I try to see life through a colourful glass with a hint of rainbow dust and Macarenas on ice.
True, it is not always possible as you know- life happens, but nevertheless, I would describe myself as a positive kinda person.
You can therefore imagine my utter surprise, when I received a phone call- one weekday morning which crushed my ‘self-image’ to the core.
The exact words, which I shall never forget, were:
“ did you know that you are negative?”
I suddenly felt a bit like someone had just told me that unicorns never existed or that I could never ever pick up a pair of knitting needles again.I was puzzled and then remembered to swallow the piece of jam croissant which I had happily shoved into my apparently not so positively happy face a few seconds ago.
Rhesus negative?- so what exactly does this mean?
Every human has a specific blood type ( A, B,AB and O- literally missed opportunity here ABC!) but there is another factor called either D-Type or Rh- factor which according to the informative leaflet I received in the post, is a protein (D-antigen)found on our red blood cells- well that is if you are positive.
How does it affect you?
I cannot say that it ever affected me and from the information I got online, there wasn’t really much to worry about. Some forums even suggested that this blood type was rather special (apparently only found in something like 15%-plus minus- of the population in Britain) and made someone more resistant to certain diseases and viruses, some even used the word Royal blood- oh check me out.
Rhesus negative during pregnancy
If I could have chosen NOT to be special at any time it would have been this moment. It turns out that being Rhesus negative blood could cause some serious trouble during pregnancy.
If a Rhesus negative woman carries a child that is Rhesus positive there is a chance of the woman’s immune system developing antibodies as the unborn child is seen as an “ intruder”.
This so called “sensitisation” only takes place when the mothers and babies blood meet (mainly during child birth but it can also happen, when the mother has any abdominal injuries or bleeding). Once this happens, there is a chance that the mothers immune system attacks the babies red blood cells, which can then lead to anemia, jaundice and in severe cases even blindless, deafness, brain damage and stillbirths.
It needs to be added that as sensitisation mostly happens during birth, the first child is normally ok. The trouble starts if you are having a 2nd, which will then come into immediate contact with the already existing antibodies of the mother.
By the way:
If your baby is negative and you are either negative or positive there are no risks of any of these Rhesus shenanigans happening, but of course, I had to be special- blimey!
I was about to burst into tears when I received some happy news- the magic anti-D immunoglobulin, which neutralises any Rhesus positive antigens. This injection is mainly offered in the 3rd trimester (starting from around 28 weeks) as it is possible at this stage that small amounts of the babies’ blood enter the mothers blood stream. However they will also hook you up, if you had any injuries or bleedings before then.
At that very moment, I realised why I had just received this phone call: As I was over 12 weeks pregnant and had some bleeding the day before there was now a risk of my body going berserk.
Before the nurse could confirm the time of my appointment, I had already said yes and packed my imaginary hospital bag. Tomorrow was the day when I would see our baby for the very first time and get that magic potion- and I was determined that NOTHING was going to cloud my excitement.
I might have a negative DNA component but my positive attitude was here to stay
“You hear me Rhesus?”