Due to a blood condition, I will never be allowed donate blood but I’m very supportive of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS). Today is World Blood Donor Day and this week also marks Blood For Life Week (13th-17th of June) and with this in mind, I’ve decided to put together a little post in hope that anyone in a position to donate will consider donating, or will help pass the message on that the IBTS needs your blood.
Some of you may have read my birth story, it’s a funny old tale if I do say so myself. However, it was a very traumatic experience for me. Some bridges have been burned with ‘so called friends’ over how I’ve described my emotional experiences since delivering Kadie, about how ‘over dramatic’ I was, the truth is I had nightmares for weeks after. I’ve yet to pen that part to paper. Kadie’s birth story seems witty and amusing on the outside but that’s the thing, I always try and find the funny in all aspects of life and parenting in general, it’s how I deal with all types of situations.
I have thrombocytopenia. I have it both in and out of pregnancy. I’ve had every test under the sun over the years to see if there is an underlying illness causing my platelets to be abnormal but they’ve all came back clear.
Thrombocytopenia (or low platelets) is a deficiency of platelets in your blood stream. A normal range of platelets is 150,000 to 450,000 per microlitre of circulating blood. They’re colourless blood cells that act to stop bleeding by clumping together and forming little plugs in blood vessel injuries. And other than an infusion of platelets, there is no vitamin or leafy green to up your platelet count, in my opinion. I take vitamins regularly, I eat spinach, beetroot and all the things the internet says will boost my count but in all the years they never have.
During pregnancy, my platelets drop considerably low and I have my blood checked fortnightly, and out of pregnancy, I see a haematologist. You may think I’m a martyr having had three natural pregnancies (not that I would have had a choice on Kadie) but the fact is I’m not allowed an epidural because of my platelets.
When I delivered Kadie that day in my hallway, that moment when the fire woman held her up to untangle her cord, I’d never felt so scared in my life. I could feel gushing. I knew I was bleeding. Joe’s face went from joyful to a pale white. My neighbours began to whisper before my eyes. I thought that was it, I was a goner.
Thankfully I didn’t need a blood transfusion that time but who is to say I won’t on this baby. Statistics say 1 in 4 people will need a blood transfusion at some stage in their lives but a shocking 3% of the eligible population of Ireland are active blood donors.
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service need 3000 donations weekly to maintain a healthy blood supply. They aim to hold a seven-day supply at any one time as blood cannot be frozen and only lasts 35 days. Today the current blood supply in Ireland is 2-8 days for a variation of blood groups. For example, O+ has a two-days supply remaining for whoever needs it, while AB+ has an eight-day supply.
Nobody knows when they may need blood. I know a handful of people who wouldn’t be here today without the generosity of others, and for that, I’m very thankful. If you would like to donate blood you can check your eligibility over on the Irish Blood Transfusion Services website.
You could save someone’s life.