Celebrating a Father-son Bond, Even Before Birth

Long before learning of his son's hemophilia, a columnist feels their connection

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by Joe MacDonald |

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From the time my wife found out she was pregnant, we celebrated a ritual each evening until the birth of my oldest son, Julian. Before we kissed good night, I put my face to her belly and sang the song “For Baby (For Bobbie)” to him. Without seeing his face, I knew I had a connection with him that surpassed anything I’d experienced in my past.

And with that, my priorities changed drastically as my wife and I prepared for my boy’s birth.

The moment my son came into the world felt surreal, like an out-of-body experience. I heard his voice for the first time and found myself at a loss for words. (Anyone who knows me laughs at the thought that I felt speechless.)

I cut his umbilical cord, and an attending nurse asked if I wanted to walk my son to the warming table. Of course, I agreed, and as the medical team placed him in my arms for the first time, I couldn’t contain the overwhelming emotions that seemed to radiate from my soul to his.

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As I walked Julian to the table, he cried, probably responding to all the new sensations his little body was experiencing for the first time. In response to his distress, I started to sing the song I’d sung to him since the moment I knew he existed. Immediately, he stopped crying and looked at me. He knew the sound of my voice and the melody he’d heard each night before bedtime.

Based on his response to the song, I knew he possessed a love for music that he couldn’t express at that moment. Flash forward 26 years later, and his primary dream in life is to sing on a Broadway stage.

The beginning of my journey as a parent started before I’d heard the word “hemophilia.” My fatherly commitment didn’t depend on a diagnosis, but on the bond formed at the beginning of his life. A bleeding disorder didn’t define our relationship, but it introduced a way of life that none of us expected.

Along with the usual children’s issues, we learned how to infuse both by accessing veins and through a port-a-cath. In addition, our circle of friends included people in the bleeding disorders community, incredible men and women whom we’d never have known without my boy’s diagnosis.

One thing remained constant through our journey through the fantastic world of port-a-caths, hospitals, and hemophilia. I promised my son that, no matter what, I would stand beside him, ready to support him as he found his way through life. My love and support remained faithful and strong with or without a bleeding disorder. I promised him my loyalty the first moment I realized his presence deep in my wife’s body.

My commitment to Julian continues to develop and change as he is now a 26-year-old man. I marvel at the beauty of his voice, and each time I hear him sing, I think back to our shared moments during my wife’s pregnancy. I give thanks for our musical connection, but I also enjoy the relationship we share as our roots go way deep.

I still call him a miracle because I never dreamed in a million years that I’d ever know a love that’s so complete and beautiful in my life.

So let hemophilia rage. We face each opposition with strength and an assuredness that we may defeat any obstacle together. My love for my son does not depend on a bleeding disorder, but on a connection more profound. Our links to each other existed long before the doctors told us about my boy’s medical condition.

Together, we slay the mighty dragons of hemophilia and celebrate our common bond as father and son. With each step, my wife and I hold the title of my boy’s biggest champion.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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