The Gift of Life

In 2013, I hemorrhaged due to a uterine rupture the day that I gave birth to my daughter.  Over the course of the next couple days, I received 20-something units of blood transfused into my body, while I lay unconscious and on a respirator.  That means the entire supply of blood in my body was replaced a couple of times.

Prior to this incident, I had never donated blood.  In high school at blood drives, I was too young or too small.  I allowed my fear of the needle or the pain to keep me from donating blood.  As I got older, I started having blood work done more often, and no longer feared the needle stick in my arm.  Yet, I still did not donate, fearing that surely a donation would be much more uncomfortable.

After my recovery from my traumatic birth experience, I vowed that I would donate blood every year around my daughter’s birthday in honor of my own life being saved by donated blood.  As the years passed, I tried to go a little more often, usually managing to go about twice a year.  

At the start of 2019, one of my resolutions was to give blood as often as possible.  Since you must wait 8 weeks between whole blood donations, I set the goal to give blood approximately every 9 weeks.  I wrote the dates down on my calendar and do my best to stick to them.

My traditional post-donation selfie from today.

Sometimes I give platelets, which is a bigger ordeal for me.  It usually takes me a couple of hours and the machine beeps at me constantly that my draw pressure is too low.  But they are always asking for platelets, so I try to help out every now and then.

I am a bit ashamed that I avoided donating blood for several years, but I am determined to continue doing it as long as I am healthy and able.  My blood is a precious gift that I can provide. The gift of life. I am grateful that I was saved by modern medicine and the gift of many different people’s blood.  

If you haven’t donated blood in awhile (or ever), maybe take some time out to look up your local blood donor center soon.  Also, make sure that you are registered as an organ donor. You’ve got no reason to hold onto those organs after you are gone, and just think of all the lives you can save!  My dad had a liver transplant just 8-9 months ago and is doing great! Give the gift of life!

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