How My Baby’s Cord Blood Saved Me From Vampirism

Creative Commons photo by Gigibiru Kukuning.

Look, in case you are wondering, it’s not because I wanted to save my baby’s “cord blood” that I plugged the search term “blood” into I don’t have a baby, and if I did my first act as the world’s crankiest father would be to lecture it on why it should keep its “cord blood” to itself.

In fact, it’s quite possible that my entry represented an impulse in the very furthest reaches of human experience from the breeding impulse, let alone the desire to preserve my baby’s cord blood.

What I was looking for was a far more prosaic thing than saving my own life or the life of a loved one. I wanted, of course, a decent synonym for “blood” so my hardboiled paramilitary splatterpunk apocalyptic deathrock vampire novel could have a title that screams “I’m a vampire novel! Buy me!” without resorting to one of those overused cliches that have signified two-bit one-handed escapism for monster-movie weirdos since long before any bats left any belltowers whatsoever.

Anyway, an advertiser on clearly purchased the search term “blood,” because — I’m just speculating, here, but this is what I think their marketing person must have thought:

“Hey, people searching for ‘blood’ on MUST be pregnant, right? We sell cord blood preservation kits, so if someone searches for ‘blood,’ they’re probably pregnant and would relish future access to life-saving stem cells, yeah? I’m sure they’re NOT just whacked-out urban-commando goth-damaged freakjobs writing blood-soaked vampire pulp but bored to tears with the sickly cliches of 21st-century culture, right? Right? Am I right? Of course I’m right.”

Marketing people talk to themselves a lot. Anyway, apparently the argument held water, which is how I came to know about, the place where you can send away for a kit to save your baby’s “cord blood.”

Why the F*#$@$*!!!! would you want to save your baby’s cord blood? The answer is a simple and weighty “Life. Life itself, my friend.” And no, it’s not the same reason you’d want to eat your baby’s placenta; that’s a whole ‘nother thing entirely. It seems blood from the umbilical cord carries, you know, life-saving stem cells or something, as explained (vaguely) on the landing page:

Nothing is more important than protecting your family. Although your loved ones will never be immune from accidents or illness, you can have greater peace of mind by banking your baby’s unique cord blood stem cells. Cord blood has been saving lives for decades. Today, it is used to treat many life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia and other cancers.

The photo they chose to illustrate this inspiring and informative statement? It’s this ragamuffin on the right. Is it just me, or is the way Baby Cord Blood is looking down sort of reminiscent of horror-movie dismay? Your uniqueness will be added to our own, kid. Your cord blood will be assimilated.

Incidentally: For the record,, there is one thing more important than protecting my family, and that’s finding a title for this goddamned vampire novel.

But wait, why would I want to do that when I can instead kill time by educating myself about saving my baby’s cord blood, in case I ever have a baby:

Stem cells have the power to save and change lives

Stem cells are the body’s “master cells” because they are the building blocks of organ tissue, blood, and the immune system. Stem cells from bone marrow were first used to regenerate blood and immune cells for patients who had received chemotherapy for cancer. In the late 1980s, doctors started using cord blood stem cells to treat diseases that had previously been treated with bone marrow transplantation. Today, cord blood stem cells are successfully being used and saving many lives. And they are also being researched in an exciting new area of medicine called regenerative medicine, where scientists are using cord blood stem cells in experimental treatments for brain injury and juvenile diabetes.

If you’re really smart, you can save not only your baby’s cord blood, but her or his cord tissue, which gives yourself two, two, two ways to save yourself and your family in the event of a life-threatening disease that responds to stem cell therapy.

In case you’re not convinced by all the touchy-feely language, check out the list of diseases stem cell therapy may treat — including autoimmune diseases, blood and solid-tumor cancers as well as other blood diseases including sickle-cell anemia and some metabolic disorders. If you’ve got a child with juvenile diabetes or cerebral palsy, or have a traumatic brain injury or anoxic brain inury, you can fill out a form to be contacted about enrolling in upcoming clinical trials for therapies to treat those conditions.

And if you’re the sort of person who watches these things, you can watch the inspiring video about “Keegan,” who was saved by his brother’s stem cells.

If you’d like a synonym for blood to use as a title on your superviolent cyberpunk vampire novel, though, you’re pretty much screwed.

My next strategy is to find a good synonym for “Night,” “Darkness,” “Kiss,” “Taste,” or “Bite.” Should be easy as postpartum placenta pie, right?

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