A New Face for Nicole

Hope Returns

From the moment we met Dr. Jimenez and Dr. Barone, a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. They told us exactly what they would do to correct Nicole's face and head -- and they said it should be done right away: "We can fit you in next week."

After all we'd been through, it was a little scary to make the decision so quickly. But Dr. Jimenez and Dr. Barone were both confident and reassuring. We had a good feeling about them, which we hadn't had with any of Nicole's doctors at home. We stayed up late that night discussing the pros and cons, and we finally agreed that this surgery would be the best thing for our daughter.

The procedure was set up for the following week. Before taking Nicole in for surgery, we said a prayer in the hospital chapel. We hadn't been without her since she'd been born two and a half months before, so giving her to the anesthesiologist that morning was one of the hardest things we had ever done. When we handed her over, Kelly started to cry. But just then, Dr. Barone saw us in the hallway. She hugged Kelly and said, "Don't worry. We'll take good care of her."

The surgery went remarkably well: Nicole was in the O.R. for an hour and a half, losing just a teaspoon of blood. Her face became swollen and she was in pain, so the doctors gave her some painkillers and kept her in the hospital overnight for observation. To our surprise, the next morning Dr. Jimenez said we could take her home. As we were packing our car, Nicole looked up at us and smiled -- and we knew that everything would be all right.

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