It was five years ago yesterday that I found out that I would soon become a parent for the very first time. My wife and I were in the car, driving down I-94 outside of Chicago on the way to her Dad's house for Thanksgiving dinner when she turned to me and stated boldly: "You knocked me up." I distinctly remember grinning ear-to-ear, and beginning our first real conversation about our new reality: we were about to be parents. The following summer, on the exact date of our 10th wedding anniversary, Addie was born and I would effectively become "The Rock Father." The build-up to that day was filled with planning... uncertainty... and questions. I didn't know then that parent blogging was a thing, and the manuals? Well, there are none as far as I'm concerned.
So much to consider in such limited time.
During our regular visits to the Doctor (I attended nearly all of them with my wife) and our parenting prep classes at the hospital, we were presented with countless choices, which in turn meant countless decisions to make. We opted out of doing a lot of the prenatal testing that is recommended to test for things like down syndrome and the like, deciding to eschew any potential (even slight) risks that might be associated with them, agreeing that our love for our children would be the same no matter what, and that our family history was strong enough that the odds were in our favor.
Family history came into play again when considering Cord Blood Banking, but the end result was ultimately financial.
Cord Blood can be used to treat leukemia, certain other cancers, and blood, immune, and metabolic disorders. The Cord Blood Stem Cells and Cord Tissue have regenerative healing potential, and many of the treatments that could one day become available are still in-development and not yet known. In other words, the sky is the limit - and having the option of "banking" our babies' stem cells and tissue was very compelling. It also came with an added cost, both in terms of up-front expense and yearly storage. It is absolutely terrible to have to put a price on something related to the health of your child, and for us, there was even a moment of potential "guilt" in having to pass, but we ultimately decided back in 2009 that we would not be banking our little one's cord blood, as the added cost was just one expense too many. Our relatively "clean" family history helped solidify that, and thankfully, Addie is now four years old, and has been a healthy girl.
In 2012, we were faced with the same decision prior to the birth of our second, and final, little one - Finley. Second time around, the decision was much easier, and practically instant - we opted out once more, and here we sit 17 months later with another very healthy daughter, and we're very thankful for that. But we're fortunate, and very lucky that we've not had to face the challenges that some have.
I believe that Cord Blood Banking is a fantastic, and worthy option for families, and I wholeheartedly support the efforts of the folks at Cord Blood Registry (CBR). If it makes sense for you, I say do it. Had we been in a financially richer position back in 2009, we probably would have, just for peace of mind.
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.