From Rhogam to Rabies

Today was rather busy, with classes all morning, a big shopping trip to a Target-like store here to stock up this afternoon, followed by a doctor’s appointment for both Leo and I. I was all prepared for Leo to get a vaccine – having been through this before, I bought him a new little toy bus and some mini M&Ms to sweeten the pain of getting a nasty shot (something my parents can tell you I really hated when I was a kid). Happily, his vaccine went off without a hitch while he was happily distracted by his brand new bus and the taste of sugary goodness in his mouth.

However, I was not so lucky. As I was taking care of the paperwork on the front end of our appointment, I noticed the word "Rabies" written at the top of my form. Hmmm, that’s strange, I thought – why "Rabies"? When I called for the appointment, I asked to receive "Rhogam." For those who don’t know, Rhogam is a shot that many women who are Rh Negative (it has to do with blood type) receive during pregnancy to protect their babies from possible complications if they are married to men with Positive blood. JM is positive – so I need this protection with every pregnancy. It is a good thing I really do read every form, and that JM was along for the appointment today (thus playing with Leo, allowing me to read all those forms) – because today, I almost received a Rabies Vaccine. This would not have been a good thing for a pregnant lady who has not recently been bitten by a rabid animal (and who has already been vaccinated anyway).

So, I cleared up that little snafu with the nurse, and asked her to please switch my request to Rhogam. One interesting and little known fact about Chinese people – almost none of them have negative blood; it’s just not in their gene pool. So, none of them need Rhogam – so instead of Rhogam, they heard me ask for Rabies. Understandable, yet it underscores the need to be extremely careful when communicating in a foreign language – we have learned to ask questions twice, and then ask them again in another way to make sure everybody’s clear! I have asked several times whether or not Rhogam is available at the clinic, and the answer was always, "Yes, of course!" So I assumed it would be no problem to come in and get the shot. But the Chinese, "Yes, of course!" is not always as it seems.

The thing I’m left with after today’s appointment is – why didn’t they ask me, as an obviously pregnant lady, WHY I needed the Rabies vaccine just now? It wasn’t my first time to the clinic – they’ve got my history, etc… and yet, they just assumed I knew what I needed. It is a good thing that is mostly the case.

In the end, we did not get Rhogam, because they have to special order it from Hong Kong and it costs a gajillion dollars for one dose. So we’re back to the drawing board to see how to make this work financially. The other fun thing about my blood type – the hospital has to special order blood for me when it’s about time for me to deliver in case I need a transfusion. I happen to be the Universal Donor blood type, but unluckily for me – I can only accept my own kind of blood. Let’s hope I never need a blood transfusion in China!

My doctor, in top form, took one glance at my belly and said, "You look like you are at least 35 weeks along! You’re big!" (I’m 30 weeks.) And then he went on to say, "Maybe you’ve got twins in there!" Ha ha. SOOOOO funny. Hilarious. Can’t stop laughing, I’m sure. I told him not to mess with a pregnant lady because I can’t take the stress right now. So he went on to grab his nurse to commiserate with his opinion that I am really quite huge. She had no choice but to agree with her boss.

So, no rabies (thankfully), no rhogam (too bad), and confirmation that my BIG baby girl is growing strong in my HUGE belly. šŸ™‚

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6 Responses to “From Rhogam to Rabies”


  1. 1 mjfalk November 3, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    If this is a plan to get two parents over there real quick, it just might work, Liz and JM. I am Rh negative and how soon do you need us to be there? Love, Mom

  2. 2 Becca November 4, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Would it be possible (probably not) for you to donate your own blood to have ready for you when you deliver? Just a thought. :o)

    I still think you super cute and NOT HUGE. I think you’re preggers! ;o)

  3. 3 thelocaldialect November 21, 2009 at 3:34 am

    I ordered Rhogam from Hong Kong for my first, who was delivered in Kunming, and it cost about 2000RMB for one dose (I only did the post-birth shot). I believe it is also available at some of the international hospitals in Beijing, at least, this is what I’ve been told. I’m about to give birth to my second and am living in Beijing this time so I can let you know where I find it if you’re interested! Good luck!

  4. 4 I & A February 1, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Hello!

    I live in Beijing and I am type 0, Rh negative, my husband is B plus. Currently, I am pregnant (3rd month), this is my first pregnancy. We are foreigners (East-Southern Europe, Northern Africa). We were searching the right hospital in Beijing to start my check-ups, to chose good doctor and to have delivery there. Six of hospitals (2 with international department) didn’t want to receive me, some of them never heard of Rhogam injection and never had that experience, and naturally they are afraid of responsibility. From that day I am restless and can’t sleep well, that’s not good for my condition.

    In a hospital in Beijing I managed to do my first ultra-sound recently, baby is fine, normal size, heart is beating normally, my blood image is perfect. I didn’t have any problems in first 2 months, no vomiting, just increased appetite. If any of you can help me how to find good hospital and Rhogam in Beijing or China? Please….. Thank you so much
    ps. I don’t want to name the hospitals mentioned above, but if someone has similar experience, i would like to know more details, feel free to write me in ivanap13@yahoo.com. Thanks :)))

    The parents, dissapinted in Chinese health system

  5. 5 Liza September 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Hi guys. I was wondering if any of you can give me an advice on where to get a vaccine in Beijing(now that you’ve done it already and probably can share some useful tips)/ Thanks heaps!

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