I’ve never had an issue with needles or blood tests. In fact I donated blood every year at school when the vans came around. There’s something about giving more than just money, something that is you to an essential cause that feels well, pretty positive. After your first donation here in New Zealand, once you have registered, the Blood Foundation sends you a little card stating your bloody type. Which to be perfectly honest I feel everyone should know, why is this not stamped on your birth certificate? So for the last 10 or so years I have known that my blood type is O Negative.
Being O Negative has of course had a bigger impact for me on donation as currently we are known as the universal blood type! Basically our blood cells can be transfused with any blood type so there is a bigger need for our blood than most.
However! This is not always the best when it comes to pregnancy! Why is it actually, that there are just a whole heap of random things that seem to pop up after you take that positive test that were totally fine and normal beforehand that now slap you in the face with an emergency stop sign. Oh wait. I do know why, it’s that wee seed inside you that grows into a crying watermelon at a ridiculously fast pace! A few days after my blood test, my GP phoned me to advise that I have this thing called Rhesus Negative Factor which means I lack this protein that sits on the surface of most blood cells. Although it’s tricky to confirm, we would be safe to assume at least that baby is RH Positive, as a positive blood type is the most dominate. Also with my partner being AB Positive, it is even more likely the baby will be positive too.
How does this effect things you may ask? Well basically, if my blood comes into contact with the baby’s blood then my immune system would start to produce antibodies against this foreign blood. I would then become RH sensitized and the next time I become pregnant those antibodies would start attacking the new blood straight away. Which could be devastating.
In layman’s terms (and this is how my midwife decided to explain it to be further down the track) imagine my blood cells are just plain old glazed donuts and the baby’s donuts have sprinkles. My donuts are being guarded by little army men ready to attack if any invaders come in. One day something happens and the sprinkled donuts suddenly appear and my little army guys freak out! They’ve never seen sprinkled donuts, poor little guys don’t know what to do, they think the worst and attack the little sprinkled donuts. Thankfully the sprinkled donuts aren’t too badly hurt this time around. But my little army guys start planning and stocking up on better fighting equipment in case of another invasion. All of a sudden they’re fully prepared to extinguish any sprinkled donuts that may show up down the track. Hence, it not being so much of a massive deal in your first pregnancy, the army men are still in training faze ready to evolve for the next pregnancy.
Fortunately, you can avoide becoming RH sensitized by getting an injection of a drug whenever there’s a chance that your blood has been exposed to the baby’s blood. In most cases this isn’t until child birth, however if there is any spotting or bleeding in anyway you should also get the injection just in case! Protect those little sprinkled donuts. I think, from all that awful googling I read, in America most women get the injection either way because for some unknown reason pregnant women are treated like they have some kind of illness. I don’t quite know the details but I think it’s quite unnecessary, there’s no need to push extra needles into a women’s skin if there is actually more need for them.
As you can imagine, finding out that my body may fight off a second baby if left to its own raw devices made my mind go crazy! Was this another sign? Along with the fact I got pregnant so easily after ovulating twice in about three years? To proceed with this beautiful gift? Or was I letting my hippie mind reading way too much into it?