Blog: Path of my Life
by Karlin

Rh Incompatibility in the 1950s - Long Term Consequences

Rh Incompatiblity in the 1950s was mostly untreated - were there long term consequences in cases from back then?

Date:   4/27/2013 1:47:14 AM   ( 9 y ) ... viewed 13475 times

 

   It was only recently that I was reminded of this matter at my birth, but I cannot help but wonder if it has something to do with my chronic pain condition, and other problems I have had all my life.


 Mother-Foetus Rh Incompatibility

  - The Long Term Complications?

   I will spare you the details of "how what why and who" concerning " Mother-Foetus Rh Incompatibility" except to say that it is a potentially harmful, even deadly, complication of pregnancy arising when the Mother's blood is Rh-,  the Father's blood is Rh+,  and the foetus is Rh+.  It is considered the most serious blood disorder in pregnancy.

   Because their blood mixes and circulates through the mother and the foetus as one, the mother's immune system can substitute for the undeveloped foetal immune system - Mother's  immune system protects the foetus.

   However, due to the fact that the Mother's blood is Rh- and Baby's blood is Rh+, that protection becomes "a deadly irony" because her "Rh- oriented immune system" attacks Rh+ blood... the foetus has Rh+ blood.

   As I am sure that you see, that's not a good thing for the foetus.

   What happens is that the foetal red blood cells "explode" and there are then fewer of them to carry oxygen to the foetal brain. Also, there is a lot of "waste product" from the dead red blood cells and the foetal liver becomes overloaded [hence, jaundice].


 What I Really Want to Say


   The issue I want to raise here is about THE OLDER cases of "Mother-Foetus Rh Incompatibility"- the ones before the 1970s, for example. {search "when tests...etc]

   That was before medical science discovered the tests and therapies they have now. The attention paid to "Rh incompatible newborns" shows just how serious a problem it is - but that severity was not recognized in "years long gone by".

    In the "olden days", Rh incompatible babies were simply given a VISUAL once-over and if the newborn "didn't look so bad" they were considered 100% okay and sent home with Mother.

    The more seriously affected Rh incompatible newborns were given a blood transfusion immediately. They were kept under watch for a few days and sent home.

   Basically, if the Rh Incompatible babies survived, they were considered 100% okay.

   They were NOT 100% okay!! Foetus' do not endure months of attacks on it's blood without some consequences. I am sure they just used to ignore it because there was nothing that could be done about it, before or after the damage occurred. We think differently now - it might be very helpful to know why we are having problems.

   We need to realize that there are a lot of people over the age of 40 that were affected by this condition, affected in ways that have never been acknowledged.

   To suffer from something like brain damage and not know it is to invite critical analysis that condemns us a lazy, or fakes. To know our deficiencies and limitations helps to guide us to the best life possible under the circumstances. I have often felt "misunderstood" - haven't you?



------



   They say that 1 in 1000 Americans are born with this condition today - a ratio that has stayed steady for a long time. An estimated 15% of the population is Rh-, half of them are females, and they are the ones who could end up with an Rh incompatible pregnancy.

   My mother was among them, an Rh- female who married an Rh+ male. They were lucky in that their first three children were not affected, but the fourth one was, but once again fortunate, that fourth child had a more-or-less normal appearance at birth and therefore was DE CLAREd to be "only mildly affected".

  I was, as you may have guessed, that fourth child.

  I had a cousin, born shortly after I was born. We both had this Rh problem. Neither of us received a blood transfusion despite having at least some visible signs of it at birth....

  He died, I survived.

 

  Consequences?

  I have been living with a chronic pain condition for 25 years, perhaps longer but that is how long it has been severe enough to disable me. I cannot work anymore.

   There has never been a satisfactory explanation given as to WHY this happened, or to WHAT it is exactly. Names such as "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", "Fibromyalgia", "He is Faking", and many other names have been tossed out, but these are all just insultingly simplified and impersonal.

   I also had what they called "growing pains" when I was in my early teens. I would writhe in pain at times [but not when anyone could see me, that teen ego eh?].

  All through school I had a lot of difficulty with concentration and handwriting and hearing problems and coordination. They might call me "learning disabled" today, but back then it was just always report cards that said  "he could do better if only he applied himself more" and "do you want me to take my belt off?" [no, not a sexua| thing!! - just for whippings].

  I have long complained about not being able to "talk about serious matters" because I am forever saying things that I don't mean to say - something about "losing the words and substitutions with whatever words I can find" - typical of a damaged brain.

  It was only recently that I was reminded of this matter at my birth, the Rh Incompatibility, and I cannot help but wonder if it has something to do with my chronic pain condition, and other problems I have had for most of my life.

 

   I hope to hear from you if you were "an Rh baby" and especially if you can relate to the types of life-long problems we may be suffering as a consequence.



* I included some NOTES  below about types of damage that could result from Rh Incompatibility.


   But first, I can't let you go without telling you about my "sibling rivalry" -



 "Sibling Rivalry"

   The way this problem begins is that the previous Rh+ child born to that mother "sensitizes" her to the Rh+ blood and mother begins to make antibodies against this foreign invader, and it is those antibodies that cause the foetus the problem [because they are antibodies against his Rh+ blood].

   That would be my older brother who sensitized my mother to Rh+ blood; it was HE who started her production of antibodies that attacked my blood in utero.

  Therefore I like to joke that MY BROTHER TRIED TO KILL ME before I was even born!!

   Talk about a serious sibling rivalry eh?? LOL.



=============================== NOTES:


  The potential damage from low oxygen or the liver problem is wide ranging, but some specific consequences have been identified including:

  Short term memory problems

  An increased risk of Schizophrenia

 
Specifically with the liver problem, a "deposition of bilirubin into the basal ganglia" can cause:

   Encephalopathy, athetoid cerebral palsy, and sensorineural deafness and vision problems.
  {Note - "Sensorineural" deafness and vision problems are where the ears and eyes themselves work just fine, but the brain does not process the nerve signals from the ears and eyes properly}


  As for the diminished oxygen, I am assuming that the foetus would endure some similar problems as general oxygen deprivation cases do:

Cognitive Problems from oxygen deprivation:


   Short-term memory loss

    Poorer performance in executive functions. The executive functions include judgment making, reasoning, and processing information. The person with HAI may become impulsive and indecisive. He or she may lack the ability to concentrate or to focus on more than one task.

    Anomia. This term means having difficulty using words or processing what words mean. The right word may not be remembered or a word may be placed out of context. Sometimes the opposite word is used; for example, a person wanting to say “sunny” may say “cloudy” instead. Common words may not be understood.

    Visual disturbances. The person with HAI may have trouble processing visual information.


Physical Problems from oxygen deprivation:


    A lack of coordination. This is called ataxia. The person’s gait may be wobbly; they may weave or stagger like someone who has had too much alcohol.

    An inability to do common tasks. This is known as apraxia. The person may be unable to remember the sequence of common tasks like brushing the hair or drinking from a cup.

    Movement disorders. The person may experience spasticity, rigidity, and myoclonus (muscle spasms). The patient may have involuntary movements, jerky movements, or trembling.

    Quadriparesis. The person may experience weakness in all four limbs.

    Headaches. Anoxic brain injury can also cause confusion, depression, hallucinations, delusions, personality changes (such as increased irritability), and the inability to concentrate.


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Comments (25 of 240):
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