Libby Ibeling's first pregnancy seemed to be pretty normal, and everything that her and her doctor at Lakeview OB/GYN had planned, went the way they had expected. Libby thought her following pregnancies would be very similar, but she discovered that would not be the case.
During her second and third pregnancy, Libby found that she developed Cholestasis of pregnancy. Luckily, with the help of the Lakeview OB/GYN providers, and a team of specialists at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Libby's babies were all delivered safely and she stayed safe and healthy. The following is a testimonial from Libby describing her experience in her own words.
My Misconception: I Thought All My Pregnancies Would Be the Same
I have to admit I'm not sure how I ended up at Lakeview OB/GYN many years ago. I feel as though I was referred, but none the less it was my first stop when I found out I was pregnant with our first son, Carson. My pregnancy with Carson was very uneventful and the group at Lakeview OB/GYN was great. The pregnancy and delivery went as planned and Dr. Enrique Bedia delivered baby Carson on February 7, 2007.
I thought each pregnancy would be just as easy and that the deliveries would be similar, but as it turns out, they were all very different.
A little over a year after the birth of Carson, I became pregnant again and returned to Lakeview expecting another routine pregnancy. With this pregnancy I felt more ill, but assumed that was just normal.
My Doctors Watched for Symptoms that I Would Have Originally Dismissed
Around my 35th week though, I became very itchy. I was seen by Dr. Barbara Bellaire that week and she mentioned that I should call the office if my hands and feet in particular started to itch. A few days later I found myself itching both hands and feet almost uncontrollably. She had me come in right away to have blood drawn and I was asked to go in to be induced that night. I was so impressed by her thoroughness and that she even mentioned the details of the hands and feet to me. Had she not, I would have dismissed it as a simple pregnancy symptom.
I am so thankful she wasted no time and was very cautious. My blood work came back positive for Cholestasis of pregnancy, which is a condition that causes the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder to be affected by the high amounts of pregnancy hormones, which can lead to still birth past 37 weeks. She had me delivered right away at 36 weeks, and thanks to that detail we had a healthy little boy, Graham on January 14, 2009. We felt so blessed to have doctors that took action and did not leave things to chance, but were proactive to ensure my baby was safe. I knew I was going back to the group for our third baby because they knew my history and I was thankful for the attention to detail.
For my third pregnancy, almost a year and a half after Graham was born, I was watching for the same symptoms of Cholestasis of pregnancy. I asked to have my blood drawn early on to check my levels and the doctors were great about it, they never questioned me. Kristin Little, A.R.N.P. went ahead and drew the blood without hesitation and Dr. Bellaire was great and listened to my fears of having Cholestasis again. Each doctor continued to assure me that they were watching for it and that I need not hesitate if I feel as if I'm itching again. I felt confident that we knew what we were looking for between my instincts and their professional opinion.
Attention to Detail Saved my Life
I was very sick again with my third pregnancy. My whole 31st to 32nd week I was terribly ill and had some itching and decided to call and ask for a blood draw early in the day. Dr. Bellaire saw me first thing that morning and didn't hesitate to draw blood and some tests, even though it was very early for Cholestasis to occur; she did not dismiss my concerns. I went home and got the call later that day to come in because my levels were elevated.
I ended up in the hospital on March 14, with my due date of May 5 still relatively far away. I spent a few days there while the doctors took every precaution to see what was really wrong. Dr. Karen Drake, the high risk doctor and her nurse Ashley were absolutely the best. They were on top of things and noticed my symptoms looked like HELLP, atypical preeclampsia as well as the Cholestasis. I thought I would go home but they kept me, and thankfully so.
In the end, I think I saw almost every doctor on the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines team during my stay, and together they were able to diagnose me. It was decided I needed to deliver the day I turned 33 weeks. They gave me steroid shots to help baby's lungs the couple days leading up to delivery.
I was induced on March 16, and Dr. Diana Kaufman delivered our baby boy, Hayden, on March 17, 2011. The doctors made the right decision based on my blood levels and they saved my life. I'm so thankful for the attention to detail and the time spent to make the right decisions with my input as well as their expertise. While I would have rather kept baby in longer to avoid the NICU, delivering early was the wisest decision. We feel so blessed to be on the other side of things now and are so thankful for medical intervention!
Because Hayden was born early, he had to stay in the Blank Children's Hospital NICU for four weeks. The NICU was a wonderful experience; as good as it can, be that is. Hayden was in great hands and I was on the road to recovery. It was a very scary time, but it all turned out. We couldn't be more thankful!