Our Family’s Second Hemophilia Diagnosis Was Harder than the First

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

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Carol Kasper


My eldest son was about to celebrate his ninth birthday. He had attended a fantastic performing arts camp. My wife and I bought Happy Meals for the entire ensemble in honor of “MacDonald the Elder’s” special day. We had an announcement that we couldn’t wait to share with him. He would soon be a big brother. What we’d thought would never happen was about to become a reality: Cazandra was pregnant.

Months passed, and discussions about hemophilia started to seep their way into my family’s conversations. We laughed because we knew that there was no way that our second son would have a bleeding disorder. We “knew” that our eldest son had a spontaneous mutation. At the time, we did not know anyone in my wife’s family had hemophilia.

Before “MacDonald the Younger’s” birth, my wife and I visited friends who had multiple children with bleeding disorders. As we sipped our glasses of wine and smoked cigars, the mood turned somber. Our friend said, “Cazandra, the second diagnosis is harder than the first.” We laughed, and said, “Oh don’t worry. There is no way that he will have hemophilia. Our eldest son is a spontaneous mutation.”

With the birth of our youngest son, we learned that our friends’ prediction had been accurate. The second diagnosis was more difficult as we experienced both anxiety and mourning. How could this have happened? We had prepared for a child without expecting complications, such as needle phobias, treatments, and exclusions to participation in certain sports. We weren’t sure that we could handle this again.

We discovered a piece of the puzzle involving my wife’s brother, Ronnie. He had died when he was five days old of a head trauma sustained during delivery. Boom! We learned that Cazandra carries the gene that passes bleeding disorders on to her children. Our new realization left us completely overwhelmed. We remained shocked for at least six months while we processed the changes in our lives. The second diagnosis proved to be a formidable foe.

While we know that life throws us curveballs and we cannot predict where the path ahead may go, we do know that community is our saving grace. We turn to those who stand beside us and hold our hands until we can walk again. Yes, the second diagnosis was light years harder than the first. Yes, I wouldn’t wish parts of my son’s journey on anyone. However, I wouldn’t trade the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn as I discover what it means to live fiercely and wholly dedicated to my wife and my children. My family’s journey is one of resolve, commitment, and complete devotion to one another.


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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


Vanessa McGeoch avatar

Vanessa McGeoch

I totally understand the feelings you experience when your second child is diagnosed with haemophilia. I knew my second son was also a haemophiliac very soon after his birth. It was a huge shock as I was told that my eldest son was a mutation as there was no history of haemophilia in our family. We have four children and now know my eldest daughter is a carrier. We now have three granddaughters who are also carriers.


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