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.

4,003 comments:

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Laura said...

I LOVE you SO MUCH. My heart is so full for you and Bunny, Lainey, Austin, Brandon and Brett! I am so proud of you!

Poppa said...

Oh, sweet hot tears of joy. She is our Baby Love. Thank you Jesus. My heart is stretched for my Nella Cordelia. Beautiful beginning to a beautiful story...I am blessed to be part of her cast of thousands!

Anonymous said...

I've never read a better birth story. Nella is beautiful, and lucky. Thank you for sharing.

mrc-w said...

Just beautiful, Kelle! You should write a book! I love that one of you and Nella (like 3rd to last or something) where you're both smiling - so perfect! Love you all! :)

Adrienne said...

Beautiful story...can't wait to hold her. My favorite shot is the one Heidi got of you in the braids with her smiling-such an angel!
And come on with the cute decorated champagne glasses from one detail lover to another...love it!!! (love is in the details)
xo

Heidi said...

oh kelle! this is the most detailed and amazing birth story. i hung on every word and relived it all over again with tears and butterflies.

feeling so grateful that nella chose you to be her mama because... we just love her and she has taught us the most amazing things about life.

feeling so blessed and lucky to be apart of her life and what a big, beautiful life it will be. i can't wait to watch her grow up with lainey!

love you...and little 'ice cream!'

Elissa said...

I am crying as if I were sitting in the room with you. I can "hear" the healing of your heart in just this short time. Thank you for sharing it all...not just the happy and pretty parts. So good to see her precious face...and to see you smiling!

Nicole said...

Oh Kel,

I've been waiting for this....for a week and one day. I lie...I've been waiting for this since you first posted the news that Nella was coming. The most beautiful thing I've ever read...crying my eyes out with a big old smile on my face. What is most beautiful I think...is the transformation you've made. When I saw the first pictures of you last week...the black and white ones....I sat here, huddled with my husband, because he wanted to see Nella too (he may think I have a bit of a problem feeling so near to someone I've never met, but hey, that's his problem...) I could just feel that look in your eyes...the "rocky balboa" one, as soon as I saw your face, I said out loud, "oh, honey..." but as the days go by in photographs...you've come back to life with love, and it's simple beautiful. I'm so-so-so-so-so happy for you, that you've found your peace, and that you've fallen head over heels in love. And, oh, this is just the beginning..I can hardly wait to see more of "your girls."

Even more love to you,

~nicole

(and I guess I have to finish that Donald Miller book now, huh?)

Poppa said...

Allow Poppa to provide the postscript to explain "ice cream." Heidi's sweet son Beckham, hearing that this new baby's name is Nella confused it with Vanilla and therefore now refers to her as Baby Ice Cream. She is delicious! Oh, I love Kelle's friends like my other daughters and their children like more grandchildren!

Anonymous said...

Kelle,

Thank you for your beautiful story. I don't think I blinked once while reading it, It was like reading a really great book or watching a really good movie and wishing it wouldn't end so soon:) You tell it so beautifully, you really have a great gift! I introduced my mom to the blog today, she was speechless by you and your family. You've got yourself another fan from NY:)
Honestly if every child would have a parent like you, a world would be a different place. Once again you just keep inspiring our family. Looking forward to more of your beautiful stores and photos.

Love,
Inna

P.S By the way you look GREAT! Hot mama!

Kulio said...

I just sobbed my way through this post. Such different tears from last week. Happy and dear. But last week's tears were dear too. Last week's tears knew that the first days were going to be such a journey, and wanting to spare you the process. But you came through so beautifully.

This must have been so hard to write, but what a treasure you have now!!

The photos are true art. Nella is blooming and Lainey is smiling like such a happy cat. I think besides the words, the power of these photos, what they've captured, is what is so completely moving.

I love your life. You make my heart smile.

The Manrings said...

oh kelle...i am crying and crying....your beautiful words and pictures describe such an amazing birth story so full of hope and love...and to think its just beginning to unfold. what lucky girls nella and lainey are to have you as their mommy. i keep saying that but its so true. you inspire and lift us all. thank you for your friendship kel. love, linds ps. the second to last pic of both girls....heavenly. really. xo

jen said...

sitting here with a new baby squished against my chest ... and his poor lil' head is covered in tears.
her little story radiates love.
what a beautiful life she's gonna have.
and that little lainey. wow. she is going to be an amazing person. you can just tell.

Bernie* said...

Kelle -
I have been reading and reading....absorbing what you and Carin have shared since last weekend. And so many wonderful comments from so many wonderful people.
Your story is one of truth and love. Your tears have touched all of us to our inner core.....and after one week, you are settling in with this precious little girl. You DO have a story to tell, and we will all be waiting to read each new post, every step of the way.
You are a very special young lady and I am so very proud of you.
Your wonderful husband, incredible family and friends are gifts to you because you are such a loving person to all those whose lives you touch.
Just think - Nella will be a part of our lives, just like Lainey has been. How blessed all of us are, too. Thank YOU!
Love to you and yours from Michigan

Malissa said...

Hey there Kelle, looking good girl! You and Nella look gorgeous in the black/white photos. Your birth story is riveting. Lainey looks so tentative but yet very proud in all of the pictures. She is going to be such a great sis. Many thoughts, not good at putting them into words but just want you to know I say many prayers for your little family and I think a lot of you for what it is worth. :) Your little Ice Cream Bunny Princess has a place in my heart. She is so sweet. xo M.

cjs said...

Touche.
You did it.
I love you.

Heidi Lee said...

Thank you Kelle. This was outstanding.

I felt like I was there. I couldn't get my eyes any closer to the computer. I wanted to read more and more.

This was beautiful.

I love you! I so wish I was there. I wish I lived closer...I wish we were closer. You have a beautiful soul.

Justine H said...

two words - THANK YOU
Justine

Malissa said...

oops, I meant I Iove the pics of you and Nella where you have braided hair..they are not black and white! Have reread your amazing story several times and realized they are in color. Anyways, they are great.

TRB Holt said...

Kelle and Nella, I just happened to check on you...and there you are, WOW!...I skimmed the photos... I need to READ & think.., all I can say for now is... BEAUTIFUL! I will be back.

xo, Bug's and Ruby's Gram

Anonymous said...

The pictures of Lainey holding Nella for the first time. The look on her face is priceless. You can just see her saying, "she is MY little sister!" She sees no difference between herself and Nella. With you and Brett as her parents, they will grow up with the closeness that you so wished for. They are two lucky little girls.

Brooke said...

What an absolutely beautiful birth story! Your writing, the photographs, the music, you, Lainey, your friends and family and most of all Nella Cordelia...just beautiful. I know I will read this many, many more times. Thank you so much for sharing!

Dorothy said...

My dear friend Kelle,
I didnt think your stories or photos could be anymore beautiful, but Nella has added a whole new dimension! I see such big things in the future for u all! I am so grateful that I have been able to a part of your story...you have truly made me a better person...I love u...xoxo

carie said...

After reading your words my face is wet with happy tears. You and Nella both have reached inside my chest and opened my heart in ways that you can't even imagine. Your love for her is so pure and magical...and after reading your words, witnessing your actions and seeing the evidence in your beautiful eyes...I am humbled. You simply amaze me dear friend. And I can't wait to keep reading this wonderful, wonderful story.

The Toews said...

Kelle,
I don't know you, but I happened upon your beautiful blog and have followed it for a year or so. As I read Nella's story I cried and cried, not because I was sad, but because it is beautiful and God breathed. Thank you so much for sharing, with such raw beauty this journey that you are on. I know God has amazing things in store for your family and Nella. One of the reasons your story touched me to my core, is that I too, just turned 31, and 8 weeks ago gave birth to my 3rd child (my first is in Heaven, miscarried at 12 weeks). I had the same struggles of saying goodbye to my "perfect" life with the light of my life, my 3 yr. old son Bennett, and knowing it would never be the same again once our daughter, Juliette was born. It's been a hard 8 weeks as she has struggled with eating, reflux and sleeping, but at the end of the day, she brings so much joy. Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me see the beauty in my own story with my little Juliette.
Take care and know that there are people you may never meet, many miles away that are thinking of you and praying for you.

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration. I only hope that when I become a mother that I can be half the Mama you are to your littles. Thank you for sharing Nella's first chapter with us. Your family is truly blessed.

Sage said...

Kelle,

This was so beautiful. Your words, your heart, your soul are so so beautiful. To see the transformation... it is riveting and awe inspiring. You truly look like a new woman.

I have to share with you, that just before Nella was born I had my second miscarriage. The second in just a short 6 months. I was feeling so devastated. So unsure if all this reproduction business is worth it. I thought to myself. I don't know if I can keep doing this. I don't know if the pain of losing all that is so hoped for is worth it. I don't know if I could do what Kelle is doing, I don't know if I have the strength.

Tonight, after reading Nella's birth story and seeing these pictures. I know now I could. I could, because you have opened my eyes to the possibilities. To the love that lies beyond the fear and pain. That truly there is always hope for a new day. A brighter day. And it can be what we want it to be, no matter what.

In a world that seems so full of pain, loss, and fragility, I think I want to keep looking, keep trying to find my missing piece. I don't know if the universe has in store for me another child, but I do know that the pursuit of beauty and love is worth it.

much love to you,
xo
Sage

Anonymous said...

Bravo

Kelle

Bravo.

I cannot say more. I'm all cried out.

Jen said...

Bella storia!

I see that photo to the left of you and Nella smiling on the cover of a NY Times best selling novel, you are inspiring.

And the last photo a peaceful, happy, LOVED Nella!

XO--Jen

Mrs. J said...

This is exquisite--the writing, the photography, the sheer redemption. Thank you so much for sharing.

teresa said...

Dear Kelle,

You did it. Thanks for writing and sharing Nella's birth story. I had to pause many times while reading to wipe the tears so that I could continue to read and see the beginning of your journey. Thanks for sharing the pain right along with the awesome blessing of supportive family and friends. Others with their own pain are already relating to your grief. Your good, healthy, healing grief is a process that is making way for a beautiful journey filled with hope and possibilities. Continued love and prayers for you & Brett, your girls and your boys.

Nicole Hahn said...

i realize that you do not know this but we are friends...we sit together on my heating pad every few days...i check in with you and see what is knew in your world...through your eyes...:)
as i heard the news of nella i was bombarded with so MUCH. i realized as i have ached with you my stranger friend i feel like i have been given such a gift in knowing your world..watching you weave this beautiful story...i think we discover actual beauty in the imperfect the messy...and as i read nellas story as i sobbed on the couch (with my husband coming in from the other room to make sure i was ok:)) i feel like i have encountered such profound BEAUTY...and grace and undeniable humanity. Oh how I love that i found you last year and that i have lived life with you and lainey.
i ache with you stranger friend...i bleed and i pray and i beg for you to be filled with ALL that you need...for God to remind you of his intentional ways...
thank you for letting me be your friend.

Anonymous said...

This was brave and honest and beautiful. Thank you for telling us your truth. This post will make it easier for the others that follow to be this real with what they feel. May God bless you and keep you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kelle,

Thank you. That was so powerful.

You have touched my heart. Your family has touched my heart.

I feel so honoured to be able to know you through your blog, and am so very proud of you.

You're an inspiration!

Take care Kelle,

Linda in New Zealand.

Sarah W. said...

You are so lucky. She is so beautiful! YOU are a beutiful soul.

Marsha Colbert said...

OH. MY. You didn't just do it... you nailed it!! Way to go Mama! I know that was hard, and I'm sure you shed some serious tears trying to get it out. What an amazing story. Thank you for being you and thank you for sharing this with us. Oh, and that very last picture might be THE most beautiful newborn pic I've EVER seen. Can't wait to see you both later today!

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

YOU did it. You did it beautifully. Nella's story is beautiful, sweet, pure, amazing, and so full of love. Just like Nella.

I, too, feel blessed to be a part of Nella's life. I can't wait how her story/your story unfolds. For now, I will just go back and look and admire the beauty and love in these pictures, love that pours through my computer screen.

~xoxo to Nella, Lainey, Austyn, Brandyn, you, & Brett

amanda said...

lots of tears. beautiful tears.

thank you for sharing your heart.

Anonymous said...

Tears, tears, wonderful joyous tears! You told your story and it is such a beautiful journey that has so many more chapters. I can't wait to read them all. I love her. She is so perfect it makes my heart swell when I see pictures of her. Your words are amazing and have touched me. As I lay in bed on this lazy Sunday with tears rolling down my face, I am inspired by you. I don't need to read the book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" because I have my inspiring story right here, in my friend and her beautiful girls! I love you!

Samantha

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the whole family. A beautiful new daughter who will make your family complete and bring so much joy to everyone who is lucky enough to meet her.
Her birth story is an inspiration to all and one you should share with other new mom's. Your honesty and frankness will be a forever reminder of your love for your children and family.
Blessings.
Jackie Elmer
(Sammy Mac's MIMI)

TRB Holt said...

You did tell it Kelle, and you told it so well... I think Nella has changed many of us and all for the better. She has touched a place in my heart that I didn't even know was there.

I look forward to watching her bloom with your love and strength.

I have just one question....how much did she weigh?! :)

xo, Bug & Ruby's Gram

Poppa said...

Our Nella weighed 6 pounds of pure love, and was 19 inches long. So tiny--how did she make such a big splash in our hearts?!

Renee said...

What a beautiful way to start a Sunday---what a beautiful birth story! Thank you! Thank you for showing your strength, your weak moments, your love, your honesty---what an inspiration!

Renee said...

What a beautiful way to start a Sunday---what a beautiful birth story! Thank you! Thank you for showing your strength, your weak moments, your love, your honesty---what an inspiration!

Barb said...

What a moving story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Your courage and resilience are amazing. Nella is going to have a fabulous life, I'm convinced of it.

~Barb

Lena said...

Dear Kelle,

What a story - I am in tears - so so so much love! Your story is SUCH an inspiration to so many (including my sister, Inna, and my Mom). I am not saying anything that has not been said to you a million times already but you simply amaze me by your grace, your bravery and your love...

And Lainey - what an amazing big sister she is - reading your prior post about the puppy and seeing pictures of them together bring me to tears. She DOES look so so proud of her little sister!

Nella is absolutely beautiful - seeing her pictures make me want to give her a million hugs! I am sure she will bring so much more love and joy into your lives.

HUGS and KISSES and many many WARM THOUGHTS from New Jersey:)

Lena

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I was just listening to a song you might enjoy. "Sweet Sweet Baby" by Michelle Featherstone

Anna Ruth said...

Oh the love that pours through your words. What a beautiful memory of Nella's birth.

katie said...

thank you kelle.

Tisha said...

beautiful. profound. just amazing. Nella's story is one of love and one of such strength!

one of my favorite pics is of you and brett and nella. you are trying not to cry, but brett is smiling at nella with his hand on your head, comforting, giving you his strength. i think i'm a little in love with your husband after reading this.

and lainey love. she was proud. it gave me a glimpse of what a wonderful big sister she will be. there Will still be shopping trips, phone calls, and all of it.

i keep re-reading because i feel so inspired.

nella - you are an angel! a beautiful little bunny! gorgeous pics of your 2 little womens!

dig this chick said...

Haven't read yet, but, wow those photos! The two Heidi took! The last one! Amazing. love you.

Malu said...

Dearest Kelle,
Beautifully written, as ever.Praised be the Lord who heals us with his unconditional love,teaching us to love too.I am so proud of you . God bless you and your precious family.

dig this chick said...

It's Lainey's reaction to her little sister that just kills me...every time you've told me how she just loved her unconditionally. It is so perfect. We learn so much from our children. What a beautiful story, sweet friend. What beautiful daughters you have.

Brit Girl said...

Oh my goodness, Kelle. That is such a moving story. Brave, beautiful, honest, real and inspiring - like the incredible woman who wrote it. The photos are incredible too. Seeing Lainey meet her little sister Nella for the first time made me cry even more than I already was. Sending love to you and your girls. It's going to be a beautiful journey.

CATA said...

Kelle, as you know I have been following your blog since you captured the beautiful moments of my family and me in those wonderful 2008 Christmas pictures. Your story and your family have been a true inspiration for me and many others that I have referred to your blog. Nella is such a beautiful girl and I have a feeling that God has sent her to change your life so that you may write about it and change the life of others. All I can say as I am thankful to have this connection with you because when I am down and need some encouragement to move on, you, your blog and now beautiful Lainey and Nella are there for me. Thank you so much and thank God for having met you that day at Tin City. Keep writing, keep inspiring us, we need you and your words. Looking forward to making that line at Barnes and Nobles so that you may autograph my copy of your book.

Veronica said...

Kelle,
I want to thank you for sharing your beautiful stories. I just found out about your beautiful blog and photography a few days ago and read everything going back to the begining. Your stories, your pictures, your family..just love every bit of it. So many parts I have balled my eyes out in tears of happiness and really feeling your love for your children. Your birth stories from your view are the most beautiful I have ever read.

I am a mother of 2 and just love how you tell feelings taken deep from the heart of what a mother feels. The best feeling the world!

I am a pediatric nurse and took care of your Lainey when she was in the hospital at 3 days old. I always remembered you for some reason. Something about you that reminded me of me. It has been such a joy to see how Lainey has grown since the last time I saw her as an infant. She is such a beautiful child, and your newest addition, Nella, absolutely beautiful.

So happy for you Kelle. Can't wait to continue ready and seeing your beautiful stories.

stephanie howell said...

you don't know me, but i think i'm in love with you. you are beautiful, and strong, and brave. and nella? is an absolute gift from god.

thank you for sharing this story. i'll be following along every day now.

Jennifer said...

Just sitting here, soaking in the words of her beautiful story...

my face soaked with happy, grateful tears...

like I just watched one of those movies that take you on the biggest emotional journey of your life...

and change you forever.

I love this story.

and I love baby Nella.

how lucky I feel to know her...

and blessed to witness her story unfold into volumes of beauty for us all.

love you.
xoxo
jc

PS...this story is a masterpiece!!

Kelle said...

Oh, smiles. Honestly, these words from all of you...I am floating on the support of wonderful people I don't even know. If I've learned anything through all of this...and I've learned a lot...but I have learned that when I think the world is going to pot...it's not. There are so many good, loving people. Oh, there is so much good. And we're just so blessed to be the recipients of so much of it right now. We will pay it forward.

Rick, April, Matt said...

OMGosh. Kellie, this was absolutely beautiful. The emotions that you relayed through words was just beautiful. I cried happy tears myself. The love that is shown through the pictures is just breath taking. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have found an inner peace with in myself from reading your story. The last picture of Nella is just priceless. As always, looking forward to the next post.

April (Elissa's cousin)

Kelle said...

Veronica...tears, tears, tears. Thank you for taking care of my little girl so long ago...I'm sure you saw a very forlorn and hopeless version of me based on my memories. But thank you for remembering. And thank you for caring once again for our new girl.
We just feel so, so, very loved.

they keep me laughing said...

the pictures are priceless! i loved each and every word in your story. i was doing fine until i saw the picture carin holding nella and crying happy tears. :) so now my eyes are puffy and swollen. the pictures heidi took of you and nella outside are so beautiful! especially the one where nella is smiling. just as sweet as the last photo of her smiling.

Poppa said...

And Poppa must say something about Brett. Were I to stand in his living room and shout "First Down!" the man would salivate....and run to the room staring at the large flat screen tv there....or if I were to call and say, "We're coming down!" He would be overjoyed--he loves family so much....but this Down he cannot utter...he cannot say. He will not write a blog. He will not receive friends. He will...as he did the other day...do something. He was cleaning the garage when we stopped by. The parade of friends continued as others came to see Kelle, to hold Nella, to love on Lainey. He cleaned the garage. Later we knew, he was also looking...to find a small space heater. He brought it into the master bathroom and warmed it up...like a sauna...and went and got Nella...and gave her a bath. It will come...with tiny steps and a very clean garage. It will come. If she places last in a relay race there will be one father still standing at the finish line, shouting his praise and pride...it will be Brett. I have no worries. God also chose a father supreme. I know. I love him too.
Brett, you rock!

Randall and Heather Cleckler said...

Hampton Family,
I've read this story more than once. It's like a good book I can't put down, but so much better because I know you. Kelle I searched all night for the right bible verse for what you went through. I knew what I was looking for but didn't know where to find it. But I knew God wanted me to share it with you, because He wrote it.....just for you. With a little help from my hubby, we found it.

Psalm 30:5b
"weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

Never feel bad. You were mourning the life of what you imagined for Nella. When you released that life, you opened up to this new, better life that lies ahead. Now we REJOICE!!!

Heather

amyc said...

You told it. And you rocked it, girl!

Leah said...

And you did it so well. And it was raw, real and the most beautiful story I've ever read. Kelle, you are going to be the most incredible mother to this beautiful child. She has no idea how lucky she is... but she soon will.

Leah

Steph C said...

Kelle,
You did it! How beautiful and perfect. Go write your book now because girl it is going to be a best seller. I love you and love Nella with all my heart. She is beautiful in every way.

And just so you know you loved her the moment she was set in your arms. All of this... all the emotions happy and sad... that was all you loving her...being her mama

xoxoxoxo

And Poppa your words are amazing too. You couldn't have said it any better about Brett. He rocks! He too is a great dad just like you. Kelle is so blessed to have such a wonderful father and friend.

Steph C said...

Kelle,
You did it! How beautiful and perfect. Go write your book now because girl it is going to be a best seller. I love you and love Nella with all my heart. She is beautiful in every way.

And just so you know you loved her the moment she was set in your arms. All of this... all the emotions happy and sad... that was all you loving her...being her mama

xoxoxoxo

And Poppa your words are amazing too. You couldn't have said it any better about Brett. He rocks! He too is a great dad just like you. Kelle is so blessed to have such a wonderful father and friend.

Domestic Diva said...

This story here, bunny's story, reached out and grabbed ahold of me this morning. I had five kiddos running around and a hubby trying to sleep in, just a tad, when I stumbled upon your new post. What can I say, the littles had a free-for-all for quite some time while I soaked up this wonderfully told story of your newest little miracle.

Thank you so very much for sharing it with all of us! Sending you {and your loves} a heap of lovin' tonight. Sweetest dreams ...

(Oh, I almost forgot to tell you - after G woke up, guess what I caught him doing? Uh-huh, he was reading bunny's story!! LOVE. IT.)

SWF said...

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Kelle,

I believe tremendous things happen when we speak the truth. Love is at its fullest when we speak the truth. The world changes when we speak the truth.

Your truth is beautiful--raw and powerful and lovely. Kudos to you for not allowing yourself to skip the hard parts just to get to the sweet parts. Your trusted your story, and you inspired us all.

The truth does set you free. Free to love more deeply. And girl, you and yours know how to LOVE.

My best to you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Poppa,

I've never said this to anyone in my life, but YOU ROCK! :-)

Take care,

Linda in New Zealand.

Madisyn said...

Kelle,

I really want to write you something. Something long again. Something touching. Just like with you writing this story, it will come. For now, I am absolutely SPEECHLESS. Honestly. Your beautiful, your life is beautiful, your writing is beautiful, Nella's story was beautiful, and your girls are absolutely gorgeous. You did it!
You will hear from me soon.

Love always,
Madisyn

Poppa said...

Madisyn, you are such a precious soul...you must have been here before! I always relish your insightful words. And I agree, my daughter is a keeper.

And Linda in New Zealand, you are the Zeal of your homeland...thank you for caring for my babies!

And Stephanie...I know Joseph C is also a SuperDad..."Joseph C----, Joseph C-----".

Elisa said...

I've read your blog for awhile now and I've enjoy the stories about Lainey because I have a two year old little boy. I know you dreamed of the girls being close and I want you to know that they will be. In May I will be married for 5 years. In my wedding party were two junior bridesmaids - sisters - close friends -- and one has Down Syndrome. In this situation the older sister has Ds but they are about two years apart and I have fond memories of the little sister being the "big" sister when she needed to be. Nella's birth story touched my heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sara said...

Oh my oh my oh my. So, so beautiful. Thank you, Kelle, for sharing your story. I so admire your strength, your honesty, and your overflowing love. Goodness...pure goodness!

Your two girls are going to make a big, powerful mark on this world....I just know it!

And Poppa, you are quite amazing, too!

Madisyn Andrea said...

Thank you Poppa! :)
You boost my self esteem!
And she is a keeper! Most definitely! I can't wait once things settle down to do more photography with her whenever she can! I do want to spend time playing with the littles too (:
Haven't thought of what to write yet!
Although I do check back to see if you or Kelle say anything all the time!
Thoughts revolve around your family constantly!
Love is in the air!

Meagan Harris said...

I love last picture of Nella. She is so at peace, smiling because she is dreaming of her incredible future!

Madisyn Andrea said...

The way your mind, soul, heart, and spirit put together the love and formation of your life is absolutely pure and beautiful!

Madisyn Andrea said...

I read Nella's story sooo slow and took in every word as if I was there for it all. I literally felt like it was the end of an awesome book where after you read it you just feel great and want to put the book up for a nomination! And its hard to believe, that this awesome beginning, is only the BEGINNING, and not the end of an amazing book. Kelle you are one lucky mommy! (:

Melissa said...

your story brought me to tears as well. so beautifully told; your truest ( and best) self revealed. amazing. much love to you and your family, and many deep breaths along this path. your story thus far--and the way you have captured it--with such depth, raw honesty and grace-- is so incredibly inspiring. isn't it funny how we don't even realize the things we are capable of doing? yet here you are, barely a week later, filled with acceptance and love and strength. and your lainey? wow. your bunny (i love that nickname!) is such a beauty, too. such beautiful photos of all of you.

Gillian said...

again, just beautiful.
again, thank you for your honesty.
that sweet little smile - she takes my breath away.

Keri said...

Kelle,
You don’t know me and I don't quite remember how I came across your blog. Maybe it was a link I found on a friend’s blog during a day of procrastination. It doesn't matter how I found it, I'm just so glad I did indeed discover it. I have come back here from time to time over the past year and I must tell you that your vulnerability and openness and honesty resonate loud and clear in my heart, in my soul. I believe that realness changes people. It builds relationships, opens doors, breaks barriers. It heals. Your truth is changing people. I am not a mom, although I desperately hope to be one someday. I am not a gifted photographer (although I would love to have those skills too!). You are obviously beautiful and talented and loved and supported. And I want to be like you. But not for those reasons. I want to be like you because you are REAL and full of JOY. And these are the exact reasons you are the perfect mother for Nella.
I have been so moved by the last couple of posts that I made my sister sit down and read them. I made my husband read them. I think everyone needs to read what you have written. The world would be a better place. Thank you for encouraging all of us in the journey of becoming the best versions of ourselves. Thank you for reminding us that pain and hurt and hard stuff and change has to be a part of creating something beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of our favorite authors:

“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"
-Donald Miller

God bless!

Kim Breitmeyer Dana said...

Like many others who posted here, we have never met. Your extraordinary dad married my husband and I almost three years ago and pointed us to your blog long ago. We now have a 17-month-old daughter. My husband left his job to stay at home with her and shoot wedding and family photography on weekends. As a teenager, he volunteered caring for infants with Down Syndrome. I am a lawyer and writer (technical and creative), so we both admire and relate to your blog for many, many reasons.

Tears are falling for you and your family for many reasons, as well. I have no doubt that the many stories that flow in the months and years ahead will prove even more inspirational and explore even more layers of human emotion, understanding, compassion and, most of all, love.
Your loyal readers and friends in Michigan,
Kim & Chris Dana

Kelly said...

I read this out loud to David on my phone while laying in bed before falling asleep in our dark room illuminated only by my phone and I can't tell you the number of times I had to stop reading, collect myself and regroup from the deep gutteral cry over and over.

What a beautiful retelling of such a miracle that has shown this world so much love already in just one week. It is hard to believe it's only been 1 week because it seems like she's been here our whole lives.

I don't know who is luckier; Nella, for entering into such a loving family or us for getting to experience the love of Nella and all the magic surrounding it.

I love you and your family. xoxo

Kendall Bethy said...

Kelle-
What a treasury of beautiful photos you have of this amazing event. I'm glad you let yourself fall into your grief because it is when we do that, when we reach rock bottom, that we can scrape ourselves back up. You can only keep going up from here. I believe you and Nella will do great things together, no, extraordinary things together; whether it is just sitting and loving one another the way no one else can lover her, or showing the world that she (and ALL babies like her) deserve life, love and laughter. This is a beautiful story and you tell it so well. Congratulations.

Kendall Bethy said...

Kelle-
What a treasury of beautiful photos you have of this amazing event. I'm glad you let yourself fall into your grief because it is when we do that, when we reach rock bottom, that we can scrape ourselves back up. You can only keep going up from here. I believe you and Nella will do great things together, no, extraordinary things together; whether it is just sitting and loving one another the way no one else can lover her, or showing the world that she (and ALL babies like her) deserve life, love and laughter. This is a beautiful story and you tell it so well. Congratulations.

ralphnmonica said...

My son is now 7 years old (almost 8), and it is amazing how those memories come flooding right back! Your words are so honest and accurate. I now must teach the rest of my classes with red swollen eyes, but it was well worth it! It's funny, how similar the feelings are that we go through. I believe we must be chosen, because we have so much in common.

It sounds as though you have friends and a sister just like mine! She had her words of wisdom for me when my Eli was born.

Thanks again, for sharing. SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

Marissa said...

Beautiful. Doesn't do your journey justice but it's the only word that is surfacing right now. Soak up that beauty and all it entails.

Marissa said...

And just to encourage you, I was so full of joy and beauty from your story, I wanted to share it with someone! However, I live in Costa Rica and am in my house with only a sweet older woman who speaks only Spanish. Therefore, I did my darndest to explain, quite inadequately, the beauty of your story and then showed her the stunning moments you've graciously shared with us. She sat quietly until she saw all of the pics and then said that God has given you a blessing and he will help you like you've never known help before. So, I'm sorry for my inadequate translating but I hope that you feel the embrace from Costa Rica.

Kristy said...

Anything I might say would never do this post justice.

Beautiful.

And thank you.

xo

Kelly said...

I forgot to check the box to get follow up comments so I'm back to take another look. This time with music. Oh dear. I can't stop crying. Happy tears this time and everytime I think of sweet Nella. She does something to my heart every time!


PS I wasn't ON the phone with David reading it to him, but read it ON my phone to him out loud if that makes any sense. It was dark, but I know his "eyes were sweating" too :)

xoxo

Tammy B said...

Kelle, your raw honesty is nothing short of amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I keep coming back, reading, waiting for more :) I can't get enough of this little angel. Her story, your story, your family.

Miranda - Eureka,IL said...

Kelle
You aren't the only one crying. Tears well up as I read this over my lunch hour. How you have touched so many hearts. I do have a short story for you that I felt like passing along to you. My Dad's cousin has down-syndrome, and their family is very good friends of our family. She is now in her 40s and when one of my little silblings was born she gave them a little bunny that when you push its tummy it says "hey somebody loves you" This came back to me as you call little Nella your bunny...and oh to think how many love your little bunny. May God richly bless your family in the days ahead.

Love,
Miranda

Nicole S said...

Kelle, what a beautiful story! I feel so very lucky to be privileged enough to read it! I'm in constant awe of your courage and talent. I know of no one else who could pick and choose the words to tell this story as well and perfectly as you did as you always do! Your photos inspire me to pick up my camera and your actions as a Mother encourage me to be more present. You are an inspiration . . . how lucky Lainey and Nella are to call you theirs! I would wish you good luck with everything, but I think I can say with full confidence that you need no luck. You've got this new dance down pat and you're making it look effortless and beautiful! Thank you, thank you so very much for letting us in on "how you do it".

Lurky Mommy said...

Before Nella was born, I think the reason I kept coming back to your blog is that I really appreciated the transparency of your heart. It is more evident now than ever. This story is beautiful, honest, healing, heartbreaking and redemptive all at the same time. It made me want to cry and sing and kiss that little squishy nose your bunny has. Is that creepy coming from someone you don't know? I sure don't mean it to be. I just really like knowing there are fantastic moms out there with hearts that are true. Thanks for letting us in on it all! I love love love your Nella's smile. Aren't you dying to know what she is thinking about?
Probably the great family she got!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and being so transparent. Our world needs more people like you who are not afraid to tell it like it is, no matter how raw and tender the thoughts, feelings, emotions. I had to stop, collect myself and reread many parts of this beautiful story as the tears wouldn't stop. (definitely tops any book at the bookstore! I expect your name on a book cover one of these days.) The pictures themselves speak volumes. And your emotions put into words...wow! Simply a beautiful, moving chapter. Yes, you did it and you will do it like you do everything else--with such passion, love, and transparency. What a beautiful bunny, your little Nella! And Lainey looks so proud of her big sisterhood! Kelle, you look fabulous for just giving birth last week! I can't wait to meet sweet Nella. Blessings to you and your family, Leslie Lewis

Steph C said...

I can't stop coming back to read this over and over again. I can't stop scrolling down and looking at all the beautiful pictures you have captured of Nella. I can't stop thinking of all the beautiful things life has in store for Nella...I can't stop thinking about how blessed she is to be a Hampton. Most of all I can't stop thinking about how amazingly inspirational you are. I love you and I am so proud of you and so proud to call you my dearest friend.

Ah and that sweet Nella she is going to have more love than she will know what to do with.

Love you so much and I can't wait to be a part of this beauitful journey.
xoxoxox

Kendall Bethy said...

i keep coming back...i think each time i do my heart gets a little bigger. nella is gorgeous. i love the last picture of her in absolute newborn baby bliss. it's so obvious how happy she is!

Anonymous said...

The pics are exquisite. The ones of you and little bunny, with her smiling are just too much. I cry and laugh every time I see it, it's so special! Your story is written from the heart, and yes, you did it and told it the way it needed to be told, with pure, raw emotion. I hope your husband is doing okay-he appears to be just a wonderful guy and men process these things so very different. Please check in on him...... :)

Heidi said...

Kelle...
Thank you for sharing your story. It is beautiful and perfect, just like your precious daughters. You do not know me, but my sister reads your blogs and passed it onto me. My tears wouldn't stop flowing as I read your story. God has chosen you for one of the most special gifts of all.

Yesterday in the gym I listened to a podcast by a pastor from out of state that I listen to weekly. Today I realized the message wasn't for me, it's for you. Please listen to it, your soul will be so blessed!

Here is a link:
http://www.elevationchurch.org/sermons/joygenome/part4

May the joy of Jesus surround you and your blessed family.

-Heidi Bolt
Morton, IL.

Joan said...

i am so moved by your story. so blessed by it. thank you for sharing your heart. i can't wait to meet little bunny for myself. xoxoxo

JennyCB said...

I held her. I know what you mean. The moon and the stars, and eons and eons of knowledge and learning and understanding and acceptance and truth and beauty and innocence and love were in my arms yesterday. Five pounds, 14 ounces of the very very best that this universe has to offer...

Maureen said...

Kelle,
Thank you for sharing your honest birth story. It is beautiful. And Nella is beautiful. She is so darling, and your family will never be the same now that she has come into your world. Your lives have all changed for the better. She is just the daughter you wanted, and just the sister Lainey has been anticipating. Your words are so beautiful and I haven't stopped thinking about this story since I read it the first time the other day. I know you have so many people around you and so many comments to sort through, but I just wanted to add another one to your pile here. Thank you, thank you for writing this story.

abbey bernardi said...

so i was so anxious to read this, i put bayley to bed a little early and poured myself a glass of red wine. it was more exciting than getting a stack of brand new inspirational magazines (VERY exciting for me) I read and read slowly and couldn't take my eyes off the screen and i didn't cry like i thought i would because i am just so very happy for you, Brett, Lainey and Nella. a very blessed family who inspires everyone who reads about them. I can't help but feel that that story helped heal me as well on some level. Reading poppa's comment to Brett made me smile as my husband too cleans the garage while thinking and coping.
Great job on Nella's story Kelle, you knocked it out of the ballpark!!

much love
Abbey

Brit Girl said...

Just had to come back and re-read this. And you know what? If I was a millionaire, I would book a flight to Florida right now so I could deliver a hug to you in person. Even though you'd be like 'Who is this crazy British woman I've never even met?! Security!' And while I was there I would simply have to steal a cuddle with Nella as she is just beautiful, and with Lainey as she is a wonderful, wonderful little girl. And her Big Sister crown? Just way, way better than that old thing our queen wears! Kelle, I am so proud of you. And happy for you.

Leslie said...

Wow! You are amazing and Nella is so precious! I can't wait to see the blessings that God has in store for you and your family! I look forward to watching Nella grow and also her big sister!!!

Your pictures are stunning!

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

You will be in my prayers!

Caterpillar Creations said...

Oh this was such a wonderful read. I don't think I took a breath until I was finished.
I, too, have that special little gift. A little girl with Down syndrome. She is my joy, my love, my life.
I have added you to my favorite blogs list so I can continue to read your wonderful stories.

Thank You!!!!

*hugs*
~~Ann & Chloe~~

Jenny Clark said...

My friend Marissa Hess told me about your blog and she was right. Your story is absolutely beautiful and I praise God he helped you tell it. When you shared about how difficult your first night was, this verse came to mind immediately:
Psalm 30 verse 5, "Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning." That entire psalm in the Bible is really awesome I think.

A little about me - I spend my weekends in louisville talking to moms who are headed in for abortions.Its awful and painful and sometimes when women don't go in, joyful. I often hear from women "you don't know my situation", and I wonder what that means. I wonder if it means that the doctors have diagnosed them with what they think might be a baby with a genetic disorder, or something else, and I just want to scream at them and tell them that every single baby that God has created deserves love. Every single one. Your blog is a beautiful example of that love that God gives us for our children, we are his special creation, created in his image, unlike anything else. I look forward to seeing just how God uses you and your family to bless and encourage other families in the future. Congrats on your adorable and healthy baby girl!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't get enough of your sweet story and reading all the comments. There are a hundred and 10 things I should be doing, but just can't leave! I just read your daddy's comments about Brett and cleaning the garage getting a heater for sweet Nella. Tears are flowing again! He is such a great daddy and husband. I love how he just welcomes us with open arms, even offering us cold beers:) Like your wonderful daddy said, he will always be at the end of the finish line supporting his girls. What a great daddy and mommy Lainey and Nella have! Love you guys!!

Samantha

The K Family said...

What a beautiful story of your precious Nella. Such a wonderful read. You are truly blessed with a wonderful family.

Kristen said...

Kelle...I know we are strangers, but I am so utterly and completely in awe of you and your beautiful family. I have followed your blog since you started photographing my niece, Lucy. Your daughters are gorgeous and your spirit is inspiring. You speak from your heart and I hang on every word. Your girls are so blessed to have you, and you them...Savor every moment with your babies. You are an extremely special woman and I look forward to one day meeting you and sharing these sentiments face to face. xx

Anonymous said...

I am a stranger to you ... but I am touched ... in the deep places by your honesty and your willingness to accept the deeper realities of a God who does things differently than we had planned because He knows a better way ... I am thankful to Him that He is helping you find it ... your whole life will be richer because you have.

Emmers said...

I'm also a stranger, but I can't thank you enough for your amazing story. I cried through reading it (despite my husband's odd looks) and fell deeply in love with your beautiful family and your amazing friends. I have a sister in law who has downs and my brother is mentally handicapped so I think your story touched me on a few deeper levels. Enjoy your beautiful girls. Nella is lucky to have such awesome people surrounding her.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your beautiful little Nella. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. You don't know me, but someone sent me a link to your blog and I am so happy they did. I am currently pregnant with my first baby. I am excited and scared to death all at the same time. We opted not to do any of the screening tests and to accept the baby we are given no matter what. I tell myself that no matter what, I love this baby with my whole heart, but deep down it's hard to know what I'll really feel if things don't turn out as we expect or hope. I am so fortunate to have come across your story and I appreciate your honesty in sharing it - even the truths that are painful to remember. I am comforted by Nella's story and the reality that a mother's love has no limitations or exceptions and that even the most difficult circumstances can turn into something beautiful. I hope for all the best for you and your family.

CLewis said...

Another stranger, led to your page because it has moved so many people. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and such a deep, personal part of yourself and your family. What an amazing reminder of what it is all about. Wishing you and your family many blessings~~

Laura said...

I read your beautiful story with tears streaming down my face. Nella is beautiful and the perfect addition to your family. Thank you so much for sharing.

Follow Your Art Photography said...

I found your blog from a birth club I am on. I am also a photographer I am 34, with a 3 year old daughter, I am also 20 weeks pregnant. Your story hits close to home for me. Thanks you for sharing your joy with all of us, my heart is full today. You are a beautiful person, God has chosen you to take care of your beautiful special spirit because of that. You are such an inspiration to me. Your birth story will always be in my mind as one of the most beautiful, amazing, triumphant birth stories I have ever read. God bless you and your family, and God bless your perfect little angel.

..Jenny said...

I am also a stranger, but am so grateful that you've shared your story. Thank you! I am due in June and recently got the news that our baby might have downs syndrome. I to have gone through all the emotions and to hear your story put so much hope in my heart that everything really will turn out okay. God bless!

Nicole said...

Your story is touching and amazing. Your honesty and courage is an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I love the honesty and love that shines through.

You and your family are beautiful.

JLewis said...

What a truly honest, loving and amazing journey you and Nella have already experienced in the short time you've been blessed to be with her already. She is a beauty outside and I know she will be inside too with a momma as loving as you are. This story needs to be published. It is amazing!

Anonymous said...

What an incredible journey for all of you. Nella is beautiful and your story is so honest and wonderful.

Felicia said...

Kelle,
As Im sitting here, holding my belly 5 months pregnant with my fist baby, I am stunned. Stunned at your courage, your beauty both inside and out and your ability to recognize the blessing in your baby girl. I was so encouraged by reading this, as I said I am a first time mom, and the anxiety of this whole thing has gotten to me plenty of days and nights. I stay up wishing, hoping and praying that all goes well with my baby, but never really taking time to realize my little man is my blessing. Thank you for sharing your story, thank you for being brave and thank you for Nella.

mbl said...

Beautiful story, beautiful baby, beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing. God is using you...

Andrea and Isaac said...

This is THE most beautiful story I've ever read. Tears were streaming down my face as I read this. I hope you'll keep writing about your journey with your new family. So many people would be blessed by your story...

Many, many blessings to you and your precious family.

Anonymous said...

Found your story via BabyCenter. Deeply moved me, so much that I am weeping from that remote place in my heart that doesn't get touched too often. My little girl (4 years old) just asked me why I was crying. I said I'm sad because I'm reading a story about a little baby who's sick. But her Mama is such a good mama ... and you know what, that makes me really really happy because everything will be OK.

You were born for each other. May God continue to bless you with good things.

Anonymous said...

I was directed to your blog from Babycenter. As I sit her sobbing, I realize that your story has reminded me of something we tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of planning for the futures of our unborn children: no matter what happens, we are so blessed to have them and they are perfect.

Nella is incredibly lucky to have you as her mom and I can only hope and pray that I can be half of the mother that you are. She is beautiful, as are you! Though I don't know you personally, I send you and your family bundles of love!

Anonymous said...

Nella Cordelia, beautiful name, beautiful baby, beautiful story. Thank you for your courage. Your have spoken perfectly what Mom's of DS babies know - they are gifts and you were chosen to receive this amazing gift.

The Yarbros said...

I found your blog from a link on the message board i am on in Ivillage.. And I am so glad I did.. You have truly moved me more than you can ever know. I am so touched by your entire family and what a beautiful one it is. You are so empowering, and you will never know how many people you have given strength by sharing your story.. You are truly an incredible mother. As well as having some incredible baby girls. You truly are blessed and you have touched my heart. Being a mother is the most incredible gift that there is. Congratulations on your 2 wonderful little girls!

EIEIO Photography said...

inspiring, amazing, beautiful...

Sandy said...

That is without a doubt the most beautifully written and most inspiring and honest birth story I have ever read. I have been blessed by your sharing your love story. Thank you! ♥

Anonymous said...

We have never met. But your story touched my heart. Nella is a beautiful gift of God. The pictures, the words. It was amazing. God bless you--He has prepared this journey for you. She is something special.

Carrie said...

Lovely, and moving... thank you for sharing your beautiful girl's story with us. It really is amazing, what our children teach us. I'm looking forward to reading more from you. (Also, wanted to direct you to the forum at downsyn.com where there is wonderful parent support.) Blessings to you and sweet Nella

Anonymous said...

You are such an amazingly strong woman! Sobbed my way through your beautiful story just like everyone else. Thanks for your honesty, and your courage to not only write it all down, but share it publicly!

Anonymous said...

Kelle,

I've not followed your blog prior to this post...it was shared on my "birthboard" on Babycenter as an "amazing birth story" and, truly, it is!

My son was born 10 yrs ago with Down Syndrome. I had no prenatal diagnosis. I found out the same way you did. I looked at him and I knew.

Kelle, not only did you write your birth story, you wrote mine. You took me right back to that day...the good, the bad and the truly wonderful. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your courage. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

I can't even begin to tell you the joy and the light that my son has brought to my life, but I don't have to, because you'll find out for yourself soon enough!

Nella is absolutely beautiful! Congratulations to you and your amazing family.

Rachelle Heppner said...

That is an amazingly beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

one_plustwins said...

Kelle, I was led to your blog by a fellow mom of a child with Down syndrome.
Your raw emotion is so overwhelming. I am so proud of where you are today. Nella is gorgeous and I must admit, I see your face in hers. Thank you for this story. Truly beautiful.

Angela said...

What a LUCKY, Lucky, little girl. Thank you for sharing your story. You have everything you need, deep inside you to raise your two perfect little girls. I wish you love and peace and so much health and happiness.

Leah said...

Over the last 13 years I've read a lot of birth stories. This is the most beautifully told story of them all.

I started reading those stories, a little obsessively, when my daughter Angela Faith was born 13 years ago, bringing with her the surprise of her diagnosis. No, OUR diagnosis, because our entire family became enmeshed in this amazing community that is Down syndrome.

Things are still so raw for you. When you feel like it, have a look at my post of Angela's 13th birthday, written for new parents.
http://gardenofeagan.blogspot.com/2009/06/13-years-ago.html

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

Thank you for posting this beautiful birth story. I know, I understand, and I hope you enjoy a little "two years later" snapshot...

http://yomammamamma.blogspot.com/2009/06/2-years-with-violette-2-years-with-down.html

You have no idea what a big, wonderful group was toasting your beautiful baby's birth - there is a picture of a few hands that were in the room when she was born celebrating that is beautiful, but really, there were hundreds more of us ready to say YAY WELCOME to the world, cheering for you, cheering for your little one...knowing how special it will be for all of you to be a part of our wonderful world...

stumble-tripping feet said...

I am crying at how beautiful your story is. Wow, what a beautiful baby and amazing journey you went through emotionally as you were unexpected thrown into this love.

Anonymous said...

I'm still sitting here sobbing at how amazing this story is. I have 3 wonderful, brilliant children; and it's stories like these that make me realize so much is fleeting, and that I should just gather them up and love them, forgetting about the little irritants that each day will inevitably bring. Your daughters are both beautiful, and they are so lucky to have someone as lovely as you as their mother.

Anonymous said...

I am 29 wks pregnant and up w. insomnia after celebrating my daughters 5th birthday- and read this..and feel remarkably changed. It was the most beautiful,real, raw story I have ever read. You are wonderful for sharing- and inspire me. Thank you

Erica said...

I just want to let you know that your story is truly amazing and I read over every word with tears streaming down my face. When I was pregnant with my son in 2008, I found out that he had some kidney issues along with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (a rare birth defect that does not allow the tissues in the middle of the brain to develop and connect both hemispheres together). So, I knew that my son could have some potentially serious medical problems while I was still pregnant. I still remember the day that my husband and I were given the news, and the doctor didn't have once ounce of compassion in his body. I never wish that moment on anyone. We went for several follow up ultrasounds and everyone hoped it was a mistake, but I already knew in my heart that it was not. I had the next couple of months to play it all over in my head and think about the unknowns. I also had a 4 year old at the time and immediately wondered what this would do to her. It was a hard time, but I realized that this little guy was given to me for a reason. And, I vowed to do everything in my power to love him and provide the best life possible. His delivery was complicated and I was sedated and he was born via emergency c-section. Before I was put out, they had lost his heartbeat completely. I remember waking up in the room and not hearing a baby and my heart sunk. Little did I know, he was already out and cleaned up. I will never forget when they brought my beautiful baby boy to me. I couldn't get over the amount of love that I already had for him and he was just perfect. We later found out that he also has Trisomy 8 Mosaicism, which is also a Chromosomal disorder. The fact that I was prepared and knew ahead of time changed so many things for me. It gave me time to feel ever emotion possible and be prepared for when he actually got here. My little man is doing amazing and is truly the biggest blessing in the world. I just wanted to let you know that I have pretty much been through every emotion that you have and your story really touched me. I only wish that I could write so beautifully and convey all of the feelings that I have inside me. Congratulations on your new baby girl. She is absolutely beautiful and looks like she is going to be a wonderful addition to your family. I wish you and your family nothing but a lifetime of happiness.

Serial Mommy said...

i came across your blog through a post by a mom on a forum i belong to...your post spoke to me...while my oldest son doesn't have down's, he has asperger's, i understand that heartache and pain and feeling like the floor is falling out from under you and you have no idea when you are going to land...and i wanted to share this with you..it's a post i made, but mostly it's the essay that i want to share...prayers and blessings for all of you

http://serialmommy.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-really-needed-this-right-now.html

Anonymous said...

I know that you are probably going to say that you are the lucky ones to have her. But both of your girls are lucky to have such wonderful parents. Those girls are so loved and she will have a beautiful life. Best of luck to you and it was beautifully written..

Googsmom said...

You have been Blessed. Welcome to the club. {{{{HUGS}}}}}}

Laureen said...

wow...what a beautiful baby girl you have, and what an amazing story you've shared...

I love your honesty and raw emotion...what a lucky baby girl to have such a wonderful loving family, and what a lucky family to have such a gorgeous baby girl! I LOVE her name, and am so looking forward to following your blog and watching her grow.

Congratulations to your family!!

Laureen said...

wow...what a beautiful baby girl you have, and what an amazing story you've shared...

I love your honesty and raw emotion...what a lucky baby girl to have such a wonderful loving family, and what a lucky family to have such a gorgeous baby girl! I LOVE her name, and am so looking forward to following your blog and watching her grow.

Congratulations to your family!!

Laureen said...

wow...what a beautiful baby girl you have, and what an amazing story you've shared...

I love your honesty and raw emotion...what a lucky baby girl to have such a wonderful loving family, and what a lucky family to have such a gorgeous baby girl! I LOVE her name, and am so looking forward to following your blog and watching her grow.

Congratulations to your family!!

Laureen said...

wow...what a beautiful baby girl you have, and what an amazing story you've shared...

I love your honesty and raw emotion...what a lucky baby girl to have such a wonderful loving family, and what a lucky family to have such a gorgeous baby girl! I LOVE her name, and am so looking forward to following your blog and watching her grow.

Congratulations to your family!!

erin said...

beautiful, beautiful. thank you for sharing your amazing story. so very real and honest. and tears are streaming down my face, and i am thankful for having been a part of your story if only through reading it.

Ciara said...

When I started reading this I got this feeling like you and your family were close to where I live. Then I kept reading... and come to find out we both live in the same city. I am 30weeks and will be delivering at NCH as well off immokalee. I'll have to look up Dr.Foley since I do not have a prediatrician yet. You sound like a GREAT mom and you can get through anything. God chose you for a reason. Many blessings to you and your family.

Kate said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. My heart broke for you...but then turned to tears of joy for you. The pictures really helped bring across a lot of emotion. thank you again.

Haley said...

This is so beautiful, raw, honest, amazing.

I never been to your blog until today...but I will be back.

This has touched my heart.

Your zest for life is so inspiring.

Your girls are gorgeous.

Congrats on the birth of Nella!

Valerie aka Mamalovelock said...

What a beautiful birth story! The pics are beautiful and so is sweet little Nella. Thank you for sharing with us.

Sidnie said...

It's 9 AM in Germany. I'm sipping my 2nd cup of coffee... I followed a link on twitter to Nella's birth story...
I've read and cried and loved and felt your hurt and your joy through your words. I sit here and watch my beautiful boys run around this tiny apartment and get into things they shouldn't get into.
I am blessed to have read her story, blessed that you ahve shared.
This life is more than enough- my boys & my husband are more than enough. Thank you for that reminder.
Blessings & Prayers.

meghan said...

another stranger here...

what a beautifully written story. what a beautiful family you have! and what a beautiful future is in store for you! <3

Krystal said...

I clicked on a friend's link to this on Twitter. It is by far the most beautiful, raw, honest, amazing blog entry I've ever read. The photos are brilliant and tell so much of the story alone.

This, my dear, is an award-winning piece of journalism right here. And it's YOUR LIFE. Your beautiful, incredible life.

ASDmomNC said...

Just a stranger and another special needs mom who was so moved by your story that it brought me to tears also. Your Lainey and your Bunny are beautiful girls, and their mama has a beautiful soul. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful new baby girl! A new journey now begins.

Muslim said...

I am a complete stranger to you, but your story brought tears to my eyes. It was absolutely beautiful and very real and empowering. Thank you for sharing.

Ann said...

I jumped over from a link on my community...Babycenter's Down syndrome group. I shouldn't have read it when I have a cold. There were tears and a major runny nose...not a pretty picture. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughters and Nella's birth story. I too have a key to the same door that you have. I had fraternal twins, Caleb and Maggie, on 4/16/08. We got Caleb's official diagnosis about a week after they were born but they shared their suspicions about 2 hours after they were born. It's hard to explain to other people what is through that door that we've been given the key to. All I can say is that on the other side is....truth. A truth so raw and beautiful that it will bring you to your knees and lay your soul bare but the most important thing is that I would never turn around and walk back through that door again. Whatever life was there behind me, I don't want it. I want Caleb. I'm so glad I'm on this journey with him. I look forward to hearing about your journey with your gorgeous family as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you or your family but I found this link to a friend. As a mama of a special needs child, this made me cry in such a beautiful way. What an amazing gift you have with words. Your daughters are beautiful and God is good. Always.

Hugs to you

Amblin

Little Liam said...

I have never read such a beautiful post, and can't help but think that your little angel has inspired her mama to write words with such passion and pure emotion. Thank you for sharing your story.
And from one mama to another...welcome to this new- and very special chapter of your life!Kristin
www.littleliamburns@blogspot.com

Adina said...

I jumped over from the down syndrome babycenter site. I am pregnant with a little boy that has down syndrome we have known since week 16 and I am now at week 25. I can't wait to meet him. you made me cry like crazy, but I loved reading about your journey's begining. Your story was beautiful and you and your family are amazing. I hope you join our board and share your journey with us there.

Tara said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of Down syndrome! We are a close group of wonderful people on the same journey. Thank you so much for your beautiful story with amazing pics! Nella is gorgeous and you are very blessed to be her mom. Our little guy with Ds turned one on 1/29 and it has been a beautiful year! As you continue on this road and read the stories of so many others, you will really come to appreciate how amazing your pediatrician is! So many of us got "I'm sorry" when really, all we wanted was a hearty congratulations! Snuggle your baby girl. Enjoy your babymoon. There will be time for research and connection with others. For now, though, bond with your baby.
Btw, I LOVE Donald Miller! :)

Michelle Vandepol said...

amazing beautiful story
and fabulous writing
your pictures are so touching and beautiful.
i cried, cried, cried
and smiled.
you are encouraging a lot of people and making them rethink the down syndrome stigma

Michelle said...

it has been 11 yrs since my daughter was born. You just wrote our story, too. In all of these years, I have NEVER read another story that so exactly matched my emotions that day. I, too, was the first one to notice. You are a part of a sisterhood that you will never ever regret gaining. Your girls are so beautiful. And you are, too. THANKS for allowing me to relive my own story through yours. You should add "wonder" by natalie merchant to your list. have you heard it yet?
OMG...I want to go read this again. Congratulations on your beautiful new life.

Michelle said...

adding a note so I can get followups.

Rachel said...

She is beautiful. Congratulations! I wish her and you years of bonding and only happy memories to cherish.

Jenny said...

I too found this birth story from a link posted on babycenter. I cried reading it, knowing the exact feelings you were going through and knowing the moment you saw your child, even though no one else would dare say. Your family is so beautiful and so honest. Nella truly is a lucky little lady to have you to love her and to teach her everything she needs to know. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story and beatiful pictures.

Bennett fam said...

Thank you for writing your beautiful story. My eyes are swollen and my face is splotchy! I am approaching my son, Elliot's third birthday Feb. 16.- that is the day our world changed forever. And I wouldn't take it back for anything! I felt so many of the same things you did - it was like reliving my experience when I read your story. Your children are both precious, but your little bunny - I just want to eat her up ;)

Yvonne Mahoney Richmond said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing this. You and your family are on a journey that you never expected, would not have actively chosen, but now that you are on it, you will not wish it to be any different. You have joined an amazing extended "family." My family joined this great family and began our journey 9 months ago when I gave birth to my youngest son, who was diagnosed with Ds at birth. Nothing has been more beautiful. I know that Nella and all of you will write many love-filled, exciting, life-filled chapters full of revelations, triumphs, and moments of precious humanity. Welcome to the world, sweet and beautiful Nella!

Anonymous said...

I am humbled and so very inspired by your honesty and strength. You truly are a beautiful soul. I wish you and your family a lifetime of love and happiness.

Carrie said...

She is perfect. Your post is so beautiful. Congratulations.

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

I just read your story and cried my eyes out. I am having a baby in 3-4 weeks. It's a baby girl. :) Nella is gorgeous and I can see she is the sweetest thing. How blessed you and your family are! Enjoy your baby. I can't wait to hold mine. :)

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

Stopping by again to point you toward someone who I think may become a kindred spirit! This photographer (whose style seems to be as beautiful as yours!) has a child with DS and specializes in photographing children with Down syndrome!

http://connywenk.com/blog/2009/11/laura-bruckmann.html

http://connywenk.com/blog/2009/01/tamara-guiliana.html

Tricia said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart-breaking, heart-healing, heart-warming story. I can't hope to match your eloquence; I just have to tell you how immensely your words moved me, how you made me take another look at my daughter and the baby boy I'm carrying with a new pair of eyes-- eyes filled with tears for you, joy for you, and wonder at the miracle that we all are so blessed to experience as mothers. Thank you for sharing your pain and your joy-- Nella is so precious, and I'm sure she's already aware of the love surrounding her in your beautiful family. Congratulations on your beautiful, perfect baby girl!

Maggi said...

Ohh, I'm sitting here crying. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and your beautiful girls!

Malika said...

I thank you for your honesty. Your story is amazing and so real. With your words, I could feel your emotions as you carry me step by step through this remarkable experience. Your words, the photos, the music, your family, friends, doctor, your girls… all so beautiful. Your story has really touched me, thanks for sharing.

~*Radonna*~ said...

My son with Down syndrome is 15, I cried through your entire story feeling your pain and your joy as strongly as I felt my own. What an amazing story. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful little girl.

April said...

Thank you for baring your heart. I am newly pregnant, and have been battling fears about this baby... We don't know each other, but I feel like I was right there, sharing in the pain and the love, and you gave me hope that no matter what, I will love. What a beautiful life you have with your girlies. <3

sasbolton said...

Your story is beautiful. Your pictures are gorgeous. Thank you for being so real, so honest. Thank you for publicly sharing the journey of having a baby with DS. Enjoy every minutes with your precious little girl! I know she is very blessed to have you (and your huge circle of loved ones) to guide and love her...

Anonymous said...

Wow...this is the first post on your blog that I've ever read. And just...wow. Moved to tears, because it was so beautiful and so sweetly true, so honest and so trusting-in-Him.

Beatiful pictures of you and Nella and of Nella and Lainey at the end.

Mandi said...

I'm yet another stranger who was just blessed enough to have a friend share a link to this post. I cried through the entire story. That beautiful, emotional, wonderful story. And it was hands down, the best birth story I have ever read in my entire life. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you for being real and honest and raw and so filled up with love that it can't help but overflow. What a beautiful story you are writing with your life.

annofthejungle said...

Congratulations on the birth of the amazing Nella! Thank you for sharing your story so honestly. It brought back many emotions from a day seven years ago that started and ended very similarly to the day Nella was born. I'm so glad you're enjoying her. I spent so much time worrying and wanting to get to the next milestone that I don't remember much about my son as a baby. Hopefully you already own the book "Gifts". If not, buy it! My story is in it along with those of many other mothers of kids with Down syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Kelle, my name is Jackie and I have a 2 1/2 year old son named Asa who was born with Down syndrome. You have described the emotions so perfectly, I too, like so many others shared the exact same experience - no one knows those feelings like us. You do feel like you lost the child you were expecting to have, you lose those dreams and expectations, but what God has decided to give you instead is something very few are granted. It is so hard to describe, you have done it well. Your story has been posted as a thread on downsyn.com "extra chromosome, extra family". You should stop by if you haven't already and meet this ginormous family of wonderful people from all over the world, we are all parents of children with Down syndrome (and have many pictures posted in our threads, I remember wanting to see pictures of other babies and kids with DS). Nella is absolutely beautiful - congratulations and ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY...

Samantha said...

I found your story by a link posted on BabyCenter..

Congratulations on your blessing. Your story made me cry, it's so beautiful! Your family is beautiful.

Shannon Ainsworth said...

Being 6 months pregnant with my second son, I could not stop crying as I read your beautiful story. She is a little angel from heaven. Thank you for sharing her with us. She is truly wonderful.
-Shannon in Oklahoma

Karen said...

Kelle,

You don't know me, I came to your blog through a link a friend shared and I was blessed to be pushed emotionally to read it. I am pregnant with my first child after trying for almost 2 years after a 3 year break after trying for 9 months. It was long and emotional for me, depressing and stressfull, but I've finally gotten my angel and I'm 14 weeks pregnant.

Everyone asks me what I want (boy or girl) and I just state that I don't care. They often say "as long as it's healthy, right?" And I respond, "no, I just want my baby". And this proves exactly why! I believe that no one is EVER given more than they can handle. I want a baby, I have dreamed and longed for my very own little version of my husband and I long before I even knew who my husband was. If my baby has health issues, down syndrome, anything, I will love that baby, because it's mine, a bond between my husband and I.

Thank you for your confirmation of my beliefs and feelings. I love the way you write and will continue to read. Your girls are beautiful and amazing and your story is inspirational. Thank you again for sharing such a personal and emotional time in your life.

Karen said...

Kelle,

You don't know me, I came to your blog through a link a friend shared and I was blessed to be pushed emotionally to read it. I am pregnant with my first child after trying for almost 2 years after a 3 year break after trying for 9 months. It was long and emotional for me, depressing and stressfull, but I've finally gotten my angel and I'm 14 weeks pregnant.

Everyone asks me what I want (boy or girl) and I just state that I don't care. They often say "as long as it's healthy, right?" And I respond, "no, I just want my baby". And this proves exactly why! I believe that no one is EVER given more than they can handle. I want a baby, I have dreamed and longed for my very own little version of my husband and I long before I even knew who my husband was. If my baby has health issues, down syndrome, anything, I will love that baby, because it's mine, a bond between my husband and I.

Thank you for your confirmation of my beliefs and feelings. I love the way you write and will continue to read. Your girls are beautiful and amazing and your story is inspirational. Thank you again for sharing such a personal and emotional time in your life.

Jennifer H. said...

First off I want to say congrats on your little miracle. I love your honesty and raw feeling. When i received our diagnosis of down syndrome I felt just like you did but I was too afraid to tell anyone. I wish I was more like you, as strong as you are. Thank you Thank you Thank you

The Fluck Family said...

our stories of emotions are the same even if the circumstances of our births were different. there will be struggles in your heart but the love that you feel for this baby will far outweigh anything you have ever felt before. congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl.

heather said...

What a beautiful birth story and absolutely INCREDIBLE pictures!!! I have a 7 year old daughter who has Down syndrome. She is such an amazing gift to our family and her 5 siblings. I look forward to following your journey!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your story! I recently gave birth to my second daughter (4 months old)with Ds and in a strange way I felt like I was reading my own story:) Nella is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations to you and your family!

Tina said...

You are simply amazing. The last picture of your sweet girl makes my heart sing.

Qadoshyah said...

Congratulations Kelle!! Your baby is beautiful and should bring you much joy, love & laughter! Your story was beautiful.

My little man with DS is 5 years old today. I just wrote a small blog post of the last 5 blessed years we've had - http://gotdownsyndrome.blogspot.com/2010/02/five-blessed-years.html

kim said...

This is the most beautiful honest thing I've ever read. Congratulations on your gorgeous, perfect, daughters.

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