Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir
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The nurses apparently called my pediatrician in for DS suspicions, and during this hour, I was handed back my daughter as if everything was okay. Did she feel love? Did I kiss her? Did I hold her and tell her happy birthday and smother her with happy tears? My friends who were in the room smile when I ask this and promise me I did.
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And while I held her, the room went on. Someone popped champagne and poured glasses and a toast was raised.
ISBN 13: 9780062045034
To Nella! I remember feeling … nothing. As if I literally left my body for a bit. But they said I kissed her.
They said I loved her. They said I was a mama. Why is she here? I asked. They told me she was just checking the baby out, which she did. And then the room grew quiet and everyone was asked to leave. I started shaking. I knew it was coming. The tears. The twisting in my stomach as they were about to rock my world. Brett stood behind me, stroking my hair, and my nurse friends, Dot and Katie, stayed on either side of the bed.
And it happened. My pediatrician snuggled Nella up in a blanket and handed her to me, and she knelt down next to my bed so that she could look up at me—not down. She smiled so warmly and held my hand so tight. And she never took her eyes off mine. She is an amazing pediatrician, but at this moment, she became more than that. She was our friend as she beautifully shared the news.
My beautiful, perfect daughter. I just kissed her. I suddenly remembered my dad was in the hallway. He had been in the delivery room just minutes earlier wearing the Poppa shirt he had made for this special occasion, smiling and cheering as she entered the world and now I had to tell him what I knew. I felt like a child again—needy and vulnerable. I wanted my dad. I wanted my mom. I wanted my brother and sister by my side.
I asked for my dad to be let back in the room, and when he walked in, I cried again. Dad, they think she has Down syndrome. He smiled genuinely as his eyes welled up with tears. We love her. He scooped her up, and I asked him to say a prayer. And there, in the delivery room where moments earlier she entered the world, we huddled around my bed—Brett still stroking my hair, Katie crying on one side, Dot on the other, and Dr.
Foley kneeling down beside my bed. Dad prayed and thanked God for giving us Nella and thanked him for the wonderful things he had planned for us. For our family. For Nella. As soon as my dad finished, I looked up at him, completely desperate and flailing. I need Carin. My sister was my rock, and her presence was imperative for my moving forward.
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Foley hugged me and told me she got to hold Nella for her examination, but now she wanted to hold her just for some snuggles. And she did.
I will always remember her compassion and know there is no one else who could have supported us in the kind and confident way she did. Katie asked if I wanted to nurse Nella, another dreamy moment I had long anticipated. Yet it felt so different this time. I felt love, yes. But the nursing—oh, the nursing—how incredibly bonding it was. The single most beautiful link I had to falling in love with this blessed angel. The hallway was still filled with visitors—and there are stories from our other wonderful friends and family about what happened behind those walls while they waited.
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All I know is that there was more love in that birthing center than the place could hold. As anxious eyes reentered the room, I held my baby and told them all, crying, what we had been told. I knew there was a stream of friends ready to come and celebrate and I wanted them all to be told before they came in. I was falling, sliding, tunneling into a black hole; and I needed as much love as possible to keep me up. I just remember happiness. From everyone. All the amazing souls in that room celebrated as if there was nothing but joy.
Everyone knew—and there were a few puffy eyes—but mostly, it was pure happiness. More friends trickled in. More smiles.
Mom on Down syndrome surprise: 'Out of heartache comes happiness'
More toasts. Ones that spoke volumes—arms pulled tightly around my neck, lips pressed against my forehead, and bodies that shook with sobs—sobs that told me they felt it too. They felt my pain and they wanted to take it away. And he did so from the very beginning. As soon as the epidural wore off, I wanted my own nightgown. They were going to take me to our new room upstairs, and I was ready for a new start. Everyone carried our stuff up and waited for us.
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir by Kelle Hampton, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
And then … the moment I always talked about—the moment they put you in that wheelchair and place the baby in your arms … and stroll you through the hallways to your room while onlookers smile and wish they were you. I remember arriving to our room and being told Lainey was on her way. And I cried new tears. Numbness started leaving my heart, and sheer pain settled in.
I will never forget the moment her little sister was placed in her arms. I watched in agony … in tears … in admiration as my little girl taught me how to love. She showed me what unconditional love looks like … what the absence of stereotypes feels like … she was … proud. As darkness set in that night and people started trickling out, I felt paranoid. So completely afraid because I knew with darkness, with the absence of everyone celebrating, that grief would come.