Nine months! Lola is officially tall for her age, “slender” – at the bottom of the healthy range – and her head is growing nicely and in proportion. They have charts for all these things at the pediatricians, and I love a good chart.
Dr S is a fantastic guy, uber patient with all of our questions, and lovely in the way he interacts with her. She gave him a round of applause for his troubles.
But then came the nasty bit – a blood test to check her iron levels etc. I thought this would be a pin prick, but no – these nurses stuck a huge needle in her arm and dug around for her tiny vein, all while I had to help keep her still on the table. Then they didn’t get enough blood so they stabbed her in the finger as well. She was screaming like a banshee and I thought she wouldn’t ever trust me again. She was pretty pissed off with us for most of the day – well, she took it out on her dad, mostly. So for any new parents out there who are advised to get a blood test, if there is ANY way you can possibly avoid it, or somehow get enough with just a prick to the finger, then go down that route.
After that trauma I had to go via another lab to have my own blood drawn for the third time for the Panorama test which detects trisomies with almost 100 per cent certainty. Being 41, my doctor advised I get this test for peace of mind… well, having two failed tests (not having enough cells in the blood sample or some such) has not put my mind at rest.
I really hope this time we have some results. It’ll be pretty bloody late to do anything about them… even though I wasn’t ever convinced I would or could do anything if the baby does have some problem, I wanted to know. I wanted that peace of mind, goddamnit, not that old “Your baby has a 1 in 274 chance of Down’s” malarkey. It’s something I have to confess has been haunting me. In Latin America, you see a LOT of children and adults with Down’s Syndrome, I think because they have a much lower rate of detection, and because even if it was detected, many people would never abort a foetus for religious or moral reasons. Or they simply don’t have that option. I read somewhere that the abortion rate for foetuses diagnosed with Down’s in Europe and the US is pretty high – around 92 per cent – even though no one likes to talk about it.
I’ve gone and said the “A” word now.
I have seen so many beautiful pictures of Down’s kids lately, and it’s wonderful to see attitudes changing with the help of role models like the girl who plays Becky the cheerleader in Glee. But the horrible truth is that every time I see a Down’s kid or adult at the moment, my heart clenches up. I don’t want my child to be anything other than healthy. Of course I don’t. No mother wants that. I have a lot of friends who say they wouldn’t care – that it wouldn’t change anything. But I see those adults with Down’s, so dependent on their ageing parents, and I wonder what will happen to them? I wonder if I could do that.
Now I have gone down a path I don’t know much about, and maybe some of you will clobber me for it. Or offer me some better information or advice.
For now, between these sudden moments of fear, I just tell myself everything will be alright. What else can I do?
Baby no 2 still has no real nickname. We used to call him/her “ajonjoli”, or sesame seed, but we’ve moved into large mango territory now, apparently. These fruit comparisons are downright confusing, if you ask me. The nameless one has recently started kicking me. I think because he/she realises that I need a good kicking every now and then to remind me that he/she is on the way. I still forget sometimes.