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Dance2Donate - Princess' blood transfusion story

Updated: Apr 8



DANCE2DONATE

Dance2Donate is our 2024 campaign inviting 15 donors of Black heritage to donate blood at least once this year.




Performing at Bristol Afrofest 2022

Who can donate blood?

Why the need for more black donors?

Why donate blood?

Click here to follow NHSBT guidelines:




What about the dancing?
Catch Princess LIVE on stage at the AfroFest in Bristol, United Kingdom on Saturday the 15th June 2024. You won't want to miss this - bring your dancing shoes!

 

TRANSFUSION STORY

Well, what can I say? I would argue that this story began many, many years ago. Thousands, certainly. For the sake of this report, we will begin in the year 2018.

It was the middle of May, spring was springing and the buzz crosspollinating in the United Kingdom media clung to the imminent, wedding between Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex [Prince Henry of Wales], and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.

Waiting for baby's arrival in Spring 2018
It was the Friday before the royal wedding and I was 42 weeks pregnant, hobbling around the maternity ward of my local hospital with many emotions, stories, ideas, and nothingness going through my heart and mind. The drive there was fine, My husband was cool and excited and cracked all the good jokes as we drove into the risen sun's blinding fluorescent rays. Our toddler was sleeping at home with my Mother-in-Law who had come to stay with us for a couple of weeks (the MIL, not the toddler). It was a good previous few days of filling lunches and long naps for me while they (my daughter and MIL) went off to the park or local play group.

Back to the hospital; I walked around the lobby, not really waiting or wanting to be assigned a bed, I felt calm and pretty. "Mrs Green?" , called a friendly voice and suddenly, things felt like they were now in motion.
I was led to my assigned bed that was in a large room dotted with expectant mothers. It was a standard hospital bed which was partitioned from the rest by a white curtain that separated me from an empty bed on one side and a mom-to-be on the other. Waiting on the bed certainly felt closer to 'the time', changing my thoughts to what I ought to expect. My pre-labour imagination was aplomb, allowing plump buds of innocence and curiosity of the moment. This entire experience was vastly unique from when I had my first child. Above all, really, I was excited that we were about to meet our son.

It is a curious thing how so many things are happening around us, or about to happen, and as humans, we are oblivious to the activity. That Friday I was certain I would walk into my delivery room, play my meditation-cum-frolicking in the fields music, crouch to the floor and deliver my child as per my birth plan. Now, before you chuckle at the idea of sticking to a birth plan, let's be clear: I get that they are a simply a guide. A physical wish for a metaphysical experience, if you wish. “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs".

So, many hours into the day, and not according to the typed, printed and in a folder plan, there was no natural sign of our baby being ready to be born; The nurses began to prepare my husband and I for me to be induced.

An induced labour is one that's started artificially. It's common for labour to be induced if your baby is overdue or there's any risk to you or your baby's health. Induction will be offered if you do not go into labour naturally by 41 weeks.
[source: NHS website]

After a long and complicated labour, I unapologetically implored that the midwives administered pain relief stronger than the gas and air (that I think suppresses the memory afterward rather than decrease the pain in the present). As calmly as I could, I affirmed an epidural. For an added sprinkle of intervention, the medical professionals turned to forceps to assist the hours long procedure where behold, the next morning, my gorgeous baby boy was delivered!
It was another 3.5 hours before I held him in my arms but he was safe with my husband. I couldn't wait to get up and go to nurse him in the recovery bay, stroking his little fingers and 'booping' his nose.

Instead, I bled briskly, losing over 3ltrs of blood in the surgery room. The team of medical professionals managed to stop the bleeding eventually and long (long) story short, I ultimately had to receive cell and blood transfusions in the hours that followed.

After a day or so of silent pondering on the past 48-hours events, quiet attempts at deciphering the 'missing pieces' of 'information' from the nights before, and as a result of lacking a reasonable amount of formal maternal medical knowledge, I had very little answers. I had very few questions.
I started to feel the pain in my body each day now that my medication doses were decreasing in intensity and frequency. To divert my attention from the increased discomfort paired with the dissatisfaction of not being at home, I spent time mentally listing and digitally documenting 'good things' to help me feel good. The detailed concept of a blood transfusion was foreign to me before this experience so there was very little that my overwhelmed brain could churn out regarding the topic. I am not sure that I had even clocked the 'life saving' realisation until a while later. I did shyly think that I would donate blood when I was back in good health and settled at home.
“When this is over, I’m going to donate blood!” I boldly said to my midwife during one of our conversations as she checked my obs. To my surprise, she responded with, “Unfortunately once you receive blood, you cannot donate it.”
I did not know this. Shyly, again, I returned to my pondering and deciphering. There was a lot to learn, and importantly, there was something that I needed to do.

I whispered a short prayer for the person who donated their blood, and thanked them, wishing them well, wherever they were; and whatever they were doing.

Giving blood saves lives. The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments.[NHSBT]



While nursing our new born on the ward, and trying to get a view of the crisp air on bright green leaves that had expanded their territory against the grey brown buildings over the years, I was met with wads of medical forms to review, documents to sign and important post natal conversations that required my participation. There were invitations from University student doctors to participate in research and offers from professional photographers to capture 'the moment'. It wasn't that bad... One midwife told me she had 7 children: some natural, some caesarean and 2 by VBAC. She breastfed them all and had a list of at home remedies for various things that needed to recover at the tip of her tongue - and fingers, which counted them out on out of habit. She listed what worked and what was worth trying despite her not having personal success. A bedside postpartum fairy godmother. Leaving her cape with her seven proud cubs at home, she glides into large hospitals sprinkling hazel-witch-care-knowledge on every maternity ward...I can see it now.

A very hungry caterpillar at home
The trauma of my experience and the journey to healing from it inspired me take on and lead life-fuelling, purpose-driven opportunities. Now, I am dancing more intentionally and less cautiously!
It. feels. so. good.
So I am carrying that feel good feeling with me in situations to add value. In this case, as I Dance2Donate! The vision here is that 45 lives are saved or improved across hospital [maternity] wards in the UK - and that those lives go on to live fully!
I will be dancing to the fullest.

(....Oh yes, and about the royal wedding:
I delivered our boy on the day of the wedding and only came to realise what day it was because I kept being asked by bedside visitors if I had named him 'Harry'! I think it was visitor number 3 who brought me up to speed).
 

DANCE2DONATE

I cannot donate, but I can dance. We all can (dance)! - but that is a title for another post.

We're inviting 15 donors of Black heritage to donate blood at least once this year [2024]. Be part of the Dance2Donate Campaign!





Who can donate blood?
Anybody that is eligible to donate blood is welcome to pledge and 'follow the story'.
15 donors = 45 lives saved or improved!

What about the dancing?
Princess - LIVE on stage at AfroFest in Bristol, United Kingdom on Saturday the 15th June 2024.

PHOTO GALLERY with PAINTINGS


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