Adventures in Pregnancy: The Swiss Chards

We’re actually not QUITE swiss chards – we’re actually thirty-six and six days – solidly at the end of romaine lettuces, but we’re jumping ahead of schedule cause….


We’re inducing tomorrow.

In TEN hours.


Okay, so remember how I was itchy? And then I was still itchy but also freaking out?

And then I just dropped off the face of the earth, cause that’s a good place to leave you hanging, AMIRITE.

So we increased the dose and then had a follow up LAB appointment and the results were that the increased dose was working.


I kind of slipped into this productive holding my breath and hiding survival thing because, it seemed, whenever I posted that things were fine, then something was So Not Fine ™ and I was really fucking tired of it.

We (cause there are twins in my belly, I can use the royal ‘we’) had weekly visits with both the gynecologist AND the psychiatrist AND the lab cause of cholestasis and freaking out and such and everything seemed fine.

You’ll note the past tense, eh?

On Thursday I had more blood work done and the results were perfectly normal.


As normal as can be expected for a person with cholestasis.

Let’s get a frame of reference, shall we? Normal bile levels are below ten. A pregnant person with levels above ten but below forty who is not thirty seven weeks is put on meds and needs to pay daily attention to the movement of the baby.

My levels were in the high teens / low twenties.


So I kept paying attention to the twins’ movements. And working on not freaking out. And nesting.

But the itching was still there.

And every day… it got a little more intense.

Especially at night when you’re lying there falling asleep and your brain has nothing better to do but pay attention to little details like itchiness.

Of course.

Until last night when I was scratching myself IN MY SLEEP. Scratching myself until I was AWAKE. And then I was throwing up dinner plus tons and tons of bile.

I opted NOT to call the emergency line because I was utterly convinced they would admit me and not let me leave and I was just not ready to have the twins.

Last night.


Then it was this morning and I called and they brought me in and tested me and … the levels were one hundred fifteen.




I was so SURE that it wasn’t going to be A Big Deal that I asked the doctor to call me with the results cause I was going to go take a nap at home.

The secretary said to expect the call AROUND DINNER.

She called within the hour.

“We have the results and I need you to come back in. Pack your bag. We’re going to induce tomorrow.”

“…I… um.. ”

“Let me say that another way. Don’t panic. Pack your bag. Take your time. Come back to the hospital. I’ve already admitted you. We’ll talk about the details when you arrive.”


Naturally, I panic’d and called P, “Come home. The twins have to come now. I’m packing my bag.”

And I hung up.


And when you call your partner to tell him that you’re having babies NOW NOW NOW you should TELL HIM THAT YOU’RE PACKING YOUR BAG.


In the meantime, I called my other birthing partner and let her know SIGNIFICANTLY more details – that they didn’t know if they’d be inducing with a balloon or if I was already dilated, that my bile levels were too high, that I’d keep her in the loop.

And I went to pack my fucking bag.

And I calmed down A LOT.

By the time P got home and we were driving to the hospital, I started sending out messages to family:

Cholastasis skyrocketed. Couldn’t sleep last night cause of the itching. Threw up bile, too. Called this morning. Tested levels. They are inducing.

And then updates as they happened:

Just finished the exam. No balloon needed cause I’m already two cm dilated so we’ll break water at six tomorrow morning.

And then:

Monitoring is finished. Twins are fine. Now we chill until the morning.

It’s only eight in the evening here in the Netherlands.

They’ll come get me in ten hours, at six in the morning, move me into the labour and delivery rooms, break the girl’s amniotic sac, slap an IV on me and start the chemicals.

At some point I’ll get an epidural.

And we’ll welcome a couple of little swiss chard Leanders into the world.