Thank you to those who donate blood & why it’s so important

**This is a collaborative post**

There are so many things we take for granted on a daily basis, I am guilty of taking far too much for granted. When I went into labour with Emmy I had a birthing plan all drawn up ready: a water birth with only gas and air and very minimal intervention.

As we know, life very rarely goes to plan and I went 14 days overdue, was very swollen and was rushed through to the delivery ward waving goodbye to the birthing suite which I managed to only be in for 10 minutes. My birthing pool was glimpsed without ever having the chance to even dip a toe into – and Paul was majorly annoyed off as the birthing suite had a full sized bed in for him to sleep in, he certainly would have appreciated that after my 36-hour labour.

Quickly realising my birthing plan had changed so very much, I did agree to an epidural and boy am I glad I did. I was so tired by that time I actually then managed to sleep for a few hours through my contractions which were every 2 minutes. Nearing hour 34 and discovering I still was only 2 cm’s dilated took its toll on us all. I was fed up, very sore and uncomfortable and the words cesarian section was first mentioned.

I was then checked again 2 hours later, no progress had been made, I was worn out and my baby was showing signs of distress, it was then confirmed I would have an emergency c-section. I text my parents to let them know and when they phoned less than 5 minutes later I was unable to answer the call as I was already on my way into the theatre. It all happened so fast. No time to panic, ask questions or anything really, it still remains a blur of activity.

As my epidural had already been topped it there wasn’t much preparation needed, Paul was gowned up while I was already on the table. The rest I don’t really remember, I could feel tugging and pulling where they were operating on me, Emmy was lifted up high above the screen for me to see then Paul cut the cord. He went with the nurses while they cleaned her a little and weighed her and I was left holding the hand of a nurse shaking. Emmy was carried over to my head where I cuddled her the best I could while being unable to move, kissed her before Paul and her were ushed into another room so he could dress her.

Time from that moment on disappeared, I have no memory of blacking out, shaking uncontrollably and not being very with it. I had lost a lot of blood during the operation and in the time Paul was dressing and bonding with our newborn I was on the table being given a blood transfusion, blissfully unaware that anything was wrong. It wasn’t until I was later in recovery with Emmy firmly latched on having a mammoth feed that I found out.

I am glad I was unaware really as panic may have set in, but I was always in very good and capable hands and will be eternally gratefully to those wonderful ladies and gentlemen who take time out of their busy schedules to donate blood so that is is there when it is needed the most.

Most people, myself included, don’t think about needing blood and it is only in those times of emergency do we begin to put a little more thought into it. What happens if there isn’t enough blood available in these times of crisis? Where has this blood come from? Who do I thank?

Of course, we never know who’s blood we are actually given so we are unable to thank then but those who do donate blood now often receive a message to say which hospital it has arrived at.

There are different types of blood: A, B, O & AB, and those are again separated down further into Rh-positive or Rh-negative, giving us eight blood types in total.

In the UK we have stocks or blood reserves set aside at hospitals for patients in need, there are four separate blood groups and stocks of each are required for patients.  You can read more about why blood donation is so very important here.

I would personally like to say a huge Thank You to those people who selflessly take 15-20 minutes out of their days to help save the lives of strangers, without you I may not be here to be retelling  Emmy’s birth story with you.

Another way of storing blood for a later date includes stem cell storage, one way to do this is by storing your babies umbilical cord. By doing so this blood and tissue could be used at a later date should your child become poorly. A cord blood stem cell transplant can be used to replace diseased cells with healthy new cells, and rebuild an individual’s blood and immune system. More recently, cord blood stem cells have been shown to be able to form other tissues in the body such as nerve and bone cells.

I would love to know if stem cell storage is something you have ever thought about or whether you have even needed a blood transfusion?

5 thoughts on “Thank you to those who donate blood & why it’s so important

  1. I donate blood although at my last Appt the nurse messed up getting the needle in and that was my turn over and done with which I wasn’t very happy about but I am going again in a couple of weeks.

    It must have been very scary for your husband. A similar thing happened to my friend after the birth or her daughter but more complications set in and to cut a long striy short she lost 4 months of her life and nearly 18mths on is only just beginning to walk unaided again.

  2. So glad everything worked out with the birth, although not as you had planned, giving blood is such an easy simple task, but really does save so many lives, I have been fortunate that I have never needed a blood transfusion, all my births were completely straight forward, but I do think the stem cell storage is an amazing idea, it wasn’t available when I had any of my children they had just started talking about it when Viggo was born, but if I had a baby now I would definitely consider it.
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