• Kyle Martin

Episode 017: Coming Home after Heart Surgery

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This is our wrap up episode about our Daughter Genevieve’s heart surgery. Links to the previous episodes will be in today’s show notes. This episode is sharing our favorite part of the heart surgery, and this episode actually comes at the perfect time. It’s thanksgiving week, and we were so thankful to bring Genevieve home from her heart surgery when and how we did.

As Genevieve recovered she gained strength, she weened off of medications, and started feeding better and better. It was a sad and happy day when we got to say goodbye to our care team in the PICU. They’d loved and cared for Genevieve so well over the past nine days. They rolled us out of the locked doors and down the hall to the Pediatric Floor. It almost felt wrong how little they checked in on us - but trust me - that was a good thing. That meant we were going home.

I remember that from her room window we could see the Ronald McDonald House, and see our car. In 24 hours, we would be loading our suitcases into the trunk, and driving home. It honestly felt a little surreal… but we were excited.

Our cardiologist gave her the stamp of approval, and we carried our little girl down the now familiar halls and to our temporary home. We said goodbye to Jana at the RHM, buckled in our little tiny patient, and headed for home. Little did we know Kyle would be back in a few short hours.

We got home just a little bit before the kids were home from school. Our toddler was around and we gave him a wonderful little surprise when we peeked around the corner. It was so sweet.

We watched the bus drive up and our three oldest kids jumped out, swinging backpacks excited to finally be home. The door cracked open and our older daughter suddenly realized that mom and dad were sitting on the couch, and her little sister was home. One by one they ran in laughing and hugging and crying. It was a moment we’ll remember forever.

We settled in and began to unpack. The kids lead us around the house showing us everything they had built, drawn, and created over the past 10 days. As Kyle unpacked the cooler, something was missing. In four hours Genevieve would need her first dose of one of her heart meds… but it was missing. Frantically Kyle called the Ronald McDonald House, and thankfully they found it. Even better, it was still refrigerated. When Kyle was packing up, he kept the medicine in the refrigerator until it was time to go, just trying to make sure it stayed cool enough. Then he left it there and drove two hour home.

We weren’t too excited that this happened… but it happened. And thankfully the medicine was still usable. So shortly after settling in, Kyle hopped in the car and drove back to the Ronald McDonald House, picked up the medicine, made himself a Keurig for the ride home, and headed back to Bloomer.

As a side note, we live in a tiny town, and yes its actually named Bloomer. It has a quaint rural charm and is filled with generations of good people. These were some of the people that prayed for us, brought us meals, and raised money so we could more comfortably spend those entire 10 days with Genevieve.

As we settled in at home, our couch and bed were a welcome comfort. The sounds and smells of our house helped us feel at home. Genevieve slept well in her bed, and our life resumed.

It was hard to explain, but we had this feeling like we were bringing home a newborn. There was a newness to having her home, with her heart healed and ready for growth. Our adventure with Genevieve began on her birthday in May of 2019… but it had a second beginning in September as we brought her home. As our world returned to a state of normalcy, the whole world was quickly descending into a time of uncertainty. And now over a year later we’ve been home, and stayed home as a family.

And that, is a topic for another episode.

If your little one, or a little one you know is facing heart surgery; have faith! It’s ok to feel anxious. Remember that the entire team loves what they do and care for that little one a whole lot. And that sweet day when you go home, will be one you will remember and cherish forever.

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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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