“Hi, this is ….” I listened intently to the voicemail I already knew was from my OB’s office from the caller ID on my phone. She mentions needing to talk about the results to my bloodwork, drawn two days before and ends with “we’ll call the other number you have on file.”
Immediately tears begin to fill my eyes. I hurriedly called back, hoping to reach them before they reached my husband on his cell phone, the other number on file, knowing it would throw him into even more of a panic than I was already in. I knew what was wrong. I knew where this call was going.
Despite being 26 weeks pregnant, my spidey-mom senses had kicked into full swing when the lab tech called the day before asking me when and where I had received my Rhogam shot. She rephrased the question to ask again when I replied that I hadn’t.
Something’s not right. I’m supposed to get a call from the hospital. She’s the one who told me that. Why is she calling and asking me when and where I got the Rhogam shot?
They connected me with the nurse midwife who had left the message and she began to explain the things that Dr. Google had told me the night before. “You have already created antibodies … anemia … risk of hydrops …. can cause organ failure … brain damage.”
She went on to explain that they were making me an appointment with a high risk doctor (can we please call them something less menacing??) and they can monitor the situation.
I felt helpless. My body was supposed to be nourishing my child. Supposed to be a safe place. Instead, it was now a dangerous place for him or her. My body was hurting my baby. I felt betrayed. I was failing my child before he or she even entered the world. I was terrified.
Just one week later – a year ago today – was that first appointment with the high risk doctor, the next step in our isoimmunization journey due to Rh sensitization/maternal alloimmunization. (In a nutshell … at some point in the pregnancy, the baby’s blood [Rh+] had mixed with mine [Rh-], and my Rh- blood had recognized this as foreign and created antibodies to the baby’s blood, putting the baby at risk for anemia.)
They brought us back and the sonographer did the ultrasound, taking measurements (the baby weighed in around 3 pounds!), explaining what we were seeing amongst the indistinguishable shapes on the screen.
And then they flipped to the 3-D imaging. I teared up as I saw the face of my baby for the first time. While I was still nervous, seeing this sweet little face (which they so kindly let me do every week) gave me some peace as we ventured forward in our journey.
What a difference a year makes.
Our son is now a happy, healthy 10-month old who battles bedtimes, enjoys snacks and loves our dog.
I share this post to help the next mom who consults Dr. Google to find the support that helped me through my pregnancy (and some that have come about since).
I was introduced to this community through a blog written by a mother with anti-Kell (a different antibody that impacts unborn babies in the same way). The community was a powerful resource to help me understand and prepare for everything throughout our journey. They’ve been an extra resource when the internet only provides the worst case scenario (and trust me, that is far from the normal scenario in an appropriately monitored pregnancy!)
ISO Moms Facebook Group (private group for sensitized moms)