A Few Words…because you have to start somewhere

Nella Cordelia Hampton came home today.
…and our new story begins.
We don’t know what will be written, but we know it will be a beautiful story.

As much I wanted to be home…away from the walls of the room that seemed to close so tight on me so many times this weekend…away from the confusion…away from the darkness of a sterile room…when it was time to leave today, I wept. Because I wasn’t sure if I was ready. I haven’t felt enough the deep grooves of my defining moment that happened in that sacred place.

I want time to stand still. I want the world to stop. I feel like I am holding on to a weak branch while flooding currents move around me and I’m not quite ready to let go and join the rush of water that will move us forward. And so I grip a little tighter…not because I am afraid. But because I just want to feel this moment a little while longer. Drink every blessed breath of it…the good, the bad, the beautiful. My hospital bracelet still hugs my wrist, and I’m not prepared to cut it off just yet.

I am beginning to write the story of her birth that will be shared soon. It is painful, it is beautiful, it is raw and life-changing, and I am so very afraid I am going to forget one of the millions of moments that are slowly shaping me into the character I know I am meant to be.

People keep asking me if I’m tired of hearing that this is so meant to be…that we were chosen. And the answer is no. Because I believe it. I believe this is divine and purposeful, and if you met and held this breath of heaven we are so blessed to love, you would wish you too could be chosen. Because she is so special, there are no words to describe the magic she is weaving in so many hearts. And oh the love she has propelled me to. For my big sister daughter who has revealed more beauty and love and has carved a bit deeper this weekend the grooves on my soul where she belongs. For my husband who has held my hand and demonstrated such love and support and this unearthly fatherly magic that words cannot describe. For my family who loves so beautifully and challenges me to always rise to the occasion. For our friends who were so amazing and there for us this weekend, numerous hospital staff members made it a point to comment they’d never seen anything like it. Room 221 will never be the same. And for you…I am touched and inspired and comforted and moved to the core from your support. I am simply awestruck by the beautiful words of your comments and e-mails and have spent hours just weeping and taking it all in. Every single comment and e-mail is being printed to be put in Nella’s book. Thank you for carrying us through this.

There were moments early this weekend where I thought I couldn’t breathe. So many times I cried out, “I want to go back. I want to rewind. I want to do this over again and have a different ending.” And tonight, I tell you, I want to go back. I want to rewind to Friday morning and do it all over again. Feel every moment. Deeply. Yes, I want to go back, but this time…I want the exact same ending as we have.

There is so much beauty…so many divine moments…so much love to recount, and I am piecing it together to tell the story of her birth very soon.

In the meantime, some promised pictures of the angel who is going to take the world by storm…

…and she’s taking her sister with her.

My Two Girls. It’s not what I envisioned.
No, it’s better. Lainey & Nella, I love you so.

We are resting and taking it all in the next few days. And feeling very, very blessed.

Yes, there are challenges ahead, but those challenges will write a better story for us in the end. I am so excited for this journey.

So much love. And when I say so much, I mean even just a portion of what we felt from loved ones and strangers this weekend…because just a portion would be enough to fill you forever.



Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been waiting for photos with as much anticipation as I awaited news of her birth. She is lovely, Kelle. Thank-you so much for sharing her with us, perfect strangers.

  2. So breathtaking.
    So marvelous.
    What a love.

  3. bravo.

    missing my sister….my brother-in-law…my nieces….and my sweet nephews.

    lifting my glass…cheers…to uncovering every rock each day…to discovering every purpose written on our hearts…to living life…fully alive…the best of who we are.

  4. Oh, OH THESE SONGS…it’s like they were written for Nella Cordelia Hampton.

    Tears streaming…

    Loving that you are home.

    Loving the images that capture her beauty.

    Loving your words…so raw, honest, true…and exploding with love.

    Loving how Lainey loves on her…they are sister soulmates, and two very lucky girls.

    Loving how she has already changed us all. In four days.

    Just imagine what she will do in a lifetime…

    I can’t wait to find out. :)

    Love you.

  5. Oh my word, Nella is adorable! I absolutely LOVE that picture of Lainey looking at her, like she’s already planning the fun things they will do together. It is funny; I had forgotten how tiny newborns are! Nella looks so small and precious in her little knit booties and cap – like a little doll baby! Love her! And love you too! :)

  6. This is Amazing Grace.

  7. Nella is precious. Thanks for writing, for sharing these early pictures of her being loved on by her adoring family. ((hugs)) and prayers.

  8. Wow, your words and photos are amazing as is little Nella and Lainey (she is a natural at being cute by now).

    I LOVE the photo of Nella’s one eye open checking out her Daddy. She is so delicate and dainty.

    A little care package coming your way–super girlie, just the way we like it!

    Take lots of naps, I am sure you have plenty willing arms for Nella.


  9. Goodness, I don’t even know what to say. I just cant’ stop crying. For the love of all things holy! Make it stop!

    I love her, Kelle. And Lainey? Oh.

    We talked the other day about sisters and that special relationship that I never knew but am honored to witness in Margot and Ruby, the one you have with Carin. Can you even believe what is already happening, in four days, between your girls?

    What a magical unwinding of a deep and stunning sisterhood.

  10. she’s beautiful kelle…

    born at the right time.

    thinking of you lots, wishing you peace, joy and rest.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I too am a lurker who anonymously reads your blog from time to time. As I read about Nella, I was anxious to leave a comment —because I couldn’t wait to start bragging about my Matthew. Matthew is my godson and he will be three years old in a few short weeks. He was also born with Down’s Syndrome. My sister knew early in her pregnancy, but it was still hard to process when the little guy was finally born. Its kind of like labor where your first reaction to the pain of the contractions is to hold your breath even though the best remedy for the pain is to keep breathing. Instead of letting the doctors tell you about “disabilities”, talk about her “abilities”. My Matthew grew from a little baby into a handsome, devilish, little clown. He walks, runs and plays like any other three year old. He’ll even be starting school next month! He doesn’t talk that great yet, but he knows all the important words, like mommy, daddy, cookie, toys, sponge bob, No! He loves to read books and will sit for hours turning the pages and babbling to himself. He loves the beach, the bathtub, baking, Christmas and Halloween. He thinks its hiliarious to tease people, like stealing your chair, hiding the remote control or tricking you into getting him candy even though he knows he’s not allowed. He thinks people love to see him run around naked (we do!) He sneaks out of bed to hang out with his aunts (and get some ice cream) after his mommy falls asleep trying to get him to sleep. His little cousins love playing with him and they certainly don’t think he is “special”. Please read lots and lots of information about Down’s Syndrome. Knowledge is power. These little babies are much more “normal” than most of us! Nella will grow just like every other baby –she will love her swing, her activity mat, and her exercauser, she’ll hate sleeping in her crib, and she’ll steal your heart. Like all babies, she’ll do it at her own pace, and you’ll cherish those few extra months that you get to hold onto to her precious babyhood while she is mastering crawling and walking. She’ll love Christmas and bike rides and days at the beach — and she’ll cherish those moments much longer and much more deeply than we could fathom. She’ll drive you crazy and test your patience and you’ll too forget that she is “special”. She’ll grow up to look like her mommy or daddy or sister or brothers. She’ll still have your personality traits and that perfect blend of –what were my parents thinking when they decided to have kids! She’ll go to school and even college if she wants. Unlike so many perfectly “abled” people who waste their talents or don’t live life to the fullest, sweet Nella will live up to her fullest potential –and nobody, no doctor, no expert, no teacher knows just how much potential little Nella holds. If you believe in evolution, I like to think of these “special’ babies as the evolved human form who have acquired the peaceful, loving and happy genes. Just keep it all in perspective –what do you really want most for your babies…for them to grow in love and faith, be surrounded by friends and family, and most importantly to just be happy! Well, it is clear Nella is on her way to a lifetime of love, faith, happiness, family and friends –and she will have everything she wants from life! Who knows what the future holds, maybe you’ll end up opening a funky little coffee shop, the boys can run the place and Lainey and Nella will bake up delicious little desserts or set up photo shoots. My little, old grandmother likes to say how Matthew is “growing out of it” as he gets older … the truth is, we are growing out of it. We don’t focus on how he is “different”, instead we truly see him as a perfectly normal part of our family and enjoy all that he adds to it. Enjoy little Nella and congratulations!!!

  12. My friend,

    I’ve been waking at 6 am each morning, fumbling for my blackberry on the nightstand, just in case…and this morning through sleepy eyes, lights still out, I saw an angel on that little screen. I ran downstairs to my laptop and then the music….well, I’ve never been so happy to start my day weeping. She IS complete perfection..and oh, the love beaming out of all the faces of you, and each person holding her, even Lainey Love, is…well…I’m not sure there are words. I can’t thank you enough for sharing her with us all. And Nana’s coming home outfit…delicious. Welcome home babe. Welcome home.


  13. ooo… i think this last one is my favorite. just speaks love to my soul.

    you have been on my mind… and it brings back a lot of memories and emotions of our own roller coaster ride. we were told our daughter would probably be blind… and in those first moments we just wanted it to be us. to hold the world at bay… to us she was perfection, but to the world? we didn’t want anyone to smudge our view… or let the cruelness of the world seep in.

    i think you are such a brave mama… laying it all out to the world. and therefore at the foot of the cross. and it is lovely to see that the world has responded with love. and i hope it will always be this way.

    take time to breathe… more time to love… and hang on.

  14. Dear Kelle,

    Thank you for the beautiful photos of your girls.

    Nella is so tiny, and so very beautiful. She looks very wise – almost as if she has been here before…

    Look after yourself,

    Linda in New Zealand

  15. happy homecoming kel! what lucky girls they are to have you as their mommy. beautiful, moving words that inspire us all. this is just the beginning…..oh and how precious she is in her beautiful coming home outfit. sending you love and rest. xo

  16. kelle-she’s adorable!
    i showed my jaxon the pictures and he asked “is that sister or me?” (as though there could not ben another baby besides them…)and then he saw the pic of the girls together and said, “oh mom, look, that is sweet!” and he’s right. the sweetest thing. congratulations!

  17. Oh my, what a wonderful suprise to check in this morning to finally get a glimpse of this blessed little bunny. She is gorgeous, as your dad said, she looks like a cherub! Congratulations to you and your family. Lainey looks pleased and proud. Kelle, it’s not even fair how glamorous you look right after giving birth, for real! The pic of you holding her to come home shows what all moms feel in your eyes. Pride, exhaustion, trepidation (like the feeling you have toward the nurses “you aren’t coming home with us?!”) :)
    What a gorgeous family, the way it is supposed to be….

  18. Love is certainly all around you…In that last photo that is so beautiful, can I see it right, is there the word LOVE on your ring? :-)

    Nella is beautiful!


  19. Tears! It is so healing to finally see pictures of you with sweet Nella. I feel like I’m being held hostage up here while I wait for February 6th, when I can finally get down there and love on all of you. And yet again, you amaze us. I knew there would be a time when you would say “I want to go back and have the same outcome.” But I didn’t expect it after only four days. This is only the beginning of so many miracles to come. Like I told you earlier, you have been given front seats to witness and live real love, God’s love, like the rest of never will. Because God IS love! And anyone that has ever known a child with down’s knows that they have the most pure love. The most God-like love. I love you, my soul-sisah! 10 days and counting!!

  20. Thany you, for sharing with such raw emotions. Nella, you are BEAUTIFUL!!!

  21. Thany you, for sharing with such raw emotions. Nella, you are BEAUTIFUL!!!

  22. Hi Nella!

    It is SO nice to finally meet you!

    You are beautiful.

  23. She is more gorgeous than I imagined…but I am not surprised. And you, my friend…simply amazing! I love your heart…your spirit…your passion…just you. You have been on my thoughts and in my prayers constantly.

  24. Welcome Home Hamptons! the pictures are breathtaking! I told you Nella would be a fiesty one Kelle~~~ Just look at her winking at her amazing daddy! I think she is giving him the “you just wait…” look! LOVE IT!!!!!

  25. It shall be like finding shells on the beach…yes, we have been led to an incredible beach where all the shells will have such beauty they will take our breath away. Nella will stretch hearts…she already has mine! Exquisite photos and words…tell our story…shells on our beach. I love you so!

  26. I love Wednesdays because of my daughters’ weekly Hump Day Nuggets post.
    As soon as I get up I turn on my laptop; let the dogs out… feed them …. knowing when my canine chores are completed I can pour my coffee and go to my Blogger Dashboard and feast my eyes on my granddaughters and their mama’s inspirational, informative and often hilarious words. Today when I started down the list of Blogs I read, looking for digthischickmt.com…there was yours…Nici’s would have to wait. I had to pause before I continued because I have been so anxiously waiting for this gift. Usually, when I read Nici’s Blog I zip through it first to get photo fix…then go back and read. When I saw yours today, I felt like the person who has just received a long awaited gift. So I slowly read….savoring the opening of this gift. I already knew what it was in this package, but I want to take the time to open it carefully capturing the moment because it will never come again. Thoughtfully untying the ribbon; rolling it up, cautiously peeling off the tape, folding the paper and then staring at the box before you open it. I knew the gift would be a photo of Nella… what a gift she is.

    Thank you Kelle for sharing this precious bunny bundle, what wisdom she already possesses….I look forward to watching her grow.

    Bug’s and Ruby’s Gram

  27. Beautiful girl, beautiful family, beautiful story!
    God Bless from SC,

  28. Thank you so much for sharing the special moment. The moment that your little bundle of joy enters into your house that you have made a home. A home that is filled with love and all the pleasures of being a family.

    April (Elissa’s cousin)

  29. absolutely adorable! breathtaking! she is so precious. the last picture of you laying in bed holding her and kissing her sweet face is such a precious picture. it makes me remember those first few precious moments of having a baby and feeling their soft, warm cheeks and body against yours. she is a precious gift and i can’t wait to follow her beautiful life story. anxiously waiting to hear her wonderful birth story as only you can tell….

  30. crying here…xoxo

  31. the right words, just can’t seem to find them. instead, tears, just a mess of them. your new miracle is beyond anything i could put into words. sending you {and your loves} love, lots of it, kelle …

    ps – i was gonna share what my favorite pictures were, but the list kept growing, one-by-one, and i’ve come to the conclusion, i love them all. but my absolute fav would prob be the b&w of you and bunny, the one on the right.

  32. Kelle,

    she is beautiful, and precious, and lovely, and captivating…a petite bunny indeed.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Thank you for showing us that you just have to jump in with both feet. Let go of the expectations. Let go of the fear. Let go of what all the things that don’t really matter.

    And embrace what does.

    A baby that will surely bring much happiness to us all.

    I, like many others, can’t wait for the story you will tell. Not the story so much of her birth, (although that is so important) but the story of her life and yours. The “better story”, the one that only you can tell us of the beauty that is all around us if we can only grasp it.

    Your images as usual are so captivating and lovely…. as is your honesty. Keep it coming. We will be there to hold it for you, sift through it, and then throw it into the wild wind, to carve those deep grooves of your experience.


    Your friend,

  33. Dear Ruby & Margot’s Gram,

    Are you sure you are not a Cryderman? I married into this incredible family and have always envied their ability to express themselves so well. Your words were beautiful. The imagery. The emotion. Delicious. If ever the day comes that you get to meet Kelle in person, I can only hope to be there. You are a treasure.

  34. Nella, beautiful Nella. Even more beautiful than I imagined. Your family is perfect. Every picture perfect; meant to be. My daughter was perched on the chair reading your blog with me this morning; she is nine and loves reading your blog with me. We have been talking about your little bunny frequently since she was born. Just like she was a part of our family. This blog world is amazing sometimes; like a big extended, supporting family. Anyways my Megan said immediately “Oh mom, look at how beautiful Nella is, and her mom too!” We are officially hooked.. in love with your little bunny. I love the picture of Lainey admiring her new sister. Welcome home! You are beautiful in every way Kelle.

  35. Hi beautiful bunny!!! I can’t wait to hold you again! XOXOXOX

  36. Little Nella is beautiful! Thank-you so much for sharing her (pictures, story & all) with all of us. Your whole post glows with the love you have for the sweet little miracle with whom you have been blessed.
    Praying for you as you adjust to the crazy, busy life as the mother of 2 preschoolers & for Lainey as she adjusts to a new life as well.

  37. SO excited today to see your post for I knew I would get a glimpse of your sweet new angel. I too like Ruby and Bugs gram took my time reading, absorbing your every word. Amazing, breathtaking…just plain beautiful. Lucky parents…lucky girl! Welcome home sweet Nella!
    (Kelle check your front doorstep later today…I will be leaving something, don’t want to bother you during this special home time but do let me know when I can stop by and nuzzle that little one)

  38. Hampton Family
    Thank you so much for sharing such private moments and your personal thoughts on such a private journey. You are so lucky to have all the love and support, not to mention two beautiful daughters and wonderful family/friends.
    God bless
    Justine Hark & Family


    Thank you so much for sharing, Mama Bear.

    Your sweet little girls are beyond lovely.

  40. Oh…precious Nella is so, so beautiful! I can’t wait to see what amazing things life has in store for her…and what amazing things SHE has in store for all of those in her life!

    I love your words and your spirit, Kelle. Thank you for sharing your story.

    PS: How DO you look so amazing already? Send me your secrets! :)

  41. I cannot top any of the comments that have been left on this post and last. They are all so poetic and so gracefully written. All I can say is congratulations on your new little bunny. Nella is precious, Nella is beautiful, and Nella is a shining star already! :)

    I am not a mom yet, but when I am one, I hope to be half the mom that you are to your loves…Nella is very lucky to have been blessed with such a great family!

  42. Nella Cordelia is just precious!! Enjoy every minute because she will be running after Lainey all too soon.

    Makes me miss my little newborns :)

  43. Lurky Mommy says:

    Yay! I’m so glad to see your little bunny! What a sweet beauty she is. I love the shot of Lainey just staring at her and soaking in the sisterhood that has they now share. Thank you for sharing her and your whole family with us. I am overcome with the feeling that you and Brett are leaving your children with a legacy of love that has already begun. What is more beautiful than that?

  44. Congratulations! I also have a beautiful child with Down Syndrome named Eli. He was the third of our four children, and we had no idea before he was born.

    I really feel that our family would not be complete without him. I have never met anyone who didn’t also adore him.

    We are ‘chosen’ and blessed. It’s heartbreaking that more families who are ‘chosen’ choose not to accept the precious gift, as challenging as it may be, that would be the most rewarding part of their lives.

    Thank-you for sharing. <3

  45. Dear Kelle,
    Nella is a lovely child. I am quite sure that the story that has just been started will be just lovely as you all are. God bless you and protect you with His never ending love.I am praying for you.

  46. Brit Girl says:

    My keyboard is awash with tears! So happy to hear you are home. And Nella? She is just beautiful. Good to see that she is already working some divine outfits too! Love the pic of her and big sis Lainey. And you are looking fabulous, Ms Hampton! Despatching another whole lot of love to you. Enjoy these first few days at home as a mama of two. Thinking of you and your family.

  47. Oh, she is beautiful!! What an incredible gift!
    I only found your blog a few weeks ago and am so happy to be able to support you through this jouney!Our family prayed for yours last night–know that hrough the hard times there are people you don’t even know lifting you up in prayer so that you can not only carry on, but carry on with love and peace!

  48. Anonymous says:

    A link to a blog of Canadian friends of ours who currently live in Qatar.


  49. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on your beautiful new addition, on your beautiful life.
    -Christina in Tallahassee

  50. Welcome home little angel! I just want to hug your entire family – you’re a lucky lady!

  51. She is absolutely perfect. Thank you for sharing her (and your story) with us.

  52. Crying.

    Nella is Beautiful.

    Your post is beautiful beyond words, thank you for sharing the love.


  53. Nella’s first photo shoot and she is already won the crowds heart. She is beautiful! Lainey looking at her is precious and your mom is one of the proudest grandmothers I’ve ever seen. Welcome Home!

  54. OMG, she is so cute. Lainey does know she is not a baby doll from the store right? LOL. I LOVE the picture of you holding her in your hands up to your face, gorgeous.

  55. Just one word comes to mind…LOVE!! Nella is love. Enjoy every moment as I know only you can.

    We have never meet in person but I have followed your blog for almost a year now and love reading and re-reading every one of your posts. I found your blog via Leah’s blog.

    Love Jennifer

  56. That outfit! The fact that your mom made it, stitched it by hand, priceless! The slippers were all I imagined they would be :) So glad you are home. Sigh of relief. Love your family!

  57. Anonymous says:

    She is so beautiful…. the photos are so sweet and you look amazing girl!
    Hope to see you soon.
    Niki : )

  58. Ken, Amy, and Maddie Franckowiak says:


    Your words are, as always, beautiful, and perfect. Perfect, just like little Nella. She is absolutely gorgeous, a perfect little angel. So small, it’s amazing how she has won so many hearts in her short little time here so far! I’m so glad that my Mom was able to visit you and meet Nella. And I am here if you have any questions, or if you just want to talk! Thank you, for continuing to be my inspiration, as a friend, a mother, and a wife. You are amazing! Truly amazing!

  59. she is beyond breathtaking…

    and lainey and her together? magic!

  60. Kelle,

    I am a friend of many of your friends, quite a few of whom have shared your blog with me with instructions to read it because they knew I’d love it. I do! You so eloquently describe what I feel as mama to my little girl (almost 9 months old).

    Congratulations on Nella’s birth! She is a beautiful child, and I can only imagine how much joy you must feel to see Lainey and Nella snuggled together.

    So many people have already said the things I thought when I read your post, but let me just say thank you–for sharing your story, for inspiring other moms, for giving the world examples of love.

    Be good to yourself, and know that many of us are cheering for you from afar.


  61. wow, kelle, covered in chills. she is absolutely beautiful and you all look so perfect holding her. you have been on my mind a ton these past few days. may you continue to have all the strength and spirit to travel bravely down this unexpected, beautiful path.

  62. Gillian, you had me with “unexpected, beautiful path.”
    And aren’t those the best journeys in life…the unexpected, the serendipitous, the interrupted. I am heading over to Brett and Kelle’s now…to make a big breakfast with a family tradition…my grandpa’s pancakes…rite of passage into the family…I just may touch one to Nella’s lips! Then, I hope to give her a bath. She is bliss…she turned our lives upside down…then right again…really, really right. Love to all you who have brought close the light and helped my Kelle find her way through this.
    –her dad…Nella’s Poppa

  63. words. I’m just not so good at putting my feelings into words!! They way you write and use your words, I feel like I just can’t compete. Not that it is a competition, but you know what I mean. Rjight?

    Little miss Nella is an absolute angel. And I can just see the love from those that have had the privilege to hold her close, smell her sweetness. She is just perfect, in every sense. I am so looking forward to her story, her journey. Yours & Brett’s. It’s going to be wonderful.

    And I do have two favorite pics. The one of Lainey leaning over her baby sister, and the one of Nella, with the one eye open. Oh, and the one of you loving on her. ok, all of them :)

    Sending some more hugs and love your way Kelle, glad you have your Poppa there, and your friends. Hope you are getting some much needed rest, quiet and snuggle time.

  64. Anonymous says:

    I just want to say how proud I am of you. You are alreay rocking it out! I love your honesty, your true emotions each and every day! Just know that we will be here to lift you up on your challenging days, we will stand by you and cherish the normal days, and we will celebrate the amazing days!
    Lainey, you are the sweetest big sister ever. The love for your sister is already so apparent:)
    Brett, all of your children are so lucky to have you. The love for them comes out so cleary in your eyes! God Bless You Hamptons!
    Love, Colleen:)

  65. nella cordelia – you have stolen a piece of my heart.

    kelle – so its not what we pretended it would be like when we were 10, its so much better.

    Love the pics of Nella and Lainey. Lainey just sees her sister, her Nella, not T21, just her perfect baby sister.
    Your girls are so blessed to have each other.

    love the one with gramma krissy. her sweet eyes are open and she is just adorable!

    And the ones of daddy and Nella and Mommy and Nella – tears (from a girl that does not often cry). falling in love with your husband/wife/partner is wonderful. falling in love with your child, well, there are no words.

    ok and seriously, where do you find these songs?! yeah, it’s gonna be all right. :)

  66. I have nothing but tears at the sight of such a beautiful being. Lucky mommy!!!!!!

  67. I have nothing but tears at the sight of such a beautiful being. Lucky mommy!!!!!!

  68. that beautiful baby wrapped up in your mama’s sweet creation…no words seem important enough to explain what it felt like to see her in them. it is exactly the way i imagined.

    friday we all set out on the road less traveled. we have seen more, felt more, opened our hearts more on this road.

    this road is better.

    lainey and ‘ice cream’, i just love them so much and can’t wait to see what’s further down the road.

    i love you.

  69. she is absolutely the epitome of beauty.
    kelle … i cannot wait to follow in your family’s story. i’m so sure of the beauty ahead of you.
    i sit here and weep as i read of you crying as you left the hospital. i did too. last night. with my brand new precious son in my hands … because i’m not sure of my challenges ahead of me.
    and i often sat thinking of you as i stared at the walls and attempted to rest in my hospital bed. and how i wished i had a computer so that i could check up on you to see how you guys are doing. glad to get home so that i could finally do so.
    and a piece of advice from a therapist? remember. diagnosis and labels are a means to help you identify what things she might need. not WHO your little person is.
    take care.

  70. “Sometimes”, said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

    Thank you for allowing us to share this little corner of your world and for posting such beautiful photos of your little Nella Bunny! She’s just as she should be, absolutely perfect!

  71. Thank you so much for sharing your story…….I love her…..she is beautiful……and I love your whole family…..God continue to bless all of you!

  72. These pictures are just food for our souls! We’ve wanted to see them for so long. My kids can’t get enough. James saw her for the first time yesterday when I handed him my phone where she poses as my new wallpaper, and he just squealed – it made my heart so warm – he said, “Ohhhhh!!! She’s so cuuuuuuute!” Funny to hear an 11yo boy exclaim with such joy over a “cute baby”. And she IS so beautiful – are you tired of hearing it yet? More than that though, is the beauty of your family – when I look at the pictures it’s as if she has just melted everybody together in a hazy glow of love. I love being able to see and hear your life unfold. Thanks for the privilege of letting us all in. Love you.

  73. Kelle, your grace is so inspiring. Much love to you, your beautiful girls and husband, and your extended family who is supporting you so well. Thank you for sharing pictures and the beginning of this chapter.

  74. Really really fantastic photos. I wish you all the best. I see you have love.

  75. Beautiful. Adorable. Wonderful.
    I LOVE her!!! Love seeing Lainey laying there with her. They’ll be more than sisters, they’ll be best friends. Love you!

  76. I keep coming back here, just can’t help it. I really don’t know if I’ve ever been more inspired or touched than by this story, happening parallel with so many others, with mine, with the world’s. I always wondered what God might have in store for you–so many gifts, so much love and wonder. Here is a new way, a new beginning, a greater purpose than I ever could have imagined for you.

    And then I keep picturing the four of us girls (you, me, C, Kendall Bethy) in those matching sweaters in Illinois winters so many many years ago….even then you had been set apart. And I believe that with my whole heart. Some are chosen. You are chosen. It’s how you hold her. Thanks for posting the pictures.

  77. I had to come back to share something sweet–and I don’t know what posesses me to share this–I am at work; I work in a Children’s hospital, in and outpatient, and see lots of kids and families, anyway, I was standing in outpatient clinic today, not even working with this family, and this beautiful boy came running up to me, threw his arms around me (no small feat as I am 6 months preg) and buried his head above my belly. I felt pure love radiating from him and immediately thought of you. Oh yeah, he has Down Syndrome, but what I was struck by was the love pouring out of him–he proceeded to chat and smile with me and we held hands for awhile too. It made my day, connecting with all that love. I thought of what you have been saying about Nella and the love surrounding your experience with her. Amazing.

  78. Anonymous says:

    The picture of Lainey just looking at Nella….you can just tell that they share something special already. Some type of understanding of all the wonders that are to come. And it’s like they are saying to each other “we are together and we are going to conquer this world.” I hope you are still feeling the love that is pouring out for your entire family!

  79. looking at these pictures i am speechless. there is so much love in my heart when i look at these. i want to cry it is so beautiful. i tear every time. or smile ear to ear. life.is.precious. Nella.is.precious.

  80. nothing more adorable than little sisters….I love all the pictures, especially the one of Lainey staring at her new “bestie”….Nella is beautiful and precious :)

  81. Kathy and Paige Lewis says:

    You are so amazing to me! Your faith, love, creativity, and strength. Be still and realize how wonderful you are and life is.

  82. matt and i are in our bed with our laptops side by side enjoying these beautiful pictures.


    she is DEEEEEELiCIouS!

    the one of lainey looking at her…no words for that one..just welled up.

    hugs from indy…i think nella would look especially cute in a peyton manning jersey would she not!?

    still lifting you and brett in prayer..hugs from the snowy middle of the nation…


  83. Anonymous says:

    I cannot explain how much reading your story has touched me. As a mom, a woman, and an expectant mom. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this with complete strangers – it’s raw, it’s true, and it is so full of love. I sobbed like a baby as I read this post, having a baby who wasn’t “normal” is in the back of my mind, as a woman over 35 who chose to forgo all testing. As I read this, the only thought I have is that if I am blessed with a baby who doesn’t fit the mold, I can only hope to be half the mom that you are. Your blog is flying around the world, posted at websites everywhere, as an inspiration to so many moms – and I hope you know how much love is being sent back you & your family’s way.

  84. I’ve already left one comment, but still feel compelled to leave another one. You’re famous, did you know that? Someone told me today that you guys are from Naples, Florida. That’s where I was born! And my daddy is preacher, he said a prayer so similar to the one your “poppa” said. His comments on your blog are just precious. And we both have daughters with designer genes. You are blessed! As I said before, I will be following along on your journey.

  85. Kelle, your sweet bunny is most beautiful, and so are her so very proud mama and big sis …

  86. “Who is GOING to take the world by storm?” Just one correction…she ALREADY has!
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the world. It needs to hear it.

  87. Thank you for sharing your story. Your photos are stunning. You have such a beautiful family and such a positive outlook. I believe you’ll get through this just fine.

    My son has DS – He’s 16. Most of the time I forget he has it and I don’t really give it
    too much thought. We like to play Skip-Bo, we read Harry Potter books, he texts me when I’m at the grocery store to remind me to get bananas or whatever, he keeps up with his favorite sports teams, he likes to listen to the Beatles, and so much more I couldn’t even begin to tell you…it’s all just part of a normal life. Oh and he kicks my butt every time we play the Wii. You’ll see. Soon enough it all just becomes part of life. The DS will fade to the background and Nella will just be Nella. That may have started to happen already, but you just watch, a few years from now I suspect you’re barely going to think about it. It may be there, sure, but it’s not who she is. I think you already know that any way.

    So that’s my two cents, random internet stranger that I am. My philosphy is take what you like and scrap the rest. I just wanted to share the perspective of a mom with an “older kid.” (but since I had him when I was 17 you and I aren’t too far apart age-wise I think.)

    Life is good. You have so much to look forward to.

  88. Dear Friend,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your daughter, Nella. You have a beautiful family and I can tell how blessed you are.

    You’re story is simply breathtaking. I do hope you will enjoy ours as well.

    There is hope.

    Much Love,

    A Friend :)

  89. Again – your writing is beautiful. I have bookmarked your blog because I admire you, and your approach to life.

    And your poppa – I want to meet :) What a wonderful soul … you truly are blessed, and so is baby Nella … who has blessed us all. Thank you again for sharing your story. I hope you don’t mind if I pop in from time to time.

    Thanks, from Alberta – Canada.

  90. Hi Kelle. I’ve just recently found your blog and I wanted to share something that might offer a little encouragement. I read a book called “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers and it is about a baby with down syndrome. The premise of the book is that she was sent as an angel by God, and although her family didn’t really understand, she changed them in a way like no other. Maybe once your life settles down a bit, you could read it. It truly is an awesome insight.

  91. Beautiful story and even more beautiful family!!! Thanks so much for sharing and I look forward to reading more and seeing more awesome photos! You are doing a wonderful job!

  92. In my life path, I have come accross the poem below. As I read your story, I couldn’t help think of it, and felt the need to share it with you.

    Welcome to Holland- Emily Perl Kingsley

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability to try to help people understand it, to imagine how it would feel. Its like this�

    When you are going to have a baby, its like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michaelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. Its all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, Welcome to Holland.

    HOLLAND?! you say. What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve land in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.

    Its just a different place. Its slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But, after you’ve been there for a while you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, Yes, thats where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

    But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

  93. I started reading your blog at Nella’s story. It was amazing. I decided to keep reading so I have been skipping around here and there reading random posts…from the beginning to the present. I love everything you write about. Your girls are so beautiful and it warms my heart to see how much love you have for them and your family! They are so lucky to have you in their lives. Although I do not know you, I can just tell you are a truely beautiful person with a big heart. You have opened my eyes to many things. Each and every day I look at my 2 girls and thank God for them. I am just lovin’ your blog. Thank you for sharing it w/ the world!! Awesome stuff!!!

  94. Well I hope I can get this to post annymously. when I first started to read your story, I was so afraid that your baby had died. But so overwhelmed when I read on. You and my dd have so many strange similarities its eerie!You are exactly one yr older than she is. Her bday is Dec 29th as well. She has a little baby boy almost 4 mos old. He is her second child too. And youre both Photographers!I made her read this or at least look at the pics of your too precious bunne! You both share some of the same challenges.I grew up with several friends who had DS babies and all I can say is Ive never seen them sad or cry, though Im sure they do. She has her first shoot tomorrow since he was born and of course hes not had a bottle ever so dad will have fun!LOL We both said a tiny prayer for you and your special little family. You are spec ial and have been chosen to raqise a special little angel as Im sure youre now aware!

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