Cause baby now we've got bad blood... (sorry, I had to)

Here is what is going on with my pregnancy and Baby Eaton #3:

When we found out Hazel had Coombs Antigen E+ it was not explained to us very well. This is mostly because while Coombs is fairly common, the antigens that caused her particular form of Coombs are not.

Basically, there are blood types that carry certain antigens in them and blood types that do not, this is based on genetics but it can be affected by a blood transfusion (which Gabe hasn't had). Gabe's blood has heterozygus E, e, C, and c type antigens in it, and my blood has developed anti-E and anti-c antibodies.

This wasn't an issue until Hazel's blood entered mine (because of how mild her case was this most likely occurred during the two weeks I was in active labor, but I have had different doctors have different opinions, one specialist believes the issue started earlier and it is why I have had three miscarriages, while others believe that the baby cannot be affected until the second trimester). When that happened my body built up antibodies (the anti-E and anti-c ones) to her blood, started to treat her red blood cells as a disease, attacked and destroyed many of them causing severe jaundice and moderate anemia. Even with those issues she had a minimal hospital stay and is a thriving, happy 1 year-old.

The condition is called "Red Blood Cell Alloimmunization (Isoimmunization)", and even those babies who do have it have an 80% survival rate, chances are baby girl will be just fine. Our biggest concern is the baby developing Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN), which can cause liver damage, heart failure, severe anemia, and rarely (even more rare than this condition) death.

If the antibody levels in my blood reach a certain level  (1:16 , I am currently at 1:4) we will begin weekly sonograms to test for anemia in the baby. If she becomes anemic enough an in utero blood transfusion will occur, or if I am far enough along they will deliver.

Right now, we are planning for a delivery around 34 weeks. She will most likely be delivered in Kansas City because of the possibility of a blood transfusion. This could all change though.

She could be born at 37-38 weeks with a short visit in the NICU like Hazel.

Sometimes I feel like we're on a bomb squad and we know there is a bomb but we have no way of finding it or knowing how big it is, or when/if it will go off. It could be tiny, it could be huge, and we have little to no control over any of it.

For now, we wait. And get monthly sonograms and weekly blood tests, and pray the bomb is a big fat dud.

**If you're pregnant this isn't something to freak out about. If you have had blood work done they have already tested for antibodies in your blood. While similar to the Rh factor this is not the same and there is no shot that can be given. Could a shot be developed? Yes. Why hasn't it been? Money. The condition is rare enough that no one has funded the research for it yet. But hey, any of my PD Bio friends who are interested in furthering the research on it, we would totally let you poke us countless times in the name of research.

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