I'm slightly late, but wanted to say something about the Day of the Dead, especially given Angie's beautiful piece over at Glow.
I like Bionic Baby Mama's idea that wherever not-yet-born babies "are", spiritually speaking, they are probably in a similar spot as dead people, or are at least more able to get phone reception when the dead people call than we are. So the Day of the Dead feels like a particularly appropriate day to celebrate my children - both dead and unborn. (Gorgeous difficult-to-explain children that you are!) I have no cultural connection to this particular tradition, but I guess Z and Adzuki may have, given that their donor (our beautiful friend J) has Colombian heritage.
Given that, and my teenage obsession with Frida, I was excited to hear on the radio about a Day of the Dead party last Friday night. So El Prima and I went, along with my brother, and danced and ate and drank margeritas (well, I had a sip) and invited Z to party with us. It was beautiful to have a night in her honour, when thinking about our dead daughter wasn't "morbid" or weird, it was something to be celebrated and proud of, even if it did make us shed a tear while we danced. And I dressed up, somewhat ridiculously, as Frida. Yes, I may have ended up looking more like a dutch milk maid, but El Prima and my brother could work out who I was dressed up as.
Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacán in Mexico City.
We had our 13 week scan this morning, and my first reaction when we saw a beautifully formed, very much alive little Adzuki bean was to burst into tears. The same thing happens every time I look at the pictures. I'm not sure what it is - disbelief combined with the scary realisation that so so much is at stake now. I love this little thing with its own ribs and enormous head and tiny, pointy bum. This small dancing skeleton-baby - just like the decorations at the Dia de los Muertos party, only without the sombrero. And I'm so scared when I realise how little I can do to protect him or her.
As she was doing the scan, our sonographer gave us little snippets of good news - "there's the nasal bone - a good sign as lack of nasal bone at this stage is associated with Downs", "that's a good heartbeat, no sign of any valve problems", "you should be fine with the nuchal fold measurements from what I see here". So it was a bit of a surprise when she rang back a few hours later with the combined test results and told me that I'm actually classified as high risk for Downs - while my ultrasound result came back very low risk (1:795), my blood tests came back very high risk (1:53) giving me an overall risk of 1:161.
El Prima and I are agreed not to do any further invasive tests such as an amnio - our main reason for doing the test at all was to assess the risk of the other more fatal triploidies - 13 and 18 - as we would be okay with raising a Downs syndrome child. And, when we separate out the figures, our risk level for those more serious disorders is tiny (1:100,000). Yet, because the test is designed primarily to pick up Downs, that leaves us with all the uncertainty and anxiety that goes with the "high risk" tag. Now I just wish I'd never taken the stupid blood test. After spending most of yesterday reading medical journal articles on the risk factors, my learned view is to forget the whole thing and just focus on enjoying this pregnancy and doing our best to get Adzuki here alive.