• Kyle Martin

013: 3 Lessons Learned from Our Daughter's Heart Surgery

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We had waited, prayed, and prepared as best we knew how.

How does anyone prepare for their little one to have open heart surgery?

There were anxious moments waiting for the doctors to walk in the room. There was the visceral moment when we handed our little girl over to her surgery team. Prayerful quiet moments during surgery, and anxious moments before we saw her for the first time. Then came recovery.

Everyone's heart surgery story is unique, and uniquely challenging.

Instead of sharing this entire story, we decided to share three things we learned from Genevieve's heart surgery.

Prepare your heart for peace. Philippians 4:7 talks about a peace that surpasses understanding. To feel this peace we first had to prepare for this peace. For us, that was prayer. We also talked a lot about our expectations, emotions, fears, joys, and what we understood and didn't understand about the procedures. Then we trusted her team, and let our hearts be at peace. And we felt a peace that was far beyond our understanding.

See the big picture. We watched the monitors and saw her vitals ebb and flow. When Genevieve was highly medicated her vitals were controlled... and as they let her body take back over her heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and so on rose and fell. And we watched these levels by the minute. It turned out those minutes weren't as important as her trends. What we didn't see was the 12 hour trend showing her general, all be it slow, improvement in her levels. As they say, we were missing the forest for the trees.

Take care of you. If oxygen masks fall in flight (God forbid) the instructions insist that the adult secures their own mask before helping others. The isn't a Darwinian approach to emergency survival. This ensures that if help is needed, the adult will have enough oxygen to help. We weren't getting enough oxygen. In Genevieve's recovery room we were lacking sleep, we weren't eating much, and we weren't drinking enough water. Our cardiologist politely pointed out that we looked drained. A glance in the mirror confirmed, I looked terrible. So we took some time, focused on us, and found ourselves in a much better position to care for Genevieve during her hospital stay.

We learned these lessons during her heart surgery, but really they apply to many areas of life. Find peace and prepare to accept it. Keep the big picture in mind. Take care of you so you can take care of others. We share more details and perspective in the episodes. I hope you enjoy!

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The Upside Down Family was started by us - Kyle and Erin Martin. We have five kids and the littlest has Down syndrome. Our Hope is help people embrace the adventure of loving a person with Down syndrome. We passionately pursue this goal by hosting engaging interviews and conversations on our podcast. Instagram is where anyone can see our Upside Down life and the lessons we're learning along the way. We will also be sharing our most recent content along with articles and stories from around the web in a weekly newsletter, which you can subscribe to below. Thank you for being part of the Upside Down Family!

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