Real Life

Woman thanks blood donors who saved her after traumatic childbirth

This World Blood Donor Day, we speak to Alisha Keoghan, 32, who was given a blood transfusion after the traumatic delivery of her first son.

Alisha Keoghan has always given blood. “It’s just something everyone did at high school” says the mum of two.
“I’ve always sort of been fascinated by the whole process and liked the idea of helping others.”
But little did Alisha know, years later someone else’s decision to donate would be saving her, after complications following childbirth.
In 2011, Alisha gave birth to her first son in Waitakere Hospital, West Auckland. But after an incredibly short labour, the 32-year-old experienced a post-partum haemorrhage.
“I was in pretty bad shape. I passed out three times after the birth – I was losing a lot of blood - and the final time my husband Dane had to lift me back onto the bed.
Alisha in Waitakere Hospital following the birth
“I don’t think I knew how bad things were, but I remember him being really scared. After I passed out he squeezed me and said: ‘Don’t f** die Alisha. Open your eyes!’
“After that everything got quite dramatic, I couldn’t be moved from the Birthing Suite and the doctors starting talking to me about a transfusion.”
As Alisha had always given blood, she says she wasn’t worried about receiving blood from a donor. But her husband was scared about her contracting something through the transfusion.
“I know the New Zealand Blood Service test that blood extensively, so there was nothing to worry about,” she says confidently.
And after receiving three units of blood, Alisha was finally strong enough to hold her baby for the first time.
“My recovery would have been much slower if I hadn’t had the transfusion because I would have had to build my own reserves back up. This way I bounced back far quicker and could go home and tackle new motherhood.”
And the mum of two says her experience has made her even more passionate about giving blood, adding that she was overwhelmed with emotion when she made her first donation following her two children this year.
“You have to be a giver and a receiver in these situations. I feel really emotional knowing that the blood I have donated over the years had potentially saved someone else’s life - and grateful for the stranger's who have helped me."
June 14th is World Blood Donor Day, the NZ Blood Service app is now available for download by searching for NZ Blood Service Donor app on your iPhone or Android mobile device.