So I’ve tip toed around this subject in previous blog posts and on Facebook for a few weeks. It’s not that I was trying to worry anyone or keep you in suspense, I really just wanted to make sure I had all my facts before I told anyone what was going on. I couldn’t do that until we had a sit down with my Doctor. Originally, I was going to keep this tidbit of information to myself, but my husband quickly made me realize that this is an intricate part of this pregnancy and my goal with this blog is to be honest. So, this post is going to be a long one, and full of information, so I hope your down for a long read.
When we got the call with the results of the chromosomal abnormalities test and the gender, we also learned we are indeed ABO incompatible with this baby. We were ABO incompatible with Mykenzi too, but didn’t know it until she was born.
ABO incompatibility is what happens when the Mother’s blood type and the baby’s blood type are different. Unlike the Rhesus Factor, no shots are given. While ABO incompatibility is common, most times it is rather mild unless the Mother is Blood Type O and the Baby is Type A or B, which is the situation we have found ourselves in. With this type of incompatibility we are at risk for Jaundice, sometimes the Jaundice can be so severe it can cause brain damage. We are at risk for anemia, if severe enough will call for a blood transfusion. And the most severe risk is fetal death. This happens when the Mother and the Baby’s blood combine. The Mother’s O blood deems the baby as a foreign and has antibodies that will cross into the baby’s circulation and break down the baby’s red blood cells. Most times the blood will only cross during miscarriage, trauma, and birth, but can cross for unknown reasons.
Sounds scary enough right? So how did Mykenzi fair? Well, we learned of the incompatibility with Mykenzi because she was jaundice. She was considered mild, so she required no photo-therapy to bring her levels down. Her Coombs test was negative, which meant none of my antibodies had crossed into her bloodstream. Now, days later this test can come back positive, so we had to follow up with her Pediatrician within 24 hours of being discharged from the hospital to have her re-checked. She checked out fine and we went on our merry way and proceeded to get pregnant again. What we didn’t know when we got pregnant again is that my husband’s blood type will always be dominant over mine, meaning our children will always reflect his blood type and we will always battle an ABO incompatibility during pregnancy.
With Mykenzi’s reaction being so mild, we figured we were in the clear with Baby B2, but apparently subsequent pregnancies react worse the more you have. This is because blood can cross during birth. With 15.5 hours of hard labor and a c-section, the chance our blood paths crossed is pretty high, so my body has already built up antibodies against this blood type. These antibodies are strong enough to cross the placental wall and get to the baby before delivery and break down the red blood cells making the risk for jaundice and anemia worse.
So, what does all this mean for us and Baby B2? Well, unfortunately, we won’t know anything until delivery. We’ll keep check of the baby to make sure he’s healthy and growing on track. We got a strong heartbeat at our appointment yesterday, so that was reassuring. The goal is to not freak out for the next 6 months, which is easier said than done. We will have to prepare for a NICU stay. It’s not a guarantee we’ll end up in the NICU, but we shouldn’t be surprised if we do end up in there. My Doctor is confident in my ability to bake a healthy baby, so it really just waiting to see what happens in the delivery room, or operating room in my case. I wanted to attempt a VBAC but the risks are too high, and with this incompatibility I almost feel like it’s safer to have a repeat c-section. So, if you have any extra good ju ju floating around, please send it my way! I’m scared shitless, but am trying to keep my stress levels to a minimum for the next 6 months. I’m trying to remember HE is in control and He has a plan for me and this baby.
Anybody have ABO compatibility where you (the Mother) was type O? Were your subsequent pregnancies worse?