Celebrating Bella’s Arrival: A Journey of Love and Resilience

Parenthood is a joyful and transformative experience, filled with anticipation and excitement. The arrival of a child is a moment to be celebrated, marking the beginning of a new chapter in life. But what happens when the journey takes an unexpected turn? Eliza Bahneman and her husband encountered a unique path when their daughter, Bella, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. This is their story of resilience, love, and finding strength in the face of challenges.

The Surprises of Parenthood

As Eliza and her husband prepared for the arrival of their little one, they experienced a mix of emotions. Pregnancy is a time of growth and change, both physically and emotionally. Having a network of supportive family and friends to share in the journey is invaluable. Eliza was fortunate to have her sister, sister-in-law, and a few girlfriends who were also going through pregnancy. They provided a comforting space to discuss the joys and concerns that come with expecting a child.

An Unexpected Arrival

On October 25, 2018, Bella surprised everyone by coming into the world a month early. Eliza and her husband were caught off guard, as they hadn’t taken any classes or fully prepared for the labor. Despite the initial chaos and feelings of unease, they rushed to the hospital, eager to hold their little one in their arms.

A Different Beginning

The atmosphere in the delivery room quickly shifted from excitement to concern. Bella’s health required additional attention, and a team of specialists joined Eliza and her husband. It was a bewildering experience, filled with uncertainty and a lack of celebration. Eliza couldn’t understand why no one was congratulating her, why her family seemed distant, and why so many people were entering and exiting the room. Amidst the confusion, she felt a sense of loneliness and heartache.

Holding Onto Hope

Finally, Eliza was able to hold Bella in her arms. As she gazed into her daughter’s eyes, she saw both fear and comfort. In that moment, Eliza made a promise to her little one – she would always protect her. The quiet moments with Bella brought solace, even amidst the challenges they were about to face.

A Journey into the Unknown

The days that followed were filled with tests, evaluations, and consultations with medical professionals. It was determined that Bella had Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder affecting the development of facial bones. Eliza and her husband delved into research, seeking answers and support. They found comfort in connecting with top surgeons and medical experts who specialized in the condition.

Navigating the NICU

Bella was transferred to a specialized unit at Children’s Benioff hospital, where her medical journey truly began. With each visit, Eliza and her husband had to follow a specific process, ensuring the utmost care for their daughter. The days were challenging, juggling motherhood, a newborn, a rare syndrome, and the overwhelming amount of information presented to them. But they found strength in the support of their parents, as well as a friend who worked at the hospital and checked on Bella during her shifts.

Finding Home in the Hospital

After eight weeks in the NICU, Bella was finally discharged to go home. Eliza and her husband were not only her parents but also her nurses, trained to care for their little warrior. The journey continued with several emergency visits and new experiences, but they remained grateful for the training they received in the NICU, which often proved vital in saving Bella’s life.

An Extraordinary Journey

Bella’s life may be different from what was initially anticipated, but Eliza would not trade it for anything. Through the challenges and triumphs, she has learned invaluable lessons about motherhood, resilience, and the strength that can be found in the support of loved ones. Bella now attends early start programs, therapy sessions, and music classes, surrounded by a network of supporters who celebrate her uniqueness.

To Eliza, her husband, and Bella – you are a shining example of love and strength. Your story reminds us that life’s unexpected turns can lead to the most extraordinary journeys. Stay strong, and may your path be filled with joy, growth, and endless love.


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