One month before Elijah was a year old, I got the news that I was indeed a carrier of severe hemophilia A. (For those who aren't as familiar with hemophilia: It is possible that a hemophiliac is the result of a spontaneous mutation, and did not inherit the gene from a parent.) That was November 2008. In March 2009, we found out that we were expecting #4. Within the next month or two after that, my husband learned that he was losing a huge part of his job that would make it impossible for us to stay in CA. This was a very personal thing, and not just a business downsize. Also, Elijah was one week from his port surgery. I was under extreme stress, and had to choose where my energy would be spent. That was not a hard choice. I had to take care of my family. My husband needed a lot of support, I was growing a baby that needed me, and I was gearing up to hand off my older baby to surgeons. There was no room for anything else. But, still, it didn't make all the other pressure go away. On top of all that, I had to start planning my upcoming birth. We got an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby. It was a boy! I started doing extensive research on hemophilia and childbirth, and was not satisfied with what I found. I'll get into that in another post.
Several facts were in the mix:
1. Our baby had a 50% chance of having severe hemophilia.
2. I had to plan my birth with wisdom in the new knowledge that I may have passed on this gene.
3. I could not base my decision on the success of Elijah's birth, although that did play a part in the decision. All hemophiliacs are not the same, and have different bleeding patterns.
4. Until my third trimester, I did not have any idea where we would be for the birth.
5. We needed to have his blood tested right after his birth.
6. Our son's hematologist recommended that I schedule a c-section. Then, when she could see that I was not welcoming that idea, she recommended a plan B: Have my birth as natural as possible in a hospital where they can do an emergency c-section if needed.
Near the end of my second trimester, my husband was offered a job in NY. He accepted the position, and we had to pack up our house in a week. We decided to drive. After all, when would we ever get the opportunity to drive from CA to NY again?! So, Matt drove the big truck, and I drove the van. Yeah, it was pretty crazy! It was fun though. We made lots of memories. I met with the only licensed midwife in the Buffalo area a couple weeks later. We were planning a homebirth, hoping the local hospital would support running the labs for us (Matt would take the blood to the hospital immediately). In some cases, this does work. However, this time, it did not. Our new pediatric hematologist tried to work out the labs for us, and even an on call emergency transport. However, the hospital would not support this plan. Our midwife, who we loved, could not help us with a homebirth. She was under fire from the hospital, and could only offer to help us with a hospital birth. I was devastated. We met with another midwife, but we couldn't work out the labs. I met with the nurse manager at the hospital. I told her that I wanted a waterbirth. She told me that they did not offer waterbirth, and the room was so small that it just wouldn't work. I was determined to have the most relaxed non-traumatic birth possible even if that meant having my baby at home and compromising the immediate lab work. I was trying to avoid causing my baby a bleed. I would keep him safe!! I met with the perinatologist who asked me about my birth history and what I wanted for this birth. When she heard my reasoning and that my only concern was the safety of my baby, she told me that I should get exact measurements of the birth pool, and get them to the nurse manager. I did, but the NM said there was simply no room. I asked her if we could make room for the pool by moving the bed to the hallway. She said I shouldn't hope for this to be approved, but she would speak to "the powers that be", and get back to me. I again shared my heart for my baby's safety with her. The next morning, I wept tears of joy when the NM called me and told me to order the pool!!