The Corridor, Part II

by Poppa
(continued from Part I)

Kelle has more than impressed me with her photography. I especially appreciate the subtle adjustments she makes with the lens to focus on one element and send all the rest into an ambient blur. So it was when I stepped into the birthing room. Moments ago it was filled with such abandon and joy. Now it seemed so still. The only thing in focus to me was my daughter’s face as she held our new gift, amplified by the echo of the nurse’s words “She wants her dad.” Everything and everyone else slipped into a blur. The glisten in her eyes told me there were tears. And she wore a smile…not the smile I so often saw on this happy soul. No, this was the smile reminiscent of the little girl years ago who tried to muster a smile after a deep hurt. This was a pained smile. The smile was for me; the pain was for us all.


Her voice, as she began the six words that would forever change our lives,
was apologetic…almost an appeal. An appeal to accept, to love, to receive.

“They think she has Down syndrome….” were her words—no softening preface, no commentary after…just fading down to the smile still sending its plea to accept the news and the sweet one she was snuggling close. While something within me wanted to cry to the heavens, “No….” a softer yet stronger voice simply said, “Well, we love her…she’s our gift.”


Other words were spoken, I am sure, but I don’t remember them. I was reordering myself—walking around in my mind, looking for doors to be opened, finding them only in my heart. I just wanted to hold my baby and have everyone else go away. I wanted to begin to feel what this was and where we were going. And then I heard my daughter’s voice again, as she lifted Nella toward me, asking, “Can you pray?” And my throat suddenly burned as my arms moved without thought to cradle this little one who fit so beautifully in them. And I suddenly just wanted to thank God for her…for all of her…for what we knew and what we didn’t know. And I wonder if gratitude is the uniformed doorman of the heart needing to be healed. I do know tears must improve vision, for Nella looked even more beautiful through my weeping eyes.


I am not sure when or how I arrived back there, but I stepped back into the corridor. Kelle had asked me to call Brett’s Dad and Donna Nana and tell them…she wasn’t sure Brett could quite yet. And she wanted me to call all my family, tell them and ask them to pray. She wanted everyone in the corridor to know…now.

Like tidewaters fingering up the beach, the news spread. Words were shared, tears were released and friends connected in embrace all down the corridor. These beautiful friends—who moments ago looked like a casting call for Sex and the City as they crowded into Kelle’s room—now cared nothing about running mascara or those really face-distorting sobs. All this, I thought, was Nella’s welcoming embrace…it was her first glimpse of her loving “family.” It was good.

Brett joined us in the corridor. Strong, sure and solid, he had been Kelle’s rock in the birthing room. His first question there, after hearing the pediatrician, Dr. Foley’s strong suspicion, was to ask, “Well, we can take her home can’t we?” That is classic Brett. Home is his Command Central. It is “The Bridge” of his USS Enterprise. It is where he sets his strategies for life and solves his problems. He needed to get his baby home and all would fall into place. But for the moment, he needed the corridor. I remember seeing him and Poppa Gary—two non-criers, holding each other and actually shaking as they wept…no words, no consoling comments, just shared tears between silent souls. Weeping in a safe corridor. The embrace of tears ended without a sound. The two stepped apart and Brett spoke. They weren’t profound words about destiny and accepting the challenges of life. They were practical words about a decision to stay the course of celebration and welcome a present that was present:
“We need more champagne…more people are coming” (he knew the rescuing troops would quickly be deployed). Wise words. Good plan.

And then he broke my heart. I don’t know why his simple words and daddy plans caught me off guard, but they did. Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was the wounded-soldier-struggling-to-raise-the-flag image I seemed to see. Maybe it was how very important this was to him. In these first moments of life after Nella, Brett asked Gary to look for one of those big pink stork lawn signs used to announce a baby’s arrival—as big as he could find. He wanted it on his lawn. He wanted it there soon. And pink balloons when Nella came home. Lots of them. This is so Brett. This is why I love him so.

From there, it was in and out of the corridor to the room where Kelle and Nella were. No one told us to close the door between. We just did. We did because we needed it closed—we needed our backstage. It was where Kelle’s friends cried. It was where secret strategies of support were arranged. It was where honest cell phone conversations were connected and we could say words and express feelings we couldn’t yet in that room. It was where we could be broken and be put back together. It was where we could greet the just-arriving, receive them in our arms and send them into the room and onto the stage.

And then…after some time and what seemed a hundred friends’ arrival later— about the time a quick transfer to a post-partum room upstairs was to be made—it seemed we were done with the corridor. We didn’t need it any more. What was happening IN the room seemed real and even relaxed now. Oh, there would be new arrivals still and there would be tearful reunions, but the two realms seemed to be blending like dawn blends night and day. Nella’s world now knew. The champagne run had been made. And a very large pink stork was on its way to the yard of a very pretty little girl and her new family. She was here now—and her little loveliness was even seeping into the corridor.



As I helped those who were enlisted to pack up the bags and bundles of the very well-planned Welcome Nella Celebration onto wheelchairs and shelved carts for the move upstairs, I watched Kelle take one last look at the birthing room that brought her more than a baby. I followed the parade to the elevator and, before boarding turned for my own farewell glimpse—of the corridor. Yes, we were now done with the corridor—with its little alcove where I had paced while talking on my cell phone to Brett’s dad and my family, with its tiled floor where I saw Jeff and Heidi, hugging, slumped and weeping and then on their phone to help fly Kelle’s sister down and with its long window where I saw dads and grandparents I didn’t know greet friends they did with laughter and levity. Yes, I was leaving our consoling corridor and it was ok. Even the little lighted arrow on the button by the elevator reminded me…we were going up.

Once again, I am brought back to that evening and the pain becomes more beautiful every time I go there. If I could go through that evening again–even the rawest, most painful parts–I would, in a heartbeat. It changed me and, in the end, we get Nella. How cool. Thank you, Dad. I love you. Yes, Up we go. Can’t wait to see the view from the 31st floor.



Leave a Comment
  1. My goodness I can so see where Kelle gets the words from – this was beautiful and poignant and honest to read. The idea of protecting as a father would is so perfectly conveyed. Just sitting here, trying to take a deep breath, wipe back tears…amazing how far you’ve come… Louise x

  2. Anonymous says:

    As I read your words here in South Africa your honest loving words have helped to ease many pains and you have given us reason to carry on – if there is so much love in your family – surely there is some to find in our beautiful country.

  3. As I write this sitting in an apartment in Ukraine and in the process of adopting a little baby girl with DS who was abandoned at birth and left in an orphanage, I am overcome with tears of joy for how different it is back at home…in the United States. Thank God for your story which will continue to inspire so many people to see the beauty in our special children and not the imperfection. Your dad’s words are just breathtaking and beautiful. Thank you Kelle and Poppa!

  4. Beautifully written. I so wish we all had a Poppa during times like those.

  5. so beautifully written!
    he should have a blog! :>) You are blessed to have each other!

  6. This is perhaps the most beautiful story I have ever read. Your Nella is a blessed child, and your family is blessed by her.

  7. Amazing. What a beautiful reminder of the day Nella was born. How special it is that your Dad wrote this for you. Thank you for sharing!

  8. The lump in my throat, after finishing, HURTS…why am I holding back tears at 6am? What beautiful wonderful AMAZING testimony to the moment of Nella’s arrival. My goodness, how truly blessed you all are on so many levels!

    God surely knew what He was doing when he placed Nella into all of your waiting arms.

    Much love to you and yours,

  9. poppa..most of our lives we little girls see our daddies as the “great oz”…knows all, does all and can fix all. The great oz sends us out on a journey called life to find something..something he knows is inside of us. sometimes when we come back we find the man behind the curtain instead of the great oz.
    he is flawed..human…someone who cries over our and feels our pain and wants to fix everthing for his precious daughter and knows he can’t. so he does the next best…he does what his little girl wants him to..he gathers his baby granddaughter in his hands and raises her to the heavens and thanks God for her life..for the beauty she is going to bring.
    i think the great oz is a tad overrated…me i prefer the man behind the curtain.

    you make my heart smile. ♥

  10. I will never look at the hospital corridor the same way again. Thank you Nella’s Poppa for being brave. Now I see where Kelle gets her beautiful writing from.
    You all are sooo beautiful.

  11. Oh, that was beautiful! Thanks to your dad for sharing with us.

  12. What a beautiful account of Nella’s arrival Poppa. Amazing to read, the tears are glistening. Thank you for sharing this with us. Kelle, you amaze me, I love reading your blog. I love logging in and seeing a new post. I can’t wait to see more of your beautiful family growing up.

  13. I was disappointed when part 1 ended last night and I was so excited to see part 2 this morning when I turned on my computer!
    thank you for the words and the story! Glad I wasn’t at work because there was just no holding back the tears =)

  14. Lovely words. You are a very blessed family to have each other and to have your lovely wee girl.

  15. That was an amazing account of an amazing event in your lives. What a blessing for you to have these words from your dad. And Nella to have them from her Poppa. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Such raw emotion. Makes us feel like we were all there with you. Nella is one LUCKY little girl to be surrounded by such a wonderful family and friends.

  17. Woke up, rolled over to grab my phone and hoped I would find “the rest” . . . it’s so much more! Beautiful words that brought me to tears! I admire both you, Poppa, and Kelle’s ability to put it all out there. Leaving yourself so vulnerable and raw . . . I’m way too much of a wimp to be that strong to do that. And as I commented last night, the relationship that you have with each other just gets me. I really was a daddy’s girl my whole life until a curtain was pulled and instead of finding good and truth, it was only bad and lies. How I wish I had a Poppa like you!! And because of this story I’m going to ask my Mom today, what happened in our “corridor” the day my son was born. Never thought to get the story from her point of view before. Thank you! Thank you so much for your uplifting words!

  18. Breathtaking..
    Poppa is amazing ♥
    Lovely lovely words…

  19. Love really does conquer all.

    Thank you for sharing it with us. You’re a good man, Poppa.

  20. PrettyBubbles says:

    Thankyou Poppa!! Im sobbing so hard, what a beautiful way to tell Nella’s story from behind the scenes. Beautifully written too, a definite family trait!

    Ive been following your journal for some time Kelle, but never usually comment, but i feel so awestruck that i just have to. I often re-read Nella’s birth story, its so beautiful, and gets me every time. So its wonderful to hear your Dad’s account, you are both truly blessed to have eachother.

    Thankyou so much for sharing your journey with the world, youre a true ambassador now, and little Nella has opened so many peoples eyes (and hearts!) And Lainey is doing you all proud, what a little smasher she is!

    Big love to the Hamptons and their extended family! Love, Jo xxx

  21. Poppa’s words make me miss my father, who went on years ago. God bless you, Poppa, and much love to you. You are a role model for daddies and granddaddies everywhere.

  22. I am so glad your father shared this with all of us. It was beautiful.

  23. Your Poppa is awesome. I still tear up reading about that day that your beautiful Nella joined the world. She gets cuter everyday and I’m sure she is the apple of everyones eyes! Thank you for sharing with all of us…

  24. I love this Poppa. He is so eloquent…so full of love! If someone could hand pick a Poppa I think he would be on the top shelf, with an empty pricetag, because he is…PRICELESS.
    I am moved again, beyond words. This blog has brought so much love into my heart for a family who doesn’t even know me, yet I feel like a part of it! Thank you for that. Thank you for Friday morning tears at work. It’s humbling and gratifying in so many ways!
    Nella, you’re a Rockstar, baby!

  25. There just aren’t words to describe the journey you all have been on. Thank you for sharing your moments with us!

  26. Wow, Kelle, what an amazing account by a man who truly has a gift for words. Beautiful. What a blessing it is that you have this to reflect back on in the years to come when all the details fade. Definitely brought me to tears this morning, but good, happy tears. You can feel the love through his words. You have a beautiful family.

  27. Love. Raw. True. Beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing Kelle’s Dad.

    God bless.

  28. Monica, you are part of it. I think what we are all discovering is we are on ONE journey as ONE family…the human family who perhaps needs to embrace fragility as a delicate distinction and brokenness as the doorway to truth. Thank you for kind words…but it is the subject that makes the story beautiful, not the scribe.

  29. PrettyBubbles says:

    Im even more in love with Poppa now!

  30. Just precious. I can see where you get your ability to write so beautifully!

  31. That was beautiful. Thank you.

  32. Beautiful, indeed. What a gift, to have such beauty of spirit and of prose in the family!

    Oddly enough, as I was coming downstairs this morning to start up the computer, I was thinking about That Day again, the beginning of my own journey. Three years in, it’s so automatic to wrap my plans and thought processes around Julianna’s needs–just part of the fabric of everyday life–but on Day One, DS seemed like a sky-high mountain to climb, and my brain kept shrieking, “I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t.” But of course I can, and I do. And so do you, Kelle, and oh, how I adore what you do here!

  33. Kelle, your Poppa is amazing. Not only do you need to write a book, but so does Poppa! Beautiful post, and what a wonderful, wonderful Grampa for Lainey and Nella. Thanks for sharing.

  34. wow..what a powerful story! God has placed Nella into such a beautiful family, with so much love to share. Thank you for sharing your story with us, it touches my heart, and makes me realize that no matter what challenges we face as long as we have the support of family, friends, and our heavenly Father, that we can face them with our head held high and a confidence that everything will be more than ok…it will be beautiful!

  35. What an amazing writer your father is! He shares your gift for telling a story beautifully and eloquently.

  36. I love Poppa!!! And I can see why you are such a lovely and strong woman, Kelle…

  37. Your dad has such a beautiful way with words too! Aubrey came so suddenly in the middle of the night, (c-section) that we had no wonderful welcoming committee. It was just the three of us…balancing life in the NICU.

    Nella, sweet girl, you have been blessed with a beautiful “family”.

  38. So thankful for you sweet baby gift of Nella. God knew you needed her. She was just the perfect fit for your family!

  39. Oh my. I am crying at 6:15 on a Friday morning. Beautiful post. This is life….told by such a talented writer. Your Poppa is amazing. Your story is uplifting. Wow. That was soul cleansing first thing on a Friday morning. xo. Malissa.

  40. What a wonderful Poppa you have. I can see where you get your beautiful talent from. What a lucky and blessed family. Thanks for sharing his story with us.


  41. So, good writing is genetic huh? Seriously, this story is amazing. So articulate and wonderful. and that gorgeous Nella bean was worth every moment!

  42. Nella ROCKS. Kelle ROCKS. Poppa ROCKS *repeat for the rest of your family*

    I am still not sure what to say after reading Poppa’s amazing words. It is so rare to see people share their stories and emotions in such a beautiful, raw way. I admire you Poppa for putting yourself out there in the open. I can’t say it enough: thank you to you Kelle and Poppa for sharing your story with us. Nella’s birth changed your life, and through your blog it is changing the life of many more people, including mine. Priceless. Thank you thank you thank you.


  43. Anonymous says:


    I have no words, only tears of joy for you, your family and darling little Nella. If everyone had love like your father has for you, like you have for him and like you, your family and your “village” has for Nella, the world would be a better place….

    Susan from Boston

  44. Wow…amazing and touching and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  45. simply beautiful…the tears are flowing with the rawness of your poppa’s words. the tears are also there because i wish i had been as strong as you in telling the world right away. thank you for your awesomeness. thank you for sharing your corner of the world. it makes mine feel a little bit less lonely. many blessings to you and nella.

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Thank you to your dad for sharing this moment through his eyes. Amazingly great post, and how better to end a post than with NELLA! Beautiful!!!

  48. I am currently in my classroom giving my students their Final Exam and they’re now wondering why I am up at my desk crying. I”m sure they think it’s something to do with math…

    Such a beautiful story!

  49. I am so very humbled that you would share your story with us. Thank you and may the Lord bless each and every one of you (even more than he already has!)

  50. So beautifully written! I had tears the entire time.

  51. Thank you so much for sharing Poppa’s story. He is an amazing father. Nella is so blessed to have such a loving family!!!

  52. Wow, what a beautifully written story. You are truly blessed to have both Nella and your Dad.

    Also, I am more than impressed that he knew how to iron on rhinestones!

  53. Oh Poppa, You said it like only a Supper Dad, Great Poppa could, most beautiful account of Nella’s arrival, Alla Poppa. Thank You for sharing Your sentiments of love, trust and family, Poppa, Your girls, Kelle and lil’s are so blessed of having such a Grand Poppa in their lives, and Grand Poppa who loves most unconditionally …Nella is a treasured heart and soul, and so lucky to have not only her Poppa, but her Daddy too, two very strong MEN in her corner, how heartwarming and most comforting as head of family …

    Kelle, Your Nella’s blue eyes surely a combination and relfection of her Poppa’s and her Daddy’s blues… Kelle You are so lucky, so blessed of 2 great MEN, and a loving family…and a sweet lil Nella too…love on Kella, love on, celebrate, rejoice and love love love the small things this wonderful life brings you …

    *warm hugs* Deborah the Canadian Nurse ….

  54. I love this.

  55. Truly beautiful. What an amazing and talented family you all are! Thanks to Poppa for is his amazing account of the day and to Kelle, Brett, Lanie & Nella for sharing your lives with us readers.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful!!! No words can describe so I will say this…

    What a special and treasured gift your Dad (Poppa) has given you in documenting his account of Nella’s birthday!

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

    PS – Thanks for not making us wait too long for Part II. It was the first think I checked this morning on the computer! =)

  57. Anonymous says:

    wow i have no words,
    poppa would you consider adopting a 30 year old mother of two?????????Liz

  58. Beautiful! Now I see where you get your writing talent and style from! Such a great father and grandpa!

  59. Just beautiful! Once again, I am sitting here with bated breath taking this all in. Thank you for sharing!

  60. Kara Brown says:

    Such an honest, and beautiful account of a monumental day for you all. Your dad writes beautifully. I was so touched by his reference to all your amazing friends, and Brett. You are so lucky to have all these amazing people in your life. So beautiful. In every way. :)

    Kara Brown

  61. Anonymous says:

    Well I can certainly see where Kelle gets those writing chops from. Eloquently said, Poppa…reading your account with a big lump in my throat. Ah, the love of a grandparent…truly boundless.

    Jenny from MA

  62. This is so beautiful. It is so unfamiliar to me, in the mix of so many familiar words and feelings. What I wouldnt have given to have a POPPA there for me. But that is besides the point.
    Kelle, Im still climbing, going up, not even sure what floor I am on anymore. But I have been high enough to see the heavens, and I promise you, Nella will always be there to show you the way to go. My beautiful baby girl has grown in the blink of an eye. June 27 she will be 12 yrs old. she is so much beauty, so much love, all wrapped into one precious little person. and to this day, she surprises me with the things she teaches me. I have leaenred that even on the days when the elevator is going down at breakneck speed, your heart will still flutter above, like it did when you were little and your dad drove fast over belly bump hill. It tickles, in a way, and it is kind of breathtaking, but it is a vivid reminder that your heart is most definitely still capable of feeling new things and pounding with love and excitement. I wish I could have journaled my trip, but I am remembering vicariously through you and nella. and poppa. If you get a sec, check out my blog, I posted a picture of my big girl this morning, she is so big and so beautiful. and that sweet little nose is still the same as it was that first day, and I love it.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Dear Poppa,

    I wish I’d had a parent like you. But oh, how i pray to be, how I strive to be a parent like you. Thank you for sharing your story. Nella certainly is your family’s precious, perfect gift. Your words are a gift to me, and lots of others I see…thank you, again!

  64. So beautiful! thank-you so much for sharing this story!

  65. Michelle, I clicked to catch a glimpse of Ciarra and she is beautiful…I sent her a cyber kiss and hug from a Dutch Uncle here. Have a blessed day!

  66. This (and the first one) are beautifully written. I now know where you get your gift for eloquent writing. His deatils are so vivid, I felt as if I was there. Thank you for sharing your story so openly.


  67. Just beautiful. Kelle, when I read your birth story I felt like I was reading my own, with the same raw emotions. I often wondered how my dad felt that day. Even two years later, it is too difficult for me to ask him, as it would likely bring way too many tears for us. (And I am truly over grieving, just the emotion of that day will always be present). I knew he was grieving on his own, but he was so strong for me that day. After reading Poppa’s story, I feel like I know more now. Thank you both so much for this.

  68. WOW! Your dad can write. I have even more chills. I want to thank you all for sharing this most private moment with us your readers.

  69. Now we know where you get your beautiful talent for writing! Poppa, what an awesome father and grandfather you must be. I will tell you this, reading Nella’s story has changed my life, what blessed people y’all are to have her.

  70. Wow, that was amazingly powerful. Nella is one lucky lady to have all of you fabulous people and an awesome big sister.

  71. that was amazing and written so beautifully! There is not much more to say then beautiful. Nella is one lucky little girl!

  72. You are both such an inspiration. I am grateful to have randomly stumbled on this blog through various clicks here and there in cyberland months ago. My heart is full having read your stories. And the world is a better place because of your fearless accounts of such true, raw emotions. Thank you. SO much.

    You are ALL rockstars. (But especially that little bunny and her beautiful almond eyes!)

  73. What a wonderful post. And what a wonderful love father. You are so lucky to have these people in your life.

  74. What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing!

  75. So beautiful! What a wonderful father you have! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  76. Oh, I forgot to say that I LOVE the fact that you put POPPA in rhinestones on your shirt!!! you are so AWESOME!

  77. “but it is the subject that makes the story beautiful, not the scribe.”

    it is both. You must have a subject you feel deeply about and you must be able to frame the words around the subject. You have both a skill and a subject…..*sighs*

    what a deeply satisfying read these two posts were.

    Thank you Poppa…what a wonderful way to end my day yesterday and an uplifting way to start today.

    One more thing… another poster pointed out…I, too, will never look at a corridor the same way again, or an up arrow on an elevator.

  78. your dad is such a lovely writer. this story gets me every time. God bless you guys!!!

  79. Beautiful! I have read this three times and these lines:
    “And I wonder if gratitude is the uniformed doorman of the heart needing to be healed. I do know tears must improve vision, for Nella looked even more beautiful through my weeping eyes.”
    Get me everytime! A Poppa’s love is so extraordinary and special! What a blessing you all are for one another!

  80. Poppa,
    I have to tell you how incredibly amazing you are. You are so encouraging, you are strong and you have the most heartwarming way with words. I always look forward to reading your comments. Kelle is incredibly blessed to have you as her father. I have been so touched by you and your inspiring family. Wishing you nothing but love and laughter…


  81. Wow, your father is a very talented writer…and seems like such a beautiful soul. Nella is very fortunate to have such a loving family and extended family!

  82. Thank you for sharing once again and especially for not making us wait too long for part 2. Such a powerful story of love and strength.

    Poppa, my brother in Afghanistan says thanks for the prayers. He and the troops are doing well.

  83. TwicetheSparkle says:

    Poppa ironed on the applique himself? While the whole account speaks volumes of how wonderful your father is, Kelle, THAT warms my heart the most.

    This grown man ironed on a rhinestone applique that said “Poppa” for the arrival of his beloved Nella. He must be the most wonderful man in the world.

    Lainey & Nella are lucky, lucky girls.

  84. Absolutely Wonderful! Those words written by your father are so beautiful. I’m more than moved by everything you share with us. Your family is Love personified.

  85. What a beautiful story. Nella is a beautiful little girl. I don’t even know her…but just from your blog & all the pictures, I have so much love for her!

    Thanks for encouraging me so often to soak up life & love every minute of it!

    You have a beautiful family!

  86. poppa…thanks. I grew up with a drug addicted alcoholic, abusive father who was in prison for most of my life. In some very strange way, you are healing my heart a little. Hope Kelle doesnt mind sharing her daddy with all us grown up girls out here who need to hear his words as much as hers. 😉
    PS I THINK Miss Nella might be getting some Brushfields spots…I look for them, they are like this astral connection between our children. I once wrote “she kisses the angels she touches the skies, God gave her stars to wear in her eyes.” I hope He gave them to Nella, too.

  87. Poppa’s words are so real, so honest, and so beautiful. Kelle, this is where your writing comes from. Even though I have no children, and am just an engaged girl in Dallas, Texas, your blog has honestly made me feel a part of your family. As Monica mentioned, you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but your words make me feel like I do. Your beautiful stories about Nella (and Lainey!) are so honest and so loving…from reading your previous posts and reading Poppa’s recount of Nella’s birth, there seems to be so much LOVE in your family. Your daughters are so blessed to have you as a mother.
    Thank you for encouraging me and showing me that in the end, every little thing is going to be alright, and to enjoy the small things in my life.

  88. This made me cry at my desk today. So real. Thank you for sharing.

  89. such beautiful words and what a great thing to have.

  90. Okay, this family already “had” me with their honesty, beauty, and lots of love…but, the big pink stork with tons of pink balloons…well, I can’t even express how much that touched me…I got it!

  91. Oh my goodness…It feels like I just read Nella’s story all over for the first time…sobbing and touched to my very core! Poppa you are amazing. What a blessed BLESSED family you are. You deserve all the goodness that you have! Thanks you so much for making my week! <><

  92. This is absolutely amazing. I can see where you get your powerful words from. You are silly if you do not enlist your father as a co-author in your book in some form :)

  93. Wow, he sure knows how to wrangle the words into the most beautiful creations.

  94. kristi casady says:

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring, true, personal story of your life!

  95. I used to restrict my unabashed weeping to Hallmark commericals…but not anymore. Poppa, my theory is that when God made you, he filled you with enough strength, courage and love for 10,000 men. Because he knew that many of us would forget that we have that inside us, too…we just sometimes need special angels like you to remind us to embrace every moment and to help carry each other as we stumble on our ascent back home. And Brett, your kindness, grace and love is an example to all. The pink stork and mountain of balloons shouted to the world, “Nella has arrived!!! And we’re so very much in love with her….”

  96. That was beautiful and I think that anyone that has been on this journey can truly relate to all of those feelings. It isn’t until time passes that you say to yourself “if I had just known then, what I know now, I would have never shed a single tear”. But those tears were needed, they helped us through the unknown and made us stronger. And from my experience, as time passes, it only gets better. Year after year you think it can’t get any better, and then it does. Nella is so perfect and beautiful and that little tiny soul will teach you so many wonderful things about life. I truly believe that our children with that little something extra are here on this earth for a different purpose. Not to climb the corporate ladder, not to be astronauts or surgeons, but to teach us how to love unconditionally, to live life and accept anything that comes our way with open arms, to take the challenges, even if it will upset our perfect balance for awhile. In the end it’s all worth it!!!

  97. Absolutely beautiful. You certainly get some of your talent for writing from your dad. I can’t even tell you how much your story has moved me, and I cannot get enough Nella pics. That smile is DELICIOUS.

    Also, my friend Allison and I LOVE the bejeweled Poppa shirt. HA!

  98. Beautiful…simply beautiful.

  99. Lisa (from Chicagoland) says:


    Thank you for sharing this…


  100. A book.
    Called “Nella”…
    bestseller. BEST.

    We need this story told…over n’ over n’ over again…

    May you feel the love that is in our hearts for you all and may it sustain you every minute of every day.

  101. Wow, absolutely beautiful words. The sharing of the raw emotion both from Poppa and from Kelle in the birth story should be required reading for those going through something similar. It’s permission to grieve, to cry, and to fear—and then encouragement about the beauty to come.

  102. Wow…not hard to tell where you get your words from!! That is such a beautiful story written from the precious heart of a pappa…brings me to tears and I wasn’t even there.
    There are, I think extra blessings that come to those who embrace the gifts they are given and share them with the world. I love the passion with which you write. It’s so real and alive.

  103. What a beautiful post. It is so obvious where you get your writing talent from Kelle. Your poppa is one amazing man!!

  104. This comment has been removed by the author.

  105. I am in tears. We knew prenatally about my son’s DS and I often wondered how it would have been different if we had found out in the delivery room. This is such a lovely memory and account of a poignant moment and day. You are blessed. And we are blessed to read your and your dad’s words. Thank you.

  106. And Poppa….did you wear something orange when you wrote those beautiful words.
    Needed a hanky again……miss you all!

  107. Tears. Lots of tears. What a beautiful story! Kelle, I’ll say it again, you are such a lucky girl to have such a wonderful daddy.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Kelle, I’ve read Nella’s birth story so many times, I feel like I know it by heart. To hear it from a different perspective has brought me to tears all over again. Thank you for continuing to share your gift!


  109. Dear Poppa,

    I have never met you but I adore you.

    Thanks you for illustrating what a dad is meant to be.

    It makes me sad, for a brief moment, that I never had a good dad. However, I am grateful that Kelle did and that there are men like you in the world.

  110. What a sweet, sweet Poppa…I just love him! His version of Nella’s birth story made me cry big tears all over again. What a precious man. And what a wonderful idea, to get his perspective on this hard but wonderful day.

  111. You possibly have the coolest dad EVER. What a gift he must be to you!

  112. I can see where you get your beautiful writing style from. His words were so moving….I read this post 3 times and each time it brought me to tears. Beautiful…..just beautiful.

  113. wow…amazing, loving words!

  114. mommy of two girls too says:

    Wow…what a beautiful story!! Kelle, I can see where you get your writing and story-telling gifts from! Huge fan of Poppa, here!! What a guy!

  115. Just when I thought this blog (AKA your life) couldn’t get more beautiful…

    Poppa, my Friday is off to a glorious start because of your uplifting words. You’re right…the only way to go in this life is UP! Thank you for that reminder and thank you for sharing.

  116. Just thought I should let you know that I used a pic of Nella on my blog today with a link to yours. Hope that’s ok. I think it may be my favorite pic of her yet! Of course, they’re all beautiful. How could they not be? It’s Nella!

  117. I can definitely see where you get your way with words. This was beautiful. I cried, not because of what you all went through that day but because of all the love that your Dad describes. Nella’s birth is a beautiful story.

  118. You people make me cry every week! (Thank you!)

  119. I don’t remember my Poppa’s, I was only a baby when they passed on.
    But I would like to imagine they would be like your Poppa ….a strong man, beautiful, honest, caring, loving… and the list could go on. Thanks for sharing such a beautifully written account of the day that blessed Nella came into our world. The picture of Poppa holding Nella up and praying says a thousand words on its own. God bless all of you. Thanks Kelle and Poppa.

  120. Elizabeth says:

    Kelle, I’ve been following your blog ever since you posted sweet Nella’s birth story. I shed many tears for you that night in my living room.. your words and story were both painful and beautiful. I have been reading your words and pouring over your fabulous pictures ever since. Now I’m sitting here, in my office at work, crying again. Beautiful words from a wonderful Poppa. Keep telling your story, Girl, because I cant wait to hear more :)

  121. Absolutely beautifully written. As I sit with tears streaming down my cheeks, I am reminded that the elevator IS going up. I am reminded of what is REALLY important.

  122. Oh what a challenge it is to read this while at work – don’t cry, don’t cry – people are looking! Love it, very beautiful…

  123. kelle

    I came to your blog a few weeks ago, to Nella´s birth story.
    You have such a wonderfull family.

    I live with my husband and kids in Mexico, my family is in Argentina. Even if we were there, couldn´t have all the love you have for each other.

    I really like you all. You give hope and love to many people.

    Thanks for sharing your story.


  124. That is so beautiful wrote. You definitely get your way with words from your dad! What a special bond. Very beautifully wrote. As always, I await the next story.

  125. I’ve never commented on this blog before but came across it a couple of weeks ago and was moved completely with Nella’s birth story. Many tears later, I have blogged about it (and now this wonderful story) because I wish everyone could get a chance to read such wonderful stories of unconditional love. Breathtaking. Nella (and Lainey) are beyond blessed…and beautiful.

    Because of this wonderful account I think I’m going to ask my family to write letters to my 2 little boys about their views on the day they were born.

    I can’t express eloquently what I would like to say except “thank you” for being so raw and sharing your emotions (Kelle and Poppa) and helping us all to cherish our children (and parents) a little more…and that it’s okay to share your deepest pains and joys. Thank you!!

    And Poppa – I LOVE the rhinestone shirt…you have some lucky granddaughters!

  126. Just. Beautiful. That is all I can say.

  127. How beautiful – Nella’s story, your sweet poppa, and your dear family – and Nella most of all.

    I definitely want to put a link to it on my blog – so sweet.

  128. Anonymous says:

    What beautiful heartfelt words. And how wonderful to have such a man to bless your family.

    The world needs more Poppa’s. :)


  129. Anonymous says:

    What beautiful heartfelt words. And how wonderful to have such a man to bless your family.

    The world needs more Poppa’s. :)


  130. Simply beautiful – you and your Dad have such an amazing talent for writing! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  131. I could not stop the tears from falling as I read this beautifully written account of a life-changing moment. Your Dad (like you) has the gift of words and I feel incredibly privileged to get a glimpse of them. Thank you both so much for sharing your hearts and words. Nella is an absolute blessing as is every child. She chose the right family to become a part of for eternity.

  132. Thank you so much Poppa for your beautiful words. Through tears I am writing now. Our special Princess was born almost 2 years. ago. Your words were much like my Dad’s. When he entered the recovery room his eyes were smiling not tearful like I expected. He said she is beautiful I said Dad they think she has Down syndrome…. He said I know she is our gift. I was shocked I thought he would be crying like I was instead he was holding her like he held my other boys. He had no idea and either did my Mom how important his reaction was to me. I needed him to be my Strong Dad. He prayed over her for good health and thanked God for our blessing. I am so glad Kelle and the rest of her family have you. Family support makes all the difference. Almost two years down the road I would not trade my Jana Bug for the World.

    God Bless you!

  133. Anonymous says:

    So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us. Best wishes from Switzerland

  134. Kelle you have truely been blessed with an amazing family. Each time I read the words you write, I somehow find myself in tears. But they are glorious tears, full of life, and remind me of just how precious life is.

  135. Tears are pouring down my cheeks as I am reading this post. Not tears of sorrow, commiserating with the pain, but tears of joy at the beauty you own. I am in awe of your Dad’s words, ” And I wonder if gratitude is the uniformed doorman of the heart needing to be healed.” In those words are the keys to the kingdom. And, when you said, “Once again, I am brought back to that evening and the pain becomes more beautiful every time I go there.” Well, that my dear is a vision of heaven on earth. Beauty for ashes…

  136. Anonymous says:

    No wonder she wanted her Dad…what a wonderful tribute. Thanks for sharing a different perspective – its perfect.

  137. I’m sitting on the couch with my husband…He’s watching the early morning news and I’m reading beautiful words from a Daddy who loves his daughter. I love the photo of him raising little Nella up to the heavens as he asks her Maker for guidance and protection. It takes me back to Feb. 8th, 2008 as another Daddy did the same with his daughter…only she was 22 years old. A grand mal seizure, CAT scan, MRI…brain tumor. Two surgeries and countless prayers later, we continue walking the journey of brain cancer.

    I check in with “Enjoying the Small Things” every day and love everything about it…pictures, stories, your heart. I see Nella and her adorable almond eyes…and yet she’s PERFECT with a long life ahead of her! As for us, we’ll continue to hold our daughter up to her Maker and ask for guidance and protection. Neither of our stories are a surprise to Him…they’re just a small chapter of a bigger Book. Thanks for letting us read yours!

  138. Anonymous says:

    One more comment because I keep re-reading! These few examples below speak volumes as to what an amazing dad and husband that Brett is. The pink stork in the lawn made me cry buckets. What a display of acceptance and welcoming. Also, a loving gesture that demonstrates a husband deeply caring about his wife and letting her know that everything will be just fine!

    Love this…
    “Brett asked Gary to look for one of those big pink stork lawn signs used to announce a baby’s arrival—as big as he could find.”

    “Well, we can take her home can’t we?”

    “two non-criers, holding each other and actually shaking as they wept…”

    “We need more champagne…more people are coming”

    Love to you all,
    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  139. I can certainly see where you get part of your writing talent! This is beautiful. It moved me to tears just like your story of Nella’s birth did. Please thank your dad for sharing.


  140. Beautiful and so well-written. You draw us in and paint and paint and look at things from new angles that we hadn’t thought of, and bring us to teary smiles…until we’re immersed again in that moment.
    I love you unka rik!!

  141. Wow. I didn’t think it was possible to cry more than I did when reading your birth story. Your dad’s account is so touching. It is easy to see where you get your gift of writing and love from.

    I am 8 months pregnant and originally I grieved for you, and then reading your dad’s account, for him. As a parent to see your child in pain is the most painful thing there is. Luckily you’ve shown us all that this isn’t about pain… instead about beauty and learning from something bigger than us.

    God bless.

    – Katie

  142. That was amazingly beautiful and touching……

  143. Writing through tears here… tears of past pain, future joy, wonder & redemption. Poppa you are amazing… the way you can distill so much meaning & put so much emotion into these 26 little letters. Just, amazing.

    This is not a journey I chose, but I am learning *every* day that it is one I am so very grateful to be on. You & Kelle with your gifts of words & pictures have become a big part of my changing views… helping me bring into focus that which is important & letting the rest fall to infinity.

    Thank you both for sharing your talents with all of us.

  144. I am speechless, breathless. In awe.

  145. Absolutely beautiful. Real, honest, raw emotion. Just breathtaking. Thank you so much for sharing, Poppa. Kelle, she is truly a gift.
    Much love,

  146. Wow. Loved Poppa’s account. I’m sitting here reading part 2 with tears running down my face. Nella is beautiful…so is the rest of your family–blood and other.

  147. Wow! I don’t even know what to say except that was beautiful! My favorite line:
    “I do know tear must improve vision, for Nella looked even more beautiful through my weeping eyes”

    What a blessed little girl Miss Nella is to have such wonderful people to love her!

  148. wow. Thank you, thank you. That middle paragraph was a stunner (the reordering the mind and finding the way to the heart piece).

  149. Anonymous says:

    You are so lucky to have the two most important men in your life stand by you like a rock during the most trying time in your life! And Lainey and Nella are two lucky girls for having people around them who love them so dearly and without condition. Thanks Poppa for sharing yourself during that difficult time. I felt your heartbreak and outpouring of love at the same time. Nella is the most precious thing, ever.

    Y’all should write a book.

  150. **wipes tears**

  151. Beautifully written! :)

  152. Anonymous says:

    Such an enchanting journey…and I can’t seem to get off the caboose!

  153. Kimberly says:

    WOW, what an amazing account of the “other” side of this experience. Loved reading this and his words flow as freely as yours do!!
    Random question. The bird nest necklace that you wear is so sweet. Any chance you would tell me where you got it and if it was Etsy, who the seller was? I would love to get my mother one for Mother’s Day!

  154. This is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.
    Little Nella is so precious and beautiful…truly a gift from God. And your story has been a gift to me. Thank you.

  155. wonderful! beautiful! –the words, the love, Nella, your family, that special birthday. So grateful for sharing it all with us!

  156. Again, in tears. Thank you to Kelle and Poppa for sharing your stories. What am amazing family you have, but I know you already know that. :) The hospital I delivered my son at could learn a lesson or two from reading this. Thank you for bringing awareness to Down Syndrome and showing the world the profound joy they bring. Love to you all.

  157. these posts have changed me too. thank you for letting us in such a personal experience. you have given all of your readers such a gift.

  158. The gift of story telling is so enviable to me. Thank you for sharing that gift and the gift of a glimpse into your family. I wonder if Brett has written on his perspective of your blessed event. I would love to share in that gift as well.
    Thanks again.

  159. wow, im just speechless. I of course bawled like a baby, at this beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing! Nella truely is a blessing, and people (myself included) from all around the world who dont even know her in person, love this little girl (and Lainey too!)

  160. Oh, so beautiful. Now I see where Kelle gets her writing talent. What a beautiful family, beautiful hearts…Nella is a gift to you and you to her

  161. WOW!! This was incredible! Kelle- What a fantastic idea to have your Dad write. I am at a loss for words, but I think my favorite part of this story is when you asked your Dad to pray and he lifted Little Nella up and Thanked God for her, all of her….What a gift!!! She is…and Your Daddy!!

    P.S. She is a beautiful baby!!

    Blessings, Autumn

  162. Poppa puts in to words the way so many strangers feel about Nella. She has truly changed me as a person and the closest I have come to her is your beautiful photos! The love you all show, the embracing the small stuff, the living every day to the fullest is something I now strive for daily with my two small boys. What a gift she is!

  163. Gaining Grace, Brett’s “telling” is eloquently expressed in action and attitude not in narrative. Like many wonderful dads, he isn’t a wordsmith, he is a worksmith–he rigs up the little stuffed toy on the babyswing that clearly makes Nella happy, he makes us all crazy with the germicidal and grocery cart covers that make Nella healthy, he masters the cuddle and daddy-holds that make Nella cozy, he manages the kitchen duties and often eats last, snuggling Nella until Kelle and everyone else has enjoyed a meal…but to sit down and share his heart in words…he has already shared it in something louder and clearer. And he will continue to hold her little creased hand in his, bend down to walk with her on the journey and help her to become all she can and all he dreams she can be. Yes, he will. That’s the best telling of all.

  164. To Kelle and Poppa-

    You both have an amazing gift–such talented writers, and such amazing souls. Thank you again for sharing it with us. Tomorrow is my Dad’s birthday-we lost him to cancer almost 7 years ago. There have been many times over the last 7 years where I felt like Kelle “she wants her Dad.” (I know he’s watching over me, but I miss the hugs!) Kelle, I’m so glad your Dad is here to walk this beautiful journey with you.

  165. says:

    To POPPA: Thank you from a daughter who witnessed her dad’s heart break when we were told his first grandaughter…our daughter Savannah would die.

    My dad didn’t express words, just tears, but I imagine if he could have told me how he felt it would’ve been as you’ve written.

    Thank you for the insight into a loving father and….gradfathers mind when faced with watching his baby suffer!

    please continue to write!
    Diana Doyle

  166. Poppa, you are an amazing man, father, poppa and friend, I am sure.
    Kelle, Nella, Lainey, Brett and so many others are so lucky to have you in their lives.
    Thank you for sharing your version of “The Gift”.

    I also have to comment on the video of you making Nella smile. Good grief is that THE cutest! I did the same goofy things with my Chloe (still do).
    I often wonder if our little one’s are saying in their heads “I wonder what silly thing I can make mommy or daddy do today…”

    BEAUTIFUL PICS!! *sigh*

    *hugs* from
    ~~Ann & Chloe~~

  167. This was about as honest and raw as you can get. Just beautiful!!

  168. I never comment on your posts but read them all (sometimes more than once) I can see where you get your words from Kelle. You are so blessed and this was so amazing..I cried (a lot)

    God Bless you and your journey!

  169. Sitting here watching my tears hit the laptop as I real and raw and beautiful all at the same time. Just like life.
    Thank you Poppa for sharing your side.

  170. Amazing! Stunning! You both are incredible writers. I felt like I was right there in that corridor. My heart feels heavy and light at the same time.

  171. Amazing! I can see where you get your creativity from. This is very well written and I ended up having to stop several times to keep the tears from pouring over. I need to stop reading these at work, before my co-works start thinking I am a crazy crying lady.

  172. Beautiful words…Kelle is very lucky to have you in her life.

  173. Tears are flowing in KY! And I’m not even trying to stop them. Every child’s birth is so amazing, but what a blessing this child had waiting for her! What an amazing father you have. And what an amazing father she has. And what an amazing mother you are!! I am excited to follow her journey, your journey! I just need to remember to always bring my tissues! Thanks for sharing this with us! It’s beautiful!

  174. So beautifully written. As I read your fathers words, I became one in that corridor, I was so deep in his words, that I became a part of the crowd. You and your dad express yourselves from the heart and soul. You will have a beautiful life with your girls, they are a gift from God

  175. Ohmigoodness, that was so beautiful, your poppa brought [many more] tears to my eyes.

    I believe in God, but I don’t always know why He lets some things happen. When you asked your poppa to pray, when he took Nella in his arms, that just struck a chord with me. Sometimes I find it so hard to trust that everything will turn out okay, even though I know everything happens for a reason and He is in control.

    Sometimes the unexpected are the best blessings of all. Like a rainbow after the storm. Not only have you been blessed with this little angel sent from heaven, but you have the wonderful support of family and friends to help you along the way.

    Thank your poppa for sharing this emotional, wonderful, beautiful memory.

  176. Anonymous says:

    Dear Poppa,

    You’ve restored my faith that men like you exist.

    I haven’t met any in my life yet and sometimes it seems like such a luxury to hope.

    I am afraid I can’t afford it.

    But reading your words has made me courageous, becuase for me, hope can be a dangerous thing. Thank you so much for your words. Thank you for the hope.

  177. wow, the tears that stream my face, wow, thank you for sharing your beautiful story with all of us.

  178. Like everyone else who has read the words of your dad, I find myself crying out of sadness and then much, much more out of happiness and awe. You are so lucky to have such an open, expressive, accepting and loving family. I like to think that going through difficult times is made a little easier with such an incredible support system. What an amazing dad, wonderful husband and hundreds of fantastic friends you have. Nella is truly a gift… such a beautiful, little blessing. Thank you for sharing your honest feelings — you and your family are spreading happiness and positivity around the world.

  179. Wow. I feel like I am there. Your dad is so amazingly blessed with the English language- thank you for sharing this with us.

  180. Oh my – I obviously cannot say it any better than ALL of the comments that have already been left. I too sit here with tears falling on my computer and cannot begin to explain the absolutely truely warm feeling that is now in my heart. Poppa you are such a loving and tender man. Kelle you are such a loved lady – by all! Bless your entire family. It is so spectacular to see and actually “feel” your families LOVE.You make this world such a beautiful place for so many and for that we are eternally grateful! God Bless you All! And Thank You All!

  181. Wow, your father is an excellent writer. I have enjoyed every blog! Thanks for letting us read your world!

  182. Wow! Beautiful! Yes, there is much beauty in the world. Blessings from Texas.

  183. Anonymous says:

    Boy, did that make me cry. It so bought back to me the birth of my little Pete. My sister was at the birth, and she was great. But we didn’t find out that Peter had DS till the next day. I will always remember ringing Emma and telling her “They think he’s got Down Syndrome”. Emma was so definite that she even made me laugh at the time. “What rubbish, he’s perfect, he’s absolutely perfect”. I loved her so much for saying that, even though she turned out to be wrong. But now I realise that she was right after all. He’s the most perfect little boy in the world, and I love him so much.

  184. And I fall in love with your realness all over again. :) Big, warm, squishy, movie-reunion hugs!!!!

  185. What an emotional account Poppa! I’m crying! Those words also changed our lives forever! For the better! Crying is good! My heart has remained open since then and it continues to expand every day! Our little big love is our purest source of inspiration! Still crying! Yes Kelle! Yes Poppa! We are going UP! Everything is going to be OK! All is well~

  186. Beautiful job Poppa. It is no wonder where Kelle get her words from. You touched my hear and bought tear to my eyes. “She wants her dad.” It is so true that no matter how old we are we still want our parents in our times of greatest need. She is so lucky to have a father like you and Nella to have you for a poppa. Thank you for sharing your prospective and the love in your heart.

  187. Amazing. Poppa, you are wonderful. <3

  188. Once again, fantastic.

  189. Simply amazing. Congratulations on such a fantastic family.

  190. Forgot to mention Brett! My goodness, what an angel of a man. What LUCKY LUCKY girls!

  191. Now I can see from where you get your gift with words. Utterly beautiful, raw and honest. I love ‘Poppa’s’ account of Nella’s birth and my oh my, how beautiful she is growing.

  192. Your Dad’s words fly on angel wings, nestle in my own soul, stir my spirit, get washed with tears and I will never be the same.

    Oh, to have such love, as your Dad’s love. We are blessed, and the Gift that is Nella keeps getting bigger.

  193. Shoot…I had a whole other comment before this one (and it was GOOD and now I can’t remember all of it!) So the points…

    What a beautiful story told from another perspective, and it’s clear where you get your gift of prose, Kelle! Love the POPPA shirt. Just awesome! Thank you so much for continuing to share your beautiful story with us all. In doing so, you have brought a new lens into our life as well, that forces us to focus on all the beauty we have been blessed with, too. Its so easy to get caught up in the day to day, but every.single.time. I read your blog, it centers me…and either makes me cry or laugh or both! Thank you for sharing and making me pause to be grateful everyday.

    Funny story, but I must preface this with — we are NOT stalkers, however, there is a small chance we could move to Tampa and the first thing I asked my husband was, “how far away is Tampa from Naples? Maybe we could have Kelle take pictures of Ellie (our bunny) and then we could MEET her…and maybe Brett and Nella and Lainey, too!” My husband just smiled at his (sometimes) crazy wife and we went on discussing this possibility and then later, I went upstairs to check my email and found a Google map…from Tampa to Naples!

    I should add that you have touched him, too. My stoic husband has only cried twice in the 5 years I’ve known him. Once, at watching the VIDEO of Ellie’s birth (no tears were shed at the actual birth, mind you) and once when reading Nella’s birth story. Amazing, but not surprising! :)

    Also, hug that sweet Poppa of yours (and Brett, as mentioned above!) They both sound like the poppa I always wanted, but didn’t have so I married the one I wanted for my kids instead!

    Thanks again for making my day! Much love to you and your gorgeous family…inside and out!

  194. Good grief. It’s probably not approrpiate for a girl to be bawling in her office at work. Thank you to your lovely dad for his words.

  195. Beautifully written- Your Poppa is a wonderful writer. Kelle, your strength and wisdom inspire me daily. Thank you for sharing your life, in all its raw beauty, with the world.

  196. Thank you so very much for sharing this!! Your blog has brought me back to my own feelings as I found out my own daughter’s diagnosis… almost 4 wonderful years ago.

  197. What a beautiful beginning to your story. Thank you so much sharing.

  198. I remember when they let us back in the room. Your dad’s back was to the door and he was holding Nella Bean. I put my hands on his shoulders and peered over his head to see her. I knew before they asked us to leave. And coming back in was terrifying. I remember him saying, “she is our gift, and we love her” and his voice cracked ever so slightly and I lost it. And reading his version is so fantastic. I’m so glad I was there and will continue to be on this fantastic journey to Holland, Paris and everywhere inbetween. xo

  199. What a great Poppa!! Nella is so gorgeous – I could read about her entrance all day long.

    Much love to your beautiful family!

  200. I have been thinking and reflecting on Poppa’s post these past two days. I am ready to get on the elevator, up baby!

    You have reminded me that it is okay to live in that pain and come out on the other side joyful (something the world does not often let us believe). I am choosing JOY, I am going to embrace the wonder of it all. Goodbye sorrow, although you have helped me get to where I needed to be. I am all in. Going UP!

    I hope and wish that you know how much you & yours have helped me along this walk, our babies are weeks apart.

    Has anyone called Oprah????

  201. your dad writes as beautifully as you do. that is simply amazing. this could be a book it’s so well written! thank you for sharing your story and his story.

  202. Jess says:

    That was beautiful in such a heartbreakingly raw and hopeful way. I think when people found Nella’s story, it was so easy to feel sorry for you and your husband. To give prayers and hopes and wishes to you and brett. But reading your Poppa’s story shows how much deeper it went.

    That Nella having down syndrome shook the whole family, not just you and your husband. This story, both you and your poppa’s, gives us a view of how you all felt. But also the view of how wonderful a family you have brought Nella into. She couldn’t have found a better family to be with; she wasn’t meant to be with any other family. You all are wonderful people, and knowing that there are caring, kind, creative and beautiful people out there is such a breath of fresh air.

    I know that days will come that will be harder than others for you, Kelle, and sometimes Nella’s down syndrome will be really hard to bare for both you and your family. But I think even if it’s going to be hard at times, this is Nella. Nella is exactly how she was suppose to be. You have a cute adorable little girl who is going to grow up to be as compassionate and funny and creative as Lainey is now. Nella is perfect, she is exactly how God wanted her to be, and don’t let society tell you otherwise. Society has such a false sense of what beautiful is, of what perfection is, of what “normal” is.

    You have been given the best gift of all, two beautiful gifts, actually. I hope when I have kids that I can love them like you do, because your love is so blinding & shining that I can’t help but be jealous.

    Have a great weekend! I’m enjoying the hot weather up here in PA, but I guess you all down there are use to it!

  203. In no way does this have anything to do with this post. I’m actually rushing out of my office as I type this & haven’t had a chance to read what I’m sure is a beautiful, eloquent as always bit from your wonderful Poppa, but someone sent me the link to this article & I felt I should pass it along to you & anyone else reading these comments!

  204. I love your dad. Your Nella is a blessed little girl to have such a loving family. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  205. Absolutely beautiful.

  206. Wow, just wow. What a beautiful story about Nella’s birth day. Your dad did such an amazing job recalling such great details – ones that hurt at the time, and ones that were so beautiful through a father’s eyes.
    Nella is so beautiful and God has placed her in your family for a perfect reason, I believe that with all my heart. God doesn’t make mistakes. Blessings to you all.

  207. Beautiful.

    Kelle- I see now where you get your wonderful gift with words. Much love and many blessings to you and your family.

  208. So precious to hear the even from your father’s perspective. Thank you for sharing!

  209. Wow. Just wow. Even as I’m reading this, my own dad is driving to TN from OH to be here for the birth of my baby girl on Monday….this resonated with me so profoundly. Thank you, Kelle, and your dad, for sharing Nella and her life with us. You’ll most likely never know the hearts you touch…..

  210. Both part I and part II had me bawling my eyes out. What a writer your dad is! I can see where you get it. That was absolutely BEAUTIFUL to read. I love following your blog and seeing your beautiful girls, and hearing your amazing outlook on life. Thank you so much for all you share. And for your stunning pictures! I love them!

  211. What a beautiful story. You truly have an amazing family, all the way around!

  212. Sandra Scott says:

    This has to be the second most beautiful post I have read, first being Nella’s birth story. I am still in tears. I have been keeping up with your post sense you first posted Nella’s story. So many people with they had a relationship with their dad’s like you have with yours. You are very lucky to have him by your side every step of the one.
    Thank you for letting all of us see Nella’s story from what you saw. Nella and Lainey are two very lucky little girls to have you in their life. Thank you again.

    Lots of love sent to you and your family.
    God Bless,
    The Scott Family in Oregon

    PS: I grew up in Florida and reading your posts and seeing you photos help give a little pieces of home back to me.

  213. That Poppa of yours is quite the guy. When it seems there are no words, he uses ones that are poignant and lovely.

    So, so beautiful.

    Thank you.

  214. Now we know where you get your gift of telling stories. :) What a BEAUTIFUL story to share, and straight from the heart. Thank you SO much for opening your hearts… and for teaching us a little at a time. Give Nella a big kiss from me. :)

  215. Beautiful and perfect.

  216. That was beautiful!! What an amazing Poppa! Those are definitely the words of a kind, strong man.

  217. My 4yr old just came in and asked why I was crying. I told her that I was reading a beautiful story. She wanted to know what the story was about. I told her that a beautiful baby girl was born into an amazing family. I told her this little baby had a big sister like her (she has an 8 month old sister), a wonderful mommy and daddy and an amazing Poppa. She said “Oh yea? I have a Papa too and I love him. That baby is sooo lucky” Omgosh it made me cry even more. Nella is truely blessed and so is everyone in her life <3.

  218. that was beautiful, just as your’s was! i started reading shortly after nella’s birth and this has been my escape since; my reward after the kids are in bed, my break from the demands of nursing school, my intense burst of feelings that i live for. i have never experienced so much emotion as i did when i read nella’s birth story…thank you!!

  219. this was so beautifully written. What an amazing man your dad is. Such love, such tenderness and such wisdom. Your girls are so blessed to have 2 amazing men in their lives.

  220. Absolutely beautiful.

  221. Dear Kelle & Poppa

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of your sweet little angel Nella. My daughter Megan found your blog a few months ago. At this moment I sit in a room at the St Petersburg All Children’s Hospital reading your Poppa’s story. Our little angel Addison was born two days ago on April 29th, a week earlier then expected by emergency c-section. We have known for months that little Addison has some serious heart defects and that there was a big possibility that she may have Downs Syndrome. We are waiting for the blood work results to come back but it is obvious that our little angel Addison also has Downs Syndrome. I want to thank you for sharing your story. Your beautiful blog and story has been a blessing to us. You’ve shown us that yes this is a sad situation that was unexpected but it is still a blessing filled with beauty, love and happiness. God bless you and your family!

    in SWF

  222. gorgeous, wonderful and so awesome! what a wonderful father you have!

  223. Oh Arlene,
    You do not sit alone. I am shedding tears and sharing prayers for Addison right now…please feel attended by angels of comfort and lifted on the wings of a dove. Morning will come…morning will come. Love and prayers for you and your precious family…He maketh no mistakes.

  224. Wow…it’s easy to see where you get your beautiful writing abilities from!

    What an amazing account to have from the day sweet Nella joined your family.

    God surely knew what he was doing when he placed Nella in your care :-)

  225. Anonymous says:


    you have such a powerful gift. you have managed to change the lense through which people see. wow. it’s not often one is lucky enough to experience such a paradigm shift without actually living through an experience. it really would benefit the world if you were to publish these blog entries as your first book. such beautiful and special girls you have!

  226. Anonymous says:

    and poppa…there are no words…for you! <3

  227. You said it so well (and I know that we as onlookers can’t really understand), but the pain IS so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your experiences and your beautiful Nella with the world!

  228. i love the relationship you have with your dad…..although i am close to my own dad, you two have us beat. i hope my husband and my daughter have a relationship like the two of you do!

    nella is such an amazing gift to your family, and i’d like to thank you for sharing her – along with lainey, yourself, brett, and the rest of your family – with all of us.

  229. This was The most beautiful story I have ever read on a blog. I don’t even know what to say. I cried while I read the second part and I kept blowing my nose all the way down to the end. There is so much love in this story! Love for you, Kelle, and love for your little Nella. What a wonderful dad you have!
    The thing he wrote about his love for Brett really went straight to my heart. My dad lives in Sweden, we live in Québec, Canada. He has met my husband during 3 vacations, each lasting 2 weeks, during the last five years. That’s it. There’s no love between them, only politeness and handshakes. They don’t even speak the same language. I can’t imagine my father loving the man I love, and that just brings me to tears. Treasure all this love in your life!
    And thank you so, so much for sharing this story. It should be part of that book you’re writing about Nella. ‘Cause you ARE writing a book, right? :)
    ♥ ♥ ♥

  230. I am so grateful for what you have shared. your story of Nella’s birth and the blessing she has been. 29 years ago my mom gave birth to Sheri LeeAnn. They did not know until then that she had Down Syndrome. My sister passed before I was born. (not as healthy as your sweet Nella)
    And my mother recently passed. I never asked her about how her day was when she had Sheri, how she felt I just know it was quick, and they loved her.
    I miss my mom and everything you have shared has made me feel close to her… seeing into an experience she had that I have never known much about. I have always had a special place in my heart for sweet little ones like my sister and your Nella. what an amazing gift.
    Sorry this was so long but again , Thank you for sharing.

  231. Wow, again. I cried from the first word. Thank you, Poppa, for sharing the other side of the experience of Nella’s birth with us.

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  233. Wow Kelle and Poppa! Just WOW! :)

    I am almost 11 years into this journey and oh how I wish you guys were “on-line” when I began this ride! LOL

    Kelle, as I’ve stated before, I can and do completely relate to ALL of your feelings that you felt at the beginning.

    And Poppa, WHAT a gift you are! My own Dad couldn’t even bring himself to visit my Ryan in the nursery after he was born. It broke my heart. As the years went on, he became Ryans biggest fan, those 2 became best buddies, but sadly my dad is no longer with us. Oh how I wish he could have seen Ryan’s potential as you do Nellas!

    Anyway, I’ve made it my goal in life to make others aware of how “normal” life with a child with DS is, so if you want to catch a glimpse into the future, check us out! You guys ALL ROCK! :)
    Laura & Ryan

  234. Kelle,
    I truly believe that our babies need three things to be survive and turn into happy, compassionate adults…guidance, encouragement, and love; with love being the most important. It is obvious through your words, pictures, and beautiful stories from your dad that little Nella will most definitely get those three things and so much more. I know you will continue to enjoy each moment because our little babes grow and change so quickly. Take care and God bless:)

  235. Words can’t describe…I have been sobbing at my computer trying to think of something eloquent to say!

    You are an amazing person Kelle, your father is quite possibly one of the most sensitive men I think I’ve ever “met”. His parenting skills must be something else to have raised a great lady like you and to see you repeat the wonder again with your own girls is a joy.
    Once again thank you for sharing your amazing family with us all, I have been changed forever from reading your blog and glimpsing into your world!
    Ok, so now I am off to have a coffee and dry my tears…and to give MY beautiful babies some delicious snuggles too. :)

    Allison in Australia xx

  236. I have just gone through a box of tissues reading this beautiful story of strength and joy.
    Thankyou for writing such a wonderful and truly touching recount.
    I adore my own Dad and he has been there for moments when my world has fallen around me.
    Sometimes dads are the rock simply by their presence, whether tear filled or dry eyed…
    “She wants her Dad.”

  237. Kelly C says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us! Absolutely beautiful, honest and true. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  238. you were blessed with the same gift of words that your dad obviously has. : ) these experiences strengthened me more than you’ll ever know. As I’ve read all your posts I try and put myself in your shoes…..and i’m tempted to feel the same way you felt when you first saw her. But last night I had a dream that I had two twin boys and one of them had that magic chromosome. I was holding him in my right arm and my other little boy in my left and it just feel so surreal and shocking. Granted, this was a dream but it felt SO real. I felt shocked that something like that happened to me. But I remember feeling an overwhelming love and a strength that was almost tangible. I woke up actually wanting a baby with down syndrome. Every time I think about that dream i get all choked up and motherly hormones in me just scream “i want a baby!!!” You are a testament to the rest of the world. You are so blessed and have been amazingly gracious to share it with all of us. I don’t know what your beliefs are, but I believe in life after death, so when we all die, I think me and you should be friends in the next life. : )

  239. Laura, I went to your blog and loved seeing your family photos…seamlessly weaving three children into your family afghan. Your son–no less, no more amazing than your daughters for they are all amazing, exquisite children. What encourages me most is to see the wondrous normalcy of families that are not defined by Ds, but defined by love. That was Kelle’s first worry…that this “diagnosis” would consume the family, distort it, dent it deeply…instead, it has simply called out the best and brightest like some magic trace solution that just lets you see better the beauty that was, is and will be. I loved the visit to your family…proudly walk the beach and meet at the pool–the world needs to see this!

  240. Just beautiful. Ever since I found your blog I can’t seem to get enough. Your pictures of your beautiful girls are breathtaking. Do you ever do posts on picture taking. I would love any advice you could give. Just recently I got a Canon Rebel T1i. I know its not the top of the line, but do you have any tips for capturing pictures like yours. Is it the camera or the software that gives you the blurry backgrounds? Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Taryn

  241. Anonymous says:

    What a special gift for your daughter… I too was in her shoes 2 years ago – and I also wanted to know everything – what was said, how people reacted, etc. It’s so important to have those pieces filled in of such a monumental occasion in your life.

    We’re just 2 years ahead of you, but just WAIT for the wonders that will find you. Just the other day we were at a restaurant and a lady – probably in her late 70s or 80s saw our daughter and came up to us to tell us about her brother who had Down syndrome. She said he held her family together and when he passed away, it was never the same – and then how she missed him still. I would have never heard those loving words if it weren’t for my child.

    Sometimes it amazes me how I’ve lived this long and not been aware of how these children make the world a much more beautiful place. I’m glad for all of us that we know now. I love reading this blog because it just expresses all the love and beauty my family feels about our little girl too…


  242. whoa.

  243. The unconditional love in your family causes my heart to overflow my eyes with happy tears. I know I have said this before, that your Poppa sounds so much like my dad. We are blessed. In so many ways. Our Lila has brought so much beauty to our family, just like Nella has to yours. Hugs!

  244. Poppa is a bit of a legend – that made me cry and cry! It’s 2 years from the night that changed the rest of my life, when my daughter Georgia was born with Down syndrome. I wanted my dad too – unfortunately he was long gone, so was my mum. I can definitely see where Kelle gets her writing ability from, Poppa has got a real way with words, that takes you right there, to the corridor. I am so glad to have found this blog, all the way over here in Australia.

  245. Poppa –

    Your words bring healing to my broken heart. Beautiful expression of love – truth telling – with pain and joy mixed together just as it is. I am filled with gratefulness and love for the gift of reading this story.

  246. What a beautifully written, honest, raw account of the night your Nella was born! I had tears reading your dad’s view of that wonderful moment. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  247. I’m sobbing! Beautifully written. Poppa reminds me of my sweet dad that passed before he met his grandbabies. I love your family!!

  248. Gorgeous. Your dad has never failed to amaze me. Like father like daughter, I suppose.

    I’ve seen a few children with Down Syndrome since Nella was born. A sweet little girl who looked about 6 at Sea World. And today a 3 year old boy at the zoo with his mom and older brother. I don’t know what I felt before when I’d see a Down Syndrome child. Pity, probably. Sorrow for the family. But you have changed those feelings 100%. I now think about the strength of those parents, about the grace of those siblings and about the joy those babies are bringing to their world. And I think not just about the big moments, about the change and difficulty and drama (good and bad) – I think about the simple fact that they are a family. A family that has mundane mornings and giddy afternoons – days that are untouched by that extra chromosome. Because I know now that their lives are about so much more than Down Syndrome. So much bigger and so much smaller and more simple than the diagnosis. I saw that sweet boy peeking out of a stroller this afternoon and thought “you, my dear. you are beautiful.”

    Nella (and her momma) are changing the world. She really is.

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  250. I just love how you and your Poppa are able to catch the tiniest detail of the moments that happen in life and first, remember them, but also find the great meaning in them. It’s a blessing. I hit the pillow at night and am lucky to remember what I did that day.

    Nella’s birth story is amazing from all points of view. And I loved Brett’s reaction. You are such a loving family…Nella and Lainey are beautiful. I always say it, but thanks for sharing your story with us.

  251. ……….so, I must’ve have missed it….the picture of the flamingo with all the balloons on the front lawn. I don’t know Brett, but this makes me want to love him too!

    Poppa-my heart is so touched. Now, I see where Kelle gets her strength and love of life from.

    Bless you all

  252. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful account of Nella’s arrival, and what a wonderful gift to give your girls. Yeah for Poppa!

  253. How real, honest, raw, loving and beautiful! NOw I see where you get your beautiful writing, your beautiful heart and your sweet loving spirit! this is AMAZING!!!!! Give your dad a Hug from a reader who loves your blog and your sweet nella!
    tara pollard pakosta

  254. Barbra says:

    Dear Kelle:
    I felt privledged to peer through the window of words your Poppa shared with we readers; sorrow and joy ‘kissed one another’ and I can only believe that the genuine prayer raised from a Poppa’s soul over his Family had God peering over the clouds of Heaven and wrap a tight seal of peace around your little Nest Kelle. How extremely blessed to have a Poppa like yours Kelle….wee Nella sure knows how to pick the perfect family to “love in”.♥ It was a most beautiful ‘read’ Poppa.

    God Bless,

  255. amazing poppa! amazing! i am so touched by this.. tears, shivers and joy…
    and yes kelle, pain is a gift.. it changes you, makes you braver, stronger and in the end a much better person…
    i can’t believe how much love has been poured into nellabeans life.. this last picture of her is just love. love. love. love. love.. love from those eyes, love from those cheeks and love out of those adorable lips (i seriously want to kiss my screen right now!)
    in the craziest way, i too, feel forever changed with nella’s existence…
    we love her so much.. and we love all of you you kelle and your family… thank you again and again…be blessed.

  256. lightkeepersdaughter says:

    Installments 1 & 2 of Nella’s arrival here on Planet Earth are so beautiful – in their portrayal of love, in their magnificence of wording, in their optimism, in their strength……but, beautiful as they are – they are only 2 installments of what is, and will continue to be Nella’s beautiful life…..

    God bless you little girl – as you continue your journey here. If there’s any truth to the Buddhist belief (I believe it’s Buddhist!) that we choose our families, before we are born here – you have chosen well!

  257. lightkeepersdaughter says:

    Ooops! :) That wasn’t worded quite the way I meant!!

    I didn’t for a second mean to take anything away from Poppa’s beautiful story – I just meant that, because of the love that surrounds her, Nella’s life will be one of many, many beautiful installments! (Sorry, Poppa!) :)

  258. No words can adequately describe how touching that is. Wow!

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  260. Oh sob, sniffle, sniffle, sob. What a beautiful gift to you and to sweet Nella, to have this down for eternity. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  261. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t stop crying as I was reading this…so beautiful. Nella is such a beautiful little angel, and Lainey is adorable, too! My girls are very close in age to yours; I have an almost-two-year-old and a baby only 5 days younger than your Nella, so I can relate so much to so many of your posts. Your girls are so lucky to have a mama like you. You have a beautiful family and a definite gift–you are truly inspiring! Thank you for helping me to remember and enjoy the things that are truly important in life.

  262. Up…:-) The view from there is great, sometimes a little hazy, but rarely disappointing.

    And your sooo blessed to have such a father as you do. I had one like that too. I miss him every day. He always made me feel loved no matter what. He made me feel important like I mattered. What a gift.

  263. …and now we know from where you get your writing ability. Wow!

    Thank you for letting us in on this special viewpoint. Now I know to go ask my family to record THEIR view of that day and THE NEWS. I can’t wait to relive it from their side.

  264. Kelle,
    I read your blog to get lost in it, to get lost in your world. A world where you have an amazing father, an awesome husband, so many supportive friends and two beautiful little girls who are so lucky to have you as their mom. Your blog has made me laugh/cry/smile so many times and for that I say “thank you”.

  265. What a beautiful story. Poppas are so precious in their little girls, and grandgirl’s lives. My grandpa died yesterday. I was a star in his eyes. He loved me and I loved hime. I will miss him so. I am so happy that Nella and Lainey (and my babies!) know their Poppa and in his eyes they are everything. Just like I was to my grandpa. Love and hugs, Heather

  266. I came back again tonight to read this story for the second time – and to cry again in the quiet of my home. Such an amazing story. I think many of us live an amazing story everyday but we don’t appreciate it the way we should. The way you do. Thank you for the reminder that this life is pretty great.

  267. Poppa, it was so beautiful to read about Nella’s birth from your perspective.

    Brett’s unconditional love from the get go is amazing. Like Poppa said he is not a wordsmith. But, he sure conveys what his heart says ever so beautifully than anyone putting it into words.

  268. I loved every word. Thank you Poppa for your honest, true and loving words.

  269. Thank you for sharing your life. You and your family are an inspiration. I am blessed to get to read your words,and what a beautiful story by Poppa! Lainey is a treat and Nella is just delicious! She is beautiful. I pray for you and your family, and for many more blessings to come your way!

    LoveloveLove from Ohio

  270. Could God have given Nella a more perfect family? I don’t think so…in fact I’m sure that before she arrived, she was sitting on God’s knee and pointing at Poppa, Kelle, Brett and Lainey saying, “This is where I need to be…”. Thanks for sharing Nella’s birth through your eyes Poppa…I fall more in love with your family every day.

  271. “tears must improve vision” I love that! It’s true, sometimes we see the clearest when we are looking thru our own tears

  272. This is a beautiful post and what a lovely feeling to know you have such an amazing family there to be by your side.

    I wonder sometimes how my parents feel knowing they have a grandchild that is different from the norm, I think that it is nice your dad could tell you.


  273. “And I wonder if gratitude is the uniformed doorman of the heart needing to be healed.”

    Indeed, it is. I believe nothing is more beautiful to God than that kind of brokenness. I’ve been there too, and I also know what you are talking about, Kelle, when you say “the pain becomes more beautiful every time I go there.”

    God bless your beautiful family and the journey you are on.

  274. Wow – thats all I can say – what a wonderful story!

  275. simply beautiful…….

  276. Three weeks ago we were told we were having a boy!!! After 2 beautiful girls it just seemed so perfect to end our family with a “little man”. 20 min after all the excitment and I mass communicated the good news to everyone the dr came in and said she had some pretty bad news. Our baby boy has a pretty bad heart defect (HLHS) commonly found in Down syndrome. We have a 20% chance of downs (smaller chance of incompatable with life chromosomal defect). Choosing to opt out of the amnio we will just have to wait 18 more weeks. I have found myself wishing for a downs baby knowing the beautiful lessons this child could teach me. I remember hearing something like they are such a great example of Jesus: no judgment, unconditional love, joyful, kindness, ect…..Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. Both your girls are beautiful!! The way you capture them in pics is inspiring. Our story has just begun We just started a journal the link is It is very simple. My husband is the lead singer of the christian band Sanctus Real and we had to get something started quickly to inform everyone. Thanks again. I look forward to your further posts. Your fam is so beautiful:)

  277. Anonymous says:

    Lord, am a weeping mess. Poppa’s words are such a priceless gift to Nella, to you, to her whole family. This child is not only a gift she is a miracle, truly she is. She is changing so many lives and perceptions through the writings on this blog. I try to check in everyday, just to see Nella’s darling face and to remind myself how life can sent gifts we never thought possible. Thank you for sharing you “little present” with the world.

  278. A girlfriend of mine has a little girl who is 2. They wanted one more to make a perfect family of 4. She just found out she is having TRIPLETS. To say she is overwhelmed and shocked is an understatement. I stumbled across this the other day and it just seemed fitting to share with her. Then I thought of you. You don’t know me but your blog literally inspires me on a daily. Maybe you can get something out of it too.

    “I say to my child, I will explain to you as much of life as I can, but you must remember that there is a part of life for which you are the explanation”. ~Robert Brault

    We are never given more than we can handle. I am a firm believer. Nella was chosen to be yours…there is a reason:)


  279. Jennifer G. says:

    I love it….we need more champagne”. The celebration definitely needed to carry on. It seemed like such an instinctual response and so very true! You and your family have a beautiful way with words!

  280. What a sweet perspective. Being a special education teacher, I can tell you that if only all children had such a family as this. Thank you for being that family and realizing the truth, it is US that are blessed to be given such a privilege. Hugs as you continue your beautiful journey…

  281. Wow!!!! Poppa, you ROCK! WHat a tender soul you are and I am so grateful that you are willing to share your heart, your soul and your essence with this crazy cyber-world. I am forever grateful.

    Must say that your story took me back to my own son’s birth ten years ago (on our ten year wedding anniversary!)and made me remember my two dear, dear friends who decorated our house in welcome home celebration fashion for our sweet boy when celebration was the very last idea on my mind — we were terrified about his heart defect and impending open heart surgery.

    YES! Every single child is a celebration and a gift. Thank you for the reminder and for the best line in the whole thing: “If I could go through that evening again — even the rawest most painful parts — I would in a heartbeat. It changed me and, in the end, we get Nella. How cool.” EXACTLY my heart’s truth as well! Thanks Poppa! ~Beth

  282. All I can say, through my abundant tears of love for you all and for the suffering you have endured and the new light you have been shown, is that I can only wish to have the family and friends that you have. Kelle, I think you are so blessed in so many ways. Poppa, you have made an amazing, beautiful, in-touch daughter and I only hope the same for your gorgeous grandbabies!!!!

  283. Beautiful.

  284. Thank you for the Saturday morning tears and the reminder that in life, there is beauty everywhere. What a gift this blog is…helping us all remember what is truly important.

    Thank you Kelle and Poppa!

  285. AHHHHH, im a mess, mascara what?what a beautiful witness.Oh, Nella u moved more then just your family and friends my love, you’ve moved us all…you’ve moved the world. you are our” beauty in the world “, and for the record, My son is 2 weeks older, and he doesn’t hold his head LIKe you do champ!! YOUR BEAUTIFUL STORY KELLE ,MOVES ME…..MOVES ME TO MY CORE. Thank u for sharing.

  286. Kelle & Poppa,

    Simply beautiful.

    This story, Nella’s story, has forever changed me.

    I am not sure how I can ever thank-you enough.

    This, this life, this experience….it is destiny.

    Enjoy it :-)

  287. Anonymous says:

    Pure beauty and joy…I think I said the same words to my Mom and in-laws…just laid it out there looking for something…my mom said the same thing “it’s ok, we love him”…made everything ok.
    Thanks again for sharing such a beautiful moment.

  288. Tears are running down my face as I am commenting…I have been quietly following your blog and have fallen in love with your photography. Your ability to capture your emotions so poignantly through film and words is astounding to a writer like myself. Your daughters are beautiful and your husband seems like a wonderful and supporting person. This story written by your dad touched my heart and I found myself clutching my chest and wiping away tears. Your strength and grace under pressure is admirable. What an inspiration to anyone who has had to overcome a personal obstacle.

  289. Tallcurlygirly says:

    Poppa and Kelle –

    Wow. I am blown away by your account of Nella’s birth. Incredible and yet so tender. And yes, it makes many of us envious of Dad’s like you. The song “Daughters” by John Mayer is swirling through my head after reading this. You are so good to your kin.

    Thank you for opening up your hearts, thoughts, and memories to us. Poppa – you are a true example of love – selfless, endless, and purposeful. Your attention to celebrating life obviously carried to your children; and I commend you for being the greatest teacher in their lives. As a parent, I dread the day to see my daughter in pain – be that it’s physical, spiritual, mental, or soulful in nature. And you got to experience Kelle’s pain and growth from the first moment.

    Nella is a gift. So is your daughter. So are you. So is this blog for many of us. Thanks be to God.


  290. I do not usually comment, but I have been reading your blog since beautiful Nella was born. Both you and your father have such a beautiful and honest way of expressing your thoughts and feelings. I cannot wait to read your next blog.
    Thank you for inspiring me and so many others so deeply.

  291. Tears stream down my face.

    A beautiful story – beautifully written.

    Thanks for sharing.

  292. Such beautiful story tellers. Your words, photos and life are a contant amazement!

  293. Anonymous says:

    Poppa’s account of Nella’s birth is wonderful and touching. I’m still wiping away the tears…Thank you Kelle and Poppa for sharing your beautiful words (and pictures!)

  294. says:

    Poppa, you are the best! Your words moved me so much. Kelle is the luckiest ( is that a word?) woman in the world to have you.

  295. thank you…

    for sharing such an intimate moment in your life. These beautiful words will remain forever etched in the hearts of you and those with whom you have shared this beautiful life.

    Nella is a pure and perfect gift from God, how blessed she is to have you all to love her so perfectly!

  296. You made my weekend, Poppa.

  297. Well I now know where Kelle gets her eloquence with written expression! I have never been in a birthing room- we adopted our 2 children so this is an experience way beyond my comprehension- only something I have imagined. THank you KElle for sharing this (and Poppa too!) for it has given a great gift of a perspective wished but never to be attained! Your powerful depiction of the emotion of Nella’s birth is breathtaking and so emotionally expressive.

    One sentence resounds in my heart..”And I wonder if gratitude is the uniformed doorman of the heart needing to be healed.”

    Thank you for sharing your “world” or at least a small part of it with the rest of us!!!!

  298. Anonymous says:

    I am so deeply moved at how your dad has written this love story…..what a beautiful story it is – you are blessed in many ways, fabulous Nella is but one of them, thank you for sharing .

    Calgary, Canada

  299. Anonymous says:

    It is the first time I post… I am crying right know… you are so blessed with that father! Nella is so beautiful I love all her photos…

  300. Great post. The apple never falls far from the tree.

    I too like the part about asking for prayers from someone when you can’t find the words yourself. I am coming more and more to the realization that prayer is not so much about changing the person or situation you’re praying for as it is about changing the life and faith of the person praying it.

    Know that God hears you, He loves you, and He will never leave you or give you anything He doesn’t give you the grace to handle. And, from the sound of things, He loves you a lot!

  301. Wanda in OKC, OK says:

    Nella is such a lucky little girl – she was born into such a beautiful family. The love of her Poppa make me miss my daddy so very much because he loved his three girls with all his heart (my mom, my sister, and me)and spoiled us with so much love. You should of seen how bad he was with his two granddaughters. Your girls have this kind of love with their daddy and Poppa and will be blessed by it all their lives. I save my reading of your blog for Saturday evenings and you have again made my heart smile and the tears flow…..till next Saturday take care and give your girls extra kisses and hugs from your many readers….

  302. Where do I start? Well this is the first time I have commented on the blog. I have been reading for almost a month or so now and can’t get enough of it! Kelle, you are such an ispiration in soo many ways and Poppa, wow!, you are too! I love you both! And like so many have said, they cried when reading this, well I cried too, but actually I WEPT reading this the other night laying in my bed after I put my 5 month old twins to bed. You are soo amazing and really have me “enjoying the small things”

  303. Amazing. Truly breathtaking. Im not sure what moved me more. The fact that such beautiful, raw words could come from a father, so humbling and soft or the fact that I have never, and will never share that moment with my own father.

    Nella is truly blessed that she chose you all as a family. And there is not one minute doubt that SHE chose you all.

    You are amazing. Reading your beautiful words each day makes me as a mother feel amazing.

    Love always

  304. The beauty of your father and his words is staggering. You are so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.

  305. So, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Up we go indeed.

  306. It appears our corridors were quite similar although 2 weeks apart. And although it still pains me to think of those moments of shock and fear, I look into my Kinley’s eyes and feel nothing but gratitude now. With your words and our precious daughters by our side I am empowered. Thank you. BTW- the National Down syndrome Congress convention is in FL this year.
    Planning on making the drive?

  307. Kelle, thank your for posting your beautiful words that our father wrote about that beautiful day.

    Poppa, thank you for showing me that a parent can be more than a parent to their children. Your words once again have touched my soul. You are an inspiration, as always! (Wondering when you are going to get your own blog :)

  308. Poppa’s my uncle!!! It’s so much fun to watch all of you be in awe of the guy who has wow-ed us for years! Love and adore you, uncle rik!

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  310. SO beautiful. I’m in tears. Thank you for sharing.

    Just before my wedding, as the photographer took pictures of me and my almost-husband all dressed to the nines, I had a wave of emotion and began asking for my dad. “I want my dad. I need my dad.” There’s something in those moments. We need our daddies.

  311. Another of the “same” comments, but this was just beautiful! So touching…and what a wonderful writer you are. It’s in the blood for you guys I think!
    I really enjoyed hearing the little tidbits about Brett and all the friends there.
    Poppa just seems so warm and caring, how lucky Kelle is :)

  312. Brit Girl says:

    Tears are falling over here – breathtakingly beautiful account. Your family is just oozing with love! What lucky girls Nella and Lainey are to be in such a family. And, once again, after a difficult week for me for various reasons, your blog has reminded me that love is all that matters. p.s I loved the rhinestones T-shirt pic because of the rhinestones obviously but also because you can see what kind eyes Poppa has. Kind eyes, kind heart. Much love to you all.

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  314. You have the most amazing Dad and husband and daughter, you are so blessed!

  315. How I appreciate and am deeply touched by the kind words of commenters…now, the nude photos from this anonymous poster (probably some cyber-site-auto-poster) are a little over the top! It’s a response my writing has never before had…ha ha!
    (I would seriously suggest not clicking on them as it is probably a virus lurking–Kelle may try to just remove them)

  316. Wow. I’m in total awe at the story re-told from a different perspective – it was magnificent. Your dad is a beautiful writer, which is obviously where you get it from!

    This is my favorite line out of the whole thing : “I do know tears must improve vision, for Nella looked even more beautiful through my weeping eyes”. What an amazing, amazing thing to say and such a beautiful way to put it.

    I think Nella has not only taught your family many lessons, but I think she has taught ALL of us a lesson – to count our blessings each day and to accept those unexpected moments…because the most unexpected things can be the most spectactular! She is a beautiful baby with the most gorgeous smile. What a blessing.

  317. Yes…I think a book is in order and maybe (if I may be so bold) the proceeds or part of them could go to prenatal education about DS? Oh can you imagine?!? Nella will change the world :)

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  320. That was absolutely beautiful. Kelle, you are so lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive dad, and your girls are so blessed to have such a caring Poppa. I can totally see where your nack for writing comes from. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face….Nella’s journey on this earth is so beautiful. She brings out the joy and bright colors in everything!

  321. Beautiful!!!

  322. Poppa, we love you! And your comments about the comments are the icing on the cake :)

  323. Thank you for allowing me into the corridor. I’m not at all worthy of being there but I am and I will remember this day forever. I am a stranger to you reading this account of your beautiful angel’s birth and I’m honored to be doing so. Thank you for sharing this!

  324. ok, just now catching up on posts.

    since i am mess of tears, i will just say i love you and your family.

    and poppa rik, my other dad, love you too.

    beautiful. beautiful.
    coming home tomorrow!!! yay.

  325. This is beyond lovely. I can’t stop crying.

  326. She is precious. Those eyes are so innocent. She will bring you lots of love and joy.

  327. She is precious. Those eyes look so innocent. She will bring you joy and love.

  328. One of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you for sharing.

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  330. Anonymous says:


  331. Thank you once again for sharing your beautiful story. I read this with tears streaming down my face. Sad tears, then happy tears. Part of me is envious that you are so blessed to have such a wonderful and loving family. And then another part of me knows that this is because you have made it so. You are an inspiration. And Nella is beautiful. Congratulations!

  332. I just wanted to tell you that through viewing your site and the amazing pictures you take, you have inspired me in so many ways! I am now discovering my passion of photography and writing. Thank you

  333. Anonymous says:

    Poppa thankyou

  334. You share so much — and it is so real and true. Thank you for this. Each of us has our own story and only when a voice is given to tell, that we can truly understand how important EVERY life is on this earth. Nella, you have a beautiful family, little girl.♥

  335. I am worried about you, you haven’t been here much lately. Everything ok?

  336. Poppa!!
    I have read and reread your beautiful rendition of Nella’s arrival into your world…and “our collective world.” Such love, such pain but oh so much joy!!
    Your family was truly blessed to have you at the parents we often feel our roles are insignificant, but look at the impact you have made on your family…and now to the world.
    Because of your presence, Kelle is able to face life’s challenges with strength, determination and LOVE. We are all encouraged by your sweet spirit,your compassion and your love!!(not to mention, your beautiful way with words!!!) Hope to see more” Posts form Poppa!”

  337. Wow…. Poppa you are an amazing dad :) how very lucky kelle is to have you…. X

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