At 39 weeks, I developed a terribly itchy red rash around my belly button. I believed it was a natural pregnancy woe, since my skin was stretching so much! The following day, the rash had spread to my entire belly--raised, red welts. The day after, it had crept to my thighs. At this point, I called my OB and quickly discovered I had developed a rare, hormonal-induced rash known as PUPPS Syndrome.
My OB said that the only way to treat the rash during pregnancy was with over-the-counter topical itch-relief creams, in addition to a prescribed hydrocortisone cream. I stocked up on every cream imaginable-Band Aid brand, Lanicane, etc. All of these offered only temporary relief, even the prescription cream. By the fourth day, the rash had spread to my arms and the rest of my legs. The itching was absolutely unbearable, and I went though 4-5 tubes of itch-relief cream a day. The morning of my due date, Saturday, July 7th, I was COVERED in red welts. They were everywhere--in between by fingers, my toes, and behind my knees. They were all over my feet. The itching was torturous--no amount of cream could relieve the pain and itching. At 6 in the morning, I got in my shower and blasted the water on ice cold. It was the only thing that felt good; and I sat in my shower crying hysterically. This emotional breakdown woke my husband up, and he quickly called my OB's office. I was asked to come in to the hospital for a non-stress test and monitoring; they wanted to give me a "little something" to help me sleep comfortably.
When I was admitted and my OB got her eyes on me, she quickly gasped and declared I had the worst case of PUPPS she had ever seen. I was furiously scratching myself while she paraded in interns, nurses, and medical students to see my rash. I was a medical oddity, I suppose.
I learned that PUPPS Syndrome cannot heal until after the placenta is delivered. Because of this, we opted to induce labor that morning. The contractions were bearable, but the itching was not. I scratched my hands, legs, and arms raw. I was uncontrollable and nothing they gave me provided any relief! At 4 a.m. on Sunday, July 8th, I had not progressed past 2 centimeters. I was in tears over the itching--not the contractions. After a conversation with my OB, DH, and LD nurses, I opted for a C-Section. The spinal did, in fact, provide some relief. Ella Maureen was born at 5:17 a.m. on Sunday, July 8th. She weighed 8 lbs. 10.75 oz. and was 22 inches long.
In all of my hospital pictures with Ella, you can see the rash welts on my hands and shoulders. I never could have imagined this kind of birth story--ever! Minor itching continued for 3-4 weeks after my delivery, and thankfully subsided after 2 rounds of oral steroids. The scabs from scratching the welts lasted for a while, which was awful b/c I had to wear pants during the summer months. I have scarring on my arms and legs from PUPPS--battlescars that will never go away, I guess. Thankfully, PUPPS is not genetic, and won't necessarily pop up when we decide to have a second child. Ella is worth every bit of itching and pain I suffered through!