Before I had my first son Eoin in October 2000 I would have always given blood. Everything went well with the pregnancy and he was born a week early. When I went back to donate in 2002 I got a letter to say my blood couldn’t be used as I now had Rhesus antibodies; I was devastated, I loved giving blood. It wasn’t till I was pregnant with my second son in 2004 that the doctors were keeping a good eye on my liver functions but the pregnancy went well until 33 weeks when I hadn’t had as much movement from the baby. I went to my doctors on the Tuesday morning and was rushed to Craigavon where I was told the baby was in danger and I had an emergency c-section. Our beautiful boy Rian was born but he was so so sick, his bloods were so low and his organs were damaged due to being so anaemic; he died 2 hours later.
When we met with doctors a few months later they said any further pregnancy would be very dangerous but of course I went on ahead and got pregnant in 2005. All of my care was in the Royal under a specialist team who kept a very close eye on me. At 20 weeks I was rushed to Glasgow for an intrauterine transfusion as the baby was becoming anaemic; the baby got blood through the cord. They don’t do the procedure over here.
I had to go over every 2 weeks for the procedure and at 34 weeks I got the 8th one. The next week my son Joe was born by c-section; he was rushed to neo-natal where he spent 8 days. He was well monitored on discharge and he received 2 top up transfusions at 6 and 9 weeks. He is now 12 and has never looked back. A lot of my family and friends started to give blood from this.
In 2008 I got pregnant again and again my care was through the Royal. This time things were going a bit smoother, I didn’t need to go to Glasgow until 24 weeks when the baby needed a transfusion. I got 5 in total this time and at 33 weeks my son Jack was born. Again he was rushed to the neo-natal unit. He spent 14 days in Belfast and 3 in Craigavon before he could home again. He was the same as Joe and needed 2 top up transfusions at 6 and 10 weeks, he is now a healthy 9 year old.
I really thought that was me, I had now had 3 c-sections and 3 healthy boys at home but I always longed for a girl and in 2015 I became pregnant again. This time all my care was in the Royal but the baby was anaemic a lot earlier. I had to go for my 1st intrauterine transfusion at 19 weeks and the baby was so badly anaemic I had to go back the next week as well. I had 5 in total and at 26 weeks my waters broke. So I had to stay in the Royal on full bed rest for as long as I could but the baby started to become slowly anaemic. I was due to go to Glasgow again at 28 weeks but I couldn’t fly and I was rushed for an emergency c-section. My little girl Jessie was born weighing 2lb 14oz, I didn’t even get to see her, she was rushed away to ICU and got a lot of medical attention and transfusions. It was the next day before I got to see her, she was so so tiny, she had to go for an operation at 3 days old and had a gastrostomy tube fitted as her oesophagus was formed. She was very sick and in total had another 5 transfusions. At 8 weeks she got her tube removed and was allowed a bottle, a happy day all around. She spent 5 weeks in the Royal and a further 5.5 in Craigavon neo-natal before she got to come home and meet her brothers and family.
We can never thank the people enough who donate at all the sessions because really without them my 3 kids would not be here today, forever grateful. Many of our family and friends donate because they know the true meaning of it to us.