Horrible Itchy Disease

Woman in the last days of pregnancy is not a pretty sight.

I, for example, have just thrown up the sole thing I have eaten today-a fried egg sandwich-and after three hours sleep it’s all I can do to move off the sofa in order to search the cupboards for stray crisps.  That is, if I can allow myself to eat anything at all, as I have also convinced myself that I have a terrible liver condition which is slowly poisoning the baby.

It all started last night.  I had been itchy, on and off, for quite a while, but last night’s itching was on a whole new level.  My mother had kindly given up her bed and allowed me to sleep in her double while she suffered in the single bed which for reasons of storage has two mattresses and lives in “my” teenage bedroom, but it was all to no avail.  I tossed and turned, scratching away and peering at the internet on my phone in the darkness.  Unfortunately, Dr Internet’s diagnosis was that I had something called obstetric cholestasis, and that my baby was going to die.  There was even an accompanying article from the Daily Mail about someone this had Really Happened To, to prove the point.  It took until 3.30am for me to finally get to sleep, only to awake at 6.30, just in time for me to confess my fears to Mother before she went to work.  Mother has now taken to addressing frequent stern grandmotherly rebukes to the baby within, urging him that it is “time to come out now and meet your grandmother.”  I’m starting to think that’s why he’s staying in.  It was all I could do to point, sobbing, to the relevant section in What to Expect When You’re Expecting and wail, “Mum, I have this.  And the baby is GOING TO DIE.”

And what if the baby did die?  What would I do?  How would the news be shared on Facebook?  How would I go back to work and face all the puzzled teenagers wondering what I was doing there?  How would I put myself through it all again?  And some people actually have to do that.  It’s too hideous to contemplate.

Anyway, I have spoken to the midwife this morning and they are going to do some tests today to establish if I do have This Horrible Itchy Disease.  Hopefully the results will be quick.  And at least the baby won’t be premature.  Which is pretty much all I have to comfort myself with at this point, given that EVERYONE in my antenatal class (even the ones who weren’t due until mid-August) has managed to miraculously pop out their babies already, leaving me as the bottom of the class loser who’s a bit slow and holding everyone else up.  All I have to feel smug about is that hopefully, if my baby is born alive as planned, he will be so advanced that he’ll probably walk straight out of the womb and off to university, and I’ll never have to worry about getting the hang of breastfeeding, weaning or toilet training as he’ll pretty much already be a fully formed adult.

I wish the Internet had never been invented.

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