In early 2015, Megan became pregnant with her fourth child. Right away, there were problems related to Megan’s rare blood type. Megan’s first three pregnancies were relatively normal, but with this pregnancy, her antibodies immediately began to interfere with her unborn baby’s ability to multiply red blood cells. It’s a condition known as hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn, caused by a mismatch between the antigens ofthe mother and fetus.
Via ultrasound, doctors determined that Megan’s baby would need several blood transfusions to treat the anemia. "He was transfused at 29 weeks, 31 weeks, and again at 33 weeks," says Megan. "I had my blood stored because of my rare blood type, and a donor who was a close match to me gave blood for us. Another donor came from Wisconsin to donate two units of blood."
The blood was transfused through Megan’s stomach and into her baby’s umbilical cord. Mother and baby were closely monitored after each transfusion. And then, on December 21, 2015, baby Blake arrived healthy—albeit five weeks early.
If not for the strong support from her husband Jim, family, and friends, Megan isn’t sure she could have weathered such a "stressful and sometimes scary" pregnancy. And she hasn’t forgotten the kindness of strangers. "Without those donors, my unborn son Blake could have easily died," she says. "I can’t even explain how important it is to donate blood, and I urge people to please give because their blood could save multiple lives."
To read more stories like this, visit the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program's Blog Page.