Pregnancy brings to light so many things I never knew about myself. For example, I never knew that I had O – blood type. And more importantly, I never knew that my blood type could potentially harm my baby! At six weeks pregnant a couple new phrases were added to my vocabulary: Rh negative and RhoGAM shot.
A midwife calls me one afternoon and brings to my attention that I have O – blood type, which means that I am Rh negative. If I am carrying an Rh positive baby then my body will treat the baby like a disease and try to fight it. Yeah – creepy. She advises that I make an appointment right away (this afternoon or tomorrow morning) to come into the doctor’s office and get the RhoGAM shot. This shot will stop my body from creating antibodies based on the Rh factor. A lot of medical speak, but basically it translates as follows: I need to get this shot (in my butt – ouch) ASAP to make sure there isn’t any belly matches going on.
After doing a little research on the subject I quickly identify a missing piece to the puzzle that the midwife neglects to tell me. If my husband is also O – then I don’t need the RhoGAM shot. I know… what are the odds that Greg and I happen to have the same blood type, especially since this is one of the more rare blood types. Regardless, I go home that night and tell Greg the whole story and ask whether he knows what blood type he has. He tells me about a blood type activity he did in the 10th grade and recalls joking about being the universal donor (O -), but doesn’t know for sure.
Fast forward to the next morning. The first thing I have to do when I get to the office is get more blood drawn. I’ve become good friends with the phlebotomist at this point after being poked and prodded several times in the past couple weeks. After I explain to her my Rh negative situation, her first response is to ask whether they tested my husband’s blood type yet? Ha! After the blood draw was done I marched right into the small waiting room to wait for my midwife to appear. Please note that today I am seeing a different midwife than the one I spoke to one the phone who prescribed the shot. Once she came into the room I told her that unless my Rh negative status is going to have any immediate harm on my baby then I’d like my husband’s blood type to be tested before we confirm that I need this shot. How did this midwife respond? She asks:
“You could still be pregnant?”
Can you imagine? Who asks that question to an obviously nervous, first-time, crazy pregnant woman? All I could think of was that she knew something I didn’t know. Check my charts for goodness sake! Naturally I respond:
“Last time I checked – yes!”
She proceeds to tell me that normally it’s only after a miscarriage that someone would get the RhoGAM shot so early. And that yes it would be perfectly fine to check my husband’s blood type before making a decision. This story does have a happy ending, because Greg has O – blood type. I fell in love with him even more that day. It’s kind of funny that the last thing I’ve learned about myself is the first sure thing I know about baby Benson: our growing family is going to share the same blood type!