Mums celebrating World Blood Donor Day

It’s World blood Donor Day, a day I think we should all celebrate – for after all, giving blood is giving life - but also a day to encourage as many people as possible to become blood donors. After all, it’s something that most of us are able to do with relative ease…

As mums, some of us will have experienced the life-giving nature of blood donations, either at birth or maybe with our children at some point. Here are some stories from the truly wonderful mothers who I am connected to through my pregnancy, postnatal and mummy  fitness – be inspired to become a blood donor…

(or in my case… to start up again as I’ve had a break following a series of failed attempts at getting anything much out of my veins!)

Sarah’s story

Sarah did my postnatal fitness and (for her sins!!) she has since done my MamaHIIT workouts! She keeps us all laughing in class every week – with her wit and humour of course! Here’s her story:

“I had a long but straightforward labour with Daisy - my eldest. She was finally born after 23 hours and just gas and air but before I had even held her they started to try to get me to deliver the placenta. It wasn't coming and before I knew what was going on quite a few people were in the room pulling and tugging (?!) to get the placenta out with no luck. Then I started to bleed out (I start to lose memory here so the rest is courtesy of Tim, my husband) and had to be rushed to theatre. I had lost 5 pints of blood pretty quickly so was taken for a transfusion.

Next I knew I was waking up in the HDU with a new born and a frightened looking husband! The staff were amazing. They had wrapped Daisy in a blanket and were waiting for me to come round before weighing her next to me in bed, putting a nappy on her and then letting her feed. So despite the dramas I didn't miss all those important firsts!

I spent a few days recovering before being sent home and being told to eat plenty of spinach, red meat and perhaps the occasional red wine! The major downside was that we struggled with breastfeeding as I was utterly wiped out right from the word go, so she was a bottle and boob baby as I just couldn't do it all myself.”


Lilianne’s story

Lilianne has recently joined my postnatal classes and – poor thing – she sees my 3 times a week in class but it’s a total pleasure to have her on board. She is so positive, a real get-up-and-go person!  Here’s her story:

“Seven months ago I had twins. The delivery was by caesarean because I had placenta praevia. The surgery went well but a few hours later a series of complications arose leading me to theatre and intensive care. The cause was that I had a hematoma in my abdominal wall from which 4 litres of blood were extracted and in total, before and after surgery, I was transfused with 6.5 litres of blood. Given that each donor provides 500 ml, this means that I have to thank 13 people who saved my life (in addition to the medical team, of course). Thanks to those 13 people this experience has been an anecdote and not a drama for me and my family. I will never know these people who have been so generous to me but because of Jo, I have the opportunity to thank all those who help others selflessly by donating something that cannot be obtained in any other way. Many thanks my friends. P.S. This photo is hanging on the wall of my house and for me it represents the happiness of being together after everything we've been through”

Sandra’s story

Sandra did my pregnancy and postnatal exercise classes a couple of years ago and with her straight talking and tell-it-how-it-is attitude she was great fun to have in class. She also happens to be an award winning newborn baby photographer. Here’s her story:

"When I was told I had Hellp Syndrome at 38 weeks pregnant it didn't really register as anything - I'd never even heard of it! I was told they would induce me straight away but not to panic as the cure for Hellp was to get the baby out and then I should return to normal. I won't detail the next 16 hours but suffice to say I rapidly deteriorated. My liver was super enlarged, my platelets were being squished to mush and I was bleeding out everywhere. After an emergency C-section I was taken straight to intensive care and hooked up to lots of monitors, drips and breathing equipment. I slowly began to improve but my platelets were still an issue. My normal platelet level is 350 but in ICU they dropped to a very dangerous 47. I was given a platelet transfusion which I was told afterwards had been couriered over from Birmingham for me! Platelets have to be donated separately to blood and there are not as many donors so I feel really lucky that they managed to get hold of some so swiftly for me. It made a huge difference and by that evening I was breathing normally, talking and even eating a little. The next day I was allowed out of ICU and transferred to a private room so I could meet and hold my new baby son! I am so grateful to the person who took the time to donate their platelets. I wish I could meet them and just tell them how their donation ensured I could meet my son and become the Mummy I love being now. Thank you to all donors out there, Sandra xxx"

I have to confess that putting together this blog and reading through these 3 stories has brought tears to my eyes. It’s truly moving and has 100% inspired me to get back to donating blood as often as I can. I am going to be getting in touch with the service today. That’s a pledge.

Do you donate blood or platelets?

Will you join as a donor?

Please do share this piece far and wide to help increase the number of donors across the UK and beyond.

Thank you so much everyone,

Jo xx

PS Here’s me with my certificate for having donated 10 times so far!

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