Eight years ago today, I married my best friend. Yes, today is our 8th wedding anniversary, and it’s the first one that we’ve spent apart (of many now, I’m guessing). I can’t believe it’s been 8 years! But it almost feels like longer. In that time span, we’ve endured his 2nd Iraq deployment, started college, had a baby, finished college, we’re expecting another baby, and now moved on to the next chapter with the Army. Crazy. I wonder where we’ll be 8 years from now?
Anyhow, I really wish we could go to The Pasta Tree together tonight. But you know what? I’m totally fine. That’s part of why I love him so much…we can be individuals and live our lives, but just share it together. I don’t feel incomplete without him. That said, I do miss him oodles when he’s gone. Like, a lot. Did I mention he graduates from Basic in less than 2 weeks?! Then I’ll be able to talk to him every day! Yay! It has been hard not having him here throughout this difficult pregnancy, even just to talk to.
Speaking of which, I met with Hepatology Specialists last Friday because the specialists at the high-risk clinic were “stumped” and had no idea how to give me any relief from the itching. Even more concerning, my bile acid levels (as a result of my liver not working properly during pregnancy) are still maintaining levels 5x normal, even with medication. My blood is a toxic soup. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, ICP carries a much higher risk of stilbirth, and those darn bile acids are exactly why: severely high bile acids>fetal distress>first poo in-utero>respiratory distress>”fetal demise” as a result of inhaling poo or infection from poo. Yeah. Not cool.
It’s times like these that I feel SO fortunate to be in Madison, with one of the top-5 medical research universities in the country at my disposal. The specialists, both professors at the University, encouraged me to undergo weekly “Plasmapheresis,” basically a plasma transfusion. They replace my plasma with donor plasma in a process similar to dialysis, thereby removing all the toxins from my blood (including those nasty bile acids). They explained that the benefits are two-fold: 1) the miserable itching should lessen, and 2) the bile acids will decrease and it will be better for Baby Boy. They have never done it before for Cholestasis of Pregnancy, but considering the severity of my condition they highly recommended it.
It sounded like a win-win, even though the thought of it made me uncomfortable…I hate even taking Tylenol during pregnancy, much less having some one else’s plasma in my body. Anyway. I had my first appointment at 9am today (that was fast!). I may have cried a little. I don’t even know why. Hormones? I guess it’s just that kind of thing that I wish Jon was here for. But it was relatively painless (except that damn IV in my hand) and took 2 hours. They swapped out 3L of my acid-infested plasma, and I took a nap. I’m still a little itchy, but not nearly as severe. The attending doc said that they have used the procedure before to alleviate itching in patients with liver failure, but never ICP. He said it can take up to a couple days, or even one more session for full relief. But most importantly, Baby Boy in no longer bathing in my toxic blood. So that’s good. Below you can see my nasty yellowish-green plasma in the bag above the monitor. Grosssssssssssss. But overall, I feel very happy that I did it, because I was definitely on the fence. As long Baby Boy he gets here okay, the itching will stop and all will be right in the world. *sigh* 9 more weeks…