Mar 15, 2011

Puppp This!

I should buy a lottery ticket, certainly before I wrap up my pregnancy. My rationale for taking up gambling is that I have spent my daughter's gestation beating the odds on the symptom front.

I found the following statistics on the interwebs, so please don't quote them in a professional forum, but I think they illustrate my point nicely. The most oft cited side-effect of pregnancy is morning sickness, which affects about 65-70% of women. I didn't throw up once. Depending on which website you go to, swelling affects 75-90% of women. I am 4 days past my due date and I still have my wedding ring on. In fact, working my way down the "Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms" list I googled, I didn't get any acne, spot bleeding, back or pelvis aches etc. I'll admit that I have peed a little more often and have bought more antacids than usual, but I would argue that if something can be replicated by a night out drinking, it's hardly a bona fide side effect.

All in all, I was loving being pregnant. I had this little life inside me that I could feel moving around. Unencumbered by such plebeian concerns as vomiting or searing lumbar pain, I could enjoy preparing for her arrival, daydreaming about how she will grow up, and generally getting the most out of this wonderful time. After all, I had dodged all of the common symptoms of pregnancy!

Here endeth the bragging. I have already blogged about my rhinitis of pregnancy, which, if you include runny noses stemming from queuing for a taxi in the cold as part of a normal night out, can be eliminated as a sympathy-meriting side effect. Triviality notwithstanding, this was step one of my lottery ticket idea as less than 15% of pregnant women experience this symptom.

But in the last week, I have really hit the jackpot of rare symptoms. I had some stretch marks below my naval since the middle of my third trimester. Being so in love with pregnancy, they really didn't bother me at all. However, the Universe obviously got sick of hearing me say "My pregnancy has been a breeze." and "I hope this pregnancy lasts as long as possible because I am really enjoying it.", and decided to unleash the fate I had so adeptly tempted. A few weeks ago, my stretch marks got a little itchy. Nothing terrible; kind of in the range of how it feels if you didn't shower right after a good workout. But over the next few days, the itchiness got more intense and frequent. I read up on itchy stretch marks, and stumbled across the term Puppp.

Puppp, or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (translation: itchy bumps that preggos get), starts out as mild itchiness below the belly, but spreads around the torso, down the extremities and basically everywhere that's not hands or face. The itchiness gets more and more intense and there's nothing that can be done for it, other than the pregnancy coming to an end. I think I am getting close to scratching my way to a C-section, so I may be able to accommodate that cure. And it goes without saying, that having your entire torso covered in "papules and plaques" can only make you look even sexier in those last days of pregnancy. Couple that with the image of someone vigorously scratching themselves as if they were infested with scabies and you start to paint quite the picture. I normally take photos to add to blog entries where relevent, but if you google Puppp, you'll see why I deviated on this occasion.

Puppp affects less than 1% of pregnant women, and while the cause is unknown, 70% of that 1% deliver boys. Other suspects include large babies (causing excess distension of the skin). I have been assured my midwife that my daughter is both female and normally sized. If my math isn't failing me, and I offer no guarantees on that point, that puts me in an elite group with 0.3% of pregnant women. Yippee!

As I mentioned, I am four days beyond my due date and I am doing everything I can think of to induce labour. It's been 2 weeks since I have slept for longer than 2 hours at a time, before needing to reapply my Aveeno Oatmeal lotion, which only sort of works. Another blogger summed up the misery best when she said that she would have traded Puppp for a different condition that could potentially kill her, on the condition that it didn't cause itchiness. Also, and this may be the itchiness-induced sleep deprivation speaking, but the phrase Puppp is patronizingly diminutive! Were Kittt or Bunnn already taken?

All that said, the Universe can go and bite itself. As miserable as this condition is, anytime I feel my daughter kick, hiccup or wiggle around, I am so in love with the experience that I don't feel anything but unadulterated joy. Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to buy a lottery ticket... and some Vindaloo curry!

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