September 3, 1991 was to be the most wonderful day with the birth of our first daughter, Nicole. She was 6lbs 7ounces and so beautiful. Our dream of becoming parents was coming true! However, soon after her being born, more doctors started coming in the room and there was a problem. She was immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kaiser. There they informed us that Nicole had been born with a hypo-plastic left heart (HLHS), a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. She was rushed to UCSD where Dr. Abe Rothman was waiting. Dr. Rothman determined that Nicole would require emergency heart surgery and contacted Dr. John Lamberti at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Nicole was transferred and admitted into the Rady Children’s Hospital NICU.

We arrived at Children’s Hospital where we met Dr. John Lamberti, a┬ápediatric cardiovascular surgeon and Dr. John Mainwaring. We felt confident that these two surgeons were the best to have in our corner. We couldn’t do anything but watch as they took our Nicole in to surgery. Seconds became hours as time went by. Finally, they came out and told us Nicole’s heart was not pumping off the machine. Beyond broken hearted, the doctors brought her back up to us so we could say our final good-bye at 9:00 AM on September 5, 1991.

Time stopped, Life Stopped.

Dr. Lamberti asked Rick if they could examine Nicole’s heart since this happens so rarely and could improve the chances of surgery in the future. Rick gave them permission to examine Nicole’s heart. The doctors later told us that her heart had no holes in between the chambers for her heart to have blood flow and they have no idea how she stayed with us for 2 days. I knew it was Gods gift to us. Surgeons are now able to perform surgeries in-utero to help children afflicted with HLHS and with similar heart defects.

As we miss her every day and nothing can ever replace our baby girl, we were blessed with 2 more children, Kayla and Nicholas (Nick).

It is in Nicole’s memory and in honor of Dr. John Lamberti and the fantastic people at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego NICU taht we have founded Angel’s Above Foundation. With 100% of all proceeds going directly to help people who have a baby in the NICU, we have managed to donate over $50,000 the Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and that’s just the start.

Nicole

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