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Great Expectations (But Let Them Finish!)

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 20, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.


I’ve just returned home from running some errands, including buying a pregnancy test. I’m almost certain it will be positive when I take it the next morning. (It’s recommended to take home pregnancy tests first thing in the morning; the hormones the tests detect are more concentrated then). My phone rings and I answer.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hi, I’m calling from the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. Is this [My Name]?”

My heart sinks. You can’t donate blood when you’re pregnant, much less bone marrow. Clearly, I’ve been matched to someone very ill, and I won’t be able to help. I interrupt the caller’s spiel.

Me: *Babbling* “Oh, no! I can’t! I’m probably pregnant. I’m so sorry. It’ll be months before I can donate. I can’t believe the timing—”

Caller: “Ma’am— Ma’am! It’s okay—”

Me: “But I can’t donate, I—”

Caller: Ma’am. You haven’t matched with anyone. I’m just calling to confirm that we have the right contact information in case you are matched.”

Me: “Oh, thank God! Well, the phone number’s right, yes.”

He tells me the rest of the information on file, and I confirm my address and email.

Caller: “When will you find out if you are pregnant?”

Me: “I’m taking a test in the morning.”

Caller: “Best of luck to you! If it’s positive, call us when you can and we’ll put a deferral note on your file. Let us know if you plan to breastfeed; you can’t donate bone marrow while breastfeeding.”

Several months later, my daughter was born healthy, and I sent her cord blood off for stem cell donation. After she was weaned, I had the deferral lifted from my file. I haven’t been called by the bone marrow registry since, but if I am, I’ll let the person on the other end finish talking before I assume anything!

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