Friday, March 5, 2010


I read a blog post recently that felt like the epitome of TMI. You know, it's a hard thing to share so openly that people can relate and empathize and provide much-wanted/needed feedback without crossing the line into the land of Are You Kidding Me?!

So, timidly, I begin.

In my world, the world where all things Ds-related are commonplace and welcome and so utterly normal that it breaks into my speech and activities and thoughts without me even realizing, Nella's birth story is just that. You don't really have to say much more than Nella Cordelia and the proverbial head nodding begins. All of my fellow Ds-world citizens know of her.

Just in case you don't, here she is.

It's been weeks since I first sat down and took that post in. I went through many emotions that day: understanding, sadness, elation, and then...anger and jealousy.

Wow, did it seem like they had it all together. Everything was so pretty. So very different than what I went through when placed in similar circumstances.

There was a celebration. With favors! And people. Lots of people. Supportive people.

It's like the fairy tale of Ds births.

For me, anyway.

Some people, I know, have similar experiences to Kelle.

I think what makes her different, what has led almost two thousand people (and counting) to comment on her story is that she was just living her life, already blogging about it and her cute kid with gorgeous photographs, and then Nella arrived with her bonus chromosome. Her raw emotion was captured while she was living her life the way that she would have if her baby had been born with 46. Plus, the time is right for such a story. People are ready for it.

I didn't see that at first though. I really didn't. I was angry.

It's only now that I'm realizing how totally unfair that was of me. Sure, I can feel however I want, but what did Kelle ever do to me but adore her kid from very beginning when it took me so much longer to get over myself and just appreciate the wonder that is my own daughter?

I was in such a haze in those early days. Shock. Depression. Denial.

I went through the motions, sure. I didn't want people to know that I wasn't ok. What I read told me that people would take their cues from me and I equated that to the Golden Rule: If I didn't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

So I was quiet.

And when I wasn't quiet, I cried.

A lot.

I missed out on kissing toes while I was on the internet learning about how people don't want a child like mine.

Many days, I wish I had been a blogger back then. Or even that I had kept a journal. If only I could look back to the beginning. Or, as long as we're talking fantasies, that I could go back and hug the old me. The me that had my first baby just two weeks shy of my 31st birthday, confident to the point of naivité. The me that thought that Baby Girl would be the proof that my life was finally on the upswing and that white picket fences were imminent.

Today, I feel differently. I recognize that I went through what I went through and, while I wish that more people in the same situation experience Kelle's celebratory atmosphere, it's ok. It was mine and I own it. Those memories aren't going anywhere, after all.

Last night, I read more of the blog written by Nella's mama and...I felt better. She didn't set out to become famous. She was just sharing, like many of us do almost every day. She was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of response that she's received. She continues to write and take beautiful pictures and celebrate her own journey. I think that she recognizes that there will be ups and downs and I'm glad that she has so many people on her side. Because some days are harder than others and kissing little toes is great therapy.

Each day reveals a little more of life's puzzle. So, last night as I stared at heart-shaped sandwiches and little knit caps, I learned something about this pilgrimage we're all on. Almost three years later, I'm still learning. I thank Kelle for that, knowing that we'll both continue on this winding road for many years to come.

As you may know, this blog starts at More Than One because it was only after the first year had passed that I started to come out of my shell. I started to live again and not just hesitantly place one foot in front of the other. I moved from simply surviving towards the act of thriving and I think we're all better for it.

Thank you, Kelle, for the reminder that my Littlest deserves some celebrating. So here she is, the world's only two year, eight month old newborn:

I remember agonizing over the following photo. It was the one that showed me what the pediatrician saw when he said that they had reasons to suspect that she may have Ds. Before I saw this photo, as I was flipping through the images on our digital camera one sleepless night in the hospital, I was convinced that they were wrong.

And then we brought her home. She slept a lot while I stared at her.

It was weeks before I had the courage to take her back to the hospital to have her newborn photos taken. I was not yet inspired to put her in a cute outfit so too-big pajamas it was.

I remember this day so vividly. She was three months old and I was ready to dress her up by then. I was nervous that people would recognize her challenges immediately. But, seriously, it's hard to see past the cute, isn't it?

I recall when a friend commented lovingly about her "teeny tongue" and I vacillated between being afraid that she knew(!) and thinking "but it is so teeny" - and adorable. That fear was a beast, y'all.

Man, she's cute.

I'm sorry, baby.

For all the days that I was so caught up that I didn't say so...

Mama loves you.


Anonymous said...

This is Nella's Poppa, and I so love your post and so wish I could love up your little "two-year old newborn." I join you in celebrating her and it is clear you have been doing all along. Thank you for your honesty. These little lamps will show us all the way home. Bless you!

Jen said...

I know the challenges I had are not nearly what you have been through, but I want you to know that I identified with a lot of what you wrote regardless. I was mired in depression after Boo was born, and look back on those first couple months, the haze of faking it and then crying, and feel so awful and guilty, for not appreciating her just for herself, for not munching on tiny toes and dressing her in cute outfits and just for checking out in general. So I get it, and I applaud you for being so brave as to write this post and put it out there. It's so hard. Brava, my friend.

Wendy P said...

Oh Chrystal, such a lovely post. I wish I could hug all of y'all right now! And she IS cute. Dang cute.

(Kira walked in while I was at the end of the post, saw the last pic of Malea, and said, "Allah!" - swear to God. She misses Baby.)

Danielle said...

I could not love you more right now, my friend. You are brave and brilliant, and I just want to hug you RIGHT NOW.

Beth said...

Your post sounds exactly how I felt when Lauren was born 2 years ago. I missed so much of her little teeny baby life cuz I was so caught up in how other people saw us, do i tell them what she has, what will she be like when she grows up. I honestly wish I could go back and redo those first few months and just LOVE HER.

Thank you!

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. I actually came over to comment because I was at Enjoying the Small Things tonight and I read your comment and I just wanted to meet you. Can I just tell you how GORGEOUS your daughter is.

The first thing I thought when I saw her on the side of the page was that she was PERFECT. I didn't even know about the extra chromosome.

I love that you are able to look back. I am sorry you cried and you hurt when it happened. I can't imagine how scary it is.

I hope I can follow your story and meet your daughter thru your posts. I think this was my favorite blog that I came to today. Thank you for being so real. I love real.

Carrie said...

She is adorable! And I think you are a brillant, wonderful, honost mother. Thanks for sharing your story.

heather said...

Oh my goodness! I don't know that I've seen a cuter newborn. She is absolutely beautiful! So fun to see her newborn pics and hear about the beginning of your journey. The wonderful thing is that we all get on the same journey of acceptance and love. That's what makes blogging so great. We get to help out the new moms and give them the encouragement they need in the beginning and before you know it, they don't need our words anymore. I love the wonderful community of Ds bloggers. Wish it would've been around when Morgan was born 7 years ago.

Molly said...

That second picture? Looks exactly like her! She has not changed. I looked at that and knew instantly it was Playette. Man, she is SO cute.

Lisa said...

You have one of the biggest hearts I've ever known, my dear friend. Beautiful sentiments.

Lacia said...

Oh man...I can SOOOO relate Chrystal. I spent ALOT of time crying and being in a funk about Kaia's DS. I look back now and kick myself for wasting so much time being that way. Here's to our beautiful, awesome little girls!

Tricia said...

This post is almost as lovely as you.

Jessica said...

Congratulations on the birth of your two year old newborn :) Thank you so much for sharing your story - its sounds so similiar to mine. I have been afraid to "go there" so far, but more and more these days I am thinking its time to muster up the courage and share. If only to let just one other mom know its okay if you weren't one of those who handled it all graciously. Like you just did for me. Thanks.

ps She is BEYOND adorable.

The Sanchez Family said...

Absolutely beautiful my dear friend!

Cate said...

I wish I could hop through my screen and hug you.

I should write about Abby's birth and diagnosis...but I don't know if I can. It was so, so hard, so awful. And now I look at her, and I wonder who I was and what I was doing.

I remember crying, thinking that all the other moms of kids with DS would be so okay with it. They'd be happy and joyful, with their "they're so loving! they're just like angels from God" babies, and there I'd be, all sad and lonely, thinking my bad thoughts to myself.

I am SO GLAD that I know you. Thank you for this post.

AZ Chapman said...

too cute I love seeing her baby pics

Sonia said...

hugs and much love Chrystal! So beautifully written. You guys were meant for each other, you have so much love.

sheree said...

Malea was SUCH a stunning newborn. Thank you for sharing her first moments with us...even if it is two years later.

Love you for keeping it real :)


Signe said...

I love this post. I can relate to it in many ways : i also have experiencing a love/hate relationship with that damned beautiful blog. How dare she capture every single emotion and moment when I didn't?? Her life is different than mine and even though I wish I had certain parts of hers I know taht I don't - instead I have my own life, my own precious pictures and my own precious children to adore. Thanks, Crystal, for this was nice to reconnect with you.