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.

Comments

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  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. Anonymous says:

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

  4. 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! :)

  5. 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

  6. 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!’

  7. 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!

  8. 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?)

  9. 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!

  10. Anonymous says:

    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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Touche.
    You did it.
    I love you.

  17. 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.

  18. two words – THANK YOU
    Justine

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. Anonymous says:

    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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. Anonymous says:

    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.

  27. 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

  28. Anonymous says:

    Bravo

    Kelle

    Bravo.

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

  29. 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

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Anonymous says:

    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.

  34. Anonymous says:

    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.

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

  36. Marsha Colbert says:

    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!

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. 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

  39. lots of tears. beautiful tears.

    thank you for sharing your heart.

  40. Anonymous says:

    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

  41. Anonymous says:

    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)

  42. 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

  43. 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?!

  44. 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!

  45. 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!

  46. 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

  47. 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

  48. Anonymous says:

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

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

  50. thank you kelle.

  51. 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!

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

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. Brit Girl says:

    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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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!!

  60. 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.

  61. 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)

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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!

  65. 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

  66. You told it. And you rocked it, girl!

  67. 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

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.)

  71. Love you!

  72. Anonymous says:

    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!

  73. Anonymous says:

    Dear Poppa,

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

    Take care,

    Linda in New Zealand.

  74. 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

  75. 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—–“.

  76. 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.

  77. 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!

  78. Madisyn Andrea says:

    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!

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

  80. Madisyn Andrea says:

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

  81. Madisyn Andrea says:

    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! (:

  82. 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.

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

  84. 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!

  85. 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

  86. 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

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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!!!

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. Anything I might say would never do this post justice.

    Beautiful.

    And thank you.

    xo

  93. 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

  94. 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.

  95. Miranda - Eureka,IL says:

    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

  96. 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”.

  97. Lurky Mommy says:

    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!

  98. Anonymous says:

    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

  99. 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

  100. 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!

  101. Anonymous says:

    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…… :)

  102. 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.

  103. 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

  104. 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…

  105. 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.

  106. 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

  107. 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.

  108. 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!

  109. 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~~

  110. Jenny Clark says:

    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!!!!!!!!!!

  111. Anonymous says:

    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

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

  113. 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

  114. Anonymous says:

    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.

  115. 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.

  116. Anonymous says:

    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.

  117. 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~~

  118. 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.

  119. 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.

  120. 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!

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

  122. Anonymous says:

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

    You and your family are beautiful.

  123. 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!

  124. Anonymous says:

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

  125. 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.

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

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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!

  130. 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.

  131. 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!

  132. inspiring, amazing, beautiful…

  133. 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! ♥

  134. Anonymous says:

    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.

  135. 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

  136. Anonymous says:

    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!

  137. Anonymous says:

    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.

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

  139. 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.

  140. 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.

  141. 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

  142. 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…

  143. 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.

  144. Anonymous says:

    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.

  145. Anonymous says:

    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

  146. 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.

  147. 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

  148. Anonymous says:

    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..

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

  150. 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!!

  151. 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!!

  152. 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!!

  153. 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!!

  154. 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.

  155. 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.

  156. 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.

  157. 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!

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

  159. 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.

  160. 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

  161. 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.

  162. 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.

  163. 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.

  164. 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.

  165. Anonymous says:

    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

  166. 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
    http://www.littleliamburns@blogspot.com

  167. 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.

  168. 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! :)

  169. 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

  170. 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.

  171. adding a note so I can get followups.

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

  173. 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.

  174. 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 😉

  175. 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!

  176. Anonymous says:

    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.

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

  178. 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. :)

  179. 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

  180. 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!

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

  182. 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.

  183. 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.

  184. 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

  185. 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…

  186. Anonymous says:

    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.

  187. 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.

  188. 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.

  189. Anonymous says:

    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…

  190. 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.

  191. Shannon Ainsworth says:

    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

  192. 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.

  193. 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.

  194. Jennifer H. says:

    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

  195. 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.

  196. 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!

  197. Anonymous says:

    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!

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

  199. 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

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

  201. This comment has been removed by the author.

  202. Oh, my dear, sweet kindred spirit. I almost miscarried my baby. I knew she had DS the minute she was born. The rest of the world firgure it out the next day. I had to explain it to my three sons while I grappled over grieving the baby I didn’t have and the beautiful daughter I had in my arms. My father’s first words, upon learning that The Love Magnet had DS was “Well, we love her. That’s all that matters”.

    I cried all night. By morning I was ready to face all the challenges and appreciate all of the joy.

    Reading your story made me relive that whole first 24 hours again. I sobbed and smiled through it all.

    God bless you and your family.

  203. Dani, momtoAlyse in Nebraska says:

    Kelle and family what a beautiful account of the birth of your sweet daughter Nella. I relate so well to the overwhelming emotions of those first few moments and days post diagnosis. My daughter Alyse will be turning 8 in a few short weeks. Your story brought me back to a place I had not thought of for such a long time.

    Unlike you we had our diagnosis while I was still pregnant I think those feeling of being suddenly lost and struggling to find yourself again are common to parents of children with a set of designer genes.

    This I can assure you, your life has been blessed expotentially. You will see things in a new light. The essence of your days will have become that much sweeter.

    I can not imagine what my life would be like without my sweet Alyse, she is my heart…

    Dani

  204. Oh my, you should see my tears… A friend sent me the link to your post, and I must say that Nella must be the luckiest little girl in the whole world. She has such an amazing mom, who, faced with this unexpected part of life, is already loving her more than words can describe. I can’t imagine what you felt, in those few hours after giving birth. But to see the love in your eyes in the portraits of you & Nella shows me how you feel now…
    What a wonderful story. I wish you all the happiness in the world!

  205. Someone passed this link on to me, and I just bawled my eyes out reading it from top to bottom.

    You have PERFECTLY explained my thoughts & feelings with such great details, emotions, and love.

    I am the mom of TWO little angel babies… Claire is 8.5 years old & Lola is 3.75 years old. Like you, we have a typical child who is 11 (a son), and we SO did not expect any “surprises” when our Claire was born. We had a “normal” (what IS normal!?!?) sonogram at 18-19 weeks & sailed thru the most glorious, perfect, naive, wonderful pregnancy only to have our lives/worlds shattered here, too when Claire was born with microcephaly (small head/brain).

    We too had an agonizing time initially — but in the past 8.5+ years have realized like the quote says, “Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted
    but getting what you have, which once you have got it you
    may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” ~ Garrison Keillor

    Life is good… fast forward… waited 4.5 years until we were gutsy enough to “go for it” again… knew we had a 25% chance for recurrence, and yet, to us, we were meant to experience whatever came our way. And that was little Lola, also microcephalic (diagnosed at 26 weeks in utero). Another tough 24-48 hours & then UTTER PEACE & knowing that all was right & perfect STILL in our worlds…

    THANK YOU for putting it all into words so beautifully. Love the website, the many gorgeous pics, and the music. (writing down songs I need to download frantically… hahahah)

    Hope to continue to follow your journey & would love to keep in touch! Hugs from Kansas…

    Gwen
    hartleyhooligans@att.net

  206. Oh my goodness, I am in tears here reading your story. You don’t know me, but I learned about your story through a forum online. I can identify with your story and your birth and grieving experience because my daughter was born with a chromosome abnormality as well and I went through a very similar experience. You put into words what I never could about what I felt at her birth. You are an amazing mother and your daughters are both very happy to have you. God bless your family!

  207. Kelle–A friend of mine posted a link to your blog on her Facebook page. Your story is amazing and I had to fight through the tears while reading it. Your baby is beautiful as is your family. I look forward to reading more about your journey through motherhood with your little bundle of joy. Big hugs to you :)

  208. I found your story via babycenter as well on a birth board you are on. I have a sister with Downs. She is 6 and I remember meeting her in the hospital for the first time. The pediatrician had not checked her out yet, however the nurses had been acting odd. I remember holding her sitting in a chair across from my parents and looking at their faces which were trying so hard to be happy, but were clearly hiding something and I had her all swaddled up in my arms and I looked down at her and I remember knowing something was wrong and crying on her. I keep repeating, its ok, its ok. It did not feel ok at the time. I used to feel guilty for crying over her beautiful little face. I wondered if she too felt the grief we felt while we tried to adjust to what had just happened. 6 years later, she is the charming, witty, smart, beautiful little carbon copy of her sisters (there are 4 of us) and she is the light of my parents life. Now I am pregnant with twins, one of which has a clubbed foot. I feel so prepared for what is coming due to the fact that I have been through this experience with my sister. I know its ok to be upset, to grieve, to take some time to adjust and to take the time to educate yourself about what is happening. I wish you the best of luck with both of your beautiful girls! Take care of yourself and congratulations!

  209. wow. what an incredible, beautiful, breathtaking story. thank you.

  210. This is one of the most amazing things I have ever read. I am choking back the tears and sending you and your beautiful perfect family all the love in the world!!

    Nella is a very lucky girl, and she is going to grow up with the most amazing mom (family) in the world!

    Lots and lots of love,
    Jessica

  211. Aww! Congratulations to you and your family. And welcome to the club. :-)

    Love,
    Mama of Audrey (4) and Stella (almost 2, Ds) and newbie (EDD 7.13.10)

  212. “I knew” at 18 weeks through amnio (although I had feelings before then) but I went through the pain you first went through when Nella was born. Looking at her face brings me to tears because I have grown to love the features of Down syndrome. My son is only 8 months old but I can spot it instantly now and those almond eyes-although they may look different to most, are gorgeous. My son has them too, of course and I just love them. Your writing is beautiful, honest, pure-thank you for sharing your story.

  213. oh, wow. What a beautiful post, and a beautiful family.

    My daughter was diagnosed with DS at birth too. It’s a tough thing to hear, but it really does get better. Your post took me right back.

  214. Kelle,

    I was linked to this post by a friend of mine. You will be SO thankful that you took the time to write such a beautiful and detailed and raw birth story. Nella is absolutely beautiful and perfect. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    I have a daughter, Etta, who is 20 months old. She also has Ds and is so full of life and light abd love and laughter. She is my heart outside my body.

    I wish I could time travel back to the day she was born and tell myself that everything is going to be okay. Better then okay. She makes me a better person and I have met SO many wonderful people because of her.

    After I got over the (short) initial mourning process, I loved looking at photos and watching vieos and reading about people with Ds. PLEASE feel free to visit Etta’s website. There are lots of photos and videos there. http://www.etta.aboutmybaby.com

    Once again, congratulations on the birth of your newest daughter!

    Tiff Wenzler

  215. Oh boy….I cried body shake cries while reading this. Congratulations, baby Nella is beautiful, and I just love her name! You wrote that so beautifully and what a beautiful moment with your friends and family the night she was born…a raw yet beautiful beginning to a beautiful new chapter…and a new you. I found that my little Reid made me a better person and instantly grew my heart 5 times it’s size with his birth.

    If you are interested I recently wrote a blog about if I was able to have a conversation with myself back on the day my son was born with Down syndrome with the me now 3 years later…and what that would look like…. When he was born I craved to have so many questions answered that there was just no way I could have had answers to unless I began walking forward, which was really hard for me to do at first. You can find that here: http://raisingreid.blogspot.com/2009/12/conversation-between-me-then-when-we.html

    ….thank you for sharing your absolutely adorable family and pictures. I just love the pictures of you holding Nella with your braids, so cute!!

  216. Thanks for sharing. Our first daughter was born with Down Syndrome, and she is three now. Katya is a bundle of joy and there have been way more blessings from her syndrome than there have been inconveniences. I’m sure you can already say that, and you will for the rest of your life.

  217. Reading your story brought back a flood of emotions–some of them tough, but most of them overwhelmingly beautiful. I am touched beyond words (that doesn’t happen often :)!) You have just been given the gift of a lifetime, and it seems like you already know it. You already have a wonderful, large group of loving family and friends to hold you all close and to love & learn right along with you. You have also just entered another wonderful, large group–the Down syndrome community. There are a lot of us out here, now reading along, sending warm congratulations and welcoming you into the fold.

    I have a three-year-old daughter with Down syndrome (Bridget). She’s the youngest of our five children, and she is every good thing wrapped into one tiny package. Our lives did change the day she entered the world–for the better. She is honestly the best thing that has ever happened to us.

    I blog about Bridget and our life together at http://www.bridgets-light.blogspot.com. Please visit when you have a chance!

    Congratulations!!

  218. I found your blog from a link on babycenter. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your beautiful story. It reminds us all about what love and life is all about. Your daughters are both beautiful and perfect just as they are.

  219. What an amazing and beautiful story. I cried so hard and feel deeply moved. Nella is truely your gift. What in inspriring story. You are lucky to have such a beautiful family and friends. Those pictures are to die for. You write very well and with such truth, this story should be published or perhaps one day you will write a book?
    Inspired, moved, touched!
    I don’t know you but I know you are blessed.

  220. My son with DS is 9 years old – he has an older sister and a younger brother. I re-lived my experience by reading yours – except you are way more photogenic than I! The thing I need most in life is laughter and God gave me that with my son — he is so darn funny. He is extra everything: extra chromosome, extra stubborn, extra loving, extra funny and, sometimes, extra annoying! Yes,life with DS has its challenges but it will enrich you in ways you never expected. Seems it already has. Enjoy.

  221. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter! I admire your honesty, and remember exactly how the emotions and thoughts you so poignantly describe felt.

    You see, my oldest child, Archie, has Down syndrome. He is my best work.

  222. I stumbled across your blog… and I am so glad that I did! What a beautiful birth story that was. You are an incredible person! I have a little boy, Justin, who is 21 months with Down syndrome. He is my angel here on earth. Congratulations!

  223. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know exactly where you have been and where you are headed. Our birth was a little more tramatic but we had the same feelings. To just run away. Now I look back and wonder what was I thinking. He is such a blessing. I can’t wait to watch her grow.

  224. Oh my word. This has to be the most beautiful blog post I’ve ever read. And the photos are just perfect, each and every one of them. I remember all those emotions too, though my came at the 20 week mark of my pregnancy when my first son was diagnosed with Ds.

    I can’t wait to follow your journey with your daughter. She will amaze you. It sounds like she already has. :)

  225. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. Nella IS perfect!

  226. Wow. What a beautiful story. I believe someone already said this, so I’ll echo that person’s comments – your story was almost exactly my story this past August. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with DS as well. It’s been an amazing blessing. What struck me, especially, was your sister telling you how lucky you are that you’ve been “chosen.” Truer words were never spoken.

  227. Congratulations on your precious Nella! She is lovely and your telling of her birthstory is heartwarming. It brought back alot of my own emotions from a year ago. My dear Quail will turn one next month. Our oldest was also 2 1/2 when she was born. The love that our children share is so beautiful. Feel free to come over and meet our family.

  228. Georgiadee says:

    wow… I am speechless. I have been so sad since my OB told us that our numbers indicate our baby has Downs. Your story is beautiful and I am now more determined than ever to welcome my baby home and feel happy and blessed with my baby.

    Nella IS beautiful and you are an inspiration-thank you for sharing your journey. God Bless you , your family and sweet baby Nella.

  229. i just found your blog from another fellow blogging friend, another mother of a sweet angel and I just loved your story! You have a great way with words that express so much of what I felt and feel. Bree is almost 3 and what you said about holding your baby and being complete…it is still true. Being a part of this experience is something I never knew I wanted to be a part of but now that I am, I am so glad I was chosen. I look forward to reading more of your journey.

  230. i too was once in your shoes…. my little one is going to be 4 in 2 weeks and she is the best thing that ever happened to our family….
    your Nella is beautiful. we are so lucky to have been blessed with a child with DS, aren’t we?

  231. She’s just gorgeous. Congratulations. I can already tell that you’re going to be a wonderful mother to Nella… you’re so lucky to have each other.

  232. My son w/Down syndrome was diagnosed at 3 or 4 days old (ha! I can’t remember!). He’s 4.5yo now. I heard of your story thanks to a retweet by @SHetherington. I loved what you wrote and LOVED THE DOCTOR, OMG. That’s too great. I have 2 little ones and no time to read the jillions of comments, just wanted to say “Hi!” and “Welcome to the club” and that those are the best.damn.photos to accompany a fabu birth story EVAH. Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve. Go Mama!

  233. The most beautiful birth story I have ever read. Congratulations!!! and God Bless your entire beautiful family.

  234. She’s gorgeous, just gorgeous! Thank you for writing such a beautiful and honest account of her birth. God has wonderful things in store for your little lady, and your family! Bless you all.

  235. Lexi Lago says:

    Kelle,
    Wow what a beautiful baby and her amazing birth story. The world has gotten such a wonderful new addition! Cant wait to see how she blossoms into a beautiful amazing girl. Until we meet…

  236. Oh my goodness. I am overwhelmed by the love you have for your beautiful, perfect girls. Nella’s story has touched my heart so much! Welcome to the amazing world of raising a child with Down syndrome. There is nothing so special, so incredible as the love you will have for this perfect little angel. Nella is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing her story with all of us!!

  237. This is absolutely beautiful. Nella IS perfect! I remember the day I thought a DS diagnosis would be the worst thing in the world. We’d had an abnormal u/s and were waiting for the results of our amnio. It wasn’t Downs. It was much worse. It was fatal. What we had once feared, we were begging for. But that’s not the journey God had for us. Thank you for sharing your story… you’ve given me hope as I prepare to deliver our daughter who will only be with us a very short time.

  238. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter; she is beautiful and perfect! How blessed you are to have such loving family, friends, and that pediatrician who knew exactly what to say.

    Your story brought back so many memories of my own daughter’s birth. Looking down at her face the moment she was born and just knowing, and I kept asking the midwife, “she has Down syndrome doesn’t she?” The first night being alone in the hospital room and just finally breaking down and crying and crying…feeling like I was looking down on someone else’s life, like this wasn’t my baby I was holding. Not sure I was bonding with her, just not knowing anything and going through the motions.

    Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully.

  239. What a beautiful baby. And she is perfect.

    You have a wonderful doctor.

    Thanks for sharing.

  240. Thank you for this – your birth story is absolutely inspirational.

  241. Anonymous says:

    such a beautiful story – we all need to remember how blessed we are, and what is truly important – family and friends :)

  242. Thank you for a beautiful portrayal of a beautiful moment.

    Kevin.

  243. What an amazing journey you are on! Thank you for having the strength to write this and share you and your family with everyone.

  244. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your daughter’s beautiful birth story. My second son was born just three days after Nella. Like her, he has Downs Syndrome – a diagnosis we only just received today. Reading your story has given me hope about the unknown road that lies ahead. Thank you!

  245. Anonymous says:

    I was just waiting for my tears to dry and “my heart is in a million pieces” in order to comment. I don’t have children so I have never had the experience of giving birth. Your story has helped me understand what that must be like to have this experience. These pictures are breathtaking! When you first see Nella my heart lept out of my chest. She is beautiful. This story touches me on so many levels. I know all of you will enjoy your journey.

  246. I am touched by your incredible honesty. Your story brought me to tears many times.

    I am not sure where you live, but “Dr. Foley” was one of my many OB’s during my second pregnancy. She is incredible.

    Thank you for your touching story.

  247. Holy amazingness! Your story is so real and precious. Your girls are beautiful and God did bless you abundantly. Thank you for sharing!

  248. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know you. A friend emailed me a link to your blog. I have never shared my story, but reading yours has made me want to share mine with you:
    My twin boys were born a little over 2 years ago. By 2 months old, I knew something was wrong with one of them. I tried telling my family, doctor, and husband, but no one believed me. I spent 16 months severely depressed because I was alone in my grief. I listened to people gush about how lucky I was to have twins. They would be best friends, share a secret language, and always have a playmate. I endured all of the advice about how to get my son to finally sleep or stop crying 20 hours/day, as if it was so easy.
    Finally, when he was 18-months-old, I had him evaluated by three separate agencies. All confirmed what I had already known- Autism. Finally, finally I could move on! I wasn’t alone in this struggle anymore. As everyone dealt with the news, I was able to take the next steps and figure out what this meant for him, his twin brother, and us as parents.
    My boys may never have a secret language, understand each other, or be best friends, but they are both so lucky to have each other in their lives. We have already learned so much from my son, and he has learned from us. We are all better people for loving each other.

  249. I am so deeply touched by your post. The words, the photos, the honesty, the beauty, the perfection. You are a gift and you have been given a gift. And it is PERFECT!
    I have had “When You Love Someone” playing in my car for an entire week, this past week we committed to adopting a baby girl with DS in Eastern Europe and that song is my song for her. I have a 2 year old son Joaquin, the light of our lives, with DS who has taught me more in 2 years than I could possibly teach him in a lifetime.
    Enjoy your new, brightly lit life. It will be richer and deeper than you have ever imagined.
    With love,
    Jen

  250. I dont know you or your family but i love you. Your story touches so deep. Your bunny is sooo adorable and precious. Your oldest will undoubtedly be the best big sister and love you even more then you could imagine. I hope you nothing but the best in life and your journeys ahead.. Congrats!

  251. Anonymous says:

    Wow–you managed to describe so perfectly the exquisite pain of that first day and night. I wish I could write about it–maybe it would help. My daughter with DS was born 15 months ago, but I didn’t have all the support from friends and family that you have. I’m so happy for you. And Congratulations on your beautiful girl!

  252. What an amazing story and she is just beautiful! You have 2 gorgeous girls :)

  253. Anonymous says:

    She is beautiful and perfect. I enjoyed your story; thank you for sharing. You have such a beautiful family.

  254. You put into words what so many of us have felt and feared. Thank you!

  255. So raw, so magical, so alive; your journey continues, in awareness and in love. Thank you for sharing! Wishing you continued closeness, growth and warmth.

  256. From one Kelle to another (I don’t see THAT everyday!)…thank you for touching me. Thank you for making my heart smile and my soul grow.
    Kelle in TX

  257. This was my first visit to your blog, and what a visit it was! Than you for sharing your story, your honesty and your heart. I am raising a special needs, autistic daughter who brings me more joy and challenge in the course of a day than anyone else could in a lifetime.
    This song really sums it up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQJaZO2nfGg
    congratulations on being changed for the better.

  258. Nella is so beautiful. You SHOULD feel blessed. Your story is amazing and very moving. I could read it over and over. Good luck mama!

  259. I know just how you feel.
    We were told when our son was 3 days old that they suspected DS and then my world fell apart. I thought. But it really did not. It sounds so cliche, but I promise, it is not bad at all!

    Vincent will be 4 in May and he is the funniest kid ever. I love him to bits and pieces.

    Best wishes,

    Christina
    Mom to Vincent (May 2006, DS), Edgar (Oct 2009)

  260. I am so happy I just read this. Amazing. Thank you for sharing. God bless you and your family- joy

  261. You are an amazing woman, and the perfect mother for Nella.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  262. You are beautiful – you soul, your family… this story made me cry and also fall in love with my daughter again and again! Thank You!
    I think you are perfect. Because you love and you are loved!

  263. Nella’s story has made it around the globe to Australia. So amazing, so beautiful and so much love.

    Wishing you all so much joy and a long wonderful life with your two amazing girls.

  264. I am so non-maternal it’s not funny, but I’m sitting here in Melbourne, Australia, with tears running down my cheeks. What a beautiful birth story. Your daughters are just gorgeous. There are no words to say what I want to say…

  265. Your story is so beautiful. God bless you and all your family, and thank you for sharing.

  266. Congratulations!! Your such a clever girl having two beautiful daughters like you have!
    I am another stranger who was lucky enough to be sent here, your story has brought back such vivid memories of my own, you know it’s taken me to many years to admitt those very same feelings. But what I really want to tell you is, you will do great honey! Nella will bring you such joy, more joy than you can ever imagine! Look at her sweet little face, she’s a peach!! You have such amazing family and friends who will support you all the way, and don’t worry about Lainey, she will always be that proud big sister and they will adore each other and play together just like in your dreams! :) xxx

  267. So amazing and beautiful. Your story is so precious – and the pictures – oh thank you for sharing your journey in pictures. I could just hug you and your little ones.

  268. Anonymous says:

    This is so beautiful and real with such raw emotion. I shared my daughter’s first night with her after finding out her daughter, Kiera, was microcephalic. We were told she may never walk or talk. We cried for hours and hours and still have moments when it is too tough to handle. But then there are moments when you just look at this beautiful child with a gorgeous smile and know she has a purpose in this world and she will touch people like no one else. God has blessed you tremendously. Enjoy!

  269. Anonymous says:

    You don’t know me, but I loved reading your story. I’m a nurse and have been present at meetings where the doctors have to tell the family that their baby has Down’s. This was such a great story to read from a parent’s perspective. As a nurse you know that very likely the family’s whose world has just been destroyed is going to get the point where they love that baby like no other, but it hurts to know how much pain there is going to be until that acceptance and love comes. Thank you for telling it honestly and with such great accompanying photos! Good luck to you and your beautiful family.

  270. Anonymous says:

    I love your story..it is LOVE!!! Love is not always easy but love is also the most powerful force on this earth!

    Thank you very much for sharing…

    The last photograph is absolutely enchanting!

  271. My friend shared your blog with me. And I am writing as the big sister of a little girl who has ds. Your girls will be best friends, and there will be a bond like no other. I love your story. It made me bawl. She is beautiful and what a blessing.

  272. “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” I am so inspired that you were courageous enough to tell your story. Brave enough to open up to the “world” and let your heart be on display. You have a gift for telling your story. I hope your family continues to be blessed beyond measure and you reach deep for love beyond words. God Bless you, your husband and your sweet girls.

  273. Congratulations on the birth of beautiful Nella. Enjoy every moment of the blessed journey that your family has just begun.

  274. You have an amazing story to tell! you ae a very strong and wonderful mother. I would love to read more about your story. I am a special education teacher and I wish my parents were as involved and eager as you are. Please consider writing a book!
    Thank you so much!!

  275. Motherhood is always surprising, no matter the details. Your story is wonderful, and Nella is gorgeous! Blessings to you as you walk this road together.

  276. Anonymous says:

    I found the link to your story on a message board. This beautiful story of your family is just amazing!! You have an awesome way with words that touch the heart. I truly felt the love reading your story. Congrats on your beautiful family!!

  277. Oh gosh… she’s a beauty! Her smiles are like precious jewels. What a wonderful big sister.

    You are SO lucky and I feel so honored that I got to read such real and honest feelings in your words. Surrounding you and yours with joyful peace as the path unfolds to you all.

    Blessings… Joyce

  278. I just found your blog thanks to a find linking to your daughters birth story. This is the most beautiful, raw, honest thing I have ever read. I was in tears by the end. No one has ever been this honest. My neice has special needs, she was born with Spina Bifida. They told us she would not live, she will be 5 next month, they also told us she would never walk, She took her first steps when she was 2 at physical therapy. B/c of her I am in graduate school for special education. I am very interested to see where your story goes. Thank you for sharing, I feel blessed to have read that.

    -Kelli

  279. Anonymous says:

    God has blessed you greatly. You have a special gift, and you know it. Thank you for sharing her.

  280. Anonymous says:

    WOW, this made me cry. My wife is in the last month of pregnancy with our second child. What a beautiful story! I wish you the best and will remember this story forever.

  281. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations! You are one of the lucky few to have been given one of God’s angels to love, cherish and learn from right here on earth. Your daughter will bless you and your family beyond your wildest dreams! She will teach you so much! We are so very happy for you! She is beautiful! Enjoy!

  282. I’m pregnant and due in a few short weeks. Of course reading your post brought tears but I am just so proud of you and of the beautiful way you told Nella’s story. You are an amazing person and beautiful mother. Nella and Lainey are blessed to have you and your husband and all your friends and family. The photos captured so much love and I wish you all the most wonderful journey full of blessings and light.

    God Bless.

  283. Kelle,
    I don’t know you but a friend of mine posted a link to this beautiful birth story on our mommies forum. My first thought was, “I love good birth stories”…however I had no idea the impact that reading your story would have on me. I’ve been struggling with post partum depression since I first got pregnant with my second daughter. however didn’t realize it until a few months after she was born. I’ve been struggling with so many emotions over the last year and have been afraid to talk about them. Thanks to your beautiful amazing story and your amazing little angels I’ve been inspired & moved. I now feel that its ok for me to share what I’ve been going through and how I’m feeling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me realize and reconfirm how precious my daughters are an how beautiful and precious life is. May god bless you and your amazing family and friends. and Thank you again. Enjoy your amazing new daughter. Nella is beautiful. :)

  284. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your story. I have a Nella, her name is Ella Grace. She is my world, and I love her so. I wept uncontrollably reading your blog, I’m not sure why, perhaps for the first time since Ella Grace’s birth nineteen months ago. Downs children are simply angels. They are the sweetest, kindest, most loving children and Ella has touched my soul in ways I will never know. I hope Nella will do the same for your family. It seems she already has.

    Congratulations. All my best to you, Brett, Lainey and Nella. May you all have a wonderful life.

  285. What a beautiful and truthful account of your beautiful daughter’s birth! I know she will be such a constant source of joy for you and your family! Good luck as you embark on your new journey together.

  286. Anonymous says:

    You don’t know me but thank you. From one mom who has had to learn to redefine perfection to another….she is beautiful and she is perfect. Enjoy!

  287. I came by via a dear friend of mine. My story is very similar to yours. Our precious Emily was born with Down syndrome and we had no clue until about four hours after her birth. Reading your story I found myself nodding and thinking “yes, I remember that”. Emily turns three in one month. I will tell you this; it only gets better as the days go by. She is the most wonderful gift I have ever been given and I thank God every single day that he choose us to receive such a beautiful child.

  288. Like many others who have posted I came across this blog by accident, just happenstance. I am so moved by your story. This was so touching to read and like others I have cried many tears to hear your beautiful, painfully honest, and deeply loving story.

    Thank you for sharing this, I will share it with others because we can learn so much about unconditional love from you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Congratulations!

  289. You are an amazing person. Honesty is often the hardest thing to show to others. Thank you for writing your story for all of us to share. Your sister was right…God chose you for a reason. He knows what an amazing person you are and that you will be the most incredible parents that Nella could have found. Keep smiling. :-)

  290. A beautifully written experience.

    We are a very lucky few. :)

  291. Anonymous says:

    Wow. What an amazing and inspirational story. I myself am pregnant and due in the end of March and have been told our son could possibly have down’s. Your story has brought me to tears that won’t stop. You have truely inspired me. Bless you and your beautiful family.

  292. I heard from a couple of different people that I needed to read this. It took me a little while to work up the strength to do so since reading your story is like reliving my own. So difficult and so joyful at the same time. Emotions that only mothers like us can completely comprehend. My amazingly perfect Lexi was born in July of 2004. She is now a gorgeous 5 year old and my huggable bundle of sunshine! Even as I read this every time that I started to tear up she climbed into my lap and held my face in her hands and smiled at me. Life will never be the same…but I have learned that I would never want it to be! Congratulations, she is indeed perfect.

  293. Someone forwarded your blog to me today and I’m so glad they did. What a beautiful, beautiful story and what an amazing journey you have begun. And how very fortunate you are to have such an amazing pediatrician and such loving and supportive friends and family. You and your sweet Nella are SO loved. All my best to you and your wonderful family.

  294. Everyone should be so lucky to get to have the love of a child who isn’t like all the other children. Your family is truly blessed with the addition of sweet Nella and I wish you many years of happiness!

  295. This is a most beautiful tribute for a most beautiful little girl. You will surely found that the DS “world” is a small one, but a close knit one. I know because I, too, am the proud Mama of a little gal with DS. She just turned three.

    In fact, reading this, I couldn’t help but cry. I had a different experience in many ways, but oh…not entirely. Georgia, seeing my tears, came over to me and patted my leg and then climbed into my lap and wrapped her arms tightly around my neck. I never knew a little over three years ago what that could possibly feel like. She is my first child and boy did she turn me on my head! (She now has a little brother who turns me on my head for other reasons!)

    Welcome to the world, Little Nella!

    And congratulations to your whole family!

  296. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face I cannot begin to tell you how moved I am by this story. I love how strong you are and how brave you to be so honest on how you felt. It so amazing how much someone you don’t even know can move your soul and that is exactly what you did with your amazing story of love! Congrats on your family and I hope that you continue to be as strong as you are.

  297. Good heavens. I’m a mess after reading that.

    Our second son was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18) at my 20 week ultrasound. Unlike DS, T18 is “not compatible with life”. We chose to carry him to term and he beat the odds and was born alive. We were blessed with a short time -much, MUCH too short- with him.

    That first night though… that first agonizing night. I’m not sure if I wanted morning to come at all. I wanted to die that night and not have to face the heavy, heavy grief that was ready to overtake me. But, for my husband and 2 year old, I did face it. It’s a journey.

    Thank you for your story.

  298. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all of what life is all about. You have two beautiful, perfect daughters.

  299. Perfect story!

    It mirrors my little guy, Carter’s story very much. He doesn’t have DS, but he does have a chromosomal disorder. I look forward to watching Nella grow :)

  300. As a birth doula and a mother of two with #3 on the way, your story melted my heart. My tears flowed freely. Not tears of sadness. It was as if I could FEEL your love through your story. Bless you and your family!

  301. Here via a link from a board on babycenter. Your writing is gorgeous and your story is so, so moving. I didn’t even stop to wipe the tears from my face, I had to keep reading.

    Congratulations. It’s wonderful to have two amazing, perfect daughters – I have them too. :)

  302. Anonymous says:

    Hi – congrats on the new baby and lovely blog and pictures. Not to spoil the surprise, but according to our own little one’s schedule, here is an idea of where you will be with Nella in about 14 months.

    You will love it if she would stop tipping over the trash cans and magazine holdder everyday in order to find more paper to eat. Rails will go up to keep her from plunging down the stairs as she may have a thing for heights. If she throws her bottle on the floor one more time you will think you might lose it. You will be eagerly waiting for her to be old enough for a spa day – even though that is still years away. You will catch the little kisses she blows and make a funny sound each time they land on your cheek. You will be busy picking out cute hand-me-downs from big sis to take on vacation. You will be thinking that she is so, so cute that her diagnosis, which mattered so much in the beginning, is really not an issue after all. You will wonder what you would do without her – because she will someday be the fourth to your golf foursome. You will wonder how old she has to be for your family to apply for the family version of the Amazing Race (the tv show…) You will realize that you were right in your supposition that your life will be different from what you expected with your newest addition, but different does not mean worse, and in most cases it means much better. You will pull yourself away from the blog world to get back to work. Again, congrats!

  303. Thank you for sharing your beautifully honest story. What a beautiful girl you are blessed with. Congratulations

  304. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful! Thank-you for sharing your story with such honesty. What a blessing that beautiful little girl is!

  305. Oh my! What an amazing story and it really made me cry really hard at work. You are truly brave and I wish you and your family the best!!!! Congrats on two beautiful daughters :)

  306. Anonymous says:

    Normally, while my two children nap, I sleep too. Today, my best friend sent me a link to your blog and told me I had to read it. I am so glad that I did. What a beautiful story teller you are and how lucky your girls are to have a mama like you! The part that brought me to tears was when Lainey came to visit and her sweet, proud smile. I remember that same look on my daughter’s face when she met her brother, and I remember wondering how I would ever love someone as much as I loved that little girl. And, somehow, I did. Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t wait to hear more. Kiss those girls from a stranger in Michigan!

  307. I always wondered what it would have been like if I had chronicled all of the emotions of my daughter’s birth and learning of her diagnosis. While painful, it was the beginning of a journey. You are very fortunate to have such loving friends and family…in addition to your two wonderfully beautiful girls. I wish you all the best and I envy your freedom.

  308. What a sweet, sweet little bunny you have! I’m so proud of you for taking time to write that down- pouring your whole heart into it- and leaving out nothing. You’ll never regret it. On May 1, 2008, we had a surprise with the birth of our son, Seth. I knew the minute I saw him, before anyone else did, that he had DS. I felt everything you felt and cried all over again in reading your account. I echo what so many have commented to you- you are so very blessed to have sweet Nella in your life. She was chosen for you and for Brett and for Lainey. I’m excited to see her grow up…..here’s a snapshot of our little guy at his first birthday. I could talk to you for HOURS about how much we’ve enjoyed him, but it’s all in the blog. Enjoy your precious girls!

    http://skaggsportal.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/seths-birthday.html

    All the best- Emily

  309. Your story touched me…… That is my fear… to have a baby with DS but I feel I would have the strength as well to get through it just as you did…. I am due March 4th 2010 but thankfully she doesn’t have down syndrome…… God bless you for your courage and your hope and your love for her and the love of others around you….. GOD BLESS YOU AND NELLA ( what a BEAUTIFUL name)

  310. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on the birth of a beautiful little girl! She is truly lucky to have you as her mother :) your story is very touching, i cried while reading it. May God bless you and your family!!!

  311. Anonymous says:

    I sat at my computer and cried and cried when I read this. Your story is absolutely beautiful. Your daughter is so lucky to have you as her mother. Congratulations to you and your family!

    Michelle

  312. This is just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing, I started crying with the very first words of your post and with that last picture just have the biggest smile.
    Congrats!

  313. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. You are such a beautiful person who is mother to two of the most beautiful children I have laid eyes on. I have never met you, but I love you and my prayers are with you and yours.

  314. I just got a link to your blog today. What a beautiful story. Thank you! You have a perfect, beautiful family. What an amazing woman you are and what an amazing husband you have! You have two beautiful daughters! Congratulations! May God bless you in your journey through life! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  315. The photos are absolutely stunning! Congrats on the birth of your little beauty, that was an amazing story, I am totally inspired (and in tears).

  316. Wow. What a beautiful story and even more beautiful story. I wish you and your family as much joy as we have had from our Luke.

  317. That was an amazing story…It touched my heart, I cried with you as I read your story! Thank you for sharing!

  318. Wow what a beautiful story! You are amazing and your family is beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I shed tears when you wrote about your daughter coming in and showing you unconditional love, that was powerful!

  319. Wow.. this is just beautiful. Nella is beautiful and so is Lainey. What an amazing story. Congratulations on your lovely daughters.

  320. attached2mykids@yahoo.com says:

    Oh, my word. I have not cried at a birth story harder than I have at yours. What beautiful words! God bless you and your wonderful family!

  321. Thank you for sharing your “story”…I cried my way through your entire, beautiful post. I felt like I relived my entire birth moment with my son Colin because I could FEEL your words. As I sit here and type this, I have this chill that runs up and down my spine because I KNOW, I UNDERSTAND your words…

    …Your daughter is so absolutely beautiful…

    Someone stopped me today that I have never met and told me that Colin was special like her Johnny. She said…”you know, special babies are born to very special people” and touched my face and moved on. She “touched” me today in more ways the one, just like your words have also touched me today. I feel it…

    …I look forward to following your story…

    I’m on a very similar journey and share it at http://loveforcolin.blogspot.com.

  322. Thank you for sharing your “story”…I cried my way through your entire, beautiful post. I felt like I relived my entire birth moment with my son Colin because I could FEEL your words. As I sit here and type this, I have this chill that runs up and down my spine because I KNOW, I UNDERSTAND your words…

    …Your daughter is so absolutely beautiful…

    Someone stopped me today that I have never met and told me that Colin was special like her Johnny. She said…”you know, special babies are born to very special people” and touched my face and moved on. She “touched” me today in more ways the one, just like your words have also touched me today. I feel it…

    …I look forward to following your story…

    I’m on a very similar journey and share it at http://loveforcolin.blogspot.com.

  323. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on the birth of your perfect baby girl. I have never felt so moved and inspired, and wish nothing but the best for you and your beautiful family. You are an amazing mother.

  324. Beautiful
    Thank you
    You have two amazingly sweet babies!

  325. Anonymous says:

    Your story is amazing. Your girls are beautiful and what a beautiful Mama they have.
    I’ll go wipe my eyes now.
    Congratulations!

  326. I’ve never read a blog that had this much emotion. You have the most amazing story and Nella is absolutely beautiful! Congratulations to you and your family!!! I wish all of you nothing but the best!

  327. Anonymous says:

    You’re the reason why I know that there is a God. You’re honest, pure, sweet, kind, and you’re a wonderful mother! May God bless you! Your life will be great!

  328. Beautiful story, thanks for sharing.

    Welcome to the world Nella you are amazingly beautiful. We look forward to seeing you grow.

  329. I’ve never seen so many comments on a blog post before! Wow what an amazing and beautiful story! And you’re right, I do want to leave a comment, even though you have hundreds of them and may never see this one or know it’s here. But in case you get to this one comment…I just want to put in writing what you probably already know…that all of us out here in blog-land love your little bunny. oh her sweet and lovely little face just took my breath away! Those last few photos….ahhhwwww-sweetness!

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  331. This comment has been removed by the author.

  332. You don’t know me, but I found this link from BabyCenter.com. What a beautifully sweet story! You are truly lucky to be the mom of a Down Syndrome baby. I had the privilege of growing up with two kids with DS. They are the sweetest, most loving children you can ever meet – the closest things to angels we get here on Earth.

    I had an interesting sensation in reading your post. I realized that I am fully prepared to hear the words “Your baby has Down Syndrome.” I had always believed that my sister would have a DS baby. Sadly, she passed away without being able to have children. If the Good Lord chooses to send me a DS child on her behalf, I will feel completely privileged. So at this point, I’m actually jealous of you. :)

    All my love to your beautiful little Nella.

  333. Hi Kelle,
    Thank you so much for writing this. I am really crying after reading it as it very closely relates to my story. The part that is so different for me is that I did not adjust nearly as quickly as you. You are a strong woman!

    I have 2 boys – my older is 3 and the younger, Nate, is 13 months and has Down syndrome. I adore them both!

    Welcome to this very exclusive club! You will meet some amazing people and will grow in ways you never expected.

    If you’re interested, my blog is: http://www.foreverbetter.blogspot.com

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Danielle

  334. I just lost my dear, sweet dad two days after Christmas. I am also carrying our first child, a baby girl.

    I have been so overwhelmed with grief that I have barely noticed her kicks, the ultrasound photo’s I used to be excited about or progress since he passed away.

    Although I still have a long way to go before I am able to live without my daddy, I know I am heading in the right direction.

    Thank you for inspiring the healing to begin.
    What a beautiful beginning.

    Love, Christene

  335. She is breathtaking! Congrats!!!!

  336. Thank you for sharing your story. You have warmed my heart. My (now) 3 year old has Down Syndrome also and he is the best blessing in my life.

  337. Beautiful inspiring!

  338. Today is my daughter’s birthday. Three years ago was the worst day of my life. Those who are in Italy don’t understand, but for us who’ve landed in Holland (http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html), we can identifiy with the loss of a dream.

    Thank you for your honesty and bravery by sharing this story….it’s just what I needed today.

    Here’s to Windmills :)

    Jen :)

  339. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. Congratulations on the birth of your gorgeous daughter!

  340. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. Congratulations on the birth of your gorgeous daughter!

  341. I truly loved reading this and honestly it was like an answer to a prayer for me at this time. My sweet girl Macy (with DS) was born a bit over 2 years ago, and tomorrow I will deliver her little sister. As I prepare to welcome MY second girl, many of the difficult memories of her birth have come flooding back. Your story was mine in so many ways.

    I know that you will be just fine, no WAY better than fine. The love that you have is so strong already and will continue to grow and grow as your sweet baby does and shows you more each day who she is.

    Thank you for being brave to share your Nella. It has been passed to so many and really opened a lot of hearts, especially those who fear having a child like ours. You are already a voice to many! A club that rarely anyone wants to join but if you happen to do so, find that it is a great place to be.

    I hope you don’t mind if I continue to share your story to my own friends and family!

  342. What a beautiful family. Thankyou for sharing your story.

  343. She is beautiful. They are beautiful. And so is your story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  344. She IS beautiful and perfect! My daughter has Down syndrome too and you are so blessed, your life will never be the same in the most wonderful way. Thank you for sharing and congratulations.

  345. You are an incredibly wonderful mother. Your girls are beautiful. This story made me cry tears of joy. there is nothing like a mother’s love… and nothing like the love of your baby to make you realize what really matters in life. May God bless you all! you will be in my prayers!

  346. That was so amazing to read. Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing! My fourth baby is named Lainey, your daughter is the only one I’ve ever heard of :)

  347. That was so amazing to read. Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing! My fourth baby is named Lainey, your daughter is the only one I’ve ever heard of :)

  348. I would very much like to know you. Please visit my blog. Send me an email. I think we would have a lot to talk about:

    downwithoz.blogspot.com

  349. Your story is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this with the world! Nella is beautiful! She is so blessed to have a mother like you! I love how honest and raw this was! My eyes were filled with tears! Thank you again! God Bless you all!!

  350. Anonymous says:

    I’m yet another stranger, incredibly blessed by your beautiful story. Thank you so much for taking the time to give this gift of your love, and your hope. I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant and your story touched me deeply. Like so many expectant mothers I’ve struggled to fend off worries and fears for my baby and for our future life together. Your story inspired me to love – deep, desperate love for my unborn child. And tonight I cannot wait to meet our little one … just as he or she is. Thank you.

  351. Hi, You don’t know me, I found a link to your story.
    Thank You immeasuarably for sharing your journey.
    I cried and dried, cried and dried, sobbed, and smiled throughout your retelling. It is perfectly raw account many wouldn’t dare express, the first moments of grief or loss or nothingness before you come to terms with your precious perfect treasured cargo – and love her you do!
    Even the way you treasure your pregnancy is something special I only dream about having as time goes on (5.5 months now)

    Thank You sincerely.
    Today I grew

  352. Anonymous says:

    She is so beautiful, you are one lucky momma!! both your girls are just so precious! I am sure you have read this before but this (taken from a down syndrome site) has helped me many times over the years….
    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s 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 landed 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 guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and 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, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

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

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

  353. Anonymous says:

    She is so beautiful, you are one lucky momma!! both your girls are just so precious! I am sure you have read this before but this (taken from a down syndrome site) has helped me many times over the years….
    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s 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 landed 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 guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and 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, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

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

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

  354. WOW. I cried while reading that amazing-raw-honest-beautiful story. We don’t choose our children they are chosen for us. The photography is awesome. what great memories and the way that your friend captured the moment is breathtaking.

  355. Thisis the most beautiful post I have ever read. I have been crying (ok really sobbing) more than half way through…my family wants tok now what is wrong ha ha.
    You have 2 beautiful little girls and they will have such a special bond as they grow older.
    Your little one is a doll and you are all so blessed to have one another.

  356. Beautiful!!!!!!

  357. Anonymous says:

    this is one of the most beautiful things i’ve ever read.

  358. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on your beautiful family and thank you for this amazing story that brought tears to my eyes.

  359. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your daughters are beautiful!

  360. You don’t know me, I don’t know you…but your story touched my heart and soul. I sit here crying tears of joy for you and your family. Congratulations on your precious miracle and your beautiful perfect family. God bless!

  361. Anonymous says:

    Your story is probably the most raw, honest, and beautiful stories I have ever had the priviledge to read. Both of your daughters are perfect and beautiful. Thank you more than you’ll ever know for sharing your story. You are an amazing woman.

  362. Anonymous says:

    You, your daughters, your friends & family, your story…it is all beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  363. My sister just emailed me a link to your blog and prepped me to grab a tissue. But oddly I didn’t cry, I smiled. I smiled while reading the entire post because I felt there was something wonderful happening, and there was. Your baby bunny is absolutely beautiful and perfect in every way! As a nursery RN and IBCLC I’ve had the privilege of working with many moms who have stories similar to yours. Please know that you are in my prayers. God has entrusted you with an angel. If you ever need to talk I’m just a click away.
    God’s blessings today and always,
    Sarah :)

  364. What a wonderful story, I am touched! I, too, am a mommy to two girls (2 and 9 months). Congratulations on your sweet Nella’s birth and may your heart continue to grow with love for that precious baby. You, and your daughters, are beautiful. Enjoy this special new time as a family of four!!!

  365. Reading your story ripped open an old wound, one still freshly healed. My “Bear” (Barrett) is 14 months old and is the most beautiful and precious gift I’ve ever been given. You are right to say there are still a lot of tears to come but there is joy unbounded…love and joy I never knew I could feel. I grieve in stages for the child that could have been, but I rejoice daily for the child that is. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and your honest experience.

  366. Thank you so much for sharing this…such a beautifully written memory. Congratulations on you beautiful, sweet little Nella. You’ve made me fall in love with her too.

  367. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on your sweet little girl! You have a gorgeous family, and what luck that four souls found each other perfectly in this world. I wish you a lifetime of only good things.

  368. Anonymous says:

    You took me back, back to the day we welcomed our “bunny”. The fear, the desperation, the redemption. My god, it was like you lived in me and wrote my very experience. I thank you thank you thank you for putting into words what I never could. For reminding me where we started and seeing where we are now, for your honesty and true love for your daughters. God bless you and your babies. The best days are yet to come, honest.

  369. A friend posted the link to your blog and this was my reply:

    I am a freaking MESS. What a beautiful, heartbreaking, life-affirming, PERFECT beginning.

    Your friend’s friend has many gifts, Mandy. Nella, of course. But oh, her ability to share her deepest heart this way, to wrap her own heart and words around me and wring me, a stranger, into tears. Wow.

    And that photo? Of a smiling bunny? I want to frame it and hang it in my own home, own life, own heart. She is Heaven, smiling.

  370. I honestly think that is the most beautiful post I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  371. This comment has been removed by the author.

  372. Oh. My. Goodness.

    I honestly can say that I have not cried that hard about a birth story other than my own. It is so eerily similar to my second son’s birth that I just still cannot stop crying. I am due w/my third son in seven weeks, and all these emotions and memories are just still amazingly fresh.

    Wow. Just wow.

    From one blessed mama to another.

    :)

  373. What a beautiful story and a beautiful family. Thank you for your honesty and courage to share. Congratulations! Both of your girls are so perfect, so loved, and so lucky to have such a wonderful mother with such a lovingly unconditional heart.

  374. Someone passed this post on.I’m thankful they did.

    Welcome to the club! The club no one asks to be in, but once you’re in, you can’t live without.

    Keep writing your beautiful story.
    Nella is a gem!

  375. Amazing story. I have felt everything you did when my daughter was Dx’d with a neurological condition that makes her blind among other things. Keep your chin up, Mama. I can’t promise it will be easy, but it will always be rewarding.

    I have a couple of stories that got me through my rocky parts. If you’re interested, look up “The Special Mother” by Erma Bombeck and ‘Welcome to Holland.”

    Enjoy that little girl!

  376. What a beautiful, true, and honest story. Blessings to you, your family, and your beautiful Nella.

    ~Em~

  377. Kelle, that’s the most beautifully-written birth story I’ve ever read. And though we had a prenatal diagnosis with our sweet Micah (25mos old tomorrow), I remember those days in bold color.

    Micah has a big brother, who was a bit over 2 years old when Micah was born. I had miscarried twins in between them and then endured a long 11 months before we conceived Micah. For many reasons, I know that he, specifically, is the child God wanted in our family.

    Micah is also a big brother to another boy (surprise!) who turned one yesterday. So Micah is sort of like the inside of a sandwich that someone else made for you. It’s much yummier than the sandwich you were planning on making. Doesn’t a sandwich always taste better when someone else makes it? :-)

    Anyway… I grieved the loss of all the plans I made in my mind about our family. And it took time for me to see how much of my desires were based on our society’s views of perfection.

    Micah lights up a room. You can’t help but be drawn to his infectious smile. I wish I had known about that part of him a long time ago. But then, it wouldn’t have been the same journey, would it?

    Nella is absolutely beautiful. I look forward to reading more of your journey.

  378. Anonymous says:

    Such a wonderful memoir you have written. I loved reading it. You put into words so beautifully how I felt when my son was diagnosed with Autism. God bless you and your family. You’re precious daughters are so blessed to have you as their mother!

  379. What a truely amazing story. You are amazing. Your daughters are amazing…..Thank you for sharing your story.

  380. This is truly the most beautiful birth story I have ever read. It defines motherhood. It defines love. It defines family.

    You persevered through the self… to the real love. Congratulations.
    On that successs. And on the beautiful daughter that you truly were chosen to raise.

    It’s obvious why.

  381. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on the birth of your darling little girl! I am a fourth grade teacher in a small school in Indiana. I have had one student with Down syndrome in my classroom. Believe me, he taught me and my class so much…how to accept; how to love unconditionally; how to enjoy life just for the pure sake of enjoying it. We have a group called DSANI (Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana). Each October, we walk on the first Saturday to raise funds for research, etc. It is the most uplifting experience for me and my students. They see that people with Down syndrome are people first and people with Down syndrome second. My little guy’s mom came in and spoke to our grade level about how much more alike he is to them than different. This spoke volumes. Just remember, you were chosen for this gift…that makes you pretty special indeed!

  382. Anonymous says:

    Your story is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I read it with tears streaming down my face.

    Stacy
    Salem, OR

  383. This is the most amazingly beautiful, honest, brave, wonderful birth story I’ve ever read.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, her story and the amazingly beautiful pictures.

  384. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is one of the most horrifying things I have ever read? Here I was thinking…oh no, oh no, she’s lost her child. Her child died during labor or shortly thereafter. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that it was Down Syndrome. Not death. Not life threatening. Not a death sentence…

    This is a slap in the face to those of us who have walked the road of pregnancy and FULL TERM STILLBIRTH. When we thought we would be taking our children home with us, we left without them.

    I am just completely flabbergasted that you would build up the beginning of the post, I really thought your child had died.

    And now, you have her home with you. What grief is worse than the death of a child?

    I’m sorry she’s not what you expected and you probably are grieving the loss of expectations.

    Seriously, though, this was such a slap in the face to those of us who walk the road of infant death.

    I’m truly disgusted.

  385. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is one of the most horrifying things I have ever read? Here I was thinking…oh no, oh no, she’s lost her child. Her child died during labor or shortly thereafter. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that it was Down Syndrome. Not death. Not life threatening. Not a death sentence…

    This is a slap in the face to those of us who have walked the road of pregnancy and FULL TERM STILLBIRTH. When we thought we would be taking our children home with us, we left without them.

    I am just completely flabbergasted that you would build up the beginning of the post, I really thought your child had died.

    And now, you have her home with you. What grief is worse than the death of a child?

    I’m sorry she’s not what you expected and you probably are grieving the loss of expectations.

    Seriously, though, this was such a slap in the face to those of us who walk the road of infant death.

    I’m truly disgusted.

  386. Your daughters are beautiful and so are you. Thank you so much for sharing.

  387. I was so touched by your story. That was my story last April. I am so thankful that your were brave enough to share this! It helps to know that we are not alone. I thought your story was beautiful. I can truly empathize with you. I feel nothing but joy now. Thank you again for sharing!

  388. To the anonymous person who wrote the HORRIBLE message a few post up: you are a sick and horrible person for writing what you wrote and you obviously have ZERO sympathy in your heart for other people. You disgust me!

    To Kelle,
    I think you are wonderful for being so honest. Your post brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you for talking about this. I work in special education and my special needs students bring me great joy and I know that Nella will forever bring happiness to your home!

  389. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this. You are truly a lucky and blessed woman. Your daughter Nella is so beautiful. I am just bawling right now.

  390. What amazing and beautiful honesty. Your courage has moved and inspired so many.

  391. What an amazing birth story. Your daughters are so beautiful.

  392. This was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  393. I found your post from a friend. I needed your story tonight. Thank you so much for sharing. You have two beautiful daughters.

  394. Anonymous says:

    You are AMAZING with your honesty and rawness and your GIRLS are BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations on your new addition!

  395. Your words are beautiful, as are those photos, but especially your family!

    Much love to you all.

    x

  396. I don’t know you and I’ve never even been to your blog before, but I came here tonight after seeing a link on Twitter. I sobbed my way through this story and just had to thank you for telling it. It is brave and wonderful and beautiful and true. Congratulations on your beautiful girls and your new journey!

  397. Anonymous says:

    I think you are one of the most beautiful, amazing, and graceful women if ever be blessed to know of. You were chosen to take on this challenge because you are so strong. This post has been more of an inspiration to me that you can ever possibly know.

    Many prayers and blessing to you and your perfect family for years and years to come.

  398. “Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me.”

    Your whole birth story moved me to tears but those words I quoted above are what really stood out. What a blessing this little one will be to you and your family and what a lucky girl she is to have you for her mama!

    You have such a way with words, thank you so much for sharing such a sacred experience with the many hearts you’ve touched.

  399. “Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me.”

    Your whole birth story moved me to tears but those words I quoted above are what really stood out. What a blessing this little one will be to you and your family and what a lucky girl she is to have you for her mama!

    You have such a way with words, thank you so much for sharing such a sacred experience with the many hearts you’ve touched.

  400. Thank God for people like you Kelle. Nella is so beautiful and this story of her birth is still making me cry. I have never felt such an amazing feeling before. It is the sheer love of God, and that is exactly what you have in your life… His love. I hope you feel that always! Thank you for having this open to share with everyone! May your life always be filled with sun and joy.
    Much love,
    Brandi Pitts

  401. Anonymous says:

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    Donal Miller and my pastor are friends so he comes to our church in Hollywood a lot. All the girls love him.

    And I love you and your girls and the old friend who passed your beautiful story to me. My son Gideon was born Dec 15, and when I read it as I held him, I cried and cried.

    There are no accidents. This is happening FOR you , not to you (I know you know that now).

  402. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the way you felt is the way my mom felt when she gave birth to my sister? Thank you for your words. I am the big sister like Lainey is, to two amazing sisters who show me everyday what strength is. It will be ok Thank you for sharing your words…so real,raw and beautiful.

  403. The anonymous poster who ridiculed Kelle is a dispicable person! How could you say such a horrible thing? The shock of having this new special baby may not be the same grief as losing a child, but it is still grief worthy. How shameful of this person! No wonder that person posted anonymously. Kelle, you are wonderful, and how you told your story was just perfect! Having such a publicized story will have some backlash! And that is why I am so proud of your bravery!

  404. I cried all the way through this! Sad tears, happy tears, lots of tears. Nella is a beautiful gift. She’ll teach you to see life in an entirely new way. Your pictures are beautiful! I love the portrait of the two of you smiling! I saved it so I can look at it whenever I want. I wish you and your family a long, happy, healthy life together!

  405. Anonymous says:

    wow beautiful story! Beautiful family. Loved all the pics and how they went with the blog! You are blessed!!!

  406. Anonymous says:

    Your daughter is the most beautiful baby girl I have EVER seen! I wish I could just squeeze her she is SO cute!!

  407. love your baby’s story. srsly, thank you for sharing. you are beautiful…nella is beautiful.

    thank you for sharing her perfect beauty with us.

  408. oh, what a beautiful story. i cried reading it. congrats on you sweet baby girl. thanks for sharing your story.

  409. oh, she is gorgeous.

    both of your precious, perfect, little girls are!!

    when i read that part about “if you could hold her” i’d understand….i can SEE that in your beautiful pictures. i can see how you could snuggle that sweet baby girl all day long and fall in love. she is precious.

    thank you so much for sharing this.

  410. Anonymous says:

    God bless you all. Thank you, I am so inspired by you.

  411. First of all, a selfish comment: THANK YOU. Just, thank you. I envy the inner and outer beauty of a person like you, and I strive to meet the standards. Looking at the simply amazing photos, my heart MELTED a million times over! I could go on forever with praise and thanks. Congratulations on everything. Your story and words prove you are more than deserving of such divine happiness!! And your girls, OH your beautiful, precious, amazing girls . . . perfect in every way. Take care and enjoy!

  412. I have never in my life read anything to bring me to so many hard tears. Bless you in your honesty and pure emotions. Thank you for your strength to write this. Although I am not a Mother, I think I understand the anticipation or crescendo of pregnancy leading to the birth. We have 9 months of planning, dreaming and admiring the person that will be born of our form and flesh. When the dream becomes reatlity and reality is so different than the dream…it is hard. In any life situation the dream to reality it is hard. But YOU obviously have the strength and love your little girl needs from you. You will carry on watching out for her and loving her in the way she needs to be loved. I wish you great patience and love. Congratulations on your new little love.

  413. Wow! What an amazing story, start to finish. Beautiful story, beautifully written and photographed. I don’t remember the last time I read something so heartfelt and purely honest. Your girls are gorgeous and perfect. Enjoy, and thank you for sharing such a deeply emotional and personal experience.

  414. Really , really an amazing story! She is absolutey precious and so lucky to have been placed in your hands by God. I bet she knows she has a special place to fill :) You can see it in her eyes…she has alot to teach people. Totally and completely! God Bless you all!

  415. to the person grieving a miscarriage, sometimes that kind of pain clouds our thinking and makes us say and do things outside the pale. I will grant you the courtesy of believing your cruelty stems from that pain. BUT, you have a choice to read here or not to, and you obviously made that choice. Now you have a choice to step outside your own loss and recognize someone elses. Just because you dont know this pain doesnt mean it is not incredibly vibrantly real to those of us who’ve lived it. In fact, Kelle’s story was SO real for so many of us that a week later the comments continue to pour in from people who HAVE been there and do know it. By the way, her post is not whining or crying or depressing, it is celebrating the journey she is on. Im sure you can respect that getting a DS diagnosis is not easy. Again, my condolences for your loss. Because people like you have posted their experiences and I have read them in the past, I know that this loss for you was “not just a pregnancy” but the loss of the baby you imagined for 9 months, the loss of a dream, and the loss of something both tangible and intangible. I would hope you would find it in your hurting heart to recognize that for kelle.

  416. Oh my goodness, I am lost for words. What an utterly amazing birth story. And those photos of your beautiful girls. You are an amazing woman!

  417. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your story. This is just what I needed today. <3

  418. I stumbled upon your story this morning, and find myself typing to you with tears streaming down my face. You are a beautiful woman with a gorgeous, perfect family; and your sweet little bunny is so lucky to have you.

    When my older, very disabled sister (blind, cerebral palsy) was born my mother felt the very same way you did. A good friend gave her an article written about how she was ‘chosen’ to raise that special baby, and to cherish that responsibility. My mother embraced the challenge, as you are, and that baby is now a 31 year old with a job, an apartment, and a dog. She is living the dream, and no doubt little Nella will too. . .cheers to you and your family.

  419. Thank you for sharing your daughter’s beautiful story. You and your family are blessed!

  420. Your story is beautiful. I just can’t express enough how wonderful you wrote those words. I know God is honored to have given you such a special gift. What a wonderful mother you are. She is so beautiful. What a lucky little girl!

  421. Anonymous says:

    I am in your older daughter’s shoes… and have been since I was 5. My precious little brother has down’s syndrome, and he has a piece of my heart forever.
    Our lives together have been different than other brothers and sisters… I have been his protector, and I have been able to understand him and his needs better than even my parents at times.
    Yes, your daughters’ sisterly relationship will be different.. but it will be deeper, more meaningful, more wonderful than you can imagine.
    My little brother, Aaron, has taught me more than I could ever teach him.

  422. Wow, thank you for your honesty. And thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your family. This impacted me in a way words cannot convey. May God continue to bless your family! Congratulations. :o)

  423. This is a beautiful and well written story. I love your bravery at sharing your true, true feelings. I lost my son to a fatal birth defect – I remember praying for the gift of Down Syndrome – just so I’d be given the chance to keep him. I too, remember being taught unconditional love through the eyes of my other children – it was as if Jesus was in the room with us. Beautiful story and thank you for sharing.

  424. A friend sent me the link to your blog. I just spent the morning reading about your new life with your girls. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I wish you and your family all of the happiness you could ever imagine.

  425. Wow. Just wow. No words will ever do this post justice. What a beautiful woman you are, and what amazing daughters you have.
    Wow.

  426. I have heard that ds children are the most innocent and loving children of all. You are truly blessed! Congratulations:)

  427. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing story. Congratulations on your beautiful family.

  428. My daughter sent me a link to your blog and told me to hold on, I’d need some kleenex. She wasn’t kidding. You’ve documented your story beautifully and honestly, and I’ve got a pile of kleenex next to me. My heart goes out to you, I cannot imagine anyone handling this so graciously, and I know you worry you didn’t. But you did and I’m confident you will continue to. Sending you lots and lots of love,
    Kathy

  429. My daughter sent me a link to your blog and told me to hold on, I’d need some kleenex. She wasn’t kidding. You’ve documented your story beautifully and honestly, and I’ve got a pile of kleenex next to me. My heart goes out to you, I cannot imagine anyone handling this so graciously, and I know you worry you didn’t. But you did and I’m confident you will continue to. Sending you lots and lots of love,
    Kathy

  430. My daughter sent me a link to your blog and told me to hold on, I’d need some kleenex. She wasn’t kidding. You’ve documented your story beautifully and honestly, and I’ve got a pile of kleenex next to me. My heart goes out to you, I cannot imagine anyone handling this so graciously, and I know you worry you didn’t. But you did and I’m confident you will continue to. Sending you lots and lots of love,
    Kathy

  431. My daughter sent me a link to your blog and told me to hold on, I’d need some kleenex. She wasn’t kidding. You’ve documented your story beautifully and honestly, and I’ve got a pile of kleenex next to me. My heart goes out to you, I cannot imagine anyone handling this so graciously, and I know you worry you didn’t. But you did and I’m confident you will continue to. Sending you lots and lots of love,
    Kathy

  432. I know you know this now,but I just have to tell you myself. Nella does not look funny. She is perfect. She is absolutely beautiful. And not in the way that all babies are beautiful, that all people are beautiful. She is really, truly a breath-taking beauty. Honest.

  433. Hi Kelle,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I love the pictures. I found your blog through a suggestion made on Reeces Rainbow yahoo group (down syndrome adoption ministry). These children are perfect and many of us there have adopted chidren who have DS and many advocate for them because we have been touched by their wonderful spirit. God Bless a big hug!

  434. Anonymous says:

    Your story is so inspiring and it really touched me. Congratulations on having two *beautiful* girls. You’re an amazing woman.

  435. Anonymous says:

    I am so moved by Nella’s birth story. This is the most beautiful, inspirational, emotional thing I have ever read. May God bless you and Nella. You are very lucky.

  436. So beautiful. As someone who went through the same emotions 5 1/2 years ago, it once again validated my feelings at the time. I too thought about just running away from it all. I just treasure the picture of you with everyone toasting. I remember having that same feeling as the look on your face. That look of shock and trying to look like all is perfect while everything else goes on. You have come to terms much more quickly then I did but somehow, while some take longer then others, our perfect children show us the way.

  437. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your birth story. Both of your daughters are beautiful and perfect.
    Ps. You look so pretty even after giving birth =)
    What a beautiful family!

  438. Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! I love your honesty. I admire your strength.
    You have a gorgeous, perfect family!

  439. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful! Thank you sharing this. I felt like I was reading my story, only I could have never said it so well.

  440. I’m sure, 440something comments later, you won’t actually read this. And that’s okay. But I just had my sweet angel with Ds on December 29th (your birthday, apparently!). We knew about the Ds beforehand. He also had to have surgery the day after he was born, and we knew that was coming too. In the month that we spent in the NICU, my husband and I often talked about what it would have been like if we didn’t know about the Ds before our son’s birth. How we would have coped if all these things were thrown at us as a surprise. You painted a beautiful picture of what it would have been like if we didn’t know. We don’t know each other, and in fact this is the first time I’ve ever visited your blog, but I feel happy that we’re both going on this journey at the exact same time.
    Your daughter is beautiful. Congratulations, mama! :)

  441. Your story is wonderfully well written, and full of so much raw emotion – so moving! Thank you much for sharing. I have tears of pain and joy streaming down my own cheeks as I respond here….

    Congratulations on your beautiful little girl!

    She is a blessing and as she grows you will continue to recognize all the simple beautiful moments of motherhood that our precious babies present to us.

    Nella will be a challenge, of that I have no doubt, but with those challenges you and she will both find pride like you have never experienced before. The simple little accomplishments will be even more of a celebration.

    As the artist you are (both your writing and appreciation for photography in this post show me that you are) you are probably used to looking at the world in different perspectives – striving to see things in a fresh new way, grasping what your senses present to you. This will not change, it will be no different with your little Nella and the observations will bring a smile to your face.

    Thank you again for sharing your story, and best wishes on the amazing journey you and your family are traveling!

  442. I also wanted to add that there’s a most definite grieving process when you find out your baby isn’t going to be typical. And you don’t understand that unless you’ve been there. So I wouldn’t worry about any anonymous person using up their energy to criticize your grief. God willing, their children will all be perfectly healthy and they will never have to go through that grieving process. :)
    You should submit your story to the next edition of “Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives” by Kathryn Lynard Soper and Martha Sears.

  443. Such a beautiful story and a beautiful about the special children that God blesses us with. I have a daughter with a learning disability and sometimes still struggle with the challenge that it still is at age 18 but God is good all the time. He gives me the strength for each new challenge and I know He will, too, for you. And you will experience exceeding joy in many, many things.
    God Bless

    Amy

  444. Kelle, Thank you for sharing your amazing story. God never makes mistakes, and your beautiful Nella and your loving family are a perfect testament to that.

  445. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful story, thank you so much for that! Your daughters are absolutely perfect, you are blessed!!!

  446. I know that there are already 4 hundred and some messages already on here for you, but another can’t hurt – right?

    I wanted to tell you that your blog is so beautiful. It is honest and it is real. I am in tears after reading it. I have a cousin with down’s syndrome and she is truely a blessing. She doesn’t know what hate is. She is full of love and kindness. You are amazingly lucky to have such a precious family. Your daughters are so beautiful.

  447. Tears are streaming off my face. I needed this. I’m 16 weeks pregnant and have taken this pregnancy for granted. I’ve been complaining through the morning sickness and aches. How selfish I’ve been. I’m so ashamed. But reading this story has restored a new joy in my heart. I’m forever changed… I’ll never take this pregnancy for granted ever again… thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

  448. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I so appreciate your honesty and openness. My little brother was born with special needs so this really hit home for me. I am also 13 weeks pregnant with our first child :) Thanks so much.

  449. So honest and real. You are a loving Mother. What beautiful little girls you have.

    I am a Mother of 5 daughters. I have my own story of disconnection from a premature birth and the journey to loving her. I’m sad and ashamed I missed months with her.

    Thank you for posting your story.

  450. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us like this! I have honestly wondered how I would react or what I would feel in a similar situation. I feel now that if it should ever happen to me that I would know it was ok to mourn the loss of what I had dreamt up in my head but would know that great things are to come! You had me when you said “Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me” From there on I knew you would be ok and that I would be too! Congrats! She is just absolutely beautiful as is the rest of your family!

  451. What an amazing, beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world.

  452. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness, I have never met you, but your inspiring blog was posted on the bump. I have tears streaming down my face at your beautifully written story. I dont think I will ever forget you. Thank you for blessing me!

  453. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness, I have never met you, but your inspiring blog was posted on the bump. I have tears streaming down my face at your beautifully written story. I dont think I will ever forget you. Thank you for blessing me!

  454. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your beautiful daughters! My friend posted the link on her facebook, and warned not to visit it without a tissue handy. She was so right, your story is so beautiful and moving. I know it must have been so hard to lay everything out there, the beauty and the pain, the joy and the tears, but thank you!

    Nella’s story is already blessing so many people! It’s incredible how someone so small can touch so many lives, and not even know it. Who knows what she will do as she grows? No one knows yet but anyone can see she is going to be amazing, spectacular, and fabulous in ways nobody could predict.

  455. this is such a beautiful story you shared and it has really touched me. nella is absolutley beautiful and amazing and you are so lucky to have her in your life and lainey will be such a good big sister to her! i can see it in her big girl eyes!
    i had my son at 26 weeks. he weighed 2 lbs 6 oz. and he didnt cry when he was born. they wisked him away without even telling me if he was alive and i didnt see him for over 12 hours after that. he was tiny, sick and not breathing on his own. i felt like the worst mother, the worst WOMAN in the world. my body couldnt hold him any longer and didnt allow him to grow into the healthy baby i imagined him as. they told us he may not make it through the night and all i could think was, it was all my fault. over the days as he got better and than worse i spent many nights writhing in emotional agony also and when you described the night your daughter was born, it brought back so many memories. i was grieving my third trimester and my baby who could come home with me and who had some meat on his bones and who didnt need to be on a vent. it was the hardest time in my life but i soon was filled with the same happiness and joy and all the feelings you described here and isnt it just the most amazing feeling? we ARE lucky. we have these beautiful children and this amazing story and journey ahead of us! i feel like a better mother than i may have been if i didnt feel those feelings. i feel like a different person in a very good way. you are so strong and you are going to have a VERY fun life! you just wait and see! it will be breathtaking!

  456. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. You have amazing friends and family. You are blessed.

  457. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Congratulations on your beautiful family and its newest addition.

  458. I’m yet another stranger who was told about your blog entry on a mothering website. Your love and honesty are an inspiration to me. Nella is so very blessed. I know that someone told you that Nella was given to you for a reason, reading this entry nothing could be more true. For such a special child, well I can’t think of a family and a network of friends that will love and support her more. She is a lucky girl Thank you for sharing your story, tears and all, with us.

  459. Welcome to our world Sweet Nella Cordelia ~ Thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful birth story…..you have touched me on so many levels.

    You have begun an amazing journey ~ enjoy the many gifts that will be presented to you in many quiet and unique ways.

    Peace and love, Tara Marie [Proud Momma to Emma Sage and her siblings.

  460. Anonymous says:

    again, one-handed. i woke up thinking of you and nella and my friend liz and her beautiful and perfect boy, atlas, who was born with ds when liz was barely 30. she is an amazing woman- a singer with a bluesy voice (friends with sufyan stevens!), a christian, an artist, a great mama.

    if you want her info, please email me.
    shaunak22 at yahoo dot com.

  461. And just because I have now read the spineless anonymous comment, and cannot keep silent any longer:

    I lost a baby boy. He came feet first, after having been head down for weeks prior. There was no way to know, no way to prepare. Due to complications during his birth, his brain was damaged, and though we prayed and begged for a miracle, that he would stay with us, no matter how many special needs he might have, it wasn’t to be. The day we should have been resting happily at home, getting to know our new baby, we spent talking to the funeral home about caskets. The day we should have been celebrating his first week of life, we put him in the ground. Each year on January first, while the world celebrates a new year, we remember his birth, and cry, and our hearts break all over again. It’s just another year he’s not here to make handprints on the walls, proudly bring slimy frogs in to show us, draw smudgy perfect “I love mommy and daddy” pictures, learn to ride a bike, write his name, drive a car…

    Yes, there is no grief like the grief of burying your own child, but life is not about some sick *whose pain is worse?* contest. It’s about finding joy through the pain. For me that joy came in the birth of another child after our painful loss. For Nella’s family it is seeing the beauty and perfection of her, just the way she is. Perfect.

    The week my youngest child was born, a friend of mine was also welcoming a baby girl, Lily is also a perfect, gorgeous baby girl, but in the weeks following her birth her parents began to have some questions, and found out Lily has DS. They went through the same grief-mixed-with-joy described here. Because they had to take all the hopes and dreams they had for Lily’s life and learn to accept their unexpected trip to Holland.

    Is the pain of knowing your child has Down’s Syndrome a different pain than the death of a child? Absolutely. But it is pain nonetheless and rather than setting my own loss up as some paragon of hurt which accomplishes nothing and makes me less able to “weep with those who weep” I choose to recognize the hurt others go through, and the courage it takes to bare their very soul to the world.

    I know all too well the pain of losing a child, but it is not an excuse for me to be cruel and hurtful in turn to others whose pain, while different from my own, is no less real and poignant in their own hearts.

  462. Anonymous says:

    through heartfelt sobs, thank you. so much.

  463. Anonymous says:

    Wow!!! I can tell you are a planner, a dreamer and yes, a perfectionist! Not to mention, you are one heck of a story teller…I have been blessed, like you, with what I affectionately call our violet, Patrick. I am ten years into the journey and it is a gorgeous one. :) You are indeed blessed by both of your darling girls; but Nella will truly show you the way. She will allow you to make peace with the imperfect. And by that I mean, the “imperfect” as the outside world sees it. You will be blessed to get an insider’s view of the messy, unpredictable, breath-taking life of loving someone with Down Syndrome. And won’t Lainey be amazing as well!

    Congratulations to your whole family! And if you haven’t read it yet, you might want to try “Roadmap to Holland” I think you and Jennifer might become fast friends. Looking forward to following your journey! Beth

  464. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know you but you just touched my soul in a way that few people ever have. Your family is beautiful and I wish you all the happiness in the world!

    The words that made me cry at my desk here at work were:

    “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.”

    I too have a daughter and the way she loves her little brother is an inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Lotta

  465. What a beautiful baby, beautiful bond, beautiful family, beautiful story and beautiful pictures!! My face is soaked in tears. Thanks for sharing.

  466. this is the most beautiful thing I have ever read.

    your little girl is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because I have seen her through your eyes and your heart

    to love unconditionally is the greatest gift we can give and receive and it all happened with your children

    everyone should have such a loving and gorgeous and strong mother such as you

    and everyone should be so lucky to have a child that opens up a whole new world that so many will not ever be able to see

    congratulations on your sister girls….and thank you for reminding me that the family you build, the story you tell and the children you love are the most sacred thing bestown upon us….and what is different about all of our family units is what makes it special – because it was designed just for us.

    you are so lucky to have been given this exact little soul to love..and she is so lucky to have you

  467. …your bunny is BEAUTIFUL !!!

  468. Anonymous says:

    I can’t even say how much this post has moved me. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read on the internet. Congratulations on the birth of Nella. She is beautiful, and you are all so lucky to have each other. -Becky

  469. Such beautiful comments, supportive messages and heartfelt encouragement–I know Kelle and all the family are sustained and lifted by them. And the sole comment that came from a wounded heart–that person is not a horrible person, just a hurting person. Our own grief is our own–while feeling it, we cannot really understand another’s. To one whose arms are empty and whose heart weeps, it is hard to hear the cries of another who still holds a child. My prayers are with that one whose crib is empty.
    I know Kelle heard what you were really saying–and cries with you.
    I know because I am her dad.

  470. Oh, how wonderful. God is so good, thank you for the reminder! My science teacher in 9th grade told me something I’ll never forget. She said babies with Downs Syndrome are God’s special angels. They are born with His capacity to love that the rest of us can only envy. Love her up good now, because pretty soon, she’s going to be giving more love than you (or me or most anyone!) could ever hope to give back. I am so happy for you and Brett and Lainey. Even though I don’t know you, I look forward to keeping up online! Keep up your amazing mothering, and thanks for your honest story.

  471. That was beautiful.

  472. Anonymous says:

    My special girl is now 23. How fast the years have gone by. She too is my 2nd girl. My oldest being the blonde darling as yours is. My little Kendall, with her fiery red hair–and her precious face with Down syndrome.
    I felt those raw emotions you felt. I was handed her in the delivery room, to have the exact surprise and reaction you had–and before anyone else noticed. I felt sorry for her older sister, who wouldn’t have a ‘normal’ sibling. And–was saved by utter dispair by a husband’s strong words and love–and our pediatrician who also told me my baby was beautiful–and needed her mommy to love her.
    At 23–our Kendall is still our joy. LOVE. That’s the word that describes her. She’s caring, funny, resourceful–and beautiful.
    Those first few days of her journey of life was hard on me–my ego, my emotions. But–as the days grew on, that journey was quickly turned to joy and love. Nella will change your life in many ways. But it’s a journey that will fill you with such love and compassion that you never knew you had in your soul. Even still–23 years later–I wouldn’t change this amazing journey we’ve been on. Kendall is loved by her siblings (her older sister–and a younger sister by 4 years), adored by family–and treasured by me.
    Enjoy Nella. Love her. Show her off. And get ready for a lifetime of love that you have never imagined possible. All for having your sweet Nella. Congratulations to your new baby.
    Bless you all—Peggy Giacalone (CA)

  473. Your honesty and candor are so beautiful to read, and so appreciated. Your daughters are gorgeous. Blessings on your family.

  474. Thank you for a beautiful birth story – I’m crying, sobbing in fact as I read your journey and Nella’s story. Thank you for sharing it. Your family is beautiful and perfect.

  475. Well now… I don’t know what my co-workers will think when I come out of my office after lunch with puffy eyes and a red nose, but I don’t care one bit! Your story moved me to tears (unashamedly sobbing, to be honest). Sharing such raw emotion and such a real journey. Thank you for being brave and honest with your story. Your beautiful daughters are so very blessed to belong to you. What a joy your bunny will be!
    Love,
    Jen

  476. I’ve cried beautiful tears for you. Thank you for writing this. I will be following along your story. Nella is gorgeous.

  477. I’ve cried beautiful tears for you. Thank you for writing this. I will be following along your story. Nella is gorgeous.

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  482. She is beautiful & so lucky to have you as a mom! When the tough times come, remember how you feel now :0) And I must say, you looked great right after having a baby! Thank-you for sharing your story.

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  485. I’m sorry it shows deleted comments! I was having computer problems :0)

  486. I came to you through Dig this Chick.

    Nella is beautiful and will light your world up!

    Your story gave me insight into what my godmother may have felt when her son was born. I admit I never thought about it before- because I was 10 when he was born and was too young to have ever seen anything but happiness over him. I am sure she went through what you did – and I love her even more knowing what an amazing mom she turned out to be.

    I am so excited for your journey – it’s going to be a fun one!

  487. this is the most beautiful and emotionally moving thing that i have ever read on the web.

  488. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing and beautiful story! Nella is very blessed to have you as her mom.

  489. Anonymous says:

    I have never read something so beautiful and honest. You are such an amazing mother and your daughters are so incredibly lucky to have been born to you. Your girls are gorgeous (as are you!). Thank you for sharing your story.

  490. Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey of yours, it truly gives me hope and peace.

  491. Wow. All I can say is wow. I found your post through a DS support group on yahoo for parents who adopt and rescue children with DS from other countries (www.reecesrainbow.com) Your post is beautiful, raw, honest and inspiring. On December 7th, 2009 I arrived home after 24 hours of pure hell traveling from Ukraine to Birmingham, AL with our two new baby boys, both with Down syndrome. We have three biological “healthy” children that are wonderful and beautiful and most everyone I know thinks I have lost my mind to seek out this for my family. Let me tell you, I feel sure that my reaction would have been similar to yours had this “happened” to us with one of our birth children. But, as I sit here reading this post snuggling my precious 4 year old with DS and kissing his little flat nose and his fat little toes while his beautiful baby brother with DS naps all I feel is blessed and also “chosen” albeit in a slightly different way. Our lives have been so enriched by extra chromosomes the past couple of months and I cannot wait to live this life with these two beautiful children. You truly are blessed more than you will ever know. Thanks for sharing.

    Jolie Harris
    http://www.harrisfamilyjourneys.blogspot.com

  492. My 2nd daughter has T21 too! She is now 10 years old, and they have been the best 10 years of my life. We call her our medicine. We went on to have two more daughters after Tarenne.. so we have a house full of 4 little girls. She is by far my easiest child, very independent, funny, intelligent and so loving. She is the best teacher. I see Nella already is teaching and producing miracles all around her.

    You truly have a beautiful family! I look forward to following your journey!

    Nicole ~ Mom to Tarenne

  493. I don’t have the pleasure of knowing you personally…I actually read your story through a friend’s facebook post, and then I reposted it on my own for all my friends.

    What a beautiful, honest telling of an emotional journey-raw and true.

    She chose you to be her mom for a reason, and you both will learn so many wonderful lessons together.

    Blessings on you and your family.

    Marcie Macari
    Author of: “She Births: A Modern Woman’s Guidebook for An Ancient Rite of Passage”
    http://www.shebirths.com
    Creator of:
    Bloomin’ Belly Soaps
    http://www.bloominbellysoaps.com

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  495. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty. Nella and Lainey are so lucky to have a mom who isn’t afraid to be brutally honest — or maybe is afraid but does it anyway. And I wish I could have even a fraction of your clarity just a week after birth. It’s been 22 months and I’m still not sure I could put into words what I felt when my son was born.

    All the best to you and your family.

    Jennifer in Texas

  496. Anonymous says:

    This is an amazing story. I am 33 weeks pregnant with my own little girl and your story reminded me that whatever she is like she will be perfect, just as your girls are perfect. Thank you for sharing it all.

  497. Anonymous says:

    Amazing Congratulations for you and your husband. Your little girls are beautiful and so very lucky to have you both. There are not enough words for me to express what reading your story did to me. I am so moved and feel so much love for my family, from reading about yours, that I feel lik my heart wants to burst out of my chest. I had forgotten what that felt like. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you so much for sharing your story – wishing you all the best. Thank you again –

  498. Beautiful. Overused? maybe. But definitely not any less true. I haven’t stopped thinking about Nella since I saw this blog yesterday. Her little smile has melted my heart. If I’m ever blessed with a daughter, I hope she’s even half as wonderful.

  499. Anonymous says:

    This is such a beautiful and touching story! BOTH of your girls are absolutely adorable! You are so strong and Brave. Your little one is so lucky to have you for a Mom!

  500. Beautifully written, gorgeous pictures, wonderful LOVE.

    Welcome to “The Family” – this amazing group of people around the world who all share the best secret, the secret of how wonderful it is to have someone with Down syndrome in our family.

    My own princess is almost 5 years old now, but your story brought back images of our own birth-story, different but still with the same love.

    Enjoy both your girls.

    Francine
    2 Pirates & a Princess
    http://fbfrothkopf.blogspot.com

  501. Anonymous says:

    Your story and family are so beautiful! Congratulations on your gorgeous daughters.

  502. This was so heartbreaking and so beautiful at the same time. Congratulations on your beautiful little girls.

  503. just beautiful
    all of it

  504. thank you for sharing such an honest and lovely story. I’d love to introduce you to another truly amazing mom…
    http://www.trisacharm.blogspot.com
    http://www.savingsofia.blogspot.com

    xo Joslyn
    http://www.soIwasalllike.com

  505. She is stunning. It seems, as mothers of children with special needs (two of mine are very Deaf), we are blessed with an emotional armor and hearts that can withstand the stretching to wrap around and protect the angels God blesses us with. A good friend shared a quote with me that has stuck: “It doesn’t take a special family to raise a special needs child. It takes a special needs child to make a special family.” Your Nella is shaping you and molding you into the majesty you were born to become. May you be blessed.

  506. Nella is beautiful and perfect. Thank you for sharing your story.

  507. Thank you, thank you for sharing your story. I turned 31 in October myself and thought I had 4 more “safe” years of pregnancy ahead of me. From 4 months on with this baby we were told we had a higher risk of the baby having Downs, though they wouldn’t be sure unless we did an amnio. We opted not to and decided to wait and see when the baby was born. 5+ months of worry is not good on anyone, and I spent most of the pregnancy expecting the worst. She was born 1/27/10 and I didn’t want to put too much hope in the pediatrician when he was certain she didn’t have Downs. After more than a week of sleepless newborn nights, which I am sure you are just as familiar with, I was feeling rather sorry for myself today. Poor me, first-time Mom, worn out from lack of sleep. Then I came across your Blog. And you gave me a healthy dose of something I desperately needed: a TRUE example of love. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story. I applaud your strength, your honesty, and your heart. May Heavenly Father bless you and your family as you have mine. :)

  508. Thank you for sharing your story. Your daughter and your words are beautiful. I can see the love in the photos of the two of you. Just lovely.

  509. What a beautiful soul you are…she is amazingly beautiful.

  510. Congratulations!

  511. Your special bunny has a special mama indeed. How courageous for sharing the true feelings- and what an inspiration to others who walk your journey. I had a son who was born with special needs and 16 operations later is a strong, grown man now. I remember my journey- the tears- the fears. Bunny will remain special but she will make your life more full than any other little girl would have done… yours and your Lainey’s and your Brett’s.. and the village of friends you have holding your arms up- keeping you strong along the way. My prayers will remain with you!

  512. I don’t know you. And you don’t know me from Adam. But I feel compelled to comment that this was the most beautifully honest, touching birth story I’ve ever read. Congratulations on your beautiful family.

  513. I’m an RN in Labour and Delivery, and I forwarded this to all of my friends after reading it! It’s such whirlwind of emotion and sound and sometimes we all forget to stop and take a breath and remember that we are all exactly where we are meant to be.

    My mother always reminds me that a Crisis is a “Dangerous Opportunity” and it seems you have found the opportunity in your crisis–thanks for the reminder that hearts know better than minds. I’ll continue to share your story and continue to follow your beautiful pictures of your girls. Congratulations on a beautiful, perfect family!

  514. Thank you for your honest and warm story. I cried real, deep, emotional tears reading your story because it reminds me so much of giving birth to my 4th child, John Michael, 2 years ago. In such a short time, you’ve already come so far. I loved your photos and reading your journey. Your girls are beautiful… what lucky sisters to have each other! Come visit us sometime… http://www.monicacrumley.blogspot.com and see our busy blonde boy.

  515. A friend of mine put your blog as a link on hers, I clicked and read the whole thing. I am not a mother (am hoping to be one some day) but I know love and beauty. You have it all.

    I’ve also worked with a lot of Downs children, they are the sweetest kids on the planet. Not a bad bone in their body. They are so lovable, endearing, honest, funny.

    Congratulations on such a gorgeous family. Both your daughters are stunningly beautiful.

    And you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another mother look as ravishing as you did in your birthing photos. Well done!

    And every day remember, it only gets better from here!

  516. Beutifully story, I still remember that feeling of wanting to run away, to take it all back. I remember lying with my two older sons in their bed reading a book to them, the words coming out of my mouth but my mind in a deep hole of pain and loneliness. Our diagnosis didn’t come until 3 month after Joaquin’s birth, but we knew. How can something that hurts so bad turn out to be the most amazing gift? God is wise! Thanks for sharing…

  517. You are so right. This baby is a gift. I am crying my heart out over here after reading your beautifully honest and real account of when Nella entered your world. And now she has entered all of ours. Because that sweet face of hers and the pure innocence of her soul has touched me deeply.

    What a family you are.

    Congratulations….you and your gorgeous family will teach many. About life, love, and why dirty grout means nothing.

    :-)

    Thank you for sharing…

  518. Wow…what an absolutely beautiful story. Thank you for sharing the amazing story of Nella!

    She is such a beautiful little girl and is so blessed to have such a wonderful mom, dad, and big sister.

    Your story touched me in such a profound way…God has blessed you with your sweet little baby girls and you are about to embark on such a wonderful adventure.

    Thank you again for sharing your story.

  519. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella! How lucky you are to have a mom who loves you so much!

  520. What a beautiful journey that you have started and a real inspiring story for its beginning. Thank you for sharing. This is not one I will forget any time soon……

  521. This is so beautiful. Thank God that Nella is also blessed with you for a Mother, thank you so much for sharing your precious daughters birth story with us.

  522. Nella has been born to our world for a reason. She is a beautiful little girl with the whole world her of her with you and your family by her side.YOU have been chosen to be HER mother LUCK YOU!

  523. brandi hamerstone says:

    That was amazing, that was magical, wonderful to read, thank you for your honesty and for sharing, it means more than you’ll ever know.

  524. brandi hamerstone says:

    That was amazing, that was magical, wonderful to read, thank you for your honesty and for sharing, it means more than you’ll ever know.

  525. Jenny Rebaldo says:

    Your daughters are so beautiful. What a lucky momma you are to be trusted with such precious gifts!!

  526. Beauty, pure beauty. In words, in pictures and in love. May you all have many, many happy years ahead of you and I look forward to the telling of your tale.

  527. She’s absolutely beautiful, and its lovely to see Lainey dote on her. Congratulations!

  528. I cried as I read your story last night. It was filled with so much love. Your daughters are blessed to have you as a mother. I was thinking about you all day and I send you love & prayers. You are an inspiration!

  529. Absolutely beautiful story and baby!! It brought me happy tears.
    Extremely moving!
    Congratulations on your little miracle :)
    Perfect little daughters.. you are so very lucky!
    thank you for sharing your story.

  530. Wow. I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. It’s honest and raw and lovingly beautifully perfect.

    When will the book be published?

    Thank you for allowing humble wanderers like me to stumble across your story.

    Your girls are growing up wiht a marvelous mom.

  531. I am a mommy in Florida, and I was given the link to your blog. First, congratulations.

    Second, thank you…you have renewed my faith in humanity.

    Third, your little one is perhaps the most beautiful child I have ever had the privilege of seeing. Thank you!

  532. Thank you for your story! It was beautiful! Both of your girls are precious!

  533. Thank you for your story! It was beautiful! Both of your girls are precious!

  534. Thank you for your story! It was beautiful! Both of your girls are precious!

  535. This is a beautiful birth story with amazing photos, your family is gorgeous. what a wonderful support system you have!

  536. you and your family are gorgeous. congratulations on the birth of your new little girl and thank you for sharing this amazing story.

  537. You sound really happy. What i like about your story is that you wrote exactly what you thought and how you felt with all honesty. You didn’t lie and said “i fell in love the very minute i saw her”. Reading someone being honest about their first reaction, fear, pain, rejection, and how they slowly yet fast learnt to love that baby, is the real beautiful thing about this story.

    Congratulations to you and your family, wish you the best.

  538. You are an absolutely amazing and gifted writer. You are an inspiration, best wishes to you and your entire family.

  539. Wow! What an incredibly touching story. And to have someone close to you to capture every moment in pictures. “They” say a picture is worth 1000 words. The pictures you shared certainly were worth more than that. May God’s Blessings continue to pour out on you and your family.

  540. Thanks so much for writing this. My friend and I were pregnant at the same time last year(her second, my third). Her birth story is your birth story. Her grief, growth and acceptance of the amazing blessing that is her daughter is the same as yours. God bless you and your family as you embark on your journey as a family of four.

  541. I don’t even know you, but that was truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you and your family ♥

  542. Dear Kelle,

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story. I have a 4-year old daughter, Penny, with a similar story. She is the greatest joy I have ever known. And yet, after she was born, I did need to grieve those earlier expectations. It was an ugly grief because it exposed all sorts of things about me that I would rather not know. And yet those things have changed. My grief has turned into joy. My mourning to dancing. Dancing with my daughter, my gorgeous, talented, smart, wonderful daughter. If you ever want to be in touch, I blog at http://www.amyjuliabecker.blogspot.com, and you can email me at amyjuliabecker@gmail.com. You and your family have just been unexpectedly admitted into a very exclusive club of people. Welcome.

    And blessings to you,

    Amy Julia

  543. Your story is beautiful. Thank you. You are truly an inspiration. Your honesty is gut-wrenching, and refreshing, and wonderful. Nella is one VERY lucky girl.

  544. I was warned to have kleenex on hand… I loved this! I didn’t even read the whole thing, I read bits and pieces and started crying! I would love to share this story on my blog page! I plan on sending the link to my friends also.

  545. You don’t know me, but I feel grateful to now know just a tiny part of you. My newly pregnant belly is now covered with tears after reading your story. I hope that if we are blessed with a second child as beautiful and special as yours, that we are filled with the same love and compassion. You are a beautiful person on the inside and out. Wishing your family all the happiness in the world!

  546. Beyond beautiful… amazing post.

    I am the mommy of three– one angel, two living. And the birth experience, and the love that flows between parent and child, never ceases to amaze me.

    Blessings to you all on this amazing journey.

  547. This is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt, & gut-wrenching things I have ever read. And I can connect with every single word. I know exactly how you felt in those first hours of uncertainty and I know how it feels to fall in love hard as I sit here watching my beautiful perfect son. I wish your beautiful family all the best from us here in Maryland!

  548. Oh she is just absolutely GORGEOUS! I have a daughter with an extra part of her 17th chromosome. I knew prior to birth due to the fact she had a lot of issues. She wasn’t supposed to survive birth. She was diagnosed in utero with a severe heart defect that required 3 very risky operations upon birth. She is going to turn 7 years old this year. She has never had any heart surgery. She is different, she is severely disabled, she has changed my life in so many ways and I wouldn’t change one single thing. You are so blessed! And the photos? Absolutely gorgeous! You are so lucky to be able to capture those moments.

  549. Thank you for writing this. Beautiful. Nella is a blessing.

  550. You’re an amazing writer – I hope you write a book some day!

    Congratulations on a beautiful, sweet, baby princess. I’m so happy God sent her to such a perfect mother – one that will appreciate all of her gifts.

  551. Oh my :) This is the most beautiful story I have ever read. You made me cry, laugh, smile and made me want to jump through the computer and hug you and your perfect little daughter.

    Congrats to you and your family and here’s to the start of a happy, fulfilled life :)

  552. Thank you for writing this. Beautiful. Nella is a blessing.

  553. Thank you for writing this. Beautiful. Nella is a blessing.

  554. Thank you for sharing. Incredible.

  555. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter! Her birth story is the most beautiful one I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

  556. This is the most amazing thing I have ever read. Your strength and courage are something I have never seen portrayed through written words as much as I just read above. I will be praying for you as you and your family start down this new path. Blessings to you and your beautiful little girl!

  557. I’m a special mom too, your words make me go back 3 years ago, when my Sebastian was born and changed my life. I know how you felt, i lived the same experience too, I have each of your memories. The same pain, the same happiness…a lot of tears, confusion, guilt, fear, resignation, understand that anything was wrong. I started to write my diary too, it was my best therapy, write about my perfect baby, just write and write what i couldn’t explain in simple words. I would like to meet you, and talk about how lucky we are…I’m sure that all down people who i know are involved with beautifull stories…it’s not a coincidence, they are with us because we need them…Thanks GOD for choose me to be a special mom, thanks for each tears, thanks foy my special son….Thanks you, to know how to say in words exactly what we felt…your dougther is beautifull, she’s simply PERFECT!!!!
    GOD BLESS!!! and welcome NELLA!!! !!life is perfect!!!!

  558. Anonymous says:

    You don’t know me, I surfed on here from a link on Babycenter, but your little girl is so beautiful and you are an amazing mother. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your amazing story. I can’t wait to hear updates in the future.

  559. Anonymous says:

    A truly inspirational story. Your family is beautiful! Absolutely beautiful. P.S. I went through a box of tissues.

  560. Anonymous says:

    I was reading this when my 4 year old came running by. She saw the pictures from right after Nella was born and said “Aww.. She is so beautiful!” And she really is.

  561. This is the MOST beautiful birth story ever ! Your girls are beautiful !! And from one special needs child’s mom to another…. he picked the perfect Mother for both your girls. You have found the meaning to life….your heart. This is going to be a wonderful journey for you. I am 14 years into my journey. I am so glad God chose you.
    Christy ♥

  562. This is the MOST beautiful birth story ever ! Your girls are beautiful !! And from one special needs child’s mom to another…. he picked the perfect Mother for both your girls. You have found the meaning to life….your heart. This is going to be a wonderful journey for you. I am 14 years into my journey. I am so glad God chose you.
    Christy ♥

  563. Hi Kelle,
    Thank you for painting us such an incredible picture of your journey both in pictures and words. I work with an organization that helps kids with special needs realize their potential. This is the experience of another mom of a child with special needs. It’s called “Welcome to Holland.”

    Welcome to Holland
    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s 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 landed 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 guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and 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, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
    But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

    Emily Perl Kingsley 1987

  564. Anonymous says:

    reading this has forever changed my life. your sweet baby girl is so beautiful, and your family is so precious. thank you for writing this.

  565. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Your honesty and passion really shine through. Your girls are gorgeous, and you are an amazing mother!

  566. “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.

    Reading that makes me feel your pain & love all at the same time. As a mother to an almost 2 yr old I see my daughter in your daughter. I see & feel your mothering in my mothering. Moments like those are what make us mothers. What make having children so important. They are here to teach us what no other person, education, experience could ever teach us. They are here to teach us the true meaning of love.

    You are so blessed to have your two beautiful girls. More importantly they are blessed to have you as their mother. Because no one else could be so deserving than you. I wish you & your family a lifetime of happiness.

    Thank you for letting me into your world & allowing me & everyone to meet your family.

  567. Anonymous says:

    Your story defines hope and love and motherhood and all things that are good in the world. Thank you so much for sharing.

  568. Thank you!!! Thank you for sharing your incredibly personal & moving story. Thank you for sharing your amazing pictures of your beautiful family. Thank you for being real. Thank you for reminding us how precious are children are. Thank you for showing us what really matters.

  569. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing and beautiful story. You are an amazing woman, and Nella and Lainey too are so lucky to have you as a Mom. Nella is adorable, thank you for sharing your story, makes one want to slow down and enjoy the small things in life. I know I will definately be sqeezing my son much tighter in the morning. Thanks

  570. My wife and I have a very similar story. The difference was that our Emma had fluid built up on top of her lungs. The doctors told us every day the new thing that would cause her to not make it. We knew in an instant upon birth that she had Down’s…I could write a book on the emotional rollercoaster. We prayed…And prayed…That if God took her then she was God’s, and if He left her then she would still be His. And if it was all the same to Him to please give us the chance to raise her. To love her unconditionally. She is seven years old now. I could write another book on what she means to us.

  571. Oh what a beautiful, gripping, honest and inspiring post! Your girls are beautiful, and congratulations!

  572. Nella is blessed to have you as her mother. She will learn from your strength and beauty as a human being.

    This story is what being a mom is all about.

  573. Thank you for putting your story out there. It will, no doubt, bless untold numbers of people. Welcome to a deeper side of life. Anytime something happens to our children, we are transported there. We are invited by God to lean on Him and not on our own understanding. He promises to walk with us and He is faithful to His word. Little Nella , at one week old, has already touched more people than most of us do in a lifetime. Congratulations!!!
    Lisa

  574. Hey… I hope you read this, and I hope I hear from you. I cannot tell you HOW EXACTLY your story mirrors mine… My daughter was born exactly one week earlier, on January 15, with Down syndrome. Her 2 year old sister, Luciya, wore the same Big Sister shirt the next day. We didn’t know, but my husband knew right when he saw her come out. I haven’t been able to write much, especially since Mirabel spent the first week of her life in the NICU. But I want you to see my pictures, because not only were our 2 year olds dressed the same, but I dressed Mirabel in almost exactly the same tan striped outfit the other day.http://picasaweb.google.com/shemmy/Mirabel#

    You’ve inspired me to (finally!) update my blog. I need to get on it! I have started a separate one for Mirabel but haven’t gotten too far.

    Please contact me if you can. Blessings to you and your beautiful family. I feel truly grateful and amazed and I hope you do, too. shemmy@gmail.com

  575. You have a beautiful family.

  576. I am another stranger, a mother of a baby boy who died in the car on the way to the hospital, his head was trapped inside of me, we had to wait in traffic. Life is beautiful still, you’re so right, it’s hard to find sometimes, but then it hits you in the face and spreads over you like warm butter. She is beautiful, perfect. I didnt want to come here at first when a friend told me to, because you got to keep your baby, but I’m glad I did, there is something here that has heartened me. Blessings to you and your family.

  577. A better story of love has never been told. Congratulations to you and your perfect little family!

  578. This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Your words so eloquently and honestly tell this story-it is absolutely amazing. I was truly sobbing while reading this-not out of sadness but just from the true beauty of it. (As well as the pictures-she is SO beautiful and like your pediatrician said, “perfect”.) As I’m sure you realize now, you have been sent an angel in the purest form. And your other daughter is blessed to have such a loving sister-because trust me, you will never find a more loving soul than a person with Downs.
    My little brother has Downs and was a surprise for my parents as well. While I am sure they dealt with many of the same emotions as you did, I know that they could not be happier now. Your life will be more of a challenge, but Nella will also show you the wonder of life that you may otherwise miss.
    Thank you for sharing your story with the world, and enjoy your 2 wonderful daughters!

  579. This is the most amazing thing I have read. Your story is so moving and so well written. Thank you for sharing this with the world and congratulations on your beautiful girls.

  580. Anonymous says:

    This is just an amazing story. I really hope that you someday publish your life because so many people could be, would be inspired by you. You have an amazing talent for writing – I felt like I was right there with you. Blessings to you and your family!

  581. You inspire me to be a better mother. What an amazing, beautiful, precious gift you have been given….

  582. Such a heartfelt story to the beginning of your new life. Thanks so much for sharing. Your daughters are precious and beautiful indeed.

    God Bless,
    Mary

  583. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. Enjoy those gorgeous little girls!

  584. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter! She is absolutely precious. My wife brought your story to my attention and I am so thankful for her sharing. Your writing is thoughtful, honest and inspiring. Thank you for having the courage to share your innermost thoughts and sharing Nella with your readers. The world became a better place the day she was born. When Nella is older, please let her know that she has inspired this reader to remember what’s important in life, be a better man, and be the best Daddy he can be to his own little girl. Thank you again. PS – she is cute as a button!!

  585. This is beautiful, as are you and your sweet girls. I ache and celebrate with you. Thank you for sharing your family’s story. May God bless & bless you.

  586. This is beautiful. She is beautiful. God bless you and your family :)

  587. Kelle, you don’t know me, but a friend of mine sent me your blog. I loved your story because it reminded me of mine. First, Nella is a beautiful little princess. Every word you wrote felt like it was coming from me. I still have tears just thinking about it. My little Jaxson just turned 3 months old this week, and he is doing amazing. We had a few speed bumps along the way due to the fact he was born with a congenital heart defect and had to have surgery at 6weeks old. I just wanted to send you a note to let you know your story touched my heart, may God bless you and your family…Tasha

  588. Kelle…
    My best friend shared your story with me through a link (I sobbed, a good solid cry)…she would know how much your story would touch those hearstrings in my soul…she was there, just like yours were there for you. She still is…eleven years later!
    I am 31 as well and my Michael…eleven years old, he came to me…looking at me with a “smooshed” nose, he still does it! He makes my eyes water with the unconditional love that he gives not only for me but all of those around him! Thank you for your story, it brought me back to that day…not that I have ever forgotten it but those admissions that you don’t want to reveal for fear of believing that you are actually human. What a gift! You your family and friends have been blessed with an angel. Congratulations!! Welcome to our worldwide family! ~Nicole xo

  589. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughters with us and your beautiful story. My story is similar and yet different but my sweet special baby girl is now 21 years old and still the light of my life…Your sweet girl will bring joy so special I can not even begin to explain…

  590. simpley BEAUTIFUL!

  591. Wonderfully candid story. Thank you for sharing.

  592. What an amazing story!! You are a beautiful writer…I am in tears over the love I can FEEL you have for your daughter…wow…

  593. I so enjoyed your honest, raw, beautiful story! The photos are so precious and show an outpouring of love. I am a nurse and used to work with your dad Rik when I lived in MI. I can see you have his loving and compassionate soul. Thank you for sharing and God bless your wonderful family~
    Mary Sayler

  594. I don’t know you. I don’t know your beautiful girls, but I came across your story. I am sitting here in tears…feeling soo much. I love your story. We are trying to conceive our first, and this is such an inspiring story. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Blessing and peace for you and your gorgeous family.
    Celina

  595. I can barely find the words to describe how your story…her story touched my heart. Thank you for sharing that. I am in love with your family and I don’t even know you.

  596. Congratu;ation to you all, to a wonderful family and terrific friends, tis a beautiful gift you have been given, cherish every moment… I am a community nurse, and one of the most special patient i had to nurse in the community was the cutest lil DS boy i have ever met, he was born to a loving family, two lil sister’s, Mom and Dad… One of the first things they told me was they knew nothing about DS, and yet they did not want to know anything about DS, they wanted their boy to teach them what DS was … I was touched of their words, and it warmed my heart that they held this outlook, I in return held my tongue and my knowledge and said nothing, but I felt so much love in this home and with this family, just as i have felt reading your words, you and your girl’s are most beautiful, please keep us updated with such beautiful pic’s they are exceptoional, thank you so much for sharing …deborah

  597. SHE IS GOD’S “GIFT” TO YOU..SHE IS PERFECTLY BEAUTIFUL…HIS MOST PERFECT LITTLE TINY ANGEL. MY DEAR FRIEND HAS A BOY..SAME WAY..SHE SAYS HE IS THE GREATEST BLESSING OF HER LIFE! YOU ARE THE BEST MOMMIE SHE CAN HAVE..THE BEST!

  598. I loved reading your beautiful story. I identified with much of what you wrote. Our beautiful little girl with a little something extra turned 3 recently and is pure delight to our family. I know you are blessed too!

    Blessings
    Leslie

  599. My sincere hope is that you do make it through all 600+ comments and that you know how much this one blog post has meant to so many. 2 hours after starting my second reading of this story, I am still looking through the comments with the tears flowing. From one special needs mommy to another, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the story of precious Nella. It got deep down in me, and I think perhaps brought me through another stage of grieving for who my 11 month old little girl was “supposed to be.” It’s just so nice to see someone else sharing their very human feelings on this journey. Nella and Lainey are so very blessed to have a wonderful mommy like you.

  600. Thank you sharing your story with everyone. Your strength, your unconditional love is beautiful. This is my first stop at your blog, but certainly will not be my last.

    My son was just recently diagnosed with Autism. My heart broke into two, but we’re moving forward.
    I hope I can be as strong as you and your gorgeous family.

    Congratulations on your newest bundle of joy!!

  601. Our daughter was born without an ear. No ear canal, and a simple bump of cartilage where a “normal” ear would be. She didn’t pass her state-required newborn hearing screening on her “normal” side, and so for the first three weeks of her life, we thought she was deaf. She’s now seven years old, and the light of our lives.

    One night, in the darkest of the darks, my husband was helping me change her diaper and he looked up at me and said, “God chose us to be her parents.”

    The grief is overwhelming, but necessary, because the loss of a dream is grief-worthy. But then, you flesh-out the new normal. Your life, PLUS.

    I wept through your entire story because I remember feeling all of those feelings. Hurting all those hurts.

    You are blessed. Challenged, certainly, but blessed.

    Thank you for finding the words that for seven years I haven’t been able to pull out of my head.

  602. Anonymous says:

    So touching. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your amazing story. I can’t stop crying it’s touched me in so many countless ways.

  603. P.S. Our daughter’s name is Kelley. (and she’s not deaf – hearing impaired, but not completely deaf)

  604. I know you don’t know me but my friend is a friend of yours and shared your story. I couldn’t stop reading it. It was very inspiring. God Bless you and your family. Your daughters are beautiful!

  605. Nella is beautiful! You are so lucky to be her mother. You have a long, beautiful, exciting, trying journey ahead of you. You know when something just feels right and you are blessed to witness it or hear about it? I feel blessed to have heard your new beginning. Baby Nella was meant for you, she will be everything you’ve always dreamed of and more <3

  606. In reading this, you’ve helped me.
    Thank you.

  607. I don’t know you and I’ve never read your blog but this has touched me so. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. You have been so honest in this post. It’s beautiful.

  608. Absolutely beautiful. There are no other words that I can think that fit your family.

    Congrats on your beautiful new bunny.

    And know that I am hooked on your blog. Nella’s birth story is the first post I have read and I am excited to read about your girls growing up together, as sisters.

    God bless.

  609. Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl. Your post brought tears to my eyes as I remembered having all of the same feelings you expressed when my own daughter was born 5 years ago. I was so sad and scared, yet so full of love and adoration. Now I look at my blossoming, amazing 5 year old and wonder why I wasted so many tears. She is beautiful, and perfect and a true blessing in our lives.

  610. Sheli - Indiana says:

    I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us…I will anxiously follow your blog! This has to be the sweetest thing I’ve ever read…so poignant…so honest. You are a pure soul and Miss Nella is just a blessing for you…your family and “us”…again I say thank you for sharing her and your story. Sometimes we just need the littlest thing to bring us back to reality back to how blessed we truly are. For me today it was your story. May God continue blessing you! Big Hugs!

  611. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. It was so moving, it brought me to tears.

    Your 2 girls are beautiful and perfect.

  612. Thank you so much for sharing your blessing with us. I look forward to watching all of you grow.

  613. Thank YOU! for sharing your experience, for putting to words the very things that lie in my heart and are part of my experience with my beautiful Selah Jane who was born on 8/14/09. I wanted to share something with you that God revealed to my husband years ago before we had children and brought to mind when we were in the hospital awaiting the confirmation of the Down Syndrome diagnosis. We too, have a precious 2 year old little girl who is big sister to our angel. I look forward to reading more of your journey. It has brought me to tears reliving my journey. I cannot thank you enough. I hope you enjoy the following:

    The Angels

    God was in heaven watching how the men were acting on Earth. Desolation reigned.
    More than 6 billion human beings are not enough to reach the divine glory of love! The Lord sighed. The father saw so many humans at war, husbands and wives who did not complete his spirit, rich and poor living separately, healthy and sick distant separate, free and slave.

    One day God met an army of angels and said: Do you see the humans? They need help! You will have to go down to earth. Us? They asked the angels excited and scared, full of faith.

    Yes, you are the chosen ones. No one else could accomplish this task.

    Man was made in my image, but each with special talents. I allowed differences among them so that together they would make up the Kingdom.

    Some will have riches to share with the poor. Others will have good health in order to care for the sick. Some will be wise and very simple in order to show feelings of love, admiration and respect.

    The good should pray for those who act as if they were bad. The patient will tolerate the neurotic. Finally, my plans must be fulfilled for man to enjoy from Earth, eternal happiness. And to do that, you must go to them.

    What are you talking about? Asked the angels. Since men have forgotten that I created you with differences to complement one another forming the body of my beloved son, you will go with obvious distinctions and special assignments.

    You will have excellent memory and concentration, you will be blind!

    You’re will be eloquent and very creative in expressing yourself, you will be deaf!

    You will have deep thoughts, write books. You will be a poet! You will have cerebral palsy.

    I will give you the gift of love and you will be your own person, there will be many others like you across the Earth and there is no distinction among races because you will have the face, eyes, hands and body as though you were blood brothers. You will have Down syndrome!

    You will be very short in stature and your kindness and sense of humor will reach the sky, you will be little people.

    You will live on Earth, but your mind will remain in heaven. You rather hear my voice to that of men, you will have autism!

    To the last angel He said, you will be as able as any, you will be without arms and do everything with your legs and mouth.

    The angels were happy with the distinction given to them by the Lord, although it caused them great sadness to leave heaven to fulfill His mission.

    How long will we live without seeing you? How long we will be away from you?

    Do not worry, I’ll be with you every day. Besides, this will only last a few years.. All right, Father. It will only be a moment on the eternal clock.

    Excited, they went to Earth. Each one went into the womb of a mother, where they developed for 6, 7, 8 or 9 months …. At birth they were received with profound pain, fear and distress. Some parents refused the task, others were angry, others laid blame which dissolved their marriages and some cried and loving accepted their duty.

    Angels continue to come to Earth in limited bodies with higher spirits and will keep coming as long as there is humanity on the planet.

    As the angels know that their mission and their virtues are unity, faith, hope and charity governed by love, they have managed to forgive and with great patience pass illuminating life to anyone who has desired love.

  614. Congratulations on the birth of another daughter and congratulations on Down Syndrome. You’ve embarked on what will likely be the most incredible journey of your life. My beautiful Down Syndrome daughter, Jalayne Grace, was taken from us in a horrific accident just 5 months ago. She was the most beautiful thing in our life. All joy and sunshine. I miss her and DS with every ounce of my being. You will have some small bumps along this road, for sure, but nothing that great love cannot conquer. My guess is that she will give to you, far more than you will ever be able to give to her.
    Hold that beautiful child close to you. Cherish ever moment of her, life is so very fragile.
    Rejoicing with you, aching for my own sweet Laynee
    Karol

  615. Anonymous says:

    Congrats! This is definitely a story of love! You have such a beautiful family.

  616. Anonymous says:

    An absolutely beautiful story. You have been truly blessed with two beautiful daughters. Wishing you and your family years of happiness

  617. Nella is beautiful and so are you! Thank you for reminding us what being a mother is really about… unconditional love.

  618. This is the most heartwrenching AND heartwarming birth story ever. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. And she IS absolutely beautiful and perfect.

    Welcome to Holland, Kelle.

  619. I am new to your blog and certainly regret that I haven’t followed it until today. I was touched by your honesty and vulnerability –gut-wrentching but so real and beautiful.I applaud you as a mother,writer and truth-teller. I was there with you all the way praying that the power of love would help overcome the challenges that had come your way. I hope you feel bolstered by the collective love from your readers turned friends. And the photographs told their own story of uncertainty,pain,love —and with the love, the transformation comes. The latter pics of Nella show such contentment,peace and and joy.(It’s almost like she’s saying”YES,I’ve won her over!!!”)
    Thank-you and I will tune in to hear how the book of your life plays out!!!

  620. Thank you so much for sharing your raw heart with us. Your words and these pictures are beautiful.

  621. Anonymous says:

    I had our fourth baby, a third girl, three weeks ago. I can’t stop crying as I read this page. When I saw the picture of your little girl’s face and the part where you heard her begging you to love you…I just broke down. I don’t know that I have ever read a more profound, pure witness to the power of love in a broken world. You prove what my husband and I believe about “disabled” children: they are given to us for us, to make us more loving, more forgiving, deeper. More real.

    Congratulations and may God continue to bless you.

  622. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

    Also: Love.

    — J

  623. That was beautiful. As is your family. Congratulations.

  624. I was sent this link from a friend. It is Saturday morning and I am crying in my coffee. Happy tears.
    Your sister said it best, “you were chosen.” And what an honor that you get to be Nella’s mother.
    A perfect name for a perfect child. You are about to start an AMAZING journey and I can’t wait to read about it!

  625. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an inspirations to Mama’s everywhere and your daughters are just BEAUTIFUL. I have a little girl who is 2 and a baby on the way, so my heart goes out to you. I felt so moved by your words that I blogged about you and Nella and included your story. If you don’t want me to share your link please let me know and I will remove it. But I felt it so important to share it with my fellow Bumpies that I could not resist. Please know God has a special place in his heart for children and He has truly blessed you in ways you may not fully understand yet, but you will. Your family is just inspirational and I thank you again for your courage and strength ❤

  626. I’m pregnant with my first child…and tears are streaming down my face…your story is a beautiful one and I thank you so much for sharing it. I can’t tell you all of the things I worry about these days – but from now on, when I begin to worry, I will remember what really matters – loving this child with everything I have.

  627. your story is an inspiration – please keep sharing. I cried shallow tears first. But they became real as I read and felt your honesty reach out to your readers. God bless you – thank you reminding me of Christ’s love here on earth.

  628. Thank you for sharing your story. When I was pregnant with my son Ben, I was told that he might have Downs and I went through a tremendous amount of fear, anger, guilt and countless other emotions. I was never sure how I would handle his birth until he was in my arms. He was born healthy and does not have Downs, but I know now that I could not help falling in love with whoever he was. Indeed you were chosen for this journey; your children are so fortunate to have you as their mother. I pray the greatest joy for you and your beautiful family. God bless you every day; wait, he already has.

  629. That is so beautiful. Nella is so fortunate to have such a wonderful mother, full of love and passion and understanding. Lainey is going to be a great big sister, who’s never going to know Nella anyway than the beauty and wonderful younger sister that she is.

    Thank you for sharing your story, in all of your honesty. That can’t have been easy for you.

  630. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know you, but a friend send me the link to your story and I have just sobbed my heart out. You are a very special, wonderful person. I wish there were more people like you in the world. Nella and Lainey are very very lucky girls. Congratulations on your beautiful baby daughter. xxx

  631. Your story made me hold my breath with tears in my eyes…and then fall totally in love. Your family is truly lucky to have you…congratulations.

  632. Anonymous says:

    Amazing..Bless you and your family!

  633. Kelle,

    You are amazing. One of the most powerful and beautiful experiences I have ever read about and seen. Congratulations on the birth of your sweet angel!

    ~ Laura

  634. Beautiful story. Beautiful photographs. Congratulations and welcome to our wonderful club!

  635. Anonymous says:

    Kelle,
    I was moved to read your story. I cried as I began the very first paragraph. I am jealous of your ability to write your experiences so poignantly. You are blessed and I hope you can hold onto that fact through any difficulties you may face ahead with your precious, beautiful daughter.

    The first third of your tale could have been mine–it seemed so familiar. Early in 2007 I had the same anticipation and preparations going on. But the end of my story was different. My baby didn’t come home with me; instead, we laid her in her permanent bed 2 miles up the road in the cemetery. You talked about the baby you thought you were having as though she died, and she did for you. But your arms are filled with a more perfect gift. Don’t take that for granted. At least your arms are full. At least your love can continue to grow instead of being thwarted and limited to 9 months in utero and one precious, precious night of holding your daughter to your breast. I didn’t get to nurse my baby! And I want you to know that I would give almost anything to have her still with me, even with any so-called physical defects.

    Just thought you might want another perspective…

  636. I am in tears reading your story. Your girls are beautiful! {{hugs}} from NH.

  637. Kelle ~ Your story is as beautiful as your daughter. God bless you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing.

    As a mother I share your heartful tears of joy and happiness.

    Much love,
    Katie

  638. I think your story is a foreshadowing of things to come. It may not be exactly what you expected, it may take a little longer for some things that should come naturally, but what a glorious reward awaits where you aren’t expecting it. God bless.

  639. Anonymous says:

    I am sitting on my couch, this cold winter day, with large tears rolling down my cheeks…I was half way through your story when I got up, ran to my children playing on the floor and squeezed them harder than I ever have. Your story is beautiful. Your daughters are beautiful. Your family is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this and I am really looking forward to keeping up with the rest of Nella’s amazing journey. I literally feel warmth in my heart when I see her photo’s. Oh those bright eyes!!! And SMILES! What a doll. You are an extremely lucky woman to have her. God Bless you and your family.

  640. Anonymous says:

    What a beautifully written story and what a beautiful family you have. You are an inspiration. Wishing you every happiness for the future x

  641. Stopping by from Noelle’s blog.

    She is beautiful. Just breathtakingly beautiful.

  642. I can’t stop coming back to your blog and looking at the beautiful pictures and reading your birth story (made me cry yesterday and again today!). I have three boys and my youngest has DS (Henry, 5 months). You captured so much and were able to articulate what so many of us have felt and experienced. Thank you a million times over for sharing this with the world. I tweeted about it twice and put a link on my blog, because I think it is just a work of art (as are your beautiful girls!).

    Kara
    http://threelittlekings.blogspot.com

  643. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou for sharing your story…
    I am a Mummy too though we almost lost our second child at birth and soon after again, she has been healthy and there are moments that I forget the gift that God has given us with who she is growing up to be. Thankyou for the reminder to cherish everything! I needed that today, and will think of your family…

  644. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou for sharing your story…
    I am a Mummy too though we almost lost our second child at birth and soon after again, she has been healthy and there are moments that I forget the gift that God has given us with who she is growing up to be. Thankyou for the reminder to cherish everything! I needed that today, and will think of your family…

  645. This is one of the most beautiful birth stories I’ve ever read.
    Your daughters are beautiful, and so are you.
    Thank you for being so honest.

  646. Thank you for sharing your story :)
    You are so brave.
    I just wanted to say how gorgeous your family is and the pictures youve put on here are so lovely.
    Good luck to the 4 of you in the future.

  647. From one special needs mama to another – welcome to your new normal – and this journey where you will meet people who will renew your faith in humanity, and meet the best