gabby_smFor parents with a child with heart disease, every day brings fear and challenges, but also joy and laughter. For the child with heart disease, every day brings extra worries from mommy and daddy, but also extra hugs and kisses. Louise and Jeff Dinsmore were those parents and Gabrielle was their daughter…

Gabrielle Dinsmore was born on April 26, 2007, the first child for Louise and Jeff. She was seven weeks early and weighed just 3 pounds, 15 ounces. Louise and Jeff had just a moment to look at their daughter before she was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Just days after her birth, doctors in the neonatal intensive care unit detected a heart murmur and after further examination by Dr. Feit, Gabrielle was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an extreme thickening of the heart wall muscle.

Despite such an overwhelming diagnosis, the day Gabrielle was discharged from the NICU was the happiest day of Louise and Jeff’s lives. Like every parent, they drove home as slowly as possible, wondering if she was okay, if she was breathing, if they had enough diapers, clean onesies, the right bottles, and if they had paid enough attention to all that the NICU doctors and nurses had taught them about being parents of a child with a heart defect.

At one year of age in May of 2008, Gabrielle underwent two open heart surgeries at Children’s Hospital Boston, MA, to address aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation. She required a third open heart surgery in December of 2008 to address aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis and mitral regurgitation. She later developed pulmonary hypertension and Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome.

Though their days were filled with worries, medications, doctor appointments, vigilance against every-day childhood colds and coughs, Louise and Jeff were determined to make sure Gabrielle had the most normal childhood possible. They took her to the beach, celebrated every holiday and birthday surrounded family and friends, found playgrounds with swings and balls to kick. Dora was probably her best friend and she was obsessed with the ladybugs that migrated to her bathroom. She was a beautiful little girl with a ready smile and a sparkle in her eyes.

On March 31, 2010, as a result of complications from heart disease, Gabrielle passed away at Children’s Hospital Boston.

She is now an angel in Heaven.