Do you know about Anti-D?

Sav­ing ba­bies re­lies on donors

Central Queensland News - - NEWS - Louise Shan­non

PREG­NANCY – like life – doesn’t al­ways un­furl as you wish.

And Kym­ber­ley Forbes, who en­dured a preg­nancy fraught with angst, knows how it feels when the future of your great­est wish is threat­ened.

Kym­ber­ley, whose young son Lan­don will turn three in a cou­ple of weeks, is grate­ful every day for the many kisses he show­ers her with, and she’s grate­ful for the ex­is­tence of Anti-D, a life­sav­ing in­jec­tion that al­lowed Lan­don to be born happy and well.

This year, last month specif­i­cally, marks 50 years since the first Anti-D in­jec­tions were given to Aus­tralian women, rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing child­birth and gift­ing more than 250,000 moth­ers the hap­pi­ness of bring­ing healthy ba­bies into the world.

Charleville born-andraised Kym­ber­ley said she had her first scan in Roma at 20 weeks preg­nant and found out she was hav­ing a son.

By then she had al­ready en­dured a night­mare of com­pli­ca­tions and a po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic preg­nancy with the lit­tle boy she now de­scribes as “kind-hearted”, and who “tells me I’m beau­ti­ful”.

She had been told while preg­nant that she was car­ry­ing one of an es­ti­mated 5000 ba­bies in Aus­tralia which every year are at risk of de­vel­op­ing a pos­si­bly fatal con­di­tion be­cause of her neg­a­tive blood type.

She had no idea she had a neg­a­tive blood type, nor what it could mean for her baby, un­til her mid­wife ex­plained she would need the med­i­cal miracle of Anti-D in­jec­tions to pro­tect her un­born child from de­vel­op­ing Hae­molytic Dis­ease of the Foe­tus and New­born (HDN).

“I had no idea my baby was at risk, and I was so thank­ful that Anti-D ex­isted – it gave me a sense of se­cu­rity through­out my preg­nancy, which was al­ready a fright­en­ing and chal­leng­ing one,” she said.

“Most women don’t get their first Anti-D in­jec­tion un­til 28 weeks, but in my case I had a drama.

“They told me I was mis­car­ry­ing at eight weeks be­cause of sig­nif­i­cant blood loss.

“They said they thought that was what was hap­pen­ing.

“I was hys­ter­i­cal. I thought that was it.”

As well as be­ing told to rest, Kym­ber­ley was im­me­di­ately given Anti-D.

“As soon as you have any bleed­ing they give you the Anti-D,” she said.

“I kept los­ing blood but it eased off and we never found out why it hap­pened. I got my sec­ond lot of Anti-D at 28 weeks, which is when most women who need it do.

“At 32 weeks I had an­other mishap where I had more bleed­ing and was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal.

“But it eased off and every­thing was fine.

“And they gave me more Anti-D.”

At 34 weeks, Kym­ber­ley had an­other Anti-D dose, and then an­other af­ter she gave birth.

Dur­ing preg­nancy, Kym­ber­ley also suf­fered Sym­ph­ysis pu­bis dys­func­tion.

“It’s where the body forces the pelvic bones to sep­a­rate. It was so dif­fi­cult to walk, even to sleep.”

Be­fore preg­nancy, she had al­ready been through the trauma of strug­gling to con­ceive due to poly­cys­tic ovaries.

“I was just glad I didn’t get morn­ing sick­ness.

“It was a bumpy ride. “I didn’t ac­tu­ally have a 12-week scan, so I was just so re­lieved when Lan­don was born that he was healthy.”

Kim­ber­ley is “so grate­ful” for Anti-D and the plasma donors who make it avail­able for women in her sit­u­a­tion.

“Anti-D has been bril­liant for me. I wouldn’t have my three-year-old stand­ing in front of me if it wasn’t for Anti-D.

“And I couldn’t imag­ine life with­out my son. He is my pride and joy.”

With­out Anti-D, thou­sands of Aus­tralian ba­bies over the past five decades would have been at risk of anaemia, en­larged liver and spleen, brain dam­age, heart fail­ure and death.

As part of its Anti-D cel­e­bra­tions, the Blood Ser­vice is is­su­ing a call for more Aus­tralians to do­nate plasma.

“In Aus­tralia, 17% of all preg­nant women are at risk, yet there are only 130 Aus­tralian donors who pro­vide the plasma es­sen­tial to mak­ing Anti-D,” Blood Ser­vice spokesper­son Jennifer Camp­bell Case said.

“Our grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and new med­i­cal treat­ments made from plasma means de­mand for plasma is ris­ing every year.

“While not ev­ery­one can be an Anti-D donor, every plasma do­na­tion is vi­tal for help­ing treat con­di­tions such haemophilia, can­cer, au­toim­mune dis­or­ders, bleed­ing, as well as burns and im­mu­ni­sa­tions.”

To make an ap­point­ment to do­nate blood or plasma, call 13 14 95 or visit do­nate­blood.com.au.

I had no idea my baby was at risk.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

A MOTHER’S LOVE: Kym­ber­ley Forbes with her son Lan­don.

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