Before Sept. 30, the only thing expectant mom Celina Martinez knew about umbilical cord blood was that it was expensive to privately bank it – too expensive. “I knew I couldn’t afford it, so I didn’t think much about it,” she said.
When Martinez arrived at TMC in labor and settled into her delivery room, in walked cord blood consenter Ali Baker. “She told me that my son’s cord blood can help someone in need, and that if my son ever needed it, he could have it back if it was still available. So I figured why not? Otherwise, it was going to end up in the garbage,” said Martinez.
Baby Jayden Antonio Martinez was born at 4:24 pm, 7 pounds, 3 ounces. After he was delivered, his umbilical cord was clamped and cut. The remaining blood was drained out of it. Martinez didn’t notice a thing. “I was too busy looking at the baby to even realize they were collecting it. It didn’t hurt me or my baby,” she said.
Jayden is one of the first TMC babies to participate in the hospital’s new public donation program, the only hospital in Southern Arizona that’s part of the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program, administered by the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission . “I think it’s great that TMC has this program. If your baby’s blood can help someone in need instead of being thrown away, then why not participate?” said Martinez.
Proud grandma Sandra Martinez teared up while holding her new grandson, just thinking of the possibilities. “It’s wonderful to know that he may be able to help out someone else who is sick and may not have much time left to live. None of us know what’s going to happen to our children or grandchildren down the line. It’s comforting to know that if his blood makes it to the national registry and he needs it in the future, he can have it back if it’s available,” she said.
New mom Celina smiles at the thought of telling baby Jayden about his birthday. “When my son gets older, I can’t wait to tell him – hey, you may have saved a life just by being born.”
To learn more about the importance of cord blood donation, please visit SavetheCordFoundation.org.