Blood. It’s an essential part of the body, a must-have to survive. It’s something I never thought twice about until I gave birth to my triplets. Sure, I lost blood when I accidentally cut myself in the kitchen or when I scraped my knee as a child, but I was never at risk of anything major, so my body healed and I was as good as new. But these days, my family refers to blood as a “superhuman power”; a gift of life we were so grateful to have received.
Two years ago, I went into labor more than 17 weeks premature. My first child Abigail, passed away shortly after birth. My two surviving triplets were whisked away to the NICU, with several doctors and nurses surrounding their tiny one pound bodies. As they were fighting for their lives, a medical team was fighting for mine. My body went into septic shock and I went into surgery. I am here today, thanks in part to the liters of blood I received through a transfusion. Little did I know, my survivors would be in need of blood down the road.
When the doctor first told my husband and me that our children needed blood, it honestly didn’t make me panic. My children were 22 weekers, not even considered viable by most hospitals in the United States. So, the fact that they survived outside of the womb was a miracle in itself. And with the micro-preemie territory, came a lot of health complications. We were in survival mode, with doctors treating my children on a minute-by-minute basis. But as the weeks passed by, and my children needed more and more blood, it had me concerned. Why did they need several transfusions? Was it safe to get a strangers blood? In short, my children needed blood to survive. They suffered from a number of issues ranging from anemia to apnea, so a transfusion was part of the routine. And the more I talked to the NICU doctors, the more I learned how common and safe blood transfusions are for micro preemies. It was a little extra oomph, perking up their bodies and their health.
After nearly two months in the NICU, my son Parker passed away. And while we deal with the heartache more than two years later, we can rest easy knowing our doctors did everything they could. Those blood transfusions, in part, helped him survive for as long as he did. Thanks to the generous donation of a stranger, we were given 55 precious days with our son. And at two years old, our lone survivor, Peyton, is thriving. Her health issues have dwindled and she’s a happy, rambunctious toddler who keeps us on our toes.
As I look back at those NICU days, I think of our children’s strength. Throughout the roller coaster ride, our one stability was the gift of blood. Each transfusion made an instant difference, giving our babies another day of life. And because it made such a difference in my family’s life, we have chosen to give back to others. Every year on our son’s “angelversary”, we have decided to donate blood. It’s an easy way to help others and it’s a life-saving gift we can give in honor of our two angels. While we don’t know who will end up with our blood, we know that super human power will make a difference for someone, much like it did for us.