Once upon a time, on that other planet I lived on before our baby died, I was an ordinary pregnant lady who had a little bit of an obsession for red bean buns. I loved them so much that I had long conversations with El Prima about why I loved them so much, and why Haloumi demanded that I eat them on a regular basis. I googled "red bean bun" so that I could discover their principal ingredients. Because if I wasn't eating them, I wanted to be reading about them. And I discovered that the red bean paste is made from beans called (by some cultures at least) "adzuki beans". El Prima and I mused, if we ever had another haloumi cheese after this particular Haloumi Cheese was born, maybe we'd nickname him/her "Adzuki Bean" in utero.
That thought just floated, until our accident happened, and Haloumi died and was born - and was suddenly a real particular baby girl we named Z, rather than a Haloumi mystery baby-bump. Well, she was still a mystery baby - but one whose face we'd kissed, and who we had given a name. One of the few things we liked to think we knew about her was that she liked red bean bun and wanted me to eat it all the time. So the idea that she had somehow 'picked' the nickname Adzuki Bean for her sibling became very tender to us.
All of this is a long round-a-bout way of saying - we saw a heartbeat this morning - we've seen the Adzuki Bean! The whole 5.5mm of him or her! A copy of the picture is posted on the page I've just set up, specifically named "Adzuki Bean". Our usual IVF doctor was away, so it was a doctor we'd never met before who started by asking, "Is this your first?" (Cue a deep sigh from me, and a joint internal eye-roll, before El Prima launched into the answer) But once we'd told her, she was very sympathetic, and as soon as she started the scan was immediately saying, "Everything looks fine". At first, I couldn't see anything in the sac, and didn't really believe her, thinking we might only see empty sacs and blighted ovums. But she insisted, and there, indeed, was a tiny little adzuki bean, a promising little blob, with its own thumping heartbeat.
It is strange to be back in pregnancy territory, with the same symptoms as with Haloumi, but with a body and a self altered by grief and motherhood. It is hard to believe that pregnancy could possibly work along a similar timeframe, or work in the same way as it did before. But while we'll always live with the chasm between 'before' and 'after', we're no longer in the wild woods of griefland. (Where are we then? Maybe we've found that grief has its own village, not all that far from where we lived before, and that as it turns out, many of the people we love have been a resident of that village at some time or other.) All the possibilities bundled into a pregnancy - I now know how many of those can break your heart. But this is the thing with possibility, you can't pick and choose. All we can do is recognise that we're at the mercy of all kinds of good and hard possibilities, and we'll experience whatever we get as open heartedly as we can.
There's such a long long way to go, but stick with us, Adzuki Bean, this could be so much fun!
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