I developed anti-K (Kell) antibodies after a large blood transfusion with my first child. I didn’t find out about my antibodies until 20 weeks into my second pregnancy! Apparently it came up in my blood work with my general practitioner, but I was never advised about it until my hospital appointment with the midwives.
My partner is heterozygous for it so there was a 50/50 chance of my daughter having the K antigen. I live in Queensland Australia and there is a cell free fetal DNA trial going on here, so we were able to participate in that. Our baby was negative, but since it was still technically in the trial phase, it wasn’t officially confirmed until birth.
We drove 5 hours every fortnight for MCA scans. Our health care providers were fantastic. They printed out pics for us at each visit and assured us that our daughter was negative throughout the pregnancy. She was born with nil issues or complications. We remained in hospital to check her bilirubin levels and stayed for two days.
We have decided not to have any more children based on the anti-K antibodies. The pregnancy was very stressful for me also since I was working full time shift work! Having a support network is a must!
What advice would you give to other families dealing with antibodies during their pregnancies?
My advice for other parents dealing with this is to not Google antibodies. I did that after getting a call from the MFM for an appointment not knowing that a referral was already sent by the midwife at our local hospital. I was so upset after reading Dr Google and not knowing what to expect. My mum found the Facebook page and the information there cleared up so much stuff. Take each day as it is.
If you could ask something of the health care providers everywhere, what would it be?
I would appreciate it if there was more readily available information in hospitals about antibodies. My midwife had never come across anti-K antibodies and she had been in for a few years. However, she knew what it was and that a referral had to be sent. It was a shame that it was sent later and not picked up by my GP in my earlier blood work. If my daughter would have been positive it would have caused a few issues prior to me finding out about the antibodies.
If you could ask the scientific community to do or to research something, what would it be?
I would ask the scientists and researchers to do more with the cffDNA trial and to see the test more widely used would be awesome. We consented to have our data used so it can help others.