Donated blood makes difference for mum

By Martin Johnston

Trisha Makene and son Te Ahi know  how crucial donated blood is after Ms Makene lost about 80 per cent of her blood while giving birth. Photo / NZME
Trisha Makene and son Te Ahi know how crucial donated blood is after Ms Makene lost about 80 per cent of her blood while giving birth. Photo / NZME


Northland woman Trisha Makene experienced a premonition before her third baby was born.

Because of this, Te Ahi was delivered at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland, rather than at the Botany primary maternity unit.

"I was meant to be at the maternity unit but something just said 'Go to the hospital', something in my head," Ms Makene recalls.

"I told my husband [Mike], 'Take me to the hospital'."

The pregnancy was straightforward and so was the birth, but things quickly unravelled.

"Everything seemed fine. Ten minutes later I started haemorrhaging quite badly. I lost around 80 per cent of my blood. I started seizuring as well - my body was going into shock.

"They fixed the haemorrhaging. They had to give me blood transfusions. I had to have two bags."

Ms Makene says she can't remember much about the emergency, but she does recall feeling "so much better" after the second bag of blood had drained into her body.

"You can feel the blood going into your veins, it's definitely a difference in your energy and being more alert after the second bag. I have never been so close to death like that before. It was pretty scary."

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She never received clear answers on the reasons for her severe bleeding, but understands it may have been related to having a large baby - Te Ahi was more than 10 pounds (4.5kg).

Ms Makene, 32, of Umawera at the head of the Hokianga Harbour in the Far North, is mother to five children aged 8 months to 13 years and also serves as a St John volunteer.

Te Ahi was born in 2010.

Ms Makene became a regular blood donor while she was at high school but is not permitted to donate at present.

"I have looked into it and I don't think I would be eligible. I fell pregnant again, so it went out the window. I really wanted to give some bone marrow or plasma."

The Blood Service's eligibility criteria exclude women from being donors during pregnancy and for up to nine months after birth, or longer if the woman is breastfeeding beyond then.

Having received a blood transfusion is another reason for deferral of donation, for a year, although people who received transfusions in the UK, Ireland or France in 1980 or later are permanently excluded.

Ms Makene encourages people to look into become a blood donor. "You never know when you are going to need it."

How to donate

Visit the NZ Blood Service website for a list of donor sites and to see whether you are eligible

- NZ Herald

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