Tag: PUPPP

23 weeks pregnant.

This week, I felt like my bump suddenly pushed itself out into the world – more than it already had been!

I felt the baby’s hiccups. It made me smile so much, because the Little Mister used to hiccup a LOT in utero (still does) and the thought of his little sister taking after him in that area was kind of sweet.

She also decided to tap dance on my bladder a lot. I don’t really remember the Little Mister doing this so much. I must say it’s the most uncomfortable feeling! It makes you want to pee but you know you don’t have to. It’s kind of annoying in all honesty haha.

My PUPPP rash was frustrating this week (I mean duh it always is but there are some moments that are more irritating than others). I was getting a handle on it, when it came to my torso, but then it decided that it needed to attack everywhere that was safe from my prescription ointment at the time. I was getting little bumps on my feet and legs. Some on my arms. This bothers me for vanity reasons if I must be honest. The rash scabs up – either from me scratching in my sleep or just from being irritated – and while I have hated it on my sides and backside, at least I could take comfort in the fact that nobody can see those parts of me. I worry a little that if it consumes my legs and arms, I’ll feel hideous in the summer weather.

I think I have got it kind of under control (as much as a person can with PUPPP) but I know I’ll have scars for a long time to come. It’s really hard to deal with the week long cycle of attacking each new area with ointment. It takes a whole week to control a new outbreak. So you can imagine how relentless it feels when you start treating one area, knowing it will be a week before you feel relief, and then another area starts up. That’s a whole other week to go of applying the greasy ointment and praying for the best! This will not stop until I have the baby. And that’s if I’m lucky. I read about women in my support group who have not ever completely rid themselves of it! Eep! I just have to try to stay positive and not freak out about how long I have to go.

In other news, I had a dream run with nesting this week. Was SO AWESOME. I’ve alternated between sloth-tired and too busy to be at home enough, throughout this pregnancy. Getting time in to really feel accomplished around the house has been challenging. But things seemed to settle down this week and I was really excited to fulfil an adulthood dream. Yep. I took the plunge and purchased a *wait for it* DYSON CORDLESS VACUUM. OMG. If you’re nodding along and thinking, “YAAAAASSS,” then you are one of my people. You get it. Amazing. Amazed. My carpets and floors have never been so happy. Even Mr Unprepared is stoked with how easy it is to use. And how deeply it cleans the carpets. It is freakin’ embarrassing what came out of our carpets the first time I used the Dyson. My old, haunted vacuum cleaner with the missing wheel, was not doing its job, I can tell you that much.

I was sorting washing and smashing out ‘been putting it off’ tasks like a mofo. I hope I can repeat this weekly now that I’m in some sort of routine. Just don’t tell me about how long it is(n’t) until Christmas and I won’t hyperventilate, OK?

This week I had an appointment with my midwife. She was lovely and helped go in to bat for me to get a new prescription for my rash ointment. I’d been stressing out about lack of supply. That afternoon, I was stoked to pick up an ongoing script that will most likely last for my whole pregnancy (and then some for good luck). I was so relieved. I know I will use it responsibly and I just needed to know that my doctor would think so too. I was getting anxiety never knowing if I’d run out all the time (the tubes are tiny). As you read above, this condition can be relentless. You can’t ever just ‘skip a day’ without being in a whole world of itchy hell. I feel so good knowing I won’t have to worry about that side of things anymore.

At that appointment, I also got to hear the baby’s heartbeat. She’s grown so much she can’t hide from the doppler anymore! She sounded strong and it’s always so nice to listen to her. My belly measured at 24 weeks (I was just 3 days shy of 24 weeks at my appointment) which made me happy too.

Hope you’ve had a good week – chat soon! x

22 weeks pregnant.

This week started off in quite an emotionally draining way. While I usually revel in the school holidays (getting to lie in bed for longer and no school runs or lunch boxes to prep), by the second week, I was looking forward to school going back. I needed a routine and I needed time to myself to tick a lot of things off an ever increasing to do list. I’d truly enjoyed the Little Mister’s company but I was starting to get a bit stressed.

Hold up…rash update coming! 😜

I spent the first half of the week having to talk myself down from freaking out about my PUPPP rash (yep – that old chestnut). Exhausting. I felt like I was fighting for my mental health. I was winning but the fight took a lot out of me. I had been stressed to be slightly under-prescribed the ointment I needed and there’s a little story about me not being too happy with the local pharmacy too but we won’t get into that. Little inconveniences like that can really set me back – the anxiety is not far from the surface, when it comes to my condition. When managed well it can almost seem like a non issue, but when there’s a fear of not having enough medication or being able to keep things under control, my nerves can feel shot to shit. Care-givers, please be aware.

One night, I let myself have a good cry and whinge about it for 15 minutes before bed. I was worried I was losing the plot after fighting so hard to not give in to my self pity, but it turned out to be a good stress release. I actually felt better after. I figure I probably need to let myself have a short pity party once a week, just to let it all out. Can’t bottle it up!

Luckily, the second half of the week wasn’t too bad. The steroid ointment was starting to work on the sides of my body (I’ve figured out that there must be about a week’s lead time in applying it twice a day before significant improvements happen) and I had figured out that good sleep comes from wearing very little to bed (a little easier during the school term because the Little Mister is less likely to disturb me in the mornings as I get up before him). Sadly, this rash is aggressive and not curable while this baby is inside me, so it is now trying to attack my legs and feet – not a very attractive look when a girl just wants to wear a shorter skirt/dress. I am getting onto it as fast as I can with treatment and I am hoping that the roughly week long lead in required with the ointment will kick in sooner rather than later.

This week I got myself prepared to clean up my diet and exercise more. I am well aware that in a month or so I have my glucose tolerance test to determine whether I have gestational diabetes for a second time around or not. While I may not be able to sway my results (if it’s in your genes it’s in your genes), I am hoping I can improve my health and therefore my test readings. Even if I am cursed with it for a second time, I want good habits to already be a part of my lifestyle when that diagnosis arrives. Makes the transition to diabetes friendly living easier, both mentally and physically. I want it to be on my terms. The stubborn rebel in me hated being treated like a child and told what to do last time. I want to pretend this was all my idea anyway haha. Never any harm in having healthy habits.

I did some research (I was a bit rusty after being 6 years gestational diabetes free) and I made a plan. I bought all of the foods that would keep me snacking healthily. While I haven’t been a perfect angel (why should I – no diagnosis yet!) I have significantly changed my habits for the better which I am very pleased with myself about. I was giving into a few too many sugary/carb loaded cravings beforehand – oops! The improved diet isn’t actually that different to what I was doing as part of my Kez Gets Physical efforts before I was pregnant so I am not finding it as hard as last time.

I enjoyed a little retail therapy this week. I was worried about finding clothes that were rash, maternity and summer weather friendly all in one. The weather has finally started to heat up around here (well it has its ups and downs but mostly I think spring has arrived). I was thrilled when I headed into Target and found some fantastic, light weight, flowy maxi dresses that fit me! The same design comes in like 4 different gorgeous prints so I bought 3 of them – yay! Big confidence boost to know that I will have something nice to wear every day. I might even go back and buy a second one of each if they haven’t sold out (I predict they will – fast). The great thing is that they are not maternity dresses so I can wear them after I’ve had the baby in the heat of summer too! YES! This successful shopping session got me thinking about maybe putting together a blog post about affordable maternity style hacks for those of us who can’t afford the inflated prices of maternity wear in the popular boutiques, or who do not live near the big name specialty maternity retailers (as much as internet shopping is THE BOMB sometimes it can be good to be able to try something on first or we might need something in a hurry). We’ll see. I won’t make any promises but the idea is brewing away!

The Little Mister informed me that we should name the baby Butterfly when she’s born. Because butterflies are beautiful and nobody else will think to name their baby Butterfly. I don’t know if I’d be sold on that one, but I thought his sentiment was very lovely. Maybe we can nickname the bump Butterfly (if for no other reason than to ditch Mr Unprepared’s very annoying nickname for it which I will not even dignify with a mention here)!

Here I am at 22 weeks…

20 weeks pregnant.

With the start of the school holidays, came my 20th week of pregnancy. I was so relieved to have a little time off from having to get out of bed at the butt crack of dawn (how good is it when your kid can get their own breakfast?!) and doing the school runs which eat up so much of my days. It felt amazing to turn off all of my alarms and just go with the flow. I realised just how much energy the school stuff was taking out of me. The holidays could not have come at a better time!

If you read my last blog post, you would have seen that I struggled a few times with the PUPPP rash this week. I had a couple of full on anxiety moments and I had to fight myself a lot to calm the fuck down. The rash has spread a bit more but I am trying to stay positive. I keep trying to remind myself that even though it can be torturous and can take up a lot of my energy and time, it is still (so far) not as bad as it was when I was pregnant with the Little Mister. Sometimes just staying calm can take some of its power away.

This week it was so great to spend some quality time with my mum – our first real catch up time since we found out we’re having a girl. We took the Little Mister shopping and gathered some intel on what’s in the bigger baby shops since I was last pregnant. Six years is a long time, it turns out. There are heaps more places to shop and products that are useful or cute, than there were last time! This trip really helped me to put together an idea of what colour scheme I like for the nursery and I even picked up a gorgeous cot sheet and play mat for half price! Yay! The Little Mister and I might have also picked out a couple of tiny baby outfits too! It was so lovely to include the big brother to be in the process. I think it made him feel really important.

One of the Little Mister’s jobs was to pick out a special little Jellycat bunny for the baby. He’s had one since he was little and as he’s too old to get a gift from the baby when she’s born (as if a 6 year old will fall for that haha), I figured maybe he could give her a gift (and I’m sure he’ll be spoiled by us with something special of his own when the time comes too). His brief was simply to pick out one that looked good to him but was different from his own so that they wouldn’t get mixed up. He picked a gorgeous mint green one and he cuddled it for the rest of the day, vowing to take care of it until his baby sister is born. We did have to pry it from him when we got home (so we can keep it in good condition and ensure he doesn’t get too attached and not want to give it away) but he knows it’s there and I know he’ll take his job seriously as my due date gets closer!

Another cool thing that has changed since I had the Little Mister is technology! I was able to sit down and create a bit of a Pinterest vision board for the nursery-to-be (aka currently neglected spare room aka the Little Mister’s former nursery) and then I could forward the link for it straight to my mum so she could see what I am thinking about! Very cool. Once the Little Mister is back in school, I will have to get my A into G and really get decorating! It will be so much easier this time around, as there won’t be as much to do – we have a lot of the big stuff like a cot, change table, furniture etc. I am so glad we bought it all in a classic, neutral white.

My mum would be glad to know that I’m trying harder to be a breakfast person these days. This week, I started eating overnight oats and making breakfast cookies (they are nothing but healthy ingredients). I am not perfect at it, but I definitely need something first thing in the morning to keep me from feeling faint or woozy. Growing a baby takes a lot out of me!

For this week’s bump photo, I threw on a tie dye dress I wore a lot when pregnant with the Little Mister. I love the colours but it’s looking a little worn out after all this time haha.

My mirror selfies feel a bit more awkward now. I think I’m getting a bit chubby around my back as I haven’t been keeping up with toning that area since I got pregnant. It’s one of my sensitive/self conscious areas so I try to hide it – just thought I’d tell you about it anyway – I might not feel like showing it off, but I feel like I should keep it real haha. It’s hard to get a good angle – any tips on how to hold your phone while taking a bad mirror selfie?! I feel so unco! How do those “professional” “influencers” and “Insta models” make it look so easy?!

Anyway, that’s it for this week! x

PUPPP rash: Round 2.

I feel like I’ve mentioned this a lot lately, but I have this pregnancy rash called PUPPP – again. I had it when I was pregnant with the Little Mister and very nearly went insane. Actually, I think I did go insane – I just pretended I wasn’t. Now I have it while expecting a Little Miss 6 years later. At first I thought maybe I was just sensitive to heat and hoped like hell it wasn’t what I thought it might be. But now I know that it is indeed PUPPP.

Having it for a second time around is like a double edged sword. On the one hand, I feel like I know what to expect and I know which mistakes I do not want to repeat: waiting too long to get help, seeing doctors etc who are not experienced, keeping it to myself and stressing all alone. I know which treatments are most likely to help and which suggestions from well meaning people and websites are probably going to make things worse.

On the other hand, because I do know what to expect, I freak out a bit because the reality of having this condition has come flooding back to me and I have to separate my anxiety about it getting much worse from the reality which is that it seemingly isn’t as bad as last time…yet.

The first time around, I used a steroid ointment prescribed by a dermatologist. This time I am using a slightly weaker cream to start with, as well as taking antihistamines before bed each night. I think these things are helping to keep the rash contained in its hot spots for the most part. Some parts of me have completely cleared up (they may have just been heat rashes all along just to confuse matters). I don’t think these treatments actually prevent me from itching, though. Especially at night or in the late afternoon, when things are quiet and I have no distractions.

I find that stress has been a factor in making it feel worse. The more I think about it, worry about it, or get myself into an anxious state, the more itchy I feel. The more itchy I feel, the more unattractive and embarrassed and hopeless I feel, the more exhausted I get. The more exhausted I am, the more likely I am to be vulnerable to anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.

Often I wake in the night, scratching. I will struggle to fall asleep. I will feel everything. Every bit of fabric rubbing on my skin. I will think that this is surely a sign that things are getting catastrophically worse. Then in the morning, I will look in the mirror and realise that the rash hasn’t really changed since yesterday. I try to remind myself of this every subsequent night.

Here are the things that are helping me this time around:

Talk it out – get help fast – don’t let embarrassment stop you

You can get itchy with PUPPP in odd, embarrassing places. It can make you feel like a freak. But I have learned since last time that talking/blogging about this, tweeting about this, joining an online support group about this, admitting when I’m feeling mental, helps. Nobody can help you if you pretend everything’s fine. When people ask how I’m feeling as a pregnant woman, I’ll be honest now. Oh, I’m so so excited about this beautiful baby girl on the way, but I am struggling at times with itchiness – I’m actually allergic to her DNA or hormones or something! Sure, the person who asked how I am might be getting more than they bargained for, but I owe it to myself (and others) to be honest about it all. I am not one of those over sharing during small talk kinds of people, but in this instance, a simple sentence like that really helps me to feel like I’m not hiding or pretending.

I rushed to get help this time. I didn’t double guess myself. I knew the rash could be nothing but it could be PUPPP too. It was good to get my knowledgeable doctor’s take on it right away. I truly believe that early intervention has helped me to feel empowered and has maybe even slowed down its progress.

Wear breathable clothing/sleep on good bedding ASAP

No more jeans or leggings! Dresses, skirts, fabrics that feel soft on my skin. Things that breathe. It has been a challenge as the weather has been so crazy lately. Going from sunny and spring like, to cold and rainy and windy and back again. But I have minimised the amount of fabric worn on my legs in particular (the upper thighs can get really irritated from tight pants etc). I have a cotton slip for underneath sheer items of clothing (why is everything at the shops see through these days?) and I have ordered a whole bunch of cotton undies. I am currently researching mattress toppers made of bamboo or cotton, to try and improve my comfort when I sleep. I know the weather is only going to get more sweaty and hot with my baby due in February.

Beware a lot of ‘home’ remedies – there is no quick fix

Last time I was pregnant, I panicked and googled every remedy I could think of to soothe my PUPPP. I made the mistake of thinking there might be some magical cure out there. I bought every product ever mentioned and I probably confused the hell out of my skin. What works for some people might not work for others. In reality, the rash cannot ever just disappear (until you have the baby usually). You just have to manage it until it’s run its course.

Now I am more realistic. I won’t ever feel fully comfortable in my skin, but I can soothe it and I can calm myself psychologically which is honestly the most important thing to me right now.

For example, I had a freak out yesterday. I felt a bit manic and I wanted to cry. This made me feel more uncomfortable. I was a bit anxious because my inlaws were going to have the Little Mister for a couple of nights to enjoy some bonding time and give us (mostly me) a rest during the holidays. It was so kind of them and I was happy for everyone involved to do that, but the reality set in that I would have no positive distraction in the form of a loveable child who needs me to be strong. EEK.

I came home from dropping him off, to Mr Unprepared having heard the panic in my voice over the phone. He’d been to the pharmacy for advice (where he was lucky enough to get advice from my amazing mums’ group friend who is conveniently a great pharmacist), he’d run me a bath and lit some candles. He had a soothing Spotify playlist ready.

We threw some Pinetarsol wash in the bath and as soon as my body hit the water, I felt instant relief. I smelled like someone’s grandpa but it felt so good. I knew it wasn’t a cure this time around, so I just enjoyed it for what it was – as opposed to when I tried something similar last time and felt mad it didn’t fix everything. My skin felt smooth and clean afterwards. I tried to take that chilled feeling with me all the way to bed time. I slept better than I had in weeks.

Knowing people had my back and lowering my expectations really helped. You cannot underestimate the power of the mind in this situation. I know this well and learned a lot about this since my first pregnancy.

Keep busy – dress up and show up

It can be hard to find a balance between staying distracted and being a burnt out pregnant person, but I have found that if I keep moving, I can go a whole day without feeling itchy. To me, it’s important to dress up and show up. I isolated myself out of embarrassment and anxiety during my first pregnancy and I don’t know that it did me many favours. Of course I will also have to be mindful of my limits, but generally, having nice maternity clothes to wear, doing my make up, styling my hair, helps. I can’t let myself become scared to leave the house. I cannot sit around without distractions, feeling more depressed and itchy.

There’s nothing like a rash to make you feel very unattractive, very fast. Even looking at yourself in the mirror naked while you apply your rash cream can make you feel a bit confronted every night! My rash isn’t actually very visible outside of my every day clothing, but it can make you feel quite unsexy!!

Dressing up and showing up when I can makes me feel productive, empowered, less itchy, and more connected to the real world. Sitting at home thinking negative thoughts about my body does not help my mental health.

Have a mental health/self care plan

After last night’s little panic attack moment, I realised I need to be proactive so it doesn’t strike so badly next time. I started to think of things I can do next time I feel anxious enough to want to rip my skin off.

Things like:

  • take another bath if I am able to (because I have a kid who is still learning about privacy haha). If not, I can use the Pinetarsol or Calamine lotion on my skin before showering quickly to soothe myself.
  • Pick everything/everyone up and head to the beach (which is luckily right down the road) – don’t slow down to talk myself out of it. Get into the fresh air, see/feel the ocean (it’s my happy place). Distract distract distract!
  • Talk talk talk. Tell SOMEONE I am struggling. Even if it’s a stranger online in a support group.
  • Make a contingency plan to get more medical help if necessary. For example, if this isn’t better after trying all of the above, I will commit to making a doctor’s appointment ASAP and I will not put it off or make excuses. That way, I can feel a bit calmer knowing I will get help no matter what by a certain day/time. Even if it’s just making contact to say I’m not OK. Never isolate.

Have you ever had PUPPP? Did you have it more than once? What helped you? x

19 weeks pregnant.

And another week bites the dust!

I spent this week feeling stressed for non pregnancy related reasons, which was quite annoying. I felt really emotionally and physically drained, when I should have been feeling amazing. But I hope that next week will be a fresh start.

I am still getting used to calling my bump a ‘her’ or ‘she’. It sounds so foreign to me. I spent a long time calling the baby, ‘it’ haha. Probably shouldn’t do that anymore, considering there’s a creepy AF remake of the Stephen King movie out right now! Even saying the word ‘girl’ feels awkward. I guess that’s OK – I have a while to get my head around it! I am very excited but I think I am in a bit of shock. I never realised how used to the idea of having another boy I was. I just thought it would be an inevitability, quite honestly! I think maybe once my mum is around more and we can start planning fun stuff together, like decorating the nursery or going shopping for clothes together, I will start to feel more able to embrace the idea. I think maybe the stress I felt this week sadly overshadowed a time when I should have been adjusting to, and really celebrating, the good news a lot more.

This week, I also bought myself new bras. Up a cup size, y’all. Probably up two, but I got a good deal on bras from Big W so we’ll just go with that for now. Maybe I’m in denial haha. I think my next over the shoulder boulder holder purchases will probably be proper nursing bras, so I am holding off a little.

I had a doctor’s appointment this week. I was looking forward to it. Partly because I had some issues I wanted to ask about and address, and partly because it’s always a way to connect in some way to my pregnancy – I am always likely to have a scan or hear the heartbeat. It was good/important to have Mr Unprepared visit the clinic for the first time and meet the doctor. He’d taken a lot of time off work to get me through my fertility treatments and appointments and IVF, so making it to every appointment once I fell pregnant became a lot harder (although he hasn’t missed the important ultrasounds). I felt like he needed to connect with the process more and this was helpful, I think.

I had been worried about my itchiness (as mentioned in previous updates). I was finally able to show the doctor what my rash spots looked like. The bad news is that he agreed it could possibly be a re-emergence of the PUPPP rash that I’d suffered from during my first pregnancy, but the good news was that he was really knowledgeable, compassionate and pro-active about it. During my first pregnancy, I’d waited until it was really bad before telling anyone (it was embarrassing and it was my first pregnancy so I didn’t know what was normal), and then my previous doctor had been on leave (haha of course) and I’d had weeks of seeing random GPs who had no experience with the condition, and then I’d had to make my way up to the city for a dermatologist’s appointment, before finally getting help. By then everything had set in quite awfully and the mental and emotional damage had probably been done too.

This time was different. I was quick to mention my itchiness. The doctor was also quick to prescribe me some medicated cream and anti-histamines – all safe to take during pregnancy (please do not try these things without getting medical advice of your own). He explained that I am probably allergic in some way to my own pregnancy hormones/baby’s DNA. So that’s fun!

I immediately filled out the scripts and already felt better, mentally. It’s always nice to feel like you have support and a plan. So far the drugs seem to be working OK (not perfectly but OK). Some areas seem to have become 100% better and others are still a bit of a problem but haven’t got any worse. I will re-visit the clinic at about 24 weeks, just to check in and get any extra help if I need it. I am just glad that I am catching this condition earlier than last time. Maybe I can stop it from ever getting as bad as it was.

I cannot stress enough just how important it is to mention anything and everything when you see your care providers. If you’re uncomfortable in your skin or have an embarrassing issue, just listen to your gut and tell someone. The earlier you get help, the better it is for your mental health. Truly.

I’ve always thought I was huge (bump wise), although not as big as I thought I was when carrying the Little Mister, but I was surprised when the midwife measured my belly, to find out that its size was bang on between 19 and 20 weeks at the time of my appointment. While this can vary a lot in every woman and should probably largely be taken with a pinch of salt, I still felt a little relieved that maybe I wasn’t as massive as I originally thought (especially with my snacking being a bit out of control haha)! My mum reminded me that I was actually quite small (normal and healthy but small) when I was born – according to my adoption records and early photos. I felt relieved at the thought that maybe having a girl might mean she could take after me (Mr Unprepared was quite humongously big when he was born and while the Little Mister thankfully never reached that size it was close enough for my comfort levels I can tell you).

I was given instructions for further appointments and tests (I am not looking forward to finding out if I have gestational diabetes or not) and I was on my way. It felt good to fill out my calendar with exact dates for once (after the relative unpredictability of infertility).

I don’t know how to end this post, so here’s a picture of my bump at 19 weeks…

Until the next update, see ya later! x

We need to have a little chat.

PUPPP.

Nope. I didn’t just fall asleep on my keyboard. I’m talking about PUPPP. It stands for (wait for it…) pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Yeah. Sounds complicated. I bet most of you have never heard of the damn thing (unless you know me very well via this blog or have actually googled it). Before experiencing this horrible rash first hand, I would have heard such a crazy bunch of words beginning with P and I would have shrugged it off. I don’t really know what that is and who cares, it’s just some rash that I’ll never get (it is believed to only be experienced by an extremely small percentage of pregnant women).

Because hardly anyone suffers from this condition, it was very isolating and difficult to deal with. Each case can differ in how your body responds to the awfully itchy rash, meaning treatments that work for one person might not help another. Odds are, you might not even know what it is when you first show symptoms, if you should be unlucky enough to be a part of the unfortunately exclusive PUPPP club.

I had no idea. I resorted to googling (something I do not normally recommend) when the symptoms got too crazy and I was slow to get answers (partly my fault and partly due to inexperience of some of the doctors I saw early in the piece when my baby doctor was on holiday – of course!). I felt like I knew it was PUPPP, but waiting for an actual professional opinion/diagnosis (and treatment) was like agony.

I was only 20 weeks pregnant when it got bad. Normally women get it at the very end of their pregnancies, meaning there is not long to go before they can give birth (and more often than not be relieved of the symptoms immediately), or can be induced at full term if it’s bad enough.

Yeah. Unlucky.

800px-PUPPP-abdomenPic: Side view of a sufferer’s abdomen.

I spent weeks feeling alone. I couldn’t wear clothes that might itch, sweat or cling to my skin. Difficult in winter. I felt socially isolated and while it’s hard enough to get dressed when you’re big, it was even harder to feel pretty or human with PUPPP. I itched so badly that I was afraid I’d have a panic attack about it in public, so I rarely ventured out before treatment could arrive. Even then, the steroid cream prescribed to me by a dermatologist (who thankfully knew what he was talking about) was greasy and while it helped my rash to settle down a LOT, it gave me pimples too eventually.

I was paranoid about humidity of any kind and it was a huge mental and emotional burden. I never stopped loving the Little Mister who was growing inside of me, but I’d be kidding myself (and you) if I said that I wasn’t close to depression. Bawling my eyes out in a lukewarm bathtub half the day was no life.

Why am I going on about this?

I want everyone to know about this condition. While it may never happen to you (especially if you’re a male reader haha), I want you to know what it is and how to spot it. Just in case.

I also want you to be able to seek help ASAP if you think you may have PUPPP. I didn’t. I put it down to a little heat rash and let myself get worse. If I had sought diagnosis and treatment when it first got a bit uncomfortable, by the time I got answers (it takes a while when no-one’s sure what the hell it is – odds are they may not have dealt with a case first hand very often) I might have saved myself weeks of agony. It is much better to have a false alarm and deal with a doctor who thinks you’re being a little dramatic, than to suffer on your own for too long.

Also, I am writing this post because I want anyone who is friends/family/known to someone who has this condition, to know what it’s like to go through it. I want you to understand that it’s more than a little rash. It can cover half of a woman’s body, is unsightly (therefore embarrassing) and very very uncomfortable and itchy. Think extreme chicken pox (it was like that for me anyhow). Each woman may deal with it differently, but I want you to know how bad it can be. It’s really hard to go through it alone and part of my isolation was worrying that my friends didn’t understand. I couldn’t be at social occasions very often – each day was different and I felt awful and flaky. I worried that they believed I was letting a ‘little thing’ slow me down and that I wasn’t living my life just because I was pregnant. Maybe they thought that, maybe they didn’t. They were amazing friends through it all, but that worry was just something I carried. If I’d known they were able to access great information on PUPPP, I might not have felt so insecure.

It’s hard enough to feel attractive or like you’re living your life fully and actively when you’re quite up the duff. Add complications to that pregnancy and it can be very scary and lonely. I knew that the Little Mister was doing fine inside me – I knew I was blessed even in the rough times. I could have had worse issues (well, besides my gestational diabetes which can be dangerous if untreated). However, try telling a pregnant sufferer of PUPPP that when she can’t sleep AT ALL, feels so itchy she could scratch ALL OF HER SKIN BLOOD RAW,  and lives in a lukewarm bath, waiting for an appointment with a specialist.

I put on a brave face a lot. I wish someone had said, “Lady – I know what that is and you’re fooling no-one. Let me hug you – very gently – while I listen to you whinge about it.”

Also, stop asking a PUPPP sufferer (with scars) if she’s tried bio-oil. No over the counter treatments worked for me (or were permitted during pregnancy depending on ingredients). My skin was sensitive to greasy or oily things (ie the ointment was bad enough). Most of the people who asked me if I’d used bio-oil had never even tried it. The power of advertising, I guess. It’s horrible knowing that almost nothing works. It’s worse when everyone (who’s never heard of the damn condition) suggests treatments for you, which you know will do jacksh*t or even make it worse. You probably mean very well, but you don’t have to be an expert or give advice. A kind, listening ear (and encouragement to seek professional treatment if someone hasn’t already) is probably best.

I was lucky. My symptoms disappeared IMMEDIATELY once the Little Mister had vacated my body. While I had a whole lot of other issues, that was thankfully not one of them. However, the scars and the mental effects stayed for a while. I didn’t want to see another greasy, oily ointment again. I had scars on my chest, which meant I couldn’t dress nicely over summer, without feeling like I was an acne ridden teen with chest pimples (no-one wants to see those). I was sensitive to heat, mentally and physically. It took a YEAR before I felt like I could bare my upper chest without a big ol’ necklace or high neckline to hide behind. Progress can be slow.

I am very fortunate to have a very healthy, hilarious and good natured 18 month old today, who has no idea of the hell he put me through during pregnancy! I intend to let him know during his teenage years, though 😉 In all seriousness, that (him being in my life happy and healthy) is what matters most and what got me through a tough time. PUPPP is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. It felt worse than the diabetes and worse than the infection that brought on my labour. It was worse than dealing with the healing from a C-section. Itching is seriously a form of torture. Some people handle it better than others and I will be the first to admit that I was not handling it, despite my best efforts.

There is help and support out there, but it’s important to start looking early. I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m just trying to bring awareness to it.

I found a dermatologist who dealt with a lot of pregnancy cases. I highly recommend you seek out an experienced specialist and get the ball rolling with referrals etc fast. Also, know that it isn’t your fault. We are all quick to judge these days. It’s easy to believe that a woman having a tough pregnancy must just be a Negative Nancy or probably did something to cause her condition, because it makes us feel like we have control over our own circumstances, but during pregnancy all bets are off. You can do your best and still have some hurdles to deal with. Don’t let ignorant people bring you down.

Pregnancy is stressful enough.

So please, my hope is that if you have read this you will be a proactive sufferer, in order to make your time as a beautiful (you still are) pregnant woman a little easier. If you hear of a friend or relative having this condition, I hope that you will now know just how severe it can be and treat them with the extra love and care they deserve. A great support network can make the difference between a surviving some tough times, and depression.

Feel free to share this post and PLEASE do not be in denial. No-one wants to know about the crap things that can happen when you’re pregnant, but information is power and might save you a lot of suffering (I speak from experience).

Love and light,

Kez xo

If you have experienced this, please contact me or leave a comment – I would love for you to share your stories.

This post is a part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge.