Friday, January 29, 2010

Nella Cordelia: A Birth Story


Nella Fantasia (translated from Italian)

In my fantasy I see a just world,
Where everyone lives in peace and honesty.
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the clouds that float
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

In my fantasy I see a bright world,
Where each night there is less darkness.
I dream of spirits that are always free,
Like the clouds that float.

In my fantasy exists a warm wind,
That blows into the city, like a friend.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like the clouds that float
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul


Cordelia: Dorothy Cordelia, my dear loving grandma, who taught me more about life than she could have ever known.


This is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to write in my entire life. The hardest and yet the most beautiful. As I even just begin to type here, late, in the dark in my room alone with my girls sleeping next to me, their little faces barely visible from the glow of the the same candles that flickered in a very special room one week ago, my heart starts aching thinking of where I was at exactly this moment last week.

A week. How can it already have been a week? I've thought a million times what I'm going to write here and how I'm going to begin and what order I'll put it in and I think I've been so afraid to come back here...so afraid of not doing justice this very precious night...of leaving something out...of attaching simple words to an event that is so far from simple, it might just not be possible. But I need to get it out. I don't know how it's going to come or if it will make sense, but I'm just going to write. And when I get stuck, I will pick up this tiny blessed life beside me and hold her tight. I will breathe her in and remember...

Oh, here it goes.
The story of our daughter's birth.

This is Nella's Story.

I turned 31 on December 29...exactly a month ago. We went to dinner with friends the evening before and as we left, we saw the new bookstore nearby welcomingly lit up. I had told Brett I didn't need anything this year for my birthday as Christmas had just passed, but at the sight of the bookstore, I remembered a book I had read about from another photographer. As we walked by, I told Brett I changed my mind. I wanted a book, and I wanted it...tonight. So we ventured in, and he played with Lainey downstairs while I wandered up in the self-help section, thumbing through titles until I landed on the only copy of the book...A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.

Later at home, we put Lainey to bed and I drew a bath and climbed in with my big pregnant belly, my new book and a highlighter. And I read. And read. And read. Underlining, highlighting, starring paragraphs and quotes and words that moved me hard. I warmed the water about a trillion times and pruned my skin to raisins, but I could not stop reading. It turned into a three hour bath followed by another hour or so of reading in my bed. By the end of the book, I was inspired. Inspired to write a new story for our life...inspired to face challenges and leave my comfort zone and go through hard things because that is what turns the screenplays of our lives from boring to Oscar-worthy. And, to be honest, in my mind, our uncomfortable challenge was the changes in our life with Brett's job and having him away from home. Little did I know.

Fast forward.

Last Thursday, Brett & I teased all day that we were so ready for this baby, she had to either come Thursday or Friday. Every time he called me from work, he told me I should be out jogging. I didn't jog, but I did walk like crazy, trailing Lainey through the streets of our neighborhood in a stroller, thinking, "These might be the last moments with my only daughter alone." And Thursday night, the pains started coming...nothing horribly uncomfortable but some significant cramps that were semi-regular and popped up several times through the night. By morning, I had several that were 15-20 minutes apart, and my doctor, convinced I would go fast once I was in full swing, suggested I go to the hospital within a few hours. I remember getting off the phone and it hit me. Today was going to be the day. It was surreal. I texted my friends. Called my family. And began the last steps in the ever long process of saying goodbye to my 'only child.' She wanted her face painted like a kitty and, although I was excited to pack up and head to the hospital, I savored every brush stroke of those last moments with my big girl.

I called my friend, Katie, in Fort Lauderdale. I met Katie the night Lainey was born as she was the delivery nurse...and we have since been forever friends. She promised me she wanted to be present for all my babies' births, so she high-tailed it over I-75 after my call to get there in time.

It was strange. It seemed so real and yet I had dreamed of this moment for so long, it seemed a bit like a dream as well. It all just hit me...we had waited for this. Wanting a second child. Losing a pregnancy. Getting pregnant. The horrible night I thought it was all ending and the trip to the E.R. where we saw that little heartbeat. Waiting and preparing and finally, these last weeks, having everything just...perfect. The birth music ready to go, the blankets I had made packed and ready, the coming home outfit, the big sister crown for Lainey, the nightgown I had bought just for the occasion...what I would wear holding my daughter the first night I rocked her to sleep. Even the favors I hand-designed and tied every ribbon on were lined and stacked in a box, ready to pass out the moment the room flooded with visitors. My heart could hardly hold the excitement, and I will never ever forget what it feels like to long for your baby being handed in your arms the last few days of your pregnancy...it's so real, you can touch it.



We said goodbye to Lainey as we left her with Grandma and headed to the hospital where I was quickly instructed to drop trou and gown up. I slipped the white ruffled skirt and black shirt I wore into a plastic belongings bag. Days later, just the sight of these clothes--the ones I wore during my excitement and happiness...during those last 'happy' moments before my life was changed--would bring pain. I think Heidi finally hid the bag because it made me cry every time.

The early stages of labor were perfectly beautiful. Nothing hurt that bad, I had the anticipation of this eutopian experience ahead of me, Brett was chill, and my girlfriends started trickling in the room. We actually played a game...the "if you could..." cards I had packed in my bag for this very purpose. I had it perfectly planned, and it was going just as I had imagined...but better.

By 2:00, my water had been broken and my contractions were in full force. The room was full of excitement and laughter. I chatted with my girlfriends until a contraction came on where I shifted gears, "ow-ow-ow-ow-ow'd" my way through it (and cursed), and came out of it as fast as I went in, picking up the conversation where we left off. I checked to make sure Brett was okay. Several of my girlfriends were headed out for a birthday party but, with news of my status, they all huddled into the room, dressed to the nines, before their night out to check on me. I liked the commotion...I loved the anticipation. I loved the feeling of people waiting anxiously for our baby. It felt special. ...and we were so ready.



Two hours went by and I was off the wall in pain, begging for anesthesia to get in with an epidural. They were tied up, and so I cursed them too. Little did I know, I was a 9. This is where things begin to get hazy. It all just happened so fast. I remember anesthesia walking in to give me an epidural, Brett getting uneasy, girlfriends talking me through it, my pediatrician stopping in to say 'hi' during her rounds, and my obstetrician walking in and gowning up. This was it. With Lainey, it took forever and here I was, just hours after walking in this place, and they were going to tell me to push. They were going to tell me 'just one more' and then suddenly my life was going to change.

I couldn't grasp it even then. It was all just happening so fast and I wanted to savor it. I looked around the room and tried to take it in...the candles, the music, the lavender oil I brought that wafted through the room and calmed the tension. And then I remember just speaking to myself. You are about to meet your daughter. You are about to be changed for good.

At this moment, I heard the sounds of our birth song begin to fill the room...When You Love Someone.

And I began to cry.

My husband, my friends, my dad, my nurses...all of them smiling...cameras flashing...

One more push.

Oh, this is so hard...

I pushed. I pushed and watched as the tiniest little body came out of me, arms flailing, lungs wailing...and then, they put her in my arms.

...and I knew.



I knew the minute I saw her that she had Down Syndrome and nobody else did. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me she didn't have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn't my baby and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over...she locked eyes with mine and stared...bore holes into my soul.

Love me. Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me.



That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story.

I don't remember a lot here. My friends have filled me in, but I feel like I was in a black hole. I know I held her. I know I kissed her. I know I begged every power in the world that this wasn't happening...that she was normal, but I knew in my soul exactly what this was.

She was scooped off my chest and taken to the warming bed where nurses nervously smiled as they checked her over. I wanted someone to tell me what was going on...I kept asking if she was okay, and they told me she was fine. She was crying and pink and just perfectly healthy. I wanted to say the words, but couldn't. So, I asked why her nose was smooshed...why she looked funny. And because she came out posterior and so quickly, many people in the room honestly thought she'd look a little different in an hour or so. But I knew. I cried and cried while everyone smiled and took pictures of her, like nothing was wrong. I kept crying and asking, "Is there something you aren't telling me?" ...and they just kept smiling.





At this point, I have believed until recently that the pediatrician came in right away and told me the news. But because I was so confused and emotional and haven't slept much in a week, I am told it wasn't right away. The nurses apparently called my pediatrician in for 'D.S. suspicions.' And during this hour, I was handed back my daughter as if everything was okay.

When I think about this time later, I have cried and cried wondering what I did. Did she feel love? Did I kiss her? Did I hold her and tell her 'happy birthday' and smother her with happy tears? My friends in the room smile when I ask this and promise me I did. They said I couldn't stop kissing her. And while I held her, the room went on. Someone popped champagne and poured glasses and a toast was raised..."To Nella!" while I sat, confused, trying to take it in.

...and I am so very blessed my beautiful photographer friends, Laura and Heidi, were there to capture every single moment. They never stopped shooting...there are over 2000 images from the delivery and they have helped me relive the beauty. This photo is so beautiful to me...because it speaks with emotion. This is how I felt while everyone carried on for me.



I remember feeling....nothing. As if I literally left my body for a bit.

But they said I kissed her. They said I loved her. They said I was a mama.







I remember my pediatrician suddenly walking in and my heart sank a bit...I knew. "Why is she here?" I asked. And they told me she was just checking the baby out. Which she did. And then the room grew quiet and everyone was asked to leave. I started shaking. I knew it was coming. The tears. The twisting in my stomach that they were about to rock my world.

Brett stood behind me, stroking my hair and my nurse friends, Dot and Katie, stayed on either side of the bed. And it happened.

My pediatrician snuggled Nella up in a blanket and handed her to me...and she knelt down next to my bed so that she could look up at me...not down. She smiled so warmly and held my hand so tight. And she never took her eyes off mine. We had been through a lot together with Lainey's jaundice and I have spent many tearful conversations with her over the course of these two and a half years. She is an amazing pediatrician. But at this moment, she became more than that. She was our friend as she beautifully shared the news.

I need to tell you something.

...and I cried hard... "I know what you're going to say."

She smiled again and squeezed my hand a little tighter.

The first thing I'm going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.

...and I cried harder.

...but there are some features that lead me to believe she may have Down Syndrome.

Finally, someone said it.

I felt hot tears stream down and fall on my baby's face. My beautiful, perfect daughter. I was scared to look up at Brett, so I didn't. I just kissed her.

And then, Dr. Foley added...

...but, Kelle....she is beautiful. and perfect.



I asked for my dad to be let back in the room. And when he walked in, I cried again. They think she has Down Syndrome.

And he smiled as his eyes welled up with tears and he said, "That's okay. We love her." He scooped her up and I asked him to say a prayer. And there, in the delivery room where moments earlier she entered the world, we huddled around my bed...Brett still stroking my hair, Katie crying on one side, Dot on the other and Dr. Foley kneeled down beside my bed. He prayed and thanked God for giving us Nella and thanked him for the wonderful things he had planned for us. For our family. For Nella. Amen.

Dr. Foley hugged me and told me she got to hold her for her examination, but now she wanted to hold her just for some snuggles. And she did. I will always remember her compassion and know there is no one else that could do a better job sharing this challenging journey with us.

Katie asked if I wanted to nurse Nella, and I did. Another dreamy moment I had always anticipated and yet it felt so different this time. But I remember her latching right on and sucking away with no hesitation and looking at her, completely accepting me as her mama and snuggling in to the only one she's ever known and I felt so completley guilty that I didn't feel the same. I felt love, yes. I just kept envisioning this other baby...the one that I felt died the moment I realized it wasn't what I expected. But the nursing...oh, the nursing...how incredibly bonding it's been. The single most beautiful link I've had to falling in love with this blessed angel. And, look...I smiled. I don't remember smiling, but...I smiled.



The hallway was still filled with everyone who was waiting...and there are stories from our other wonderful friends and family of what happened behind those walls while they waited. All I know is that there was more love in that birthing center than the place could hold. As anxious eyes re-entered the room, I held my baby and told them all, crying, what we had been told. I knew there was a stream of friends ready to come and celebrate and I wanted them all to be told before they came in. I couldn't emotionally handle telling anyone and yet, strangely, I wanted people to know as soon as possible because I knew I needed the troops...I was falling, sliding, tunneling into a black hole and I needed as much love as possible to keep me up.

I just remember happiness. From everyone. All of the blessed souls in that room celebrated as if there was nothing but joy. Everyone knew...and there were a few puffy eyes, but mostly, it was pure happiness. More friends trickled in. More smiles. More toasts. And hugs with no words...hugs like I've never felt. Ones that spoke volumes...arms pulled tightly around my neck, lips pressed against my forehead and bodies that shook with sobs...sobs that told me they felt it too...they felt my pain and they wanted to take it away.





And Brett...well, he never left our girl's side. He was quiet through this all, and I'm not sure I'll ever know what he felt, but I know the daddy of our babies, and I know he knows nothing but to love them with all his heart. And he did from the very start.



As soon as the epidural wore off, I wanted my own nightgown. They were going to take me to our new room upstairs, and I was ready for a new start. Everyone carried our stuff up and waited for us. And then...the moment I always talk about...the moment they put you in that wheelchair and place the baby in your arms...and stroll you through the hallways to your room while onlookers smile and wish they were you. It's so strange, but I barely remember it.

I remember arriving to our room and being told Lainey was on her way. And I cried new tears...I hadn't even thought about how this would impact Lainey...what she would think...how her life would be different...how every beautiful vision I had of two sisters growing up together, grown-up phone calls, advice-giving, cooking together, shopping...everything would be different. Numbness started leaving my heart and sheer pain started settling in.

Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry when Lainey gets here.

...and then I'll never forget her face...her cute outfit someone put her in...her eyes when she walked into that room, and the way she tried to hide her excitement with her shy smile.

I will never forget the day my girl became a big sister.

I will never forget the moment her little sister was placed in her arms. I watched in agony...in tears...in admiration as my little girl taught me how to love. She showed me what unconditional love looks like...what the absence of stereotypes feels like...she was...

...proud.

...and that was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I needed that.

As darkness set in that night and people started trickling out, I felt paranoid. So completely afraid because I knew with darkness...with the absence of everyone celebrating...the grief would come. I could feel it coming...and it hurt so, so, so very bad.

I wanted Lainey to go home with Brett. My heart was in a million pieces and wanted to be with her, and if I couldn't, I wanted him there. And so he left...with the little girl that completed my world, and I was left in the hospital with my two amazing, wonderful friends who will never ever know how special they are because of what they did for me that night. And they heard and saw things no one else will ever know, but I could have never made it through the night without them.

I think I cried for seven hours straight. It was gut-wrenching pain. I held Nella and I kissed her but I literally writhed in emotional pain on that bed in the dark with our candles and my friends by my side until the sun came up. I remember trying to sleep and then feeling it come on again...and I'd start shaking, and they'd both jump up and hug me from either side, Nella smooshed between the four of us. I begged for morning, even once mistaking a street light for sunlight and turning on the lights only to find it was 3 a.m. and I still had to make it through the night.

I can't explain that evening. And I suppose it's horrible to say you spent the first night your daughter was born in that state of agony, but I know it was necessary for me to move on to where I am today. And, knowing where I am today and how much I love this soul, how much I know she was meant for me and I am meant for her, knowing the crazy way our souls have intertwined and grown into each other, I can say all this now. It's hard, but it's real, and we all have feelings. We live them, we breathe them, we go through them and soon they dissolve into new feelings. So, here I go.

I cried out that I wanted to leave her and run away. I wanted to take Lainey and my perfect world and this perfect love I had built with my two-year old and our cupcake-baking days and our art projects and our beautiful bond and I wanted to run like hell. I wanted to be pregnant again. I wanted to be pregnant so bad. I wanted it to be the morning she was born again...when I was happy and excited and when I wore the white ruffled skirt and black shirt and put it in the belongings bag knowing joy was to come. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back.

I moaned in pain and through it all, this little breath of heaven needed me. I cried while I nursed her. I cried while I held her. I cried while I pulled my nightgown off just so I could lie her body on my naked skin and pray that I felt a bond. I literally writhed in emotional pain for hours. And Heidi and Katie saw parts of me no one else have seen. My eyes were so swollen, Heidi said I looked like Rocky...like someone beat the hell out of my face and then cut little slits for eyes. It was that bad.

...and then morning came. ...and with it, hope.

There is so much more I could write...and I will...in chapters of our book.

My sister arrived the next day and revolutionized the place with her "I Have a Dream" speech. She told me I swallowed the blue pill. She told me I could never go back. But that I held a key to a door that no one else does. And, with tears in her eyes, she excitedly and passionately told me how lucky I was. She told me that I was chosen and that it is the most special thing in the world. She told me it was going to be just fine.

And she was so right.

The day after Nella was born, I fell in love hard. I knew she was mine. I knew we were destined to be together. I knew she was the baby all along that grew in my beautiful round tummy...the one I thought I almost lost...the one that I proudly rubbed when people told me how beautiful that belly was. It was. It was Nella all along.

A huge turning point for me was when my sister published my blog entry and an outpouring of love turned on. I had no idea. None. I had no idea you all were out there. And the words you all said...I believed them. And maybe I believed them all along, but to hear them when I needed them...you all empowered me. And my friends and family...oh, they'll never ever know how special they are to me. I've never felt so loved. You all truly gave me your hearts to borrow while mine was breaking. And you loved my baby. You loved her so good. You're not her mama and yet you washed her with tears when you held her. You kissed her. When she cried in the middle of the night and I needed some blessed sleep, you rigged up the jaundice lights against the nurse's orders, put your sunglasses on and took turns sleeping in a chair just to hold her.

You promised to be there on this journey and that alone means more than we can ever tell you. To be loved...is the greatest feeling one can ever feel.

Over the course of the next several days, things just became beautiful. I cried, yes...but they soon turned to tears of joy. I felt lucky. I felt happy. And I felt that I didn't want to run away with Lainey anymore...and if I did, I was taking my bunny with me.

When Lainey was in the hospital with jaundice, I remember hugging Brett and crying. I told him if God would make her better, I'd do anything. I'd live in a box, I'd sell everything we had, I'd be happy with nothing...just make her better. When she did get better, that feeling of raw gratitude was real, but it wasn't long before real life set in and I was complaning once again about the dirty grout in our cheap tile and how much I wanted wood floors.

I've often thought about how quickly that feeling left because we have a perfect, healthy little girl running around that erases all the painful memories of when we thought something might be seriously wrong.

I felt that feeling again last week. And as the pain has slowly disipated, I've realized...I will always be reminded. My Nella, my special little bunny, my beautiful perfect yet unique girl will be my constant reminder in life. That it's not about wood floors. No, life is about love and truly experiencing the beauty we are meant to know.

And so, we came home...happy. In fact, walking out of the hospital with our new baby girl and our proud new big girl, all crowned up, gripping the handle of the carseat with Daddy...it was just how I had imagined it.

Life moves on. And there have been lots of tears since. There will be. But, there is us. Our Family. We will embrace this beauty and make something of it. We will hold our precious gift and know that we are lucky. I feel lucky. I feel privileged. I feel there is a story so beautiful in store...and we get to live it. Wow.

The story has begun...

Page by Page...

(First "Well Baby" Visit...Dr. Foley, we love you.)

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love her. I wouldn't trade her for the world, and y'all can have that heart you let me borrow back. My broken heart has been healed...and if you held her, you'd know what I mean.

photographed by my dear friend, heidi

My Girls. I am complete.

There's been so much wonder I've wanted to share...but I knew I had to tell her story first. More to come...we've been taking lots of pictures and loving the beauty of life...and the funny...and the hectic...it's been crazy.

...but beautiful.

I did it. I told our bunny's story.

3,985 comments:

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mcalabu said...

Oh my goodness, I cried reading your beautiful story. I could relate yo so much to it, I was there when my grand daughter was born, I knew the moment I saw her, and she was rushed to the NICU because they knew she had a heart defect. I never cried when our little Faith was born, but I cried later wondering if she would survive, wondering what her life would be like. My daughter and her husband didn't have a lot of time to think about the Ds, they were so concerned about her survival. That was over 3 years ago, it is a beautiful journey and we and your family are indeed blessed.

jenhall said...

I happened upon your blog on pinterest and I thank the lord I did. What an awesome spiritual experience. Thank you for sharing it with me. My heart is so full of love for you and your family and I've never met you, God is good. Your little one is the most beautiful baby. She is so lucky tks have come to you. What a blessing. May god could continue to bless your life.

Tammigirl said...

I love you for sharing your story. It's pain and fear and bitterness and beauty and gratitude beyond measure all baked together. It's delicious!

Moncia said...

THis is the best story ive read in a really long time. I am an ultrasound student and see some pretty sad things some times. It makes me so happy to hear tat god chose you as her mom. I have always thought that babies with down syndrome were some of the most beautiful babies with the biggest hearts and so joyful. I wish the best of luck to you and your family and I honestly thing your daughter is one of te most most beautiful little girls ive ever seen. she looks so full of life. And again its go good to hear uplifting stories like this.

Destiny said...

Just found this story on pinrerest and wanted to thank you for writing it. I am currently 24 weeks pregnant w my 4th (a boy) and have been put on strict hospital bed rest due to pprom. The doctors are giving scary news and neonatologists are preparing me for what lies ahead w an extremely premature baby and reading your story helped me to admit to myself that I am terrified of having a baby that is "not normal" and once I did, I just felt a peace that I don't care what his life looks like, as long as he has the best chance at the best one he can have! I honestly do not feel afraid anymore after reading this! Blessings and blessings and blessings on u and your family for your courage to write the deepest most hidden things in a woman's heart! Thank you!

Lynda Dickens said...

You are an amazing woman and your story really moved me. your daughters are both so beautiful and lucky to have a loving mother like you. Nella is such a beautiful angel and this story brought tears to my eyes. stay strong.

Kevin Oswald said...

My wife and I began the journey of life with a beautiful daughter with DS over 20 years ago. I was told at the time that one day we'd see it as a blessing. We have and it didn't take long to see it. It is and continues to be an amazing journey.

Pink Bee said...

Kelle,

I ran across this story on pinterest this morning and it touched my heart like nothing has ever touched it before. I sat here reading your story and tears fell from my eyes about half way through. You have a beautiful family and a beautiful daughter. Thank you for sharing your story. Life is truly a blessing and I feel like I may have been taking things for granted for so long and your words humbled me this morning. I love your blog, and again, thank you.

Ashley

Karmen said...

Beautiful story of a beautiful little girl! Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Kate Rodwell said...

what a perfect little princess she is

El Cascabel said...

I never cry but I just did reading your story. Your story will prove to be an inspiration for many. God has given you a gift! God bless you and your beautiful family!

Amanda Burch said...

Thank you for posting your story, you have no idea how you have helped me to view my pregnancy. Im 16 weeks and just found out that my son will have down syndrome, your story has helped put more of mine together. And help me to realize that no matter what there are ppl in life to help you through it. thank you love.

Just Wild About Teaching said...

amazing story...thank you for sharing it...just realized this was posted so long ago...cant wait to see her being a big girl =)

justwildaboutteaching.blogspot.com

Kellie-Marie said...

this is seriously, the most beautiful story i have ever had the privaledge of reading. your story has changed my outlook on life. i cried throughout this entire story. congratulations to your beauitful family.

Monika said...

I stumbled upon your blog looking for party ideas. Can I just tell you how amazingly beautiful you are inside and out and how gorgeous your daughters are! Thank you for your honest, beautiful love story. You had me in tears to read such power of love and joy in your heart. Congrats on your blissful family!

YOU ARE SUCH A POWER HOUSE! Nella and all that you know are better people because of your amazing spirit and example!

THANK YOU FOR SHARING your personal moments. WOW!!

Ofa Atu,
From FLORIDA

SouthernHeart said...

Somehow...I found you and your precious bunny's story and how glad I am I did. Beautiful, powerful love story. Your daughters are absolutely beautiful!

Blessings,
Dianne
www.sweetjourneyhome.com

Stephanie Harrigan said...

I've been following your blog for a while but this is the first time I've read the story of Nella's birth. Just beautiful... it totally made me cry at work. :)

Natalie Hall said...

Wow, what an amazing love story. Thank you so much for sharing your incredibly beautiful, emotional and real journey. The photographs are absolutely beautiful. You are so strong and your family is perfect just the way it is! Congratulations! ;0). -Natalie

Emma Elliott said...

I have only just read this through link from a friend, you are amazing and strong and your story is beautiful xx

quietbpd said...

What an amazing story. You and your family and new little baby are amazing people. I wish you all the very best. X

Crystal Abbott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal Abbott said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with everyone. I'm 29 years old and hoping to have a little one someday and in all honesty, I have always worried about the possiblility of having a child with DS or another type of disability. I worry about loving the child the way he/she deserves to be loved and whether or not I would feel differently for them, but after reading your blog, you have taken a lot of those worries away and shown me how beautiful my child will be no matter what. I look forward to reading all of your blogs. God Bless you and your family.

jiffy said...

beautiful... the story, your family, your girls... thanks for sharing

Brandy said...

Boy did I cry. Partly connecting, partly from a fear I remembered. She is absolutely beautiful and lucky to have such a wonderful, accepting mother.

Alex said...

This is so amazing. This happened to me also. And I've never been able to express it like this. My little guy passed away after a week in the NICU and I was so wrapped up in the grief of his loss that I've had a hard time articulating the tornado of emotions I felt when he was born and they told me he had down syndrome. I am so sad to not be a part of that world. But, I am grateful to read this and remember that week of my life.

Alex said...

This is so amazing. This happened to me also. And I've never been able to express it like this. My little guy passed away after a week in the NICU and I was so wrapped up in the grief of his loss that I've had a hard time articulating the tornado of emotions I felt when he was born and they told me he had down syndrome. I am so sad to not be a part of that world. But, I am grateful to read this and remember that week of my life.

Nelly said...

I came upon your blog by chance and I have to say this is the most beautiful and touching thing I've read. This was such a touching reminder of the unexplainable bond between a mother and child. Thank you for sharing.

Monica said...

She is beautiful. I love the pic of you kissing her cheek and her eyes are looking at you, and the pics of you and her skin to skin. oh and those pink booties she's wearing with the Dr, OMG. She is gorgeous and she looks like you. What a blessing!

Jen Angel said...

This was one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read! What a beautiful gift you have been given! I appreciated how honest and heart wrenching real you were. You talked about all the things that people don't know and some will never understand. You are a hero...many blessed years to you and your family!

nadia mah said...

thank you for being so honest and openly vulnerable. i admire how courageous and strong yo are. you and your family are beautiful.

Keeley M. said...

My mom's sister has down syndrome and moved in with my family when my nana went into a nursing home. I was seven and had enormous struggles with people in our lives. She, even now that I am seventeen, is the most loving, beautiful person I am lucky enough to know. The ignorance of others towards her has just brought better, more compassionate people to me. Your older daughter is absolutely blessed just as your whole family is and, really, everyone she comes in contact with. My aunt, Kay Girl, is 44 now and my absolute favorite person in the world and truly my hero. Please post more about your lives together. I would love to see! Congratulations!
Keeley

KelseyB said...

This is a truly beautiful story.. My younger brother has d.s and I couldn't of asked for a more perfect brother.. My mom always said kids like this are gifts.

Christine McCluskey said...

Even if Nella had been born without Down Syndrome I would have loved you for describing your desire for and birthing of a child in such loving detail. I want kids, but I feel the world is so full of fear and apprehension about having them. I feel so refreshed at having read about your experience, because you truly wiped away my fear. Thank you so much.

lost in thought said...

What a beautiful story...that isn't even the right word for it, because it is so real. I truly admire you for your courage and blunt honesty in the retelling, and I wish I could wrap my arms around you and engulf you in the biggest hug ever! I have two little boys in the NICU, born 10 weeks early on Halloween morning...my first-born weighed 3 lbs 7oz, my second weighed 1 lb 14oz. They were passed straight into the NICU. I never got to hold them, kiss them, nurse them. As a new mom-to-be I also had built up in my head some beautiful expectations of how it would be...it is so hard when you have to completely abandon those expectations and face your new reality. But you do. Somehow you adjust. And I have learned to love my tiny, perfect angels just as you have learned to love Nella...past all the stereotypes. Somehow they teach us the meaning of unconditional love and we are so much better for the learning. I pray that blessings rain down on you and your beautiful family, from now until forever. Thank you for touching my heart with your love story. ~Heather

Joan D. said...

Dear Kelle!
What an amazing Love Story!!! I want to thank you so much for sharing your Entire story. 25 years ago I had a similar situation with lots of feelings of doubt & insecurity about being able to handle a child with disability. I never told anyone these feelings because I felt like such a Bad Mother to even have these feelings. I have held it against myself for all those years. It has haunted me at times. You have freed me of those feelings! You have showed me that it is a normal reaction to a very emotional situation. I did Not judge you like I did myself. I can now forgive myself & realize that it was Not horrible to have those feelings. I have reached out & told somebody about this too. I feel so free now of that horrible guilt. By sharing your story honestly you gave me an amazing gift!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!
A very warm & grateful hug to you!
Joan

Jourdan Richardson said...

i sobbed throughout this entire story. i sobbed because i witnessed this in May of 2010. My aunt whom i am very close with had had a normal pregnancy, just the same as her other three. she was 37, so she had to have the genetic testing and all of that fun stuff. everything came back completely normal. on May 11th we get the phone call that miss clare madelyn had been born at 8 pm. we were ecstatic and couldn't wait to meet this little miracle. then we get another call at 6am, and it is my aunt sobbing, telling us that clare had down syndrome, and had heart and lung complications. we immediately packed up the car and drove to milwaukee as fast as we possible could. my mother and i had to be there for her. when we arrived clare was getting aspirated for the second time because her diaphragm had filled up with air again. when we finally got there, she was the most beautiful baby i had ever seen. and she didn't even look like she had DS. she looked pretty normal. i had a hard time accepting it. i swore up and down to myself that the doctors had it wrong. the next couple days were good. clare had looked like she was improving and would be just fine after she had a heart surgery in a couple months to repair the two holes in her heart. But about 10pm on the 13th, we get a call to come to the hospital immediately. clare had taken a turn for the worse. my aunt and uncle called a chaplain to baptize her, and i was named as her honorary godmother. (i couldn't become her actual godmother because i wasn't catholic). we left soon after to let my aunt and uncle spend the last few precious hours left of clare's life alone with her. she died early in the morning on the 14th.
so cherish your miracle. she is beautiful, and she is alive. my godbaby isnt and i think about her every second of every day. <3

Heather said...

This is by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I cried tears of sadness and pain for you and then sheer joy. Blessings sometimes come in the most unexpected (but amazing) packages. My love to you and yours.

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carmel said...

What a beautiful story-well done for sharing, not many of us would ever be as honest as you have been. You're daughters are so lucky to have you. Good luck with your journey

Witkowski Family said...

What a beautiful and moving birth story; I've shared it on my own blog because I think everyone should read it. Hope things are well with your family xo

Jessica & Shaun said...

Thank you for writing this. Thank you.

Mandy said...

I just came across this story thru Pinterest. I have to say that I cried so hard while reading your raw emotional words. I felt pain too and my heart broke, but the unending love that I felt coming through while reading this, the raw unbridled emotions, well I can honestly say that you are an inspiration. Baring your soul like that to the world couldn't have been easy and I admire you for your strength and honesty. Your Nella is absolutely beautiful and sucha peach. I wish you and your family all the best in the world, much love!

kailsanne said...

I stumbled across your blog on Pinterest. Someone shared that your story was inspiring and beautiful. After reading, those words don't do it justice. I realize that this is now almost three years later, but I feel compelled to tell you that the honesty, and emotion, and love was perfectly shared and understood and felt. I can't wait to read the rest of your blog because I can't wait to learn something else from your beautiful family.

Bows, Bags, and More said...

I am so touched by your story. I know God gives us many trials and struggles and in the end he brings us so much joy. She is so precious and sweet. This last picture just makes me want to snuggle with her. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being honest in everything that went on. Both of your girls are so very beautiful.

Lotti said...

What a truly beautiful story, and thank you so much for sharing it. .... Heavenly Father has his hand in all things. How blessed you are.

Dana said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story and the pictures of your beautiful daughters. You are so blessed.

Georgina Castellucci said...

Thank you SO much for sharing you story - you have no idea just how much you have touched so many people so powerfully. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!! (Also sobbed through this.)

Your daughters are so beautiful and are lucky to have such a wonderful, honest, caring mother. You eldest teaches us all something and your sister - her words are so true.

hersplitends.com said...

I just found your post from a link on pinterest and I have to tell you how inspiring, honest and beautiful your story is. Your daughter's are the most precious things on the planet!! You have made me see a very different side and strength to women that have gone thru similar things that you and your family have. Cheers to a beautiful story and thank you so much for sharing!!
XO
~ Jillian

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Nicole M. Hutchison said...

I am on this page because another blogger linked this post to their site and I am immensely grateful. My heart is full of emotions right now and I feel so blessed to have read your beautiful story. Your family is exactly as it should be. The tears I've cried (and still crying) are happy tears. Congratulations again!

Nicole @ Three 31
http://nicoleandkevin.wordpress.com/

Stephanie said...

I'm sitting here typing through a steady stream of tears that don't seem to want to stop...your beautiful story touched me more than I can possibly say...and I think it changed me a little bit for the better. Thank you for sharing it.

Falen @ Upward Not Inward said...

Another blogger (Dancing with Ashley) linked to this post, and I clicked on it have no idea what was in store... I just wanna hug you and hug that baby girl... Then I read the date!!! She'll be three soon!!

Gotta grab tissues before my keyboard short circuits... New follower here. :)

Falen
www.upwardnotinward.com

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Clint said...

Thank you for posting. I saw this on Pintrest and I'm so grateful I stumbled across this beautiful perfect story of REAL emotion and REAL love. It is beautiful and I hope to stumble across more stories of your girls being silly and growing as best friends. Your amazing and you are the perfect fit for little miss Nella. Congratulations!

christin joy said...

first time ever to your blog. a friend sent this to me and all i could do was cry... for the pain you felt, for the joy you felt, for the family you have... thank you for being so honest. thank you for writing one of the most beautiful birth stories i've ever read. as a woman who is struggling to get pregnant, i appreciate that you were real with your feelings. and i love everything that you wrote. thank you so much! congrats (i know, i'm a little late) and i look forward to reading more of your blog!

Allyson Langworth said...

What a beautiful revealing and true heartfelt story. Many people would not be brave enough to write honestly as you did. I cried my way through the entire entry.
Your girls are precious. I truly believe like your sister said...you were chosen for a reason to be Nella's mom-family, embrace it just like it seems you did.
Thank you for sharing your birth story, very inspiring!
Allyson

cindy said...

Oh my, I just found this blog this week. Kellie, thank you so much for your transparency! I have traveled a road that is very similar, and it is so good to know that I am not the only one. I would, at times feel guilty because my daughter is so healthy and perfect, but yet was so difficult to deal with. My daughter has anxiety, depression and ADD. We have finally, at age 11, have gotten her diagnosed and treated (medication, unfortunately) to a point that she a JOY to spend time with. Now if we could just do something about adolescent attitudes! Thank you again, for your transparency!

Heather Isaac said...

WOW. What a brave moment to share every ounce of your soul. Precious. You have no idea how many people you have touched....forever.


Thank you for sharing!!!
LOVE,
Heather Isaac

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SmithShack71 said...

The photos are a little breathtaking. The words are incredible. You did really well. I felt like I read them straight off your heart.

This is going to maybe sound crazy, but, when I sat down to look around your blog, and landed on this, I was having a hell of a peak of a day with pms and peri-menopause, and my heart doing its palpitating thing it does. I tell you, I was in a foul mood.
Now, I've read this, and I feel peace.

Peace.

My heart didn't even palpitate once while I was reading! Still hasn't. This story was medicinal!

You're truly a gift. Your girls are truly a gift.

-Angie

Angelika Vahanyan said...

I just had to tell you how proud I am of you. I just realized your post is 3 years old but i still had to post my comment. I am glad to still meet people like you and your daughter who reminded me that true meaning of love still exists in many of us. Sometimes it feels like our society has been fallen under this ridiculous media influence about what's perfect & beautiful and what's not. However, perfect is in the eyes of the beholder. Your beautiful story moved me in so many ways. It took me some time to read your story because I was crying through out the entire reading. I think you are beautiful inside and outside and nothing in this world can break you even when you feel otherwise. You have to remember you only live once. You have to make sure you live the happiest and make your loved ones around you the happiest as well because you'll only feel the happiest when you bring them the happiest. I hope what I just said made sense. This is why I don't write. You are a great writer and I encourage you to keep going especially when you have such a beautiful and timeless story to fill our hearts with.
Thank you and HAPPY 2013!!!

Maegan Noble said...

Your story was so heart-wrenching and beautiful! I cried with you as I read your story and I finished it smiling. You are such an amazing mother and it is obvious that you have a wonderful, supportive network of friends and family to help you every step of the way. Wonderful parents like you and your husband are the people that help raise awareness for those of us who don't fully understand. Your Bunny is a blessing, and bless you for sharing the beautiful story of her birth! <3

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Shelly Pendergrass said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Mine is much different but it is so encouraging to hear your precious words!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your story. It's so honest and beautiful. I cried with you, tears of understanding. Your love for your children is inspirational. I wish you and your family health and joy!

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Shannanigans said...

I'm nineteen years old and never have been a mother, but your beautiful story has struck me like no other. You have a heart of gold, thank you for sharing this wonderful journey of yours with others. I do not think I can adequately describe how touched I am by you and your family, and how happy I am for you all. I'm sending love and blessings your way!

Jared & Savannah said...

You are an incredible momma and have 2 gorgeous daughters. Love those babies with everything you've got! Thank you for your beautiful story!

Cortney said...

This post... there are no words to describe how much it affected me. Thank you for sharing your true feelings and for helping us see how real it all was. Your baby is almost 2 now & I plan on reading much more of your blog but... wow! Thank you! God bless you & your beautiful family!

Courtney Butler said...

I cried reading your story! Thank you for sharing! The pictures are amazing and both your daughters are the most beautiful little girls I've ever seen!! God Bless you and your family! He made her just for you! Perfect and Beautiful in every way possible!!

Shauna Pugh said...

My sister has a son with Down syndrome. I was there for his birth. I remember every detail, maybe better than the births of my own children. I could tell the second I saw him. It was torture to watch the questioning and disconnected eyes of my sister. I was frustrated that the nurses wouldn't just tell her. I was there as the photographer. It was hard, but it was beautiful too. He was beautiful! And he was perfect. And 4 years later, he is such a huge part of all our lives. And he's still beautiful and absolutely perfect!

I loved reading your story! Cried like a baby. Thank you so much for sharing!

elisangela said...

just found your blog, not sure how I got here but once I started reading your birth story I couldn't stop - tears are flowing right now and one can tell how much love goes in your life/family - thanks so much for sharing

Emily said...

This story is so touching to me :) I was about the age of your oldest daughter when my sister with down syndrome was born, and to this day she is the most important person to me! I pray you and your family have many blessed years with that sweet girl and congratulations ;) if you get the chance, read the poem about Trip to Holland ;) it's about when children are born different and how you face it :)

Emily said...

This story is so touching to me :) I was about the age of your oldest daughter when my sister with down syndrome was born, and to this day she is the most important person to me! I pray you and your family have many blessed years with that sweet girl and congratulations ;) if you get the chance, read the poem about Trip to Holland ;) it's about when children are born different and how you face it :)

Heather Christensen said...

Quite possibly the best blog entry I've ever read. I can only imagine the depth of what you felt that night she was born, but I allowed myself to feel a bit of that, and the joy in the day that followed, and the revelation you experienced during meeting of your daughters. The newborn pictures of your daughter are so beautiful and warmed my heart like nothing else. I'm 35 and do not have children yet. I've been trying to read a lot about Down Syndrome lately...just in case. I know my chances are elevated. I can't tell you what a comfort reading your story has been to me. She's just such a beautiful girl. I know it's been a couple years now, but congratulations on being "chosen". You are so lucky.

Peggy said...

Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal, yet painful, yet, as you said DEFINING moment in your life. And thank you for sharing your sweet, precious baby girl! She truly IS beautiful!

Cassie said...

what a beautiful life you are living. I have never visited your blog before but I am so grateful to have been led here today. You are inspiring and your honesty is incredible. Thank YOU for sharing your story. Nella truly is a blessing for us all. Let us never forget that.

Kayla said...

What a beautiful story. I just discovered your blog and was so touched by how you share your heart. My cousin has Down syndrome and is in her early twenties now. She is such an amazing lady and so full of life. I am about 6 yeas older than her so I remember when she was born. Growing up with her was so much fun. She is always so happy and makes you really see the true beauty in this world.

Thanks for sharing your story.
Kayla

Aly said...

in tears here. what a beautiful, honest, hart wrenching, amazing love story from beginning to end. one for the books for sure!

Alicia Flett said...

Wow this is simply beautiful <3 and yet so true I' know u don't know you but I'm certainly proud of you and your for being so strong for your family and just my personal opinion that your little "bunny" has one of the purest hearts out there as she sees everything with such comparison and love emotion and you are simply blessed to share that with her congratulations on your bravery to tell your story and share it with the world to read I found it to be simply beautiful as are you precious little angles.. Children are a gift from above and anyone that is able to have a baby is blessed with one of life's most amazing gifts!!!

Alicia Flett said...

Sorry some spelling errors compassion not comparison

XOXO Jenna said...

I think that you have truly captured that raw emotions that all special needs parents feel. I found out that my son was Autistic (mild) at the age of three. My daughter was born right behind him and I realized at the age of 4.5 that something was not right with her (blank epilepsy)-- the dreams that you have for your children totally changes.. thanks for capturing that hurt and healing. She is beautiful in every single way.

Rachel Findley said...

Wow. Beautiful! congrats to you and your family you are truly blessed. With love like this both your children can't help but be lovely! I have worked with individuals with disabilities for a year and a half now and one particular friend of mine with downs has taught me so much about love, happiness, and kindness. I wouldn't trade his friendship for anything in the world.

Sarah Bryant said...

wow what an amazing gift of hope you have brought :) thanks for sharing...I definately cried God Bless

Emma N. said...

She is so beautiful.

Emma N. said...

She is so beautiful.

Emily said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story... oh so many tears, beautiful tears...
emily (australia)

Y Mama said...

Your story is amazing, your words incredible, your honesty refreshing. I can't wait to read more!

Stuce said...

You wrote so openly that I felt as though I knew exactly what you felt, as if that is even possible. It's a beautiful story, a sad story, a happy story. I cried, I felt for you. I wanted to make it better, and I don't know you. Thank you for sharing.

NCFashionista said...

Your story is so touching I've cried the whole time I've been reading...Nella is beautiful gods perfect creation as a mother of two girls myself I understand how you feel maybe not completely but I felt so mad at myself when I had my second daughter for changing my two yr olds life after she had been out baby for so long I didn't want to hold my baby so I understand how you felt...but god never gives us anything we can't handle and he knows you are going to be a wonderful mother to her that's why he gave her to you....I wish you all a life filled many more blessings and I will stay tunned hopefully to see how beautiful Nella grows!!!

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Mrs. S said...

She is BEAUTIFUL and so are you! <3

Ann said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I haven't met your Nella, but I love her. I have a little brother who has Down Syndrome and he has brought more joy and blessings to our family than we could ever explain. We all have an automatic love for individuals with Down Syndrome. They are a very special gift to this world. I know you will come to know this more and more with time. Your sister is right in that you were chosen. Bless you in your endeavors in mothering such wonderful, beautiful girls.

Nicole said...

I found this post on pinterest and i just have to add my thanks to the thousands already posted! Thank you for your honest, wonderful post! Enjoy your perfect daughters and know there are so many out there happy for you and praying for you!

Kimberlina said...

this is the most amazing birth story I have ever read- My mother is a behavioral specialist and my biggest fear was always having a child with DS... i always told her I didnt have the patience that she did, that I would never be able to "deal" with it. 2 weeks ago I had the privilege of caring for the sweetest 5 year old with DS and she truly changed my world - I fell head over heels in love with this peanut in the matter of minutes. Her confidence, and just pure happiness for life brightened up my day the moment I saw her. I envy you for your honesty and courage to write your raw emotions down. Good luck with your gorgeous girls - they are both blessing and you will learn so much from them <3

Chelsea Dotson said...

You are gorgeous, and your girls are gorgeous. This made me cry; I could feel your emotion, beautiful writer. Your sister said it perfectly: you were chosen for this role. You're obviously a wonderful mother and woman, and you can handle an obstacle such as this. It will be a fun variance to the 'perfect' life. You will experience wonderful things. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing.

Kayla Casa said...

I came across this on Pinterest last evening I absolutely had to read this story, this is a real life story and its beautiful And this mother is amazing, and her children are beautiful and perfect in everyway, may God bless your beautiful family.

Kim @ Mrs. Hs Resource Room said...

A beautiful story. Your daughters are lucky to have you for their mama. You are an inspiration to so many mamas that have had children they didn't expect. I pray God rains down abundant blessings in your life!

kstock13 said...

I came across this story and I'm glad I took time to read it. It is so touching. I'm not a mother, but I am an aunt of three beautiful girls and they are my world. I was crying the whole time I was reading this story. I am filled with happiness that you found love for your little girl. She is beautiful and I know she is loved by many.

Alicia Tirrell said...

I just read your story...and I am ...what are the words???

As my husband and I are starting to think about having kids, in the back of your mind you always wonder, "What if?"

What if my child isn't what I expected, What if they are born with disabilities, What if I can never be the mom they need me to be?


This story taught me that those "What if's" aren't important. Love is important. Family is important. Learning and Growing is important.

You are so incredibly brave for expressing your true feelings when it comes to this matter. And I applaud you for having the courage to do so! Thank you, so much, for sharing your story. It has truly changed my life.



Sincerely,

Alicia T.

crafty-stamper said...

I read your story with tears and will say you have two beautiful daughters to be proud of
carol x

writeforsanitysake said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes!
I am not a mother but your story took me on a very amazing and heartfelt journey.

Nelly is such a beautiful baby!! I love all her pictures, really.

I have shared your story on my blog, and I hope that others will learn great lessons from it, just as I did.

God bless you, with love!

ashley holloman said...

You are so inspirational. Thank you for being honest about how you felt then and how you feel now. Its amazing how human emotions work. You are truly blessed and there is something definitely very special in store for you and your family. Nella is beautiful and I know that the good Lord has great things in store for her. Thank you for sharing your story!

C said...

What a beautiful story. Crazy enough, almost three years later I find your story while (from The Netherlands) looking on Pinterest for new things to do with my kids. I have two beautiful sons, "normal" on the outside and just their beautiful selves on the inside. I have been ashamed of my thoughts about me wanting everything to be different, easier, normal! But your story opened my eyes and my heart. It is ok to feel that way! Thank you so much for being so very very honest about your feelings and doubts. Bless you and your family.

Amber Miks said...

I found this story through Pintrest. Honestly it is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read. You are absolutely that little girls hero. So honest and true and strong and brave...I could think of a million other words to describe how I feel after reading this story. And yet, I still can't seem to think of the perfect word to sum it all up. I'm almost speechless because how I feel is so much more bold than any word that exists. You inspire me. & there is no doubt in my mind you already have and WILL inspire both your daughters to be extraordinary just like their mama! Bless you and your entire family & friends who have been there along the way! :)

Laraf123 said...

There is nothing I can say that hasn't been said. But I'll say it anyway. What a beautiful story...a precious daughter...an exceptional mother and wonderful family.

Kathrine MacMillan said...

This story is absolutely beautiful. We all have out own ideas of what "perfect" is, and God shows us that everyone is made perfectly in His image. Thank you for being so raw and honest.

Cindy Munson said...

Your story is my story. Only I was just barely 20 years old. When my son was born... He was whisked away. The nurses and Dr' s told me there were some concerns. He was blue. He was tiny. And he was Down Syndrome. I knew in my heart because I had just finished the peds round in nursing school. The hardest part was telling my family and friends. We even considered giving him up for adoption. But the more I held him and listened to his little squeaks, I fell in love with him. He won my heart. He was beautiful. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Peaceful. Since then he has had many heart surgeries including two mitral valve transplants . This was my 20's. Jump forward 22 years. I am now 42. I'm a teacher. Have a masters degree and two beautiful daughters and my son Tyler. He is an angel on earth.... My angel. Your story is touching and one I can painfully relate to. Thank you for sharing.

Meliss said...

I knew right away, too, that my daughter had Down syndrome when she was born. I knew intuitively beforehand that if I ever had a daughter named Brigid, she wouldn't be normal. She is seventeen years old now and has brought more joy than I could ever have imagined. You are very special to hold this "key", as your sister sad. Not everyone is as lucky as we are.

Mike M said...

I don't know you and you don't know me but I am in tears reading this. I have never felt so proud of someone I have never even met. Your strength and your love is so evident in what are, I'm sure, hard words to write. I love how your sister put it - you WERE chosen and I am thankful this precious angel has you as her mom! God Bless you and your beautiful family!

Katy said...

Your story - and your family - is beautiful. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the very personal story of your daughter's birth!

Romantic Savy said...

Just found your blog and I am truly moved by this post. Your story is so real and beautiful. I am 6 months pregnant with a baby girl, so as you can imagine I shed many tears while reading this. She truly was meant for you and she is just beautiful. You're very blessed.

Shannon Delaney said...

I just found your blog and was truly moved by this post. I read the birth story a few days ago and just can't get it out of my head. Thank you so much for your honesty. You are a beautiful soul and I wish you and your lovely family nothing but the best.

Liz said...

I just finished reading Nellie's birth story. It's beautiful. My husband and I adopted a our daughter (Mary) at the age of 1 (she's now 5) who has Down Syndrome. So, although I can relate to you on some level of having a child with DS, I can never relate to you on the level of giving birth to a child with special needs. So, thank you for your perspective. It touched my heart. People often say to us "Mary is so lucky to have you two as parents", but we quickly correct them and say "No, we're the lucky ones. Mary brings so much joy and happiness into our lives. We can't imagine life without her". May you enjoy each moment with Nellie and remember that she is truly a gift to you.

Amanda said...

I stumbled across your story on Pinterest..

This is possibly the most beautifully written, honest, and tear-jerking post I've ever read. I know it's three years late, but congratulations for your beautiful little girl. And thank you for sharing your story.

Eblend said...

I just wanted to say that I am so glad I stumbled upon this. I am only 16, but I am so in love with kids with Down's. My best friend's little brother has it, as well as a little boy in my church who I watch almost every week. Tears were streaming down my face. I'm so glad you realized her beauty and worth. They are priceless, and never cease to bring a smile to my face. They are the most lovable, and more important, loving people I know of. I'm so excited as she grows and you see her develop into a wonderful, marvelous, bright young girl. She will be such a blessing to everyone around her, and is such a fabulous gift from God. Thank you for sharing, and I pray that God will bless you and your family in the days to come :)

Sthrngal said...

As a mom of a very active little downs boy, your story reminds me of his birth. I don't know who was more scared, him or me. LOL, just kidding. I was without a doubt. But looking at that smile, his little hand reaching out and grabbing mine was just wonderful. I later wondered what I did to be picked out of all the people to be his mom. How i got so lucky. I don 't know but I am so glad i did whatever. There is a poem "Welcome to Holland" that is just, well if you haven't read it, you should. Thank you for sharing your story! She a precious, perfect girl.

jamie lanae said...

Thank you for sharing your story. The Lord must truly trust you to send a daughter so dear to him to your home.

c.darwin said...

Such an amazing and refreshingly honest story! Thank you for sharing. Your entire family is so beautiful and I wish you all the best.

c.darwin said...

Such an amazing and refreshingly honest story! Thank you for sharing. Your entire family is so beautiful and I wish you all the best.

Danielle Rayeski said...

What a beautiful story. The honesty is so appreciated. I became a mother for the first time almost a year ago and was lucky enough to have a healthy baby boy. ( I thank God every day) Every mother carries that fear during a pregnancy. You were chosen for a reason and I don't think your baby could have been any luckier than to get you as her loving momma. I don't know you personally, but I feel so proud of you. The world is better because of the love in you and your family's hearts. Congratulations and god bless!!!

SGG said...

Sweet, sweet girl... your story is precious as well as your family. Knowing that your sister is so right. God chose the perfect parents. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kristina said...

Thank you SO much for sharing. I can honestly say that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. What a privilege and an honor to hear your story. Your honesty is beautiful. You are gorgeous, this story you've shared is proof that beauty comes from within. Blessings to you and your family. ~Kristina

my cherie amour said...

Wow, your testimony is so mind-blowing. Praise God for ur beautiful girl. And I'm sure Jesus will bless u and ur family so much more, He has great things for Nella. And thank u for sharing cos it's gonna bless so much more ppl than u will ever know.

Lynna Gore said...

So I'm sitting here at work, working on re-doing folders, and wandering aimlessly online for something to read - on pinterest no less. And I found your story. Thank you. For sharing your emotions so honestly. This is one of the most beautiful, raw, incredible things I've ever read. As I went to refill my coffee cup, I had tears in my eyes . .. reminded once again how blessed I am. And how blessed you are. . .

Smokering said...

I just read your wonderful story, and my nineteen-month-old boy toddled past the computer screen. His eyes lit up, he pointed at the screen and crowed "Baby!" in great delight. So I put him on my knee and we looked at Nella's photos together. He's a big fan. :)

Wishing you strength and joy!

Jessica elle said...

I am in tears. This is a beautiful story. You are an inspiration to me <3

Ryan Michael said...

Congrats!! I found your story through Pinterest, and just want to say that my BFF's little brother has DS. He's 26, and I have known him his whole life. He is the happiest, most joyful person I know! He LOVES life, has a million friends and several girlfriends, he tells me. Even as a kid, I never felt bad for him - that's just who he is. He knows nothing different, and I'm sure he could care less. He's a handful, but we love to relive the hilarious things he does and says (like trying to "free" all the animals at the pet store, putting a frozen burger in the microwave for 99 minutes, or telling me about his girlfriend with "eyes like mine" (aw, how sweet) and "a mustache like mine" (wait...what!?!?)). Thank you for sharing your heart and for inspiring your readers to be better moms!

Ryan Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
transport7800 said...

So amazing! When I was in the 4th grade my best friend got a new baby sister..I call her Ju-Ju. I remember recognizing the Downs when I first looked at her and back then they wanted to put her in an institution because that is just what they did. But her Momma wouldn't hear of it. Her Daddy died just 14 short years later and Grace dedicated her life to Julie. Little did I know that I would become Julie's legal guardian 31 years later. She is not 52 and still with me and because of her most of my family works as independent providers for developmentally disabled adults. They are the most loving, forgiving people I know. Your story touched me because of the honesty that you shared and yet I knew before I got to the end that Nella would win you over and you would realize the gift that God gave you. Bless you and your family, the best is yet to come..:)

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing your soul. I read this three times straight in a row and as I did, I felt my heart expand. Your sister was right, you were chosen.

Jerusha Borden said...

I don't know you, or even how I came across this beautiful post. Pinterest, maybe? Anyway. I loved your story. I understand those tears. I may not be mom to a blessing with DS, but I remember those hot tears, confusion, dread and fear when my son was diagnosed with autism. Never to be a "normal" child. But he has been nothing but a blessing to our family and we couldn't be without him. Congratulaions on the birth of your sweet and beautiful Nella. Be blessed!

mlowryphotography said...

AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL story, thankyou for sharing your thoughts and feelings, tears came to my eyes and smiles came to my face! you are a wonderful mother of two beautiful girls, best wishes to you and your little family xx

Myken Hassler said...

Wow, just wow, I found this blog on pinterest and I though I would read it, just for kicks. You are an amazing person, your story is beautiful, and your children are incredible. Your honesty truly astounds me.I hope they grow to be as strong and loving as their mama. You are a truly inspiring person.
God Bless

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Hannah Hutslar said...

I realize this is an old post, but I wanted to let you know how much it touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an amazing woman.

Miange said...

I just want to say that is the most beautiful story I've ever read. I believe God chooses us for a purpose in everything he does and he chose YOU to be Nella's mommy for a reason. God bless you and your whole family. You're all beautiful!

SOFIA said...

Thank you so much for wrist inf YOUR beautiful story!!!
There are tears in my eyes because you described things that I didn't know how to write down.
I send to you and your family and friends all the love I can think of

mom said...

I love this story. Your feelings you shared we're so real and raw. I cried and your story is so powerful and loving. Thank you for sharing your story.

Reem I Simply Reem said...

Your story has touched so many hearts n soul...
This post is the most beautiful post ever. . THANKS for sharing. .. you are the most loving n strong of mom.. And Nella is the most beautiful, perfect and lucky baby. ..
God bless

Wilson_family said...

Omg. You are an inspiring woman. I do not judge the feelings you had. I as a mother know how you feel about your baby. But, my nephew has down syndrome and I too remember holding him and crying for hours. I love all my nephews like my own, and it hurt to know he was different. But now he is 3 and the most amazing little boy ever :) I couldn't live life without him. And honey, your daughter isBeautiful. I hope to one day have a daughter :) she is absolutely adorable :) *virtual snuggles with your cute little bundle* :)

Jules said...

This is the most beautiful birth story I have ever read.

Anonymous said...

I never post comments on blogs, but I felt compelled to write something after reading your story. Thank you for sharing your birth story. Very powerful. I just had a baby 6 weeks ago and was up in the middle of the night feeding her. I came across your story from a pin on Pinterest. I started reading and couldn't stop, even after I finished feeding my daughter and should have closed my eyes to go back to sleep. I hung on every word and picture and couldn't stop reading your beautiful story. It sounds like you are a great mother to your oldest and that you will be an amazing mother to your 2nd daughter as well. Congratulations to you. You sound like an extremely strong woman. You were chosen for a reason to raise these little girls, and it sounds like you're going to be incredible. Not only that, but it sounds like you're surrounded by a beautiful cast of people who love you and your girls dearly. You did it! And you should be so proud of yourself.

K.T.V. said...

Her story is beautiful, thank you so much for honestly sharing it. God keep you, all.

Sandra Rakovic said...

Thank you for sharing this painful, yet inspiring journey ....I wept reading through it as if it had been me who just gave birth to that precious baby girl...you and your family are in my thoughts :-) will be checking back for updates and photos!

Erin said...

Just read this story again for the umpteenth time...still so beautiful. Blessings to you and your family and congrats on the birth of baby dash!

The life of a single mom... said...

Thank you for sharing this. It touched my heart. Your family is precious and beautiful. Congrats on your beautiful Nella! What wonderful blessings God has in store for your family.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful story and what beautiful children!! You ate blessed!

aLongtheway said...

Dearest Kelle,
I have come to your blog today to look for your newest birth story/announcement, but I cannot come here without reading this most extraordinary piece of writing which is Nella's birth story.
I have to tell you that it is the most inspirational, and beautiful piece of writing I have ever read...it is my go-to for when I need a "pick me up"...the love, and incredible strength, from you, your family, your friends and the adorable Miss Nella is so uplifting.
I wish you and your beautiful family all the very best! Thank you for your sharing & writing & pictures! xx

S said...

I'm a NICU nurse and have taken care of many beautiful babies with Down Syndrome. I truly believe that extra 21st chromosome gives them an extra dose of sweetness. They are amazing people from the moment they're born.

Cindy said...

I just found your blog through an instagram photo or two of your newest baby boy! (I just had my first baby, a boy too. Having a son, is amazing, huh?). He is so, so cute! And your girls' love for him is clear in your photos/blog. I clicked the link about 'if you're new, start here' and I CRIED when I read about Nella's birth story. I mean, really genuinely, cried. Like had to step away from the computer and return to finish. I can't wait to dive into your blog more. All the best and many blessings to you.

MiamiMom said...

WOW. Your story brought me to tears. God bless you and your family. It takes an unimaginable amount of courage to dig deep in your heart to relive your story and share it with the world. You are an amazing woman, and your girls are angels from Heaven. Thank you so much for describing the strength of a mother's love. Amazing.

Stevie said...

Your girls are so beautiful! You are one lucky mama! Good luck on your journey and all the happiness to you and your family!

Gabrielle Klein said...

I've been crying for a lot of tragedy in my own life lately. Your story reminded me what was truly important. Your girls are so beautiful, and you are so blessed. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with a painful disease that will be with me the rest of my life. My family has tried everything to "fix me", but we've recently started accepting this new life. Our new normal, as my father says. I've learned to be grateful for the little things, because the big picture is scary and somewhat traumatic when you look at it overall. It takes a strong mother and father to cope when something is "wrong" with your child. Similar to how my parents have learned, you and your husband will too. Your older daughter will learn to be an even stronger protector for her little sister, like my older brother has for me. It's a different life. Things will be difficult. But when you come through the hard days, you'll be closer than ever. Choose to revel in the positive, instead of how many negatives there are. I want to congratulate you on your new addition to your family. She lives up to her beautiful name. I'm so excited for you, and am definitely looking forward to more updates! It is a beautiful thing when you can love a child with something different about them. I believe there is even more love for us, those that have something bigger to deal with. You are clearly a wonderful mother, and I'm so happy that that little girl was placed with you, because you can deal with it. You can flourish and make her life beautiful. I wish you all the luck in the world for those darker nights. And again, congratulations.

Jennifer Gilbert Settle said...

What a beautiful post. You are such a wonderful mama.

Jennifer Gilbert Settle said...

What a beautiful post. You are such a wonderful mama.

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Courtney said...

I just stumbled upon this entry and your blog for the first time while thumbing through Pinterest, and although it has been 3 years since you wrote this, I have to leave a comment to let you know: I don't think I have cried like that in years. I am newly 30 and still waiting to have children of my own, but this spoke to my heart, my secret inner monologue, my fears, and my hopes in so many ways despite not being a mama myself... I feel like I met you tonight while reading about Nella, and like I was reading the words of a dear friend. Not only have you done justice to this beautiful baby's first moments with your amazing words (and gorgeous photos), but you have obviously 'met' so many other women who were as moved as I am through your courage to share. Thank you for changing my perspective on a night when I was guilty of thinking about my own wood floors.

Chris Taney said...

Thank you for your honesty throughout the entirety of this post. Few people would be okay with sharing your thoughts on the matter from beginning to finish (preferring to seem the hero instead of allowing their fear to show). That's the kind of thing that will make you the perfect mother for your baby. That's the kind of honesty that will allow you to find true, unrestrained love for your child and blessing. You hold in your arms one of the greatest gifts a parent could ever receive.

Claudia said...

What a beautiful birth story. I cried so much while I was reading it. Both your daughters are beautiful.

arnyjoh said...

your little nella is so beautiful..i can not see one fault with her looking at her photos..just peace and beauty..

i loved the wisdom words from you sister..that you were chosen for this little one..she is so blessed to have been born into your family..she will always be that special princess..loved even more for who she is..
you are heros!

Dana Lyn said...

Thank you for writing out your beautiful daughters story. I was truly blessed by it. I think my explanation is too much for a comment, but maybe at some point I could share it with you. Your children are beautiful and you are a wonderful mother and woman. Thank you for sharing yourself with your readers.

Smish said...

I just bawled my eyes out. Yes, you did it, you told the story. I can't stop crying!

051c11fe-840c-11e2-a518-000f20980440 said...

This was on pinterest and I clicked an read and now I am literally crying like crazy, I just had my first baby in December and I remember looking at him making sure that everything was okay, I could never imagine what you felt. I am so inspired by you your an amazing person and an angel <3 God bless you and your beautiful family <3

Stephanie Arnold said...

I know this post is from a while back and you're probably going about your day to day life being a busy Mama, loving life but I just wanted to take a moment to share with you (old or new) that your story is beautiful! I am not yet a Mother- just a nanny for 2 amazing children and a first time Auntie to be. I long to be a Mom one day when the time is right and I have to say your story is so encouraging and empowering, and your daughters so pure and gorgeous and I can't wait to be in your shoes one day! YOU. ARE. BLESSED! Thank you for sharing!

whimsygizmo said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. God bless you and your husband, and BOTH of your perfect, precious daughters. THANK YOU.

Hannah H. said...

Wow!! What a beautiful story!!! I just stumbled upon your blog and I cried my eyes out reading your post. Thank you for your honesty. And thank you for cherishing your precious baby! God bless you and your family.

Rachel Singleton said...

I realize you wrote this 2 years ago, however I wanted to let you know it was beautiful, raw, and down to earth honest. If you get a chance read a poem called Welcome to Holland. I live by that poem everyday with my little miracle. Than you for sharing what most of us are afraid to.

dirtyhousehappykids said...

I just want to say thank you for putting your story out there. Our circumstances are very different but as I read your story it was like I was reading my story...I loved it and you've inspired me.

I would love it if you checked out my new blog...I'm trying to find the humor in being a stay at home mom :)
dirtyhousehappykids.blogspot.com

lisacng @ expandng.com said...

Thank you sharing your heart, and only a week after Nella was born. Both the pain and joys. Your story brought tears to my eyes and swelling in my heart.

Amanda Taylor said...

I cried. Real tears. That never happens for me. Not like this. I was truly moved by your post. Congrats on your baby girl.

Gimp said...

As a special ed. teacher, I've always had a place in my heart for children with disabilities and their families. Your story gave me a whole new perspective on the emotions a family experiences when accepting this and makes me love and appreciate my job that much more. Thank you so much for sharing your story and bless your beautiful family.

Christine said...

Beautiful story. I love birth stories, and this by far the best I have ever read. Thank you for posting it.

Cristina Vasconcellos-David said...

I don't know you but yet I feel like you are the most real person I have ever "met." What a beautiful story. Your family is so perfect and I thank you for sharing your experience.

PitĂș said...

i´m only reading this today. I´m from portugal and I found your blog with a image in pinterest! Congratulation by your lovely princess :)*

A Lam said...

I'm a complete stranger, with tears pouring down my face, reading your birth story... true love and unconditional friendship is what we are here to give and are fortunate to experience. Nella is gorgeous and has a purpose in your life and in the lives of all us that stumble upon your words that you wrote so long ago. Courage and tons of love to you, Brett, big sis and Nella.

A Lam said...

I'm a complete stranger, with tears pouring down my face, reading your birth story... true love and unconditional friendship is what we are here to give and are fortunate to experience. Nella is gorgeous and has a purpose in your life and in the lives of all us that stumble upon your words that you wrote so long ago. Courage and tons of love to you, Brett, big sis and Nella.

Rebecca Ulmer said...

Such a beautiful story!

Rebecca Ulmer said...

Such a beautiful story!

kristina reeher said...

May God bless you and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your story....I'm crying tears of joy for you.

Jackie said...

This is truly wonderful, I don't know you but I love you, and you have a perfect beautiful family and such amazing friends..x

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Ann,

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Natalie Welsh said...

Amazing story! I cried all the way through it. What a beautiful family you have and a beautiful journey you are all embarking on. :)

V said...

What a beautiful, beautiful story, the words the pictures are just so beautiful and touch the heart as if one was there with you. Your children are beautiful and are lucky to have you for their mommy as you are to be there momma :). I pray that God continues to bless and care for your family and that you continue to write! You are making a difference in this world <3

sunnyside said...

A friend sent this blog to me. My oldest daughter, Grace Adeline, was born over 13 years ago. She was not diagnosed until that night at 2 am. I had felt like I had the heart for a special child and had told my husband that I felt that way before we married. What a delight to have that special package come as Downs Syndrome. I was scared but delighted. What I decided in the ensuing days is that my goal for my daughter was that she would be happy. And I thought, "I have a better chance of this child being happy than any other." She has been incredible. Incredibly loving, and incredibly selfish. Incredibly capable, and sometimes limited. Incredibly inspiring, and incredibly human. But I love to watch her. And I love to see how she changes the world around her. She brings out the very best in others without even trying. She is honest, unfailingly honest. And she loves without condition; she has no boundaries. I wish you the best with your beautiful girl. May you be strong, loving and a tiger mother.

Jennifer said...

I cried the entire time! Very well written and Thank You for your honest REAL feelings. We all have them and I am so thankful you shared. Much love and prayers for your journey.

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carol bing said...

Oh my god this was inspiring. I cried at the end. Sometimes the unexpected challenges in life are the best parts. You are a very, very strong woman and I admire you so much. What a tribute to humanity's love. I was recently diagnosed with perimenopause and thought that it was the end of my youth, the end of my enjoying life. But then I watched a wonderful documentary called "Hot Flash Havoc" that really opened my eyes that I can still enjoy life and live one. Your story gives me so much encouragement that life will go on, that things will end up okay, just like how "Hot Flash Havoc" helped me to understand this. If anyone is interested, you can check out "Hot Flash Havoc" here: http://bit.ly/11XQcWS

Christy Garrett said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspring story. Nella is blessed to have such a wonderful family.

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missy said...

I would be intetested in reading what your husband was going through too. Thank you for sharing.

missy said...

I would be intetested in reading what your husband was going through too. Thank you for sharing.

mrshannahadams said...

This was one of the most beautiful and moving stories I've read.

I have worked as an interpreter in Labor and Delivery and have witnesses the birth of hundreds of children and I can honestly tell you your baby girl moments after birth is one of the most beautiful newborns I have seen. She is still beautiful and just two years old!

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to purchasing your book.

amarshallphotos said...

Love and hugs to you and your family. This is such a beautiful story of life.

myrrha said...

Dear Kelle and Brett,
I've only just read this shining-star story of the arrival of Nella. I am choosing not to read the other comments because it's quite likely I'll be saying something that has already been said, but I want to express my heart-felt honest response to your story.
In the space of a few hours, I've read two stories 'randomly' about the love for a child with Down Syndrome. (the other was here; http://www.danoah.com/2013/04/in-honor-of-carissa-3.html )
I'm a 46 year old mother of 5, grandmother of 7 and our family cared for dozens children of babies and toddlers over the years including many with developmental challenges. We also worked for a Christian organization that provided holidays for people with Developmental Challenges. The best training in life for our own children happened by their constant involvement with people with physical and/or developmental challenges. Each person in my family can say that some of their favourite people and friends are those who happen to have an extra chromosome.
Thank-you for sharing your raw and tender, passionate and redeeming story.
The gift of an angel. :)

Danell Allen said...

Wow! You spoke to my heart and at point took words from my soul! My son jayden surprised us 3 years ago being born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. The words you spoke I felt... Now 3 years later jayden is an amazing 3 year old who I wouldn't trade for the world! Your daughter is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! We were chosen to be parents of children with differences, to help teach the world about acceptance and compassion. Thank you for your story, I feel truly blessed to have read it!

Caitlin said...

My mom just introduced me to your blog! I'm in love! You and your family are amazing! As the youngest sister of 3 girls (the middle sister, anna, having DS), I can tell you, Lainey is in for a blessed life! Having a sister with DS has shaped the person I am today! Like you said, her love was unconditional! These special people have a way of teaching us to love EVERYONE for who they are and where they are! I decided to become and SLP because of the struggles I watched my sister overcome! there were definitely times growing up when i thought my parents were catering to anna, but now as an adult, I know she was treated just the same as me and our sister! she just needed a little extra help, and my parents would have given me that help too, had i needed it! you and your family are in for such a treat with the best yet to come! Thank you for sharing your story with such beauty and truth! God Bless!

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