By Erin Martin
We are the MARTINs Kyle and Erin and our 5 kiddos Dexter Eleanor Desmond Thaddeus and Genevieve, the Upside Down Family as we call ourselves!
Our family's journey began in 2008 when Kyle and I were married and flew off to Hawaii with a one way ticket. After one month we found out we were having a honeymoon baby. A little surprised but definitely excited, we decided to move back to the mainland so we could be closer to both our families for the arrival of our first little peanut.
Zoom ahead to May 2019 we welcomed our 5th child sweet Genevieve. About an hour after she was born we were told she was showing several physical signs of having Down syndrome. Our world was turned upside down that day! We were so excited to have another baby and were extra excited for another little girl to add to our family. With 5 kiddos we never expected to have one with a differing ability. When people told us we were part of the Lucky Few we didn’t really understand it. We felt blessed to have her in our life but we knew nothing about Down syndrome. Once we got to know our own beautiful daughter and started learning more about DS we began to understand that we truly were the lucky ones, and I knew I was one lucky mama.
As Genevieve turned six weeks old we were surprised again when the doctors found a heart defect. While Kyle had a more challenging time accepting Evie’s Down syndrome diagnosis, I really struggled with the news about her heart. As the youngest of 5 kids Genevieve was poured on with love immediately by her older siblings. We had hoped & prayed she wouldn’t need open heart surgery but it became apparent that surgery was in fact the way she was going to be healed.
At four months old, only weighing just over nine pounds, it was time for open heart surgery. She rocked the OHS with a few ups & downs during our 11 day stay at the hospital. As we say, It was the most amazing journey we wouldn’t wish on anyone.
After Genevieve healed from OHS we were really ready to get connected with our local community. Unfortunately, certain global events in 2020 put quite a big hold on that. But… we have learned that out of adversity can come adventure! So with the world up ended, it led us to start our Upside Down Family social accounts on Genevieve’s 1st Birthday & The Upside Down Family Podcast on the anniversary of her OHS.