Friday, March 1, 2013

My Flesh and Blood

At a recent appointment with my doctor she told me the results of the routine pregnancy blood tests that were taken in November. The only thing of note was that I have a negative blood type, and she seemed to be genuinely surprised and interested in sharing this tidbit of information with me. She went on to tell me that in people of European descent about 10% of the population have a negative blood type, while in Japan about half a percent of the population has a negative blood type. We have a Japanese friend here who is AB- and he had to bank a supply of his own blood before a recent surgery. Let's just hope I am not needing any organ donations or transfusions while we're here!

My blood type was not news to me by any means, since I donated blood regularly while a student in university. Mostly because, though not insanely rare, my blood type is only shared by 3% of Canadians and can be donated to anyone with A or AB +/- blood (sorry all you O's and B's, you're out of luck). For both of my previous pregnancies I received a shot at 28 weeks to prevent my body from attacking the baby's blood if it were Rh positive. In the case of Theo, who turned out to be A- like me, it wasn't actually necessary. For William, who is A+ like Dustin, I had to receive an additional shot within the first 72 hours of his birth.

The creepiest part of this drawing are the little Pacmans
eating away at the + sign...

It is amazing how little affect my blood type has on my pregnancies due this wonderful medication. It must have been quite tragic for women back in the days before blood type had been identified and the Rho(D) immune globulin shot was created. My grandmother on my father's side, who must have also been Rh- but lived at a time when doctors were still clueless about this, had a child or two that died in early infancy and quite a few stillbirths and never knew why. I actually visited the graveyard once where there was a whole line up their tiny tombstones.

An interesting side note about blood type in Japan is that it is believed to be a personality predictor. This belief is popular enough that my phone has an option to put the astrological sign and blood type of each person in your address book and I noticed that many of the boy's clothing have a tag inside where you can write their name and blood type. If you are interested in what your blood type says about you, here is an article that takes the subject much more seriously than I do.

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