Nina Zambelli

Nina’s Story

” Nina was an instrument of God.”

Nina Zambelli, Trisomy 13, 2/27/2011 – 3/26/2011, João Pessoa, Brazil

Zambelli, Nina1About November 10, we discovered that our daughter, Nina, who was still in mom’s belly, had a cleft lip and cleft palate. We were very sad about this news.  The fact is that we still did not know whether future news would be even more disappointing.  A week later, we discovered that Nina had  problems in her little heart, a small ventricular and a small atrial septal defect.

Such an association of problems would suggest something even more serious, which was diagnosed about November 23rd: Patau syndrome. Even though the doctor was very good, his words do not, from my perspective, equal the truth about Nina: “incompatible with life.”*

Zambelli, Nina2We Were Living in João Pessoa-PB (Brazil), a city that did not have, according to the physician, the necessary support for the birth of Nina. We had already scheduled a trip to Campinas-SP (Brazil), before knowing the syndromic picture.  This was a trip to remove a supposed osteochondroma in my leg.   It became a long journey with complex and intermittent feelings.

We are missionaries in Paraiba and, along with our sender church, we made a decision to return to Campinas. Nina was progressing very well inside of Karen. Our hearts, even though filled with sorrow, were full of strength and joy in God. Our convictions were clear and were based both on scientific data (see Scientific Articles in, and the Holy Scriptures.

Zambelli, Nina3Our parents, grandparents of Nina, were extremely important in consolation and encouragement. Enzo, our first son, looked and understood according to his maturity as did the rest of the family. Obviously, what we most wanted was Nina born perfect, but we had supernatural peace in knowing that the Sovereign God always knows best, especially for those who love him.

The day of birth arrived: February 27, 2012.  Nina didn’t want to exit from inside mom. The delivery by cesarean section was a success and Nina was born well, even though she was brought to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). This decision was taken as a precautionary measure.

Three days passed and they were spent in an intermediate care unit, where we could spend some hours of the day with her. Also, it was a precious time to learn how to better take care of her, in particular of her feeding, which was via a tube.  A few more days passed and Nina was transferred to a common bed in the maternity unit. She did not need to be there, but we needed some time to get ready to take her home, in addition to giving all our love, and properly providing everything that was needed.

We left the hospital on a very special date, March 9th, 2011, a date when Enzo, our firstborn, had his 3rd birthday. It was the first time that he saw his sister. Our relatives were gathered to celebrate God, whose desire was to allow us to spend this precious time all together.

On March 26, 2011 , by chance, we knew that we could never be fully prepared for the loss of Nina, on short notice.  It was a routine medical consultation.  But Nina’s Oxygenation saturation was less than 50% and presented a dramatic situation for us. The doctor, our friend, with a saddened gaze, said to us: “Nina is saying goodbye.” We ran to the hospital, where together, in a confused feeling of joy and sorrow, we spent over three hours with her. With her last breath, a tear came down her eyes.

Finally, the funeral ceremonies; more than 100 people between family, friends and brothers in Christ appeared. Nina was an instrument of God. All present heard the Gospel.  God was praised, my character was better adjusted and today, her story repeats itself with some frequency.  From my lips, I once again remind the listener about salvation in Jesus Christ.

If you would like to know more details of this story, visit:

Thiago Zambelli, daddy of Nina.
Also in the name of Karen, mom of Nina.

*When I say that the doctor’s words were not true, I do not refer to the literality of the expression “incompatible with life.” I am referring to the real meaning. For most doctors who spoke and who said this, abortion was a natural choice, resulting from their mistakenly understanding of what is said about the (quality of) life associated with Patau syndrome.

Web Content Managers Note:  This story was translated from Portuguese as best I could.  Any translation errors are mine alone.