On December 28th, 2016 we walked into Princess Anne Hospital to meet our little girl. We had so many emotions and thoughts at that time: was she going to look like me, have curly hair, blue eyes like her daddy, I hoped that she had my nose but her daddy’s height, I just wanted her to be perfect and that is exactly what she was.
Gabriella Ruth Bianchi (Bean) was born at 9:34am, she was 7lbs 9.5oz and came out screaming. The first thing the Doctors said was, “wow, look at those eye lashes” and they were right, they were long.
The first year was a tough one but it was a year that taught me so much. Bean screamed a lot… it was almost like she had so much to say but couldn’t speak yet so she wanted to make sure she was heard.
But no matter what, when she would smile the entire room would light up. She was our surprise gift from God. A gift that Rich and I had both wanted so badly but were so scared to start over. At this point her brothers, Marcus was 20 years old and Niko was 7 years old and starting over seemed crazy. But we both wanted a little girl so badly and now we had our chance of completing our family with her.
Bean loved to play with her brothers, Niko and Marcus. She would wrestle with Niko and climb up on Marcus so he could read her books. She made our family complete in so many ways. I saw her brother’s dote on her every move.
Niko making sure she was ok and showing her all the new dance moves. He would play his video games and she would run by and turn the game off and keep running because she knew he was going get her. They had this crazy connection that she knew no matter what, Niko had her and she had him.
Marcus would come home from College and Bean would go running to him. She would wrap her arms around him and squeeze as if she never wanted to let go. Marcus would hold her so carefully and just watch her. He would read to her, give her his phone, play babies, anything she wanted to do he was down for. She adored her brothers and they adored her right back.
Bean loved everyone and wasn’t shy to show you that she loved you. She would often ask to phone her family just to say hi, see what they were doing and to show them what she was watching on tv. Some of her favorite people to call … GiGi, Pop Pop, GiGi Bianchi, Emme, Lisa, Monkey which of course was Uncle Jimmy, Bug, Jon, and TyTy.
Bean loved to eat! She especially loved anything chocolate, Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, gold fish, French fries, eggs with ketchup, hash browns and the bread from Chic-fil-la. If it was, a carb she would eat it. I remember trying one time to put a veggie in her mac and cheese and she pulled it out and said “eww yucky” and tossed it on the ground. When she would eat something she really enjoyed she would shake her butt and say “yum, yum.” Sometimes she would eat so much and store the food in her cheeks for later. I would call her squirrel and tell her we have more you can swallow what you have. Seeing her so happy that she would do the butt dance was one of the many ways she made us so happy.
On Wednesday August 14th we woke up and had a normal morning, me to work, Niko to camp and Bean to Gigi’s. Daddy called and wanted breakfast so we dropped off Chick-fil-la to him and made sure Niko made it to camp on time.
Bean and I headed to meet GiGi.
I kissed Bean goodbye and said “I will see you later” and “I love you.” At this point I headed to work and Bean and GiGi went baby doll shopping and then headed back to the house.
GiGi and Bean played baby dolls with the new baby and stroller, ate watermelon turned on Moana. Bean’s favorite movie.
They had plans to go to Chucky Cheese to meet friends that afternoon to play and have lunch. GiGi went to the bathroom and while she was in there...Bean went outside.
She carefully opened and shut the door behind her and went down to the pool. When GiGi came out of the bathroom she couldn’t find her anywhere inside. She ran outside to the pool and found her.
Immediately as a nurse she started CPR and called for rescue. My mom also called me. When I got the call all I heard was, “Kim the baby, the baby” and instantly my heart broke, I knew something was wrong. I raced to get to her and when I arrived I was not allowed to see her.
I paced the yard and begged God to take me instead of my baby. Seeing your baby lying on a stretcher is an image you will never get out of your mind. Just when you think that is hard…Seeing Bean lying lifeless on a hospital bed with wires all over her tiny body was incredibly unbearable.
Rich and I held her and said our goodbyes. Goodbye to all of our dreams together and dreams for her. It was the last time we kissed and held her tight. A quick halt to our normal. No more plans for the future, no more screaming nights. The feeling of loss and emptiness filled our souls.
I will never forget what I was asked in the hospital by the CPS worker: “Why didn’t you put her in swimming?” I said “I did, I tried to get her in swimming in May and I was told they were full and call back in October.”
I wasn’t told anything else and I definitely wasn’t told about Infant Swimming Resource. This is a course that I could have put Bean in the meantime! As a mom, I would have found a way to get her in to teach her how to save herself. I didn’t know, no one told me, I had never heard of it before.
It is now my mission, with this foundation, to keep my Beans name and spirit alive by making sure every parent knows about this lifesaving course.
Bean always said “I DO IT”, wanting to do everything “Bean’s Way” and now we want to make sure all of the little beans have the opportunity to learn and have the tools to save themselves, if they need to.
My Bean will forever live in our hearts and with my family’s, friend’s, extended family and your help we will make sure her spirit lives on through this foundation.