I had a silent bleed during my first pregnancy. When baby #1 came out, he needed 2 days of phototherapy for high bilirubin levels. They did a bunch of blood tests on the baby and on me, but never explained to me what any of it meant. Looking back, the only info I was given was in small print on my discharge paperwork. It all happened so fast after the blood work that I didn’t know what to do or where to look. For me that gap in education after the first baby, when I was sensitized, was the missing key.
My antibodies showed up at my 30 week blood work with baby #2. My anti-C levels stayed low, but my anti-D levels were up to 256 or around there. At 35 weeks 1 day, the MoM was 1.56, so I was induced that night and delivered at 35 weeks 2 days. My son was Rh negative and had no problems related to the antibodies. He stayed in the level 2 nursery for 22 days due to other preemie problems. He had low oxygen levels for 2 days, sleep apnea, and he was a lazy eater. He went home with an apnea monitor for one month. Today you would never know he was a premie.
Do you have any advice or encouragement for families dealing with HDFN?
For other families, I would say get to a trustworthy MFM. Thankfully I lived an hour from Peoria, IL and Dr. Moni took me in and made me feel comfortable and important. She tried to educate me, but it was so high level it didn’t make sense at the time. She personally called me three days after my last appointment with her to make sure the baby arrived safely and to learn if he was anemic. I really appreciated that.
If you could say something to health care providers everywhere, what would it be?
I wish the doctors would have told me what that meant or given me a brief overview of antibodies and referred me to some type of a counselor who could have educated me on what happened and the future. EVERYTHING I know, less a few minor details, were learned from moms in the support group months after baby #2 was delivered.