As they celebrated the birth of their first child Dec. 22, 2011, Bryan Roybal noticed his wife, Katy, looked pale.
Hours after giving birth to daughter Jane, Katy Roybal was hemorrhaging.
“It was pretty intense from there,” Bryan Roybal said.
What was left of the new mom’s blood supply was going to her brain and her heart. She needed blood. After using up all the blood products in her blood type, Katy Roybal was transferred to another hospital.
“The baby was fine. The next day, after birth, Katy was taken to another hospital and Jane had to stay at the original hospital where she was born. Myself and our families were going back and forth to both hospitals,” Bryan Roybal said.
Katy Roybal hemorrhaged a second time and had an emergency hysterectomy that saved her life.
She was given 22 units of blood plus platelets.
“I really hate to think about it, what would have happened if there hadn’t been blood there. I just can’t go there,” she said.
The two-week period after Christmas is the time the Oklahoma Blood Institute has a higher risk for a blood shortage statewide, OBI spokeswoman Leslie Gamble said.
“People, just like Katy Roybal, need blood 365 days a year. They don’t know what to expect. It’s not something that can be preplanned in most cases,” Gamble said.
OBI needs an average of 700 blood donations a day to meet the demand of the 140 medical facilities it serves in Oklahoma and to maintain a three-day supply of blood, Gamble said.
To prevent blood shortages, blood drives are scheduled after Christmas, including one sponsored by the Oklahoma City Thunder, she said.
“The Thunder knows our predicament. They step up on this day. This is the fifth year that they have done it, and it’s smack in the middle of the holidays,” Gamble said.
The Thunder-sponsored blood drive will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at four locations.
Donors will receive a free Thunder blood donor T-shirt and a chance to win a pair of lower level tickets to a home game.
“This year, I gave blood for the first time and survived. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I plan on giving regularly now,” Bryan Roybal said. “It would almost seem ridiculous to, at this point, to not give.”
Katy and Bryan Roybal said they are celebrating Jane’s first birthday with two parties — one in Edmond and one in New Mexico with Bryan’s family.
“Thank you to all the people that give blood. You have made us a family,” Katy Roybal said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for OBI and for other organizations like it. It’s so important. If you can do it (give blood), you should.”