PUPPP Rash

Dear mama with PUPPP rash,

Firstly, I want to tell you that I am so sorry this is happening to you. There is really nothing I can say to make the itching stop but trust me when I say I know how you feel right now. There is nothing worse than being awake half of the night because you cannot stop scratching! No matter how tired you are and you lay there awake thinking.. will I ever sleep through the night again?

Which brings me to the second thing I want to tell you.. You are NOT alone! Before my rash started, I had never heard of Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), let alone ever met anyone who had it. It was only once I started looking it up online in my desperation that I came across any kind of information, help or support.

My PUPPP rash started when I was about 32 weeks pregnant with our third baby, our first boy. It started across my chest and I thought perhaps it was just a heat rash. This went on and on and suddenly it started to spread. It covered my chest, my arms, my legs, my back, my bum..actually it covered literally my whole body except my belly surprisingly!! I was in agony. There were days I couldn’t even leave the house because honestly? I couldn’t bear to wear clothes. When the fabric touched my skin it was like being lit on fire or being covered in ants. I cannot tell you how many creams, oils, ointments, soaps I tried to no avail. I was desperate and I was exhausted. I cried everyday for weeks on end praying for some sort of miracle to intervene. I prayed for early labor. Nothing. I would go to bed at 9pm and scratch myself raw or until I would bleed and when I couldn’t take it anymore I would get out of bed…at 11pm, 1am. 3,4,5am you name it. I prayed day would come so I could just get on with things and pretend like nights didn’t exist. Those days were really hard. I would get into the tub or shower and look at my body and all I could see was rash. Bright red, raw, angry skin all over me and I felt ugly. I didn’t feel like myself when I looked in the mirror and it was such a cross. All I wanted was to feel beautiful and glowing with my growing belly but I just felt exhausted and shitty to tell the truth. I prayed day and night for our baby to come early, to come on time and then just ..now! anytime now! But our little guy just wasn’t ready and he went nearly a full two weeks past his due date.

I’m not trying to sell you anything. I don’t have a solution because there really isn’t one. Each woman’s body is different. I tried so.many.things. to make the rash go away or at least give me some relief if only for an hour. Here is what worked for me..usually I would have a hot shower or bath once or twice a day and slather myself up with one of the many creams I tried..PUPPP rash prescription cream seemed to help but I found it a little greasy on my skin. The other thing I discovered online and tried because I was desperate was dandelion root capsules. I bought them at a health food store and I took 2 capsules 3 times a day. This wasn’t until nearly the very end of my pregnancy but I will say that within four days of taking them my skin started to heal..it scabbed up which was also itchy but more of a dry itch and withing a week it was started to clear up a little.

There is hope! There is a beautiful baby waiting for you on the other side of this nightmare, I promise. Be encouraged! You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not being punished. God did not give you this rash..but he is allowing it for whatever reason. Although a real cross to me, I can say that I have never grown in patience or empathy quite so much as when I had PUPPP. God has a plan in all of this and thankfully, that sweet baby is going to be so perfectly beautiful that it will wash away the disappointment and hurt you feel now. Our sweet Oliver is such a joy. He is nearly four months old and has blessed our home in so many ways.

…now here is the part I don’t want to add. My rash came back. I know you want to click away now but please don’t. My rash did clear up after Oliver was born but it recently has come back. I have one decent sized patch across my chest and under my breasts again but it’s not all over my body and it isn’t nearly as painful, raw or angry as it was last time. The marks on my legs are starting to fade and I might even wear shorts this summer! haha!

In the end, I just had to take it one day at a time. One hour at a time sometimes. Surround yourself with people who love you, will listen to you and just take care of yourself. Keeping busy helped me a lot..I found the itching was much worse at night and I think it was because I was so tired by the end of the day and I would put my guard down and scratch way more making it then harder to stop. Just know that you really are not alone and that I pray for you all the time, mama. Keep focusing on that sweet baby coming..and don’t feel you have to keep up appearances for anyone. Sometimes pregnancy just sucks and it’s hard, even if the growing baby is loved and wanted and an answer to prayers. What you feel right now matters and I hear you.

The only other thing that truly helped me during that time was truth. Having my husband pray with me and reading scripture. Here are some that helped me..I pray you are able to find some comfort in them, too.

14607_316601028454017_591858387_n

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

Advertisements

He’s Here

photo(5)

Oliver Joseph Andrews

Born January 4th, 2013

9lbs 8ounces, 22 inches long

Christmas came and went. The New Year came and went. I began to wonder if I would just be pregnant forever and if this sweet baby would ever decide to join us. On January 4th, one day shy of being a full 42 weeks pregnant, the midwives whose care we were in offered to break my membranes and see if it would start good labor for me. We decided to go for it since I was already 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. We called my mom to come and stay with the girls and we headed off to the hospital with a stop at Starbucks on the way to calm my nerves.

It was a very different experience checking into the hospital while not in actual labor. There was no rushing, no wheelchair, lots more questions and lots more friendly conversation and getting to know the nurses. We got settled into our delivery room and the midwife made a good attempt to break my membranes. She could only get through one layer of them and just barely..apparently I have good, healthy membranes! So she broke my water at 3pm and…well….Oliver Joseph was born at 5:04pm.

I couldn’t believe how short of a time my labor was. No one else was surprised which made it even funnier. The best part about the whole thing? I did it completely drug free…for the first time ever! I am unbelievably proud of myself and grateful to God for the strength and perseverance He gave me. Ben was also amazing throughout the whole thing and never left my side. I told him the other day that he could have a very lucrative career as a man Doula. He laughed pretty hard. I was totally serious. The man takes such beautiful care of all of us and I am thankful every day to be his wife. 

Anyway, Oliver was born and we did all the usual business of cleaning up, stitching up, feeding, weighing, etc, etc and then? We came home. Three hours after giving birth I waddled my way down the halls of the hospital and out to our van and came home and crawled into my own bed. It was incredible. Most people think we are totally insane for doing it this way but I have to say that it really is the best thing. No being poked and prodded all night by random nursing staff and have a slew of strangers in and out of your room for all kinds of reasons that are “necessary”.  We are so grateful to be in the care of such awesome midwives who have come to our house several times this week to check in on us and encourage us.

Oliver is 1 week old today and I can’t believe how quickly that time has passed. I have yet to leave the house which would normally drive me crazy but I am feeling rested and peaceful and confident that I can handle these beautiful kids God has blessed me with. One day and one coffee at a time, I say! Thank you for your many prayers, thoughts and meals…goodness, the meals we have received! What a blessing our little community has been. I will be back with more photos of Ollie soon, as the woman across the street from us is a photographer and is taking some photos for us.. but for now here is my favorite one she has taken so far.

540796_10151439272848974_1961034995_n

Merry Christmas, I am Still Pregnant

I wish I was here announcing the birth of our new baby but as God would have it the baby is not quite ready to make his/her appearance. I am now seven days past my due date and feeling remarkably well and sane. Don’t get me wrong, I am Ready. To. Do. This. but hanging in there since I know babies come when they are ready…our own miss Abigail hung in there for ten whole days past her due date.

We took the girls to the 11pm Christmas Eve vigil and it turned out to be a great night. We put them to bed early and woke them up around 9pm to start getting ready to go. They thought it was very special to be getting up at night to go out and we drove around looking at lights on our way to the church. As it turns out, the late night mass is not as chaotic as the early evening one and we could have easily left home around 10pm and still had great seats. I feel like we have stumbled upon a bit of a secret! We may just do it again next year.

We had a very simple Christmas this year. We decided to invest in one nice shared gift for the girls instead of lots of little things. My mom and Ben’s parents bought the people and furniture to go along with our gift and the girls have been having a great time with it. We woke up Christmas morning and came upstairs and started the morning with a prayer and a very enthusiastic Happy Birthday to Jesus! We opened our gifts and we had a really easy yummy breakfast of croissants, fruit, coffee and orange juice. The girls played, we napped, put the dollhouse together and then headed over to my mom’s for Christmas dinner. It was nice to be there with everyone but I do believe this year was our last for going to someone else’s home for Christmas dinner. Next year we will have three kiddos and I think we will start making our own traditions for the day and stay home and enjoy being in our pajamas!

photo(1)

I have never felt more ready for a baby to join our family and I can’t wait to breathe in that gorgeous newborn smell and hold my baby for the first time. We are as ready as we are going to be and now I am trying to be patient and remind myself that the time is coming and to just enjoy the time leading up to it. Thank God it is the Christmas season and there is so much joy and rest to soak up. Ben is now off for the next three days and I don’t imagine he will go back to work after that…please, God, let the baby come by then!! Please offer a prayer or two for us if you think of it and I will likely be back here in a few weeks to share our story and some photos of the newest little Andrews. Now if you’ll excuse me I am off to eat a super greasy/spicy supper in hopes of coaxing baby out!!

Oh Christmas Tree

photo(1)

These lights remind me that Christ is coming…

They give me comfort in the middle of the night when the baby is dancing away happily and sleep will not find me.

These lights are perfect for 4pm madness when Ben is not quite home yet and the girls are starting to drive me and each other a little crazy.

These lights are perfect for after-breakfast-sitting-on-the-couch coffee.

They remind me that though there are long, dark days ahead, a baby is coming…a sweet little one to hold and nurse and drink up.

Just a little longer..