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This Mom Complained on Facebook — and It Saved Her Unborn Baby

Jenn is perhaps best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Breed ‘Em and Weep (2005-2012). She’s written for many magazines, newspapers and websites, including Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama, and The Boston Globe. Jenn’...

A mom's itchiness turned out to be something much more serious

We all have that Facebook friend who posts about every paper cut and stomach ailment that comes along. For the love of God, just shut up already, Mary Sue. But the moral of this story? Complain away on Facebook — and pay attention to your friends' complaints — because it might just save a life.

Pregnant Christina DePino in Michigan posted to friends on Facebook that she was feeling unbearably itchy. The itchiness started when the first-time mom was about 35 weeks along, and it was particularly horrible on her hands and feet.

”What had started as an all-over itch started to become more pronounced on the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet,” DePino said in an interview on Today. “It got to the point that I could no longer sleep at night… my arms and legs were bleeding from all the scratching.”

More: Mom whose baby was stillborn makes a difference for other grieving parents

DePino's friends immediately told her something wasn't right. They encouraged her to tell her obstetrician about the itching — and one particularly smart friend suggested she might have cholestasis, a condition where the gallbladder malfunctions, allowing toxins to build up in the bloodstream. Those toxins are harmless to a pregnant woman (aside from making her crazy from all the itching and scratching), but the same toxins can cause stillbirth should they pass through the placenta. Yikes.

Fortunately DePino's doctor took her concerns seriously and ran tests, which confirmed that she was suffering from intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. (Just when you thought you'd already heard of all the horrible things that can happen when you're pregnant.)

DePino was induced at 37 weeks to save her baby, a girl. The close call scared the hell out of DePino, and she posted to Facebook about her experience:

“What if I had not complained on Facebook? What if no one had told me? All I could think was that I had to let other women know. I didn’t want any of them to wonder what had happened to their perfectly healthy baby.” 

More: This mom lost her baby to intrahepatic cholestasis when her doctor refused to listen

Her post went viral — and nobody's complaining that she was complaining. So the next time you find yourself rolling your eyes at your friend's latest symptom, pause mid-eye roll and consider. It might just be worth a second read and a chat with your friend.

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