Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grateful mom and blood recipient

Blood donation saves lives. I know.

I’ve been working with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank and Memorial Blood Center to share my story as a blood recipient when Chisum was born. They did an excellent job recapping my story and really sharing why I’m so grateful for blood donors. Please take a minute to read the story: Kelsey Pope, Grateful mom and blood recipient. image

Many of you have read my blogs about Chisum’s birth story and having an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), but here are the links to the story in four parts: {Part 1} Patience, {Part 2} Strength & Miracles, {Part 3} Meeting Chisum and {Part 4} NICU & Healing.

I haven’t told this part of the story yet, though.

10628521_10101836876132471_8322793121212915884_n Last fall, I was so excited to donate blood again but had to wait until 1 year after Chisum was born. I went into the Nebraska Community Blood Bank the day after Chisum’s first birthday – September 10, 2014. I am alive today because of blood donation and I wanted to start giving back as soon as I could. Before I was pregnant with Chisum, I made blood donation a regular time in my calendar and went as often as I could.

The gals at the NCBB were so friendly and were so excited for me to be giving back to help others after hearing my AFE story. I left the center that day with a refreshed gratitude and praise to God who gave be the ability to be there.

About 10 days later, I received a letter in the mail from the Memorial Blood Center – who partners with NCBB – that my blood tested positive for an anti-Kell antibody and I would no longer be able to donate blood.

My first thought: what is an anti-Kell antibody?

My second thought: surely they just mean I can’t donate for a period of time.

So I called the director at MBC and she explained to me that no, I can never donate again. An anti-Kell antibody means I have an extra antigen in my blood, most likely caused from when my immune system was shocked and shut down with the AFE, then rebooted when I received the blood transfusions (technical info on Kell here). This extra antigen acted as a super protein to fight infection and will stay with me in my blood forever to fight off anything foreign.

It won’t harm me to have it, but it could be an issue if I ever have to have another blood transfusion, or if we decide to have another baby. And my blood could be harmful to others, which is why I cannot donate again.

I got off the phone with the director and felt like a load of bricks knocked me over. Here I was, perfectly healthy (only sleep deprived & exhausted from having a one-year-old boy!), and I wasn’t able to give blood again – something I’ve always been very eager to do and fit into my schedule like clockwork every 6-8 weeks.

I realize that I am so fortunate to be healthy and thriving after all that I went through, but it just hit me hard that here I am, one year after my AFE, thinking that I was all well and ok. But my body isn’t the same. I benefited from blood donors, but never again could I help anyone.

Not to mention that there are so many unknowns about being able to have another baby. Those tears came later when I talked to Ronny about it. But God gave me a peace about this. While many of my friends are going on to have their second or third child, I’m totally at peace with where our family is – even if that means only a family of three. We will see where God takes us in the future.

So there are still so many unknowns and I will be finding a fetal maternal specialist soon to talk about these future issues. But for now, I’m taking comfort in the fact that I can still help with blood donation and be a volunteer to get others to donate, even though I cannot.

Tomorrow is AFE Awareness Day and I’ll have more on my blog about it, but I want to stress today the importance of donating blood. It saved my life and your donation can save someone else’s life.

Please find a location to donate today at:

Nebraska Community Blood Bank

Red Cross Blood Donation

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