August 26, 2014

5 Tips for Cord Blood & Cord Tissue Collection

I'm so excited to work in partnership with Cryo-Cell to bring you these 5 tips for cord blood and cord tissue collection.  They are helpful tips for storing your cord blood collection kit and what to do in the hospital.  

As you probably know by now, our highly anticipated arrival has arrived.  The funny thing about childbirth is that it's one of life's (slightly scary) unscheduled surprises.  You know, unless of course it is scheduled in which case it's still exciting and maybe still slightly scary. A few weeks back I told you that we would be banking cord blood and cord tissue with Cryo-Cell.  This was my first time going through the process and while it's pretty straightforward, I've got a few tips for you to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Mommy Testers 5 Tips for cord blood collection, cord blood cord tissue collection, Cryo-Cell collection kit

1) Fill out the paperwork as soon as you get your kit.  

That's right, don't be a procrastinator.  Most banks can't process the cord blood and/or tissue they receive until they have all of your paperwork.  Which makes sense.  Our kit came with paperwork that required me to answer some medical and personal questions, along with a few things for me to sign that reviewed the process, what I would be responsible for and what I could expect from Cryo-Cell.

You'll be assigned a rep who will talk to you over the phone before your kit comes and you can go back to them if you have any questions or concerns like in my case where your due date is approaching  (because you're already procrastinated) and you'd feel better emailing or faxing the documents back to make sure they are on file before you deliver.

2) Store your kit with your hospital bag and be mindful of pets and extreme temperatures.  

First of all, you don't want to forget it at home.  Duh.  Second, you don't want to have to make the old "my dog ate my collection kit" phone call.  Seriously, you just never know what your favorite furball will do.  Charger recently ate Kayla's preschool diploma.  For real.  Fortunately, that was fairly easy to get replaced.  Within your kit, there are things that a pet might smell and be curious about, like the anti-coagulant.  It's better to be safe than sorry. If you do have pets, store your kit with your hospital bag in an elevated location that they can't get to versus on the floor.

Another thing to be mindful of is the temperature of the area in which you are storing your kit.  As much as it may make sense for your trip to the hospital, do not store your kit in your car in the weeks leading up to your delivery.  You'll want to keep it in a cool but not freezing cold place and out of direct sunlight to keep the temperature somewhat consistent.  I found that the top of our changing table was the right place for my stuff, since it was out of reach for Charger and Stella and in an area of Blake's room that didn't get attacked by the strong San Diego sun.

3) Let the admitting nurse know from the start that you will be collecting cord blood.

Hopefully you've had the chance to pre-register at the hospital where you'll be delivering.  This saves you the hassle of having to fill out annoying paperwork as you're battling contractions...because that sounds like fun, right? When you first arrive and get assigned a nurse, let them know that you have a kit and plan to collect cord blood or cord blood and tissue.  

This is super important because they need to draw your blood before you deliver to include with your kit.  A bunch of tests will be done on your blood to check for anything that might affect your baby's cells.  You can probably save yourself a second needle as well by letting them know in advance so when you get your IVput in, they can collect your blood at the same time.  Additionally, your doctor will probably want them to set up the necessary materials to collect the cord blood and cord tissue on the big cart of supplies used during delivery so they are top of mind.  

Mommy Testers 5 Tips for cord blood collection, cord blood cord tissue collection, Cryo-Cell collection kit

4) Make sure your doctor is aware of the specific needs of your collection kit.

Kits from different cord blood banks are slightly different and what they ask of your doctor can vary.  In our kit from Cryo-Cell, there were detailed instructions for Craig and I to read as well as for our doctor to review.  Personally, I would recommend taking the time to read both sets of instructions so you and your partner feel aware of what's being asked of your doctor.  Deliveries can be hectic.  We had our own scare right as I started pushing and Blake's heart rate took a steep dive.  Thank goodness it quickly recovered, or we would have wound up with an emergency C-section.  At that moment, I was freaked out and trying to remain calm and nobody was thinking about a collection kit.

Your doctor's priority (rightfully so/thank goodness) will be safely delivering your baby and making sure you are okay.   If things get hectic, your partner should be the one to make sure that the medical team remembers to collect the cord blood and cord tissue once things seem okay with you and your baby.

5) Put your partner in charge of calling to have your kit picked up

This is a big one.  Like I mentioned, things can get crazy in the delivery room.  You will also be on a euphoric OMG we just had a baby high and/or dealing with the shock and surprise that after a long wait your tiny person is finally here!  And you are responsible for them...forever!  Odds are that everyone will be tired.  Blake arrived after 11pm and I had been up since 3:30am.  Craig and I were both exhausted by the time they finished collecting everything, cleaning up the baby and tending to me.

You'll probably need to contact the medical courier your cord blood bank works with so they can come and pick up the completed kit.  Unless your labor is crazy fast, odds are your partner will have some time on their hands.   I had Craig set an alarm on his phone to go off every hour after we were admitted to the hospital.  This way in the exhaustion and excitement after birth we didn't forget to call the courier. I think it was a smart move and one I would highly recommend to friends.

Mommy Testers 5 Tips for cord blood collection, cord blood cord tissue collection, Cryo-Cell collection kit

Relax and enjoy your new baby.

Okay, who am I kidding?  There probably won't be a lot of relaxing...especially in the hospital!  You know they just need to take your temperature and change that garbage bag at 2am.   However, now you get to enjoy that sweet little baby.  Before we even left the hospital (and we had a short stay there) I received an email from Cryo-Cell letting me know that they had received our collection kit, which I loved.  Peace of mind that nothing got lost in transit.  Now we're just waiting a few weeks to get our certificate and final results from the processing of baby Blake's cells.  

If you want to read more about why we decided that banking cord blood and cord tissue was the right decision for our family, and why I liked Cryo-Cell as a banking option you can take a look here.   You can learn more about the collection process here.  Oh, and here is our little man!

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