Krista’s Cholestasis Birth Story


Day 3 of my week of Birth Stories to celebrate the National Improving Birth Rally (held yearly on Labor Day).

Don’t worry if you missed any, you can always check them out here:

Elliana’s Home Birth Story

Why I Care About Improving Birth + My 2 Birth Stories

"Real Birth Stories" "Birth of a baby" 'birth story"

Today Krista shares her scary journey with an unexpected induction turned Csection due to Cholestasis.  Thankfully regardless of not getting the birth she wanted, she had a happy ended with a beautiful baby!  No matter how a baby comes into this world, all birth matters.

Below is Krista’s Birth Story.

I had an entirely too easy pregnancy, but I did start to notice some mild itchiness around 20 weeks. My midwife tested me for cholestasis at that point, but I did not have it. So I went along in my easy pregnancy, happy but itchy. She decided to recheck my levels at 37 weeks, just in case. At 38 weeks and one day, she called me to tell me that I had developed cholestasis of pregnancy, and my baby was now at risk of stillbirth.

"Birth Story" "Cholestatis of Pregnancy" "Induction turned C/Section"

The worst word you could ever say to a pregnant woman (in my opinion) is “stillbirth”. I had never said it aloud, like saying it could make it happen. But I thought about it at times during my pregnancy, because I’m paranoid in an awful way. So when she says I must be induced immediately, of course I started to cry.

Did I mention this was my husband’s birthday and he had plans to go to a STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF GAME!? Yep. I had to ruin that for him because my stupid body couldn’t handle HCG. So we head to the hospital, and they started me on cytotec, orally every 6 hours.

The whole time I kept telling my husband I did not want a c section. I kept reading birth stories online where the woman had a c section, and I told my husband all of my plans to avoid that. I took the cytotec every 6 hours, then every 4 hours, but a day passed with no progress. I wasn’t dilated or effaced, even though the cytotec had caused mild contractions. So, they attempted to do a membrane sweep. She couldn’t do it, so she tried to insert a foley bulb. That wouldn’t go in, I was literally NOT dilated, at all. That was not only a very uncomfortable experience, it also ended up having no benefit.

It had been a full day, and I was worried that whole time that she would die inside of me. You can’t tell a pregnant woman she is at risk of having a stillborn baby and expect her not to be in a panicked state until the baby is born safely. So, they started me on pitocin. Part of me was saying, no, that will lead to a c section, but the more logical part of me said yes, do whatever, and just get her out. I was on pitocin for an entire day, and ended up ½ of a cm dilated. Yep. That’s it. But at least I was now dilated enough to insert a foley bulb!

They put that in and immediately my contractions got worse. I also had my bloody show. I started walking more and faster! Lots of squats too, I was a motivated woman! I was so sure that my more serious contractions meant I had to be moving closer towards a vaginal birth. They checked me 24 hours later. I was no more dilated than when they first inserted it. The most crushing disappointment. 3 days indoors. Is my baby going to survive? Am I going to get out of here, ever? They inserted a second bulb, so that there is a bulb above and below my cervix, squeezing it. As soon as they blew the second one up, I began to have EXTREME contractions, every 3-4 minutes.

Did I want an epidural? Hell no – I read that can increase my chance of a c section! So I cried and walked and bounced and squatted and moaned through them for 6 hours. Then the midwife came in to check on me. I had to be at least at a 3 right? No. Still at a half centimeter. I was sobbing. They called in an OB and he let me know we had to do a c section. They took out the foley bulbs and my contractions stopped right away. Sweet relief, I fell asleep right away.

My husband woke me up an hour later and I was ushered into a surgery room, alone from my husband for the first time in days. I got an epidural, which wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and then my husband was brought in. He sat down by my head and they began with the procedure. How strange it was, I could feel the movement of them inside my body and on my skin, but no pain. They told me she was on her way out and then showed her to me. It was so quick especially compared to the past 4 days.

What a tiny baby, I thought (she was 7.7 – not that small actually!) then – OUCH. Immediately after they pulled her out, my chest and shoulders were screaming with pain. The anesthesiologist gave me something for the pain, which I later found out was morphine.

Because of the morphine, I don’t remember a lot of her first hours. I know I got skin time within minutes, but that I was scared I would drop her. I know she latched on right away. I was just happy it was over, she was safe and perfect and beautiful. I was in the hospital for 4 days during the induction process, and 2 days during the recovery process.

It was not ideal. But I got my ideal perfect daughter out of it. She really is perfect.

"Birth Story" "Cholestasis of Pregnancy" "Induction turned C/Section"

Krista S – Baby Girl Stella

What a beautiful ending and a beautiful family!  Thank you Krista for sharing your birth story.

If you’d like your birth story featured on Our Knight Life please email it to with 1-3 pictures and “Birth Story” in the header.  I watermark the pictures not to claim them as my own, but to protect them on my blog.

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  1. says

    oh my goodness what a roller coaster of emotions to have to go through. I’m so happy that baby Stella was born healthy – and she was a nice size, our daughter was only 6lbs 3oz and she was 9 days overdue!


  2. Kari says

    This made me cry…your opening paragraphs brought back the same panic I felt when I learned that this horrible condition could cause stillbirth to my baby (and i still cringe at the sight/sound of that word). So glad everything worked out well for you – I hope that we both have better experiences next time around! :)


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