I’ve always known that I have O-negative blood. Yay me (universal donor). Being rhesus negative is not an issue until you are pregnant, and your partner is rhesus positive. I’ll save you the science lesson, but trust me, it’s an issue, and can be a very serious issue.
It’s usually not a situation that’s dealt with until late in the pregnancy (28ish weeks) unless there is a miscarriage or bleeding. When I lost the triplets in Minsk, I didn’t receive the Rhogam shot, as they do things a little differently. By the time we got to Lithuania and finally to the U.S., I had completely forgotten about it.
When I started spotting and bleeding with this pregnancy, I asked the nurse at the fertility clinic about getting a Rhogam shot and she had no clue as to what I was talking about. I mentioned the rhesus factor and she said she would speak with the doctor. Come to find out, it’s called Anti-D here, and the fertility clinic doesn’t have access to it. What???
This was one of the first things I asked my OB about on Wednesday, and yes, he was concerned. The first order of business was to take my blood and make sure that I still had uncontaminated O-negative blood, I do. His receptionist called yesterday to say that my OB had ordered Anti-D for me and that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP to have it administered. The Anti-D is not given by the OB, but in a different department in the hospital. Fine I thought, another chance for me to explore, as I was still rather unsure of the hospital after my experience on Wednesday.
I found my way to the correct department, only to be told to go down another hall to a blue screen, they should have my chart. Okay. I found the blue screen, nobody there. Then I saw a nurse who said I needed to speak to a “midwife”, that she “might” have my chart. Okay. I found the midwife who told me to wait and that she would “deal” with me soon. Thirty minutes of waiting and another patient arrived, in a very similar situation to mine, though she was 28 weeks pregnant. We waited, and waited, and waited. During this time, we saw several nurses cough and sneeze, none of which bothered to use a kleenix, their hand, or wash up with hand-sanitizer. Disturbing doesn’t begin to explain how I felt. Um, it is still flu season, isn’t it. And covering one’s nose and mouth is still a matter of basic courtesy and good public health, isn’t it. The phone conversations I overheard were actually much more troubling. A lot of “it might”, “maybe”, “possibly”, “I think this is the right chart”. Yeah, if you’re talking about giving a patient Anti-D, you “might” want to know for sure that you have the correct patient, the correct lab results, and the correct chart.
The other patient and I were eventually (two hours later) escorted from the nursing phone bank area to another department upstairs. I wish I could tell you that it was cleaner and more modern, I can’t. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally another nurse came to tell us that the printer in the lab had broken and that for the past several hours, they had been trying to fix it. Since we’d been waiting for almost three hours by then, they had decided to hand write the orders. Fine. And we waited. Forty-five minutes later two doses of Anti-D arrived in the unit. I was led into a dimly lit room and the shot was administered. Why the nurse didn’t want a light on is beyond me, but whatever, it’s done.
I have another appointment at the hospital on Tuesday, so I’ll have the opportunity to see more of it. I’m hoping that I’ll finally see some modern equipment and possibly cleaner facilities, but I’m not holding my breath.