Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why Hemophilia Isn't Stopping Us from Having More Children

Ana 2010

Soon after Matt and I got married, we agreed that we would have as many children as God gave us.  We put our faith in God, trust in Jesus and believe the Bible.  God always refers to children as a positive thing: gift, blessing, treasure, reward, inheritance, etc.  We were both uncomfortable with any form of birth control.  It just didn't seem right to us to try to prevent a possible gift, blessing, treasure, reward, or inheritance that God might have for us.

So, we were very delighted to find out we were expecting our first little blessing right before Thanksgiving, just 5 months after our wedding.  Then, we were filled with grief when we buried that sweet baby just a month later.  I have given birth to 5 healthy babies since then, and I can tell you that the pain of miscarriage is the pain of death.  The pain of birth is life, and so much easier.


Malakai, Eli, Isaiah, and Ana 2011
God filled our hearts with joy once again when we found out our little Isaiah was on the way.  We actually heard his heartbeat on our first baby's due date, an unexpected gift from God.  That day would've been very hard otherwise.  Then, after Isaiah was a year old, my womb was full again.  This time with Ana.  Isaiah got in the pool for her birth.  I caught her myself.  So priceless.  Then, our not so little Elijah came (10lbs 14oz!) less than 2 years later.  His birth was the most spiritual I've ever experienced.  It gives me chills to this day.

It was when Eli was 4 months old that we were introduced to the world of hemophilia.  He had a couple hematomas along his waistline.  Blood tests showed that he had less than 1% of factor 8, severe hemophilia A.  A few months after that, I was tested.  I thought he probably had a spontaneous mutation.  I didn't have any family history of hemophilia at all.  Well, I remember getting that call like it was yesterday.  The test came back, and I was a carrier.  My heart sank.  Was this my fault?  Could I have more children in good conscience now? What does this mean for my home births? All these questions and more weighed me down immediately.

Our family of 7 with Matt's Mom and Grandma 2011
We reexamined our original decision:  We trust that God would give us as many children as we should have, and He would give us the specific children we should have.  Had all that changed since hemophilia?  The truth was that if it had changed, then we'd never truly believed it.

So, we stuck to our plan.  A few months later, we were blessed again.  This time, birth planning was a lot different.  We chose to get an ultrasound to find out if the baby was a girl or a boy:  BOY.  Then, we started interviewing midwives.  It definitely puts a twist in the interview when you mention, "Oh, by the way, our baby has a 50% chance of having a severe bleeding disorder. . . "  It wasn't so easy finding a caregiver this time.

Then, my husband lost his job, and we moved clear across the country from California to New York where he got a new job.  Homebirth just wasn't working out this time, but we had a great midwife who had privileges at the Women's and Children's Hospital.  I insisted on a water birth to give my baby the most gentle birth I could.  They'd never had a water birth, but in the end, they approved my request.  We used our pool, and they moved the bed out to make room for it.  Malakai was born, making hospital history!  His cord blood test came back that he did not have hemophilia.

Malakai and Silas 2012
Malakai is now 2 1/2 years old, and his little brother, Silas was born last September.  Silas is 5 1/2 months old now.  We were able to have a totally awesome home birth with him, and coordinated with our new (moved again!) HTC to get the cord blood tested.  Silas does have severe hemophilia A like his older brother, Eli.  He has shown little signs of his hemophilia so far.

Matt and I are very excited to look forward to the future.  Our beautiful family is growing, and although they keep us hopping, we just love our little crowd!  If God wants us to have more children with hemophilia, then it is what is best for our family.  If not, then that's what's best.  We choose to trust Him.

Matt and I have lots of friends and family whom we highly respect that do not share our beliefs on childbearing.  We believe it is a personal choice for each couple to decide on their own.  I know that I may have lost some people when I mentioned God, but I wanted to share our heart with you, and I can't do that without mentioning God.

Anyway, isn't having any child a risk?  People who don't carry a genetic disorder are not guaranteed a perfectly "healthy" child every time.  Elijah and Silas are just as much a blessing to our family as Isaiah, Ana, and Malakai are.  I believe with all my heart that God has a special plan for each one of our children.  I believe that everything in their lives is there for that purpose, to make them exactly who they are meant to be.  No matter what happens, God always loves us and we can always trust Him.





5 comments:

  1. Each of us will be facing our God one day. How much He should be a part of all of our decisions. You have a beautiful family. Keep trusting & following His leading. I'm certainly enjoying each of your sweet babies! Look how each delivery has been different & thus a way of helping others. You & Matt are a great blessing to many. Thanks for sharing so personally!

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  2. Great post Sarah!! Very enjoyable reading. I know God gives us the Grace to face whatever He brings our way. I think you are doing a great job.......love reading your birth stories...and the wonder of each one......and how unique each was is/was. I was one of those that birthed all mine laying on my back.....wishing now I could have a "do-over" and birth them like you have.....it sounds so much better.
    Keep up the good work......Thanks for sharing your stories!!

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  3. Thank you for your words. My husband and I have had this discussion countless times, or at least it seems that way. The most difficult thing that we have experienced is the assumption from others that because of a genetic condition that automatically removes the option of more children. As if I have "cursed" one child, why take the risk with others. My child is a blessing and he is a little boy first and foremost. It is encouraging to read the stories of other families with hemophilia - they are all so different but also the same in many ways.

    Thank you.

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  4. Just stumbled onto this and so glad I did. loved it! You are a wonderful inspiration as I am also a carrier. I have two boys without hemophilia. We wanted a bigger family but stopped as the fear of Hemophilia settled in. glad you didn't let that stop you!

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