Before my son Campbell was born, my wife and I knew we were in for some difficulties. Having learned my wife had anti-E antibodies late in her pregnancy, we began weekly checks with her specialist and began to understand some of the complications we were facing. After learning of the possibility of an intrauterine transfusion, we started to panic. Ultimately that was avoided and my wife was induced for an early delivery. Campbell spent nearly 2 weeks in the neonatal unit with severe jaundice, but was released from the hospital in a relatively healthy state.
Just a few days after he was home, Campbell appeared lethargic and was not eating. On advice from our family doctor, we took him to the emergency room at which point he was losing colour rapidly. Campbell was not producing red blood cells fast enough and required an emergency transfusion. He was a difficult baby and it took several physicians from various departments 11 tries to get a line in (through his scalp). The transfusion was successful in stabilizing him and almost immediately his colour came back and he began eating again. He spent a couple more days in the NICU to ensure he was stable, though his blood counts were tracking negatively. We were advised that he would require more testing and transfusions. Over the next six months, Campbell received 4 more transfusions until his body built the resources to replenish his red blood cells.
The day after Campbell received his first transfusion, I sneaked out of the hospital to make my first blood donation and have been consistently doing so since. The gift of life from strangers has driven me to advocate for blood donation through volunteering, coordinating group donations, and just encouraging everyone I know to give back for Campbell.