Through it all, there was Bella.

May 29, 2012

So many of you have asked about how Bella is doing these past few weeks. She’s even received some gifts from you all and pictures drawn by your kids – how special is that? We’ve really appreciated those tokens of love and remembrance for her in this hard time.

Because we’ve had such a rough few months in general (since I was incredibly sick from 4-16 weeks and even some after that), I have to say that it all really took a toll on her – emotionally.

I’ve been told many times, “Children are resilient.” Thank goodness for that. However, that doesn’t mean Bella hasn’t had to deal with a lot of change and trauma.

For months I was barely able to get off the couch most days and she played by my side. She came to know my Zofran really well, seeing the bottle made her say, “Mama’s tummy hurt.” She was at every ultrasound, every appointment. She went through all the tiny clothes with me, we started a bin for all the things the babies were given. She was the only one home when my water broke, and saw the firefighters rush in the house with me on the floor sobbing, then carrying me off on a stretcher while one stayed with her till Daddy got home. Then for a week I was gone and only go to see her every other day for a little while in a hospital bed. When the babies were born at 3am, Daddy woke her up to take her to the hospital with him, where she stayed with Nana in another room till around 6am. And when I came home I was short tempered and cried easily, while she was all out of sorts and temper tantrums were her way of showing it.

We had a rough time getting her back into a routine and out of being the center of 4 people’s attention with both my mom and dad here to lavish her with it. 🙂 She has been extra sensitive, really clingy, and gets frustrated easily. Some of this is simply being 2 1/2, but a lot of it came in such a short time span that I understood it’s her way of dealing with so much upheaval.

As I was able to take over more, we slowly got her back onto our schedule.

She talks about the babies every so often. Mostly saying, “No two babies in Mama’s tummy.” She loves to find their ultrasound pictures and to say goodnight to them after prayers. This is sometimes really hard on me to hear, but I don’t want to pretend like it never happened. I’m not sure how much she comprehends but I’ve told her the babies are in heaven and not in my tummy, and I always let her carry around the pics. When I’m upset she’ll take my face in her hands and say, “Mama sad.”

It’s been a tough ride for all of us, but in all honesty I don’t know what I would have done without her. Even though I wanted nothing more some days than just to fall apart and lay in bed, it was so much better to have her needing me to pull through it and get moving again. As frustrating as she can be when she’s in a mode, she’s been my biggest joy and light during the day when things are rough.

There are times watching her that make my heart ache so badly. When I realize I’ll never see my sons her age, when I look at her playing and wonder what it would have been like to see two little ones toddle after their big sister. When we go somewhere as a family and I think of how two others are always going to be missing here. I think often about how much they would have looked like her, what features they would have had that resembled each other.

As we move forward and work through all of this together, I’m hoping one day she’ll understand what happened and how we dealt with it to make sure it bound us together tighter and didn’t drive us apart. I hope she’ll know Preston and Julian in her own little way and see the impact they made on so many.

I hope she’ll see the path our lives took was because of our love for all three of them.

Find me over at Military Family today writing on Memorial Day and family traditions. 


  • Shannon

    June 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

    First of all I would like to say just how sorry and sad I am for you and your family. While my story ends in a loss, it is definitely different from yours.
    Last August we were almost 21 weeks pregnant with our daughter, and our son couldn’t have been happier. He literally talked to the baby every day, he kissed my belly every day, and he couldn’t have been more in love with his sister (btw he was about 3 1/2). Then everything changed, we lost her and and the day I came home from the hospital was the worst day ever, I had to tell him what happened to his sister. I thought for sure I could avoid having the talk for a few days, but sadly the very second I walked in the door he tried to kiss my belly. I sat by him to tell him that baby sister had died and that no matter what he was always her big brother, that she would always be with him and love and protect him. He seemed ok…. i thought that was a little weird. A few minutes later my husband came in and I asked Drake to tell papa what I had just said, and when he repeated back that baby sister had died, he broke down and started bawling! The next few months were rough

    We are expecting again, it wasn’t planned and kind of shocking that it happened, and my son is excited, but with a lot of reservations. We have already passed the scary stages and have proof that this baby is healthy, but my son is still very reserved about the whole thing. He is his own grieving person, and that is hard to remember sometimes. He still gets sad, he still wants baby Hazel back (sometimes more than he wants new baby brother). So on top of grief we are dealing with “new baby” acting acting outs. It has been one of the toughest years of my life. I am not sure that my marriage will last and I am scared. But I am grateful everyday for my son and the experience my daughter gave me, she made me a stronger women and mother and I love her and miss her everyday!

    I am looking forward to hearing about your adoption journey, and thank you for sharing your life and letting us be a part of it!

  • Jennifer Johnson

    May 31, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I have been reading your story for a few months now, (someone pointed me to it on Twitter) and I love your courage and openness. I have 2 boys (now grown) but I also have had a miscarriage. My miscarriage was one of only a few months, yet that was the most devastating moment in my life.

    To see and hold your babies…I cannot begin to imagine the pain. Look into Bella’s eyes and you will see your sons….that’s what I do.

  • Kristi

    May 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Hey Diana,
    Can’t help but share here-I’m a sister to twin girls born at 25 weeks who didn’t live. They were actually born before me, in September of 1981. I was due a year and 5 days after their birth-quite a surprise to my still-healing parents.

    Although I didn’t experience my parents’ grief the same way Bella will, I did want to let you know how much my sisters mean to me. I’ve always known about them, my parents spoke openly about them. Some of my earliest memories of my faith have to do with being excited about meeting my big sisters in heaven. I know that I look like Gretchen did. When I was about 13 I saw pictures of them-I wasn’t sure how to handle it and went to my room and cried for them, for my parents, and for me. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, my mom came to visit for my baby shower, It happened to be the twins’ 29th birthday. I asked her to tell me the full story, and she did; we both cried, and I understood what she’d gone through in a way I couldn’t have before. She’s always called me her “first keeper”, which I thought was cute, but now I understand that it’s a nickname that distinguishes me from her first babies. Her first born. I’m the first one she got to keep, but I’m not the first.

    I have a second daughter now, and although we didn’t really set out to do this, we ended up deciding to name her after my big sisters. Her name is Eliza Gretchen, and she’s 10 months old. I asked my parents if they were ok with this, because I recognized that having a little girl running around, carrying those names, would be different for them than it would be for me. They loved it, and I know for me, it represented hope, maybe? But I know it didn’t fix things, it didn’t answer their questions. It didn’t give them THEIR Gretchen and THEIR Elizabeth.

    Anyway. It is possible for these little boys to have a very big impact on Bella as she grows, and in my experience, that is such a beautiful thing. I hope there will be a day when she looks at you, maybe with a baby of her own in her belly, and says something along the lines of “Mom. I can’t imagine. I’m so sorry. Thank you. I love you.”


  • Stacy

    May 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    She’s an awesome, adorable, enchanting little girl, and is very tuned in to you and your emotions. That’s an AWESOME bond that will never ever change. She is resilient, and will always remember her brothers because of how you guys have chosen to remember them. I’m so glad she’s been there for you in her 2 1/2 year old way! *hugs* to all of you

  • Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

    May 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Bella really is an incredible little girl. She knows and will remember her brothers more than any of us could ever imagine. Hang in there and hang onto that light that radiates from her little soul.

  • Maggie S.

    May 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Mmm. That’s a lot of love between the five of you.

  • Katie McAleece

    May 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    These posts are very moving. I can tell you from recently losing my Dad, one day this blog will mean a lot to Bella. She will treasure the words you have written about her. Actually, she’ll treasure everything you’ve written. She will experience every moment of this journey with you allover again, but on a completely new level. So please keep sharing, by all means, always keep writing. You are not only talented but you write with grace.

  • Michelle

    May 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

    This post really spoke to me…I’m going through a different scenario with my daughter (she has cancer) but a lot of the emotions in your post and in the comments fit how I am feeling. It is hard to be a mom when you are sad too. Best wishes to both you and Bella.

  • Anne-Marie

    May 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    When my niece was three, her childhood asthma appeared (I promise this is related) and the ambulance came, took her to the hospital and doctors she had never met told her she couldn’t leave until she could breath better. She had no idea what was happening. She was there for days.

    For the next eon (I don’t know how long it actually was, definitely months), she threw incredible tantrums, screamed and clutched at my sister when it was time for work/school and picked fights with her dad every day. My sister called a child psychologist, and he was amazing. Instead of charging them an arm and a leg and observing the home (another psychologist wanted to do that), he just said that she was responding to the trauma of her hospital stay. He said that yes, children are resilient, but we do have to give them time.

    Time did the trick. She eventually stopped throwing chairs at people–that was the incident that prompted the calls to the psychiatrists–and began to feel confident again that she wouldn’t be separated from her family without warning. Knowing that the poor girl was reacting to the terribly loud ambulance, all those strangers with their tubes and masks, her inability to control anything except the movie on the TV, not to mention being unable to breath… understanding all of that helped us have patience with her. I think it will mean more to her that we all came together to prove to her that she was safe than that something scary happened to her.

    All of this is just to say that I really think Bella will absorb the way your family and has pulled together to heal and grieve. She will know, somewhere, that no one forgot about her, and that being very sad is ok.

  • melissa

    May 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

    <3 that Bella is an amazing little girl and I know for a fact she gets it from her mama (dad had a bit to do with it too, I'm sure.) 😉 love you, and I'm praying for you guys as you continue to wade through this grief. I know you're pulling eachother through. <3

  • Jennyh247

    May 29, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I have found that my child/ren have aided me in the healing process after a loss in so many ways but mainly because they forced me to get up and move past the crippling grief, because they need me, all of me. So far I can report that while you will never stop inserting the boys in situations where they SHOULD be, it does become less frequent. It’s been a few years and some days I think hourly of the babies I was not able to bring home and then other times, days will go by without thinking of them and that hurts too. It hard to strike a balance with grief when it never really ends, but God is good in giving us those who are here and need us now. Thinking of you.

  • Malisa

    May 29, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I’ve been a silent reader for a few months now. When I first read you were pregnant with the boys, I was so excited for you. I’ve always wanted to have twins. Then when you were in the hospital & they came early, I asked my friends to be praying for you. I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this season. What an amazing daughter you have. I have been encouraged by you sharing the hardest part of your life here.

    Still praying for you here in Cali.

  • Elisabeth

    May 29, 2012 at 6:33 am

    My 2 1/2 year old daughter has been my rock as I’ve been healing from a miscarriage. It was heartbreaking the day she asked me if “baby brother or baby sister” was still in my tummy, and the day she cried with me because I just couldn’t get it together, right after we found out for sure. It’s amazing what a comfort little ones can be during incredibly difficult times, even without trying.

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