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Friday, July 3, 2009


Ethan had a very mild case of chordee, which is a fancy way of saying that his penis was a little crooked. The day he was born, the doctors told me that Ethan would need a special circumcision that only a Pediatric Urologist could perform. It was supposed to ensure that his penis grew out in the proper direction. I was obviously concerned, but the doctors assured me that chordee was a fairly common occurrence. Kev and Boo (neither had chordee) were both circumcised before the left the hospital, but Ethan had to wait.

Then, he died.

After he was gone, I slowly started to process what happened and began to "connect the dots" leading to his death. I realized that if Ethan didn't have chordee then he would have been circumcised at the hospital like Kev & Boo. If Ethan was circumcised before he left the hospital, then we would have known that he had a bleeding disorder. (Most boys without prior family history of  hemophilia are diagnosed once the circumcision site bleeds profusely.) Once the dots were connected, I realized that there was a possibility that Ethan could have been diagnosed before he had his head bleed. Maybe he would still be alive today if only he was circumcised.

Funny how things work sometimes, huh?

Aside from FVII Deficiency, I also started doing research on hypospadias/chordee after Ethan's death. I drowned myself in knowledge in a feeble attempt to regain power in my life. I obtained a lot of information, but one point stuck out in particular. Unless chordee/hypospadias is hereditary (which trust me, it's NOT!!!),I read that hypospadias/chordee can also be connected to artificial hormone intake (similar to what is found in birth control pills)in early pregnancy.

And...I got pregnant on the pill.

I was switching pill brands when I became pregnant with Ethan. I didn't even know I was pregnant until John told me to take the test! I "missed" my period during the placebo week and that's when I knew for sure. Obviously, this means I was taking birth control pills during the first couple of weeks of my pregnancy. So I suspect that Ethan's mild hypospadia might have had something to do with the pill.

Now, I regret taking the pill.

I tried the pill in high school, but it made me sick. John and I have stuck with NFP (natural family planning), and barrier methods to prevent pregnancy. Believe it or not, Kev and Boo were planned pregnancies. Aside from my very first pregnancy during my senior year of high school (I miscarried at almost 12 weeks), Ethan was my first surprise "adult" pregnancy! I was trying to prevent pregnancy when God decided to bless me with Ethan's arrival. Then God took Ethan back to heaven with Him.

Ironic, isn't it?

Many of you may know that the Catholic church is staunchly against birth control, and outside of marriage in general. (Click here and search the article for "implantation" if you want to learn more about the topic.) If your lazy like I am, in summary, the Catholic Church does not condone the use of birth control pills because it prevents implantation. There are some pills that prevent ovulation altogether and the Church is against those too. For the pills that prevent implantation, this means that the hormones alter the uterine lining thus making it difficult for the embryo to implant. It does not prevent fertilization altogether.  Which essentially means that if you believe that life begins at conception/fertilization, the pill is a big no-no. Technically, the pill induces early abortion because the fertilized embryo cannot implant and "live".(Click here if you want a few quotes on the subject.)

So what does this have to do with me?

Well, for starters I'm Catholic. Even though I "live in sin", I still try my best to abide by the rules. ;-) Had I known this tiny bit of information, I probably would have stuck with NFP. While I believe and support the fact that people are free to make their own informed decisions, I make my decisions based on my personal experiences and what I believe holds true. I do not pass judgment on others so I ask for the same courtesy. Having already lost children to miscarriage and traumatic illness, I personally could NEVER do anything to endanger my child no matter what stage of development he/she is in. Whether it be in utero or years after birth, I simply could not do it. My heart is to weak and I've felt this way even before I even read the Catholic viewpoint on birth control pills and the latter.

So do I believe that God punished me for being on the pill?

Absolutely not. I simply believe that science and faith found yet another way to intermingle into a huge confusing mess. Unfortunately in Ethan's case, it was too late to do anything about it. I was on the pill, Ethan was born despite my preventative measures, and his diagnosis was *possibly* delayed from the effect the artificial hormones had on his body. The way I connected the dots could be totally different from the way you would. We are each entitled to our own opinion.

Either way, I live in regret.

P.S. I learned an interesting thing about baby #1 (who would have been eight this past January) shortly after we learned of Niki's diagnosis. A Hematologist from Stanford, who knew of Ethan and Niki's case, told me that extremely severe Factor VII Deficiency is not typically compatible with life. That's why my cubs are so rare. The doctor from Stanford hypothesized that could be why I lost the first baby. He or she could have been severely deficient. Closure at last.

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