Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dealing with PUPPP and finding joy in a difficult time

Two days ago, I shared about my newest pregnancy symptom, pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPP.  Since then, my rash has become consistently worse to the point where it kept me up all night last night and has only allowed me a few stolen hours of sleep here and there since.  I have it on my stomach, arms, legs, and hands.  My hands are by far the worst in terms of itchiness.

The itching is so bad that I can barely type this, and I have to keep stopping to attempt some form of relief.  It is at a level where it is both itchy and painful, and the itch is so bad that I would prefer it just to be pure pain instead.  I have absolutely no clue what to do at this point, except to continue to pray and keep my hands cool with compresses.

Having experienced such a good and easy pregnancy up until now, I am feeling a bit under attack the last few weeks.  First, there was the news that my little boy is rather large, which throws a bit of a wrench into my plans for a relatively smooth and easy delivery, plans that I have been proclaiming for myself since I learned I was pregnant.  Now, as I near the final days, I am experiencing something so uncomfortable and painful that for the first time all pregnancy, when my husband expressed sympathy, I did not respond by telling him the usual, "It's not that bad" or "Oh, it could be worse."  Instead, I just looked at him and said, "This is really bad."

The truth is, however, that it could be worse.  As much as I am suffering right now, I am so grateful to be looking at my own hands and dealing with the pain in them instead of watching my child suffer with some physical ailment.  All indications are that our little guy is healthy, and I would suffer this agony the rest of my life rather than have to watch him go through a terrible illness the way that so many parents much watch their children.

So tonight, as I spend another night trying desperately to sleep and instead sitting awake hour after hour with what may be the worst physical ailment with which I have ever contended (and I do not say that lightly), I will not take these challenges lying down, and I will not allow them to make me forget all the things for which I am so grateful.

I believe I am under a spiritual attack because I have stuck fast to my belief that everything would go smoothly for me when it came time to deliver.  I have consistently prayed for my delivery process and especially for the physical health and mental well-being of my son, and I have been very confident that things will go as I have planned and proclaimed.  I have maintained a positive attitude through most of my pregnancy trials, albeit with an occasional emotional meltdown here and there, mostly during my second trimester where I averaged about 2 hours of sleep a night.  But the PUPPP has been so unbearable the last few days that it really did manage to get me down.

But I am done with being down about it.  I am not going to let some physical ailment rule over my life because I am a Christian, and I do not have to submit to such things.  I have authority over them, and I have authority over the way I respond to them.  Instead of sitting here wallowing in the agony of my situation, I am going to focus on all the things for which I am grateful.  

Here are just a few to get me started:

  1. The PUPPP itching and pain is so bad that it gives me a real opportunity to practice distraction techniques for when I go into labor.
  2. I have a husband who went to the store to pick up various treatment options for me, then came home and made me an oatmeal bath to try to help relieve the itching.
  3. I live in a home where I can run my hands under cold water - one of the few things that actually seems to help, at least for a few minutes - any time I wish and continuously apply new cold compresses to my hands.  Some women deal with the symptoms of PUPPP while living in places where they have no access to any form of relief.
  4. I have new perspective on what constitutes true itchiness, and no mosquito bite will ever phase me again.
  5. I am dealing with a physical ailment, rather than having to endure the emotional torment of watching my husband or son try to battle an illness or other physical problem.
I have so many more things to be grateful for, and I am going to spend the rest of the night focusing on them, practicing my distraction and pain management techniques for labor, and praying for relief.  I am also going to do some squats and walk around as much as possible in order to try to help get the baby moving along before he starts aiming at any Guinness World Records for size.

If anyone has dealt with PUPPP and found a way to cut down on the severity of the symptoms, please share!

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