Blind Baby Daddy Blog #1: Before The Baby Was Conceived

Blind Baby Daddy Cartoon.jpg

My idea for the Blind Baby Daddy blog arose when I began thinking about all of the unique, funny and sometimes scary situations that I would be confronted  with as a Blind Baby Daddy.  We here all of the stories that people have of their pregnancy and post pardon experiences but how often  do you hear about it from a blind man's perspective.  The Blind Baby Daddy will be a full on account of my thoughts, fears and actions as a guy with little sight but a lot of responsibility.  

I know you all want to hear about my wife finding excess poop left on Kennan's leg from my bad diaper changes and the occasional licking bath from our dog Gunther  on Kennan's face  when he is too far out of sight for me to notice but that's going to come later you just wait.  In order to get a full account, we need to go back to the beginning when baby Kennan was just a thought.  

Punnett square depicting the way autosomal traits are passed along. My genetic make up has 2 recessive alleles for Stargardt's like the affected child above.

Punnett square depicting the way autosomal traits are passed along. My genetic make up has 2 recessive alleles for Stargardt's like the affected child above.

My wife Brittney and I always knew we wanted kids but we wanted to reduce the chances of our child having my genetic eye condition if at all possible.  In the fall of 2016 we got blood work done to first see if in fact I inherited the condition from one copy of the recessive gene from each of my parents or from a genetic mutation.  The latter would have been very rare and was not the case.  My parents were both carriers and therefore I received one copy from each of them for the genetic condition known as Stargardts (Juvenile Macular Degeneration).   A major twist was thrown into the mix when we found out that Brittney, who has no known family history of blindness, just happen to be one of the 2% in the general population that are carriers of the condition.  This was totally unexpected and immediately directed our focus to using In vitro fertilization (IVF).  With the crazy technology they have these days they can determine the genetic make up of each egg and with a special probe that is specific to my condition determine whether the egg would be a carrier for Stargardts or not.  At this point we were ready to put up the $30,000 to use this unbelievable technology to eliminate the chance of our child having Stargardt's.   

At this point there were many thoughts going through my head.  I would never wish upon someone to be blind like me but I know from my own experience that blindness is not a death sentence either.  In fact, for me it has molded who I am, taught me to look at the world different, not take the little things in life for granted and has given me enormous opportunities that I may never have had without the condition.   On the other hand, as parents, we knew we would feel horribly responsible if we gave our child a condition that we knew we could have prevented.  In the end, we decided that if we could eliminate the chance of our baby having to deal with blindness we would.


Yet another wrench was thrown into the mix after we got our fertility testing done.  The test results claimed to suggest that Brittney was very infertile and the viability of producing an egg that was usable and tested negative for the Stargardt’s condition was next to nothing.  At this point we had two options.  We could pay a bunch of money and use a donor egg or we could try  naturally and see what happens.  Obviously this was a difficult decision.  With overwhelming support from the MD, we decided to attempt the natural route.  We realized that maybe we were trying to control the situation but this may be God saying that it's in his hands and we need to let him take over.  With this knew mindset in play, I went in the bedroom that weekend and worked my magic and that very night Brittney was impregnated and that is how little Kennan was conceived.  Before he was born he was already a superstar, defying science and  kickstarting a major change in mama Brittney.