I was 10 weeks pregnant with my 5th child when I found out about my anti-D antibodies. Since I am Rh negative I had had the RhoGAM® shot many times before. I was never told that there was a chance the shot could fail so I was shocked at the news that I had developed anti-D antibodies. The doctor also told me my titer was high (1:256) and that this could mean she would need treatment for anemia and probably multiple IUTs during pregnancy. We also found out that her blood type was Rh positive and my husband is homozygous for the RhD antigen.
Every week I was on edge getting the MCA dopplers waiting for her MoM score to rise but it was always around 1.0. My doctor had said there’s a 40% chance she won’t be affected but because of my titers he predicted she would need a couple transfusions in the third trimester. I’m glad he warned me about what could happen so that I was prepared. We made it to 38 weeks and decided to induce labor.
At birth, Elena looked jaundiced and sure enough was Coomb’s positive due to anti-D antibodies in her blood. Her hemoglobin levels were good but her bilirubin shot up during the first 24 hours. It came back down quickly after a night of phototherapy and we were discharged after 48 hours. We decided to see a pediatric hematologist who could confirm she wasn’t at risk for anemia anymore. I wish my healthcare providers hadn’t been so concerned about the high antibody levels because I experienced a lot of stress thinking she would be very sick.
Do you have any advice or encouragement for Rh- families dealing with anti-D antibodies?
I would encourage other parents to take it one week at a time. It is not guaranteed that your baby will need treatment. Try not to stress and worry about treatment until it’s necessary. Also, remember that this condition is treatable and having a healthy baby is a probable outcome.
If you could say something to health care providers everywhere, what would it be?
I would ask providers to educate and inform their patients about RhoGAM®. There’s a lot of misinformation going around the internet now and I want moms to know all the facts about being sensitized.
If you could ask the scientific community to do or to research something, what would it be?
I want more research to be done about preventing anemia from occurring in the womb. Also making a preventative shot for other antibodies would be so helpful.