The image to the left is a little doodle I did of myself. The red parts are the parts of me that are currently covered in eczema.
For those who don't know what eczema is, go here for a brief introduction. Be warned, it's gross.
Do you remember my post about pregnancy acne? I stated that my eczema had cleared right up and I was happier than shit. It's time for me to eat my words.
I've had eczema since I was roughly six weeks old. I've been on corticosteriods and a vast number of other prescription creams/ointments/lotions for the past ten years. When it's not treated, I get downright disgusting--if I'm not oozing all over everything, I'm flaking all over everything. I don't have other options, it's either ooze, or flake. If I indulge the urge to scratch, I ooze. If I drive myself crazy by resisting, I dry out completely and flake. It's a no-win situation.
Unfortunately, pregnancy means that I can't slather myself in Clobex, AKA My Very Favorite Drug Ever Aside From Xanax. It's one of the most potent topical steriods available, and it is completely fantastic. It comes in three forms--lotion, shampoo and spray--and I am completely in love with the lotion. The only drawback is that it is difficult to rub on your own back... but hey, that's what the spray is for.
Without my Clobex, I am a worthless husk of a human being. Literally, I am all dried out, like a worthless husk.
The very worst part of all this is the type of eczema I get on my hands. It's called dyshidrosis. It is actually the reason I went to a dermatologist in the first place. I've had to use so many steriods, so frequently, on my hands, that the skin is actually atrophied. The skin on my hands is paper-thin and worthless. If my cat scratches me, it takes roughly 3-4 years to heal completely. My hands look like old-people hands, but it is way better than having them look like zombie hands.
Of course, now I am stuck with zombie hands. They itch. My entire left forearm is one giant rash. It itches, too. And my back itches and my scalp itches and the big patch of eczema on my thigh itches. I would cut off my left arm for some Clobex right about now.
I am trying to tell myself that not giving my baby horrible birth defects or whatever Clobex does to babies is more important than a couple days' worth of lotion.
One of my worst fears is that Pax is going to come out and six weeks into his tiny little life, I'm going to pick him up and discover rashes... rashes that only respond to hydrocortisone. And then, y'know, ten years later, they're only going to respond to Group VI steroids... and then Group V, and then... and then... and then, eventually, he'll end up just like mom and have old-people hands at the age of 20.
We've tried to secure baby items for sensitive skin, just as a precaution. Sensitive skin wipes, Aveeno bath items, organic bedding. We're using cloth diapers to minimize exposure to the chemicals in disposable diapers. I'm worried about what I am going to do about detergent. Laundry detergent is my number one eczema trigger. If it isn't free and clear, hypoallergenic liquid detergent, I break out. I need unscented, liquid fabric softener--dryer sheets leave fibers behind and they make me itch like mad. I dread hotel rooms, because I know they use cheap detergent.
So far, I plan on washing Pax's diapers with Tide powder and the rest of his clothes with my regular detergent and softener (All Free Clear, Ultra Downey Free and Sensitive). I'm a little sad I can't use my All on the diapers, but Tide does make a free and clear powder detergent that I'd like to try out (I've heard good recommendations for Tide powder to keep diapers clean and absorbent).
We'll see how this goes. For now, I'm one itchy mama.