2 minute readBlood

Mom Paid it Forward as Blood Donor Years Before Needing Lifesaving Transfusions

Joanna Suprock received 16 units of blood, 10 units of plasma and four units of platelets. 

Joanna Suprock with her family.

A mother’s love is often considered to be at the apex of affection and selfless care. When Joanna Suprock shares her pregnancy journey and birthing story, she expresses how her baby’s health was paramountHer own well-being was an afterthought, even when being rushed into the operating room immediately following the delivery of her now 10 month-old-son EdgarLast July, euphoria quickly turned into an emergency need for 16 units of blood, 10 units of plasma and four units of platelets after parts of her placenta had remained attached to the uterine wall during delivery 

Joanna had never required blood products with her previous deliveries and thought she knew what to expect, but this time she could feel a big difference. “I’d been through this two other times, and I [knew] what kind of pain to expect, what was normal. I didn’t have any epidural, so I could feel everything, but with the contractions and pushing and everything, it was the most painful thing I had ever experienced,” said Suprock. Later it was confirmed that she had placenta accreta, where the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall and makes childbirth more painful; causing severe blood loss after delivery.  

After Years of Paying it Forward, Mom Receives Lifesaving Blood  

Joanna during pregnancy.

For years Joanna has been a blood donor—giving close to one and a half gallons of blood—to help those in need. She never thought she would be one of those patients in need. However, her recent experience provides a new perspective. “You know it’s a good thing to do, but you don’t understand how meaningful and how helpful it is to someone that really needs it in an emergency. I’m very grateful because I wouldn’t be here if that blood wasn’t available. I don’t think I was really in the position where I could wait to get blood. If there wasn’t enough blood there for me, I don’t think I would’ve been saved,” assured Suprock.  

Blood Products Help to Give Life and Save Lives During Birth 

Joanna holding her baby boy.

Over the last decade, the percentage of women who need a lifesaving blood transfusion around the time they give birth has increased by 183 percent. According to Dr. Jennifer Andrews, a pediatric hematologist and one of the medical directors at the Vanderbilt blood bank, recalls how childbirth can create a need for multiple blood products in large quantities. “After a woman delivers a baby, she’ll have such severe bleeding that won’t stop when she’s delivering the placenta. These otherwise healthy young women, who are just delivering healthy babies, need massive amounts of blood products very quickly. So they’ll often use hundreds of units of red blood cells, perhaps hundreds of units of fresh, frozen plasma, perhaps tens of units of platelets, and then also cryoprecipitate.”  

In lieu of gifts and flowers this Mother’s Day, please consider donating blood in honor of a mom in your life. Type O negative is the universal blood type. It can be used in transfusions for any blood type, which is why it’s used so often for trauma patients. Type O positive blood is also critical in emergency care, as it can be given to over 80% of the population. Both types are in high demand and often short supply.

Help make a difference for a patient, a mom, or a family in need by scheduling a donation appointment today at RedCrossBlood.org, using the Blood Donor App or Amazon’s Alexa by saying, “Alexa, find a blood drive.” To speed up the donation process, complete RapidPass online health history questionnaire at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass, on mobile devices and through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.