all around the country – New York City (Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn), Westchester, Connecticut, Florida (Miami and Orlando), California (San Francisco and Los Angeles), Boston and Houston. Click the classes tab on the Twin Love Concierge homepage for further details. Not located in these areas? We also offer cost-effective skype consultations – personalised to you and your family.
Kate DiRienzo-Payne is an East Coast transplant living in Los Angeles with her husband, dog and stunning 17 month old twin boys. Before the twins she spent her time writing, acting and producing, living the quintessential LA lifestyle. After her twins she barely has time to write, has watched other people act in the 2 movies she has seen since the twins were born and barely felt the warm California sun on her skin for the first 6 months. Now life is totally different and she spends most of her time trying to navigate being a twin mom, but it is filled with more laughter, fun and overwhelming heart exploding love than she could ever imagine.
‘Every new and expecting Twin parent needs a little T.L.C’