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R to the H to the negative

Written by: Tracy December 02 2011 Long before the days of Edward Cullen, blood was a topic of conversation in my house. I am pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always been a little fascinated by blood types. Why do we all have different ones and how does it...

Written by: Tracy

Long before the days of Edward Cullen, blood was a topic of conversation in my house. I am pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always been a little fascinated by blood types. Why do we all have different ones and how does it all work in the big scheme of things? This blood type thing is even more interesting to me now than ever before.

My blood type just so happens to be A negative and Brack's is O positive. This can add up to a big uh-oh when it comes to pregnancy. Braxton can either inherit an RH-negative from me or an RH-positive blood type from his dad. If he inherits Brack’s positive, then problems can arise when my negative blood causes my body to create antibodies against my positive baby. (Usually a mom and baby’s blood systems remain separate, but sometimes in the case of blood transfusion, miscarriage, abortion, ectopic pregnancy and certain procedures like amniocentesis or CVS, or at the time of delivery, the blood of the mother and baby can mix, causing the RH sensitization.)

Glad to be born after 1937 (when scientists connected the dots of the RH factor’s role in pregnancy), I have never been more grateful for medical advancements. RH- negative women with positive babies used to have to deal with miscarriages, infant anemia and even hemolytic disease without ever knowing what was going on in their bodies. Thankfully, for us, there is a little drug named Rhogam (Rh immunoglobulin, RhIg) that was developed to help. This powerhouse of a protector aids our bodies by minimizing our reaction to positive red cells. If you're open and honest about all medical history with your doctor in the first trimester, Rh sensitization can almost always be prevented or treated. Good to know.

So all of that handy info brings me to my blog for today. I had to get my Rhogam shot last week and it was actually, surprisingly, no big deal at all. I usually don’t get nervous about going to my OB/GYN (besides that time when we found out Braxton was indeed a little man) but when I woke up on the morning of my appointment, I found constant dread surrounding the word INJECTION. It’s not like I’ve never had a shot before but for some reason, on that sleepy, chilly morning, I was not excited about any type of needle piercing my epidermis.

Once we arrived at my appointment, though, I was feeling much better. It was nice to know that I was going to be providing my body and baby with a dose of protection against any possible hazards. The first step was to enter the dreaded blood-sucking chair. You know the one of which I speak; the one where countless tubes of blood have been drawn for analysis. To my delight, I had a new blood guy that was amazing at drawing blood. Seriously, he was hands-down the Michael Phelps of blood work. I didn’t feel a thing. Just like that, he was off with my blood for my antibody screen.

Next it was to the exam room where my INJECTION would take place. I was extremely calm by this point and wasn’t even nervous about the shot at all. In came my nurse (She’s always sweet, fun and calm and I adore her) with the needle. I pulled my shirt over my arm (just like I had done a few weeks prior for my flu shot). “Nope,” she said. “This one is in your hip.”

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Okay, that might be too strong of a reaction but the thought that this needle was going where it was going made me have a flashback. When I was a sophomore in college, I had to get a cortisone shot in my hip due to an allergic (

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