Mother celebrates her daughter’s differences with Cricut Explore

7 October 2020

Every Wednesday, Tiffany Kim shares a statement onesie created with her Cricut Explore Air One to describe her daughter, Arabella. She celebrates Arabella and embraces her differences with the hope that she can spark and continue conversation around Down syndrome.

Remember this post for baby Arabella?

With Down syndrome being one of the most common chromosome abnormalities–1 in every 1,000 births–we thought Down Syndrome Awareness Month would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about Tiffany and Arabella’s story.

Tiffany bought her Cricut® machine to create party décor and other paper projects for her children’s birthdays. After she fell in love with a onesie she saw online, she decided that instead of purchasing the item, it was finally time for her first Cricut iron-on project. After a little trial and error, Tiffany created the perfect onesie for her daughter, Arabella. “I am proof that miracles happen.” It was a fitting statement given Arabella’s story, as Tiffany tells us…

Baby Arabella - i am proof that miracles happen

The following is written by Tiffany Kim.

When I first received Baby Arabella’s diagnosis of Down syndrome, I most certainly did not consider myself lucky. Even though I was a former Registered Nurse, and my husband is a physician, I honestly knew very little about Down syndrome. Everything I read or knew about this condition happened to be negative. Though I had met a couple of people with Down syndrome, I never truly knew someone with this diagnosis. Then, it happened.

Your baby girl has a 98% chance of having Down syndrome.

I can still remember the phone call from our obstetrician’s office as if it was yesterday, and it was as if time stood still, suspended in space.

I felt shock;

I felt fear;

I felt disappointment;

I was devastated.

I didn’t want to be the mother to a baby with special needs, and I believed that my life was about to be over. But, my husband and I knew that despite the diagnosis, we would choose to have this baby no matter what.

A couple of weeks later, we were in the obstetrician’s office getting a Nuchal Translucency ultrasound to help confirm the diagnosis. Our little baby not only had Down syndrome but she also had a condition called Hydrops, a condition where fluid builds up around two or more compartments or organs of the body.

Baby Arabella was not expected to make it. In fact, she was only given a 5-10% chance of surviving birth. So, we were sent to a high-risk obstetrician and returned to the hospital every 2 weeks for a new ultrasound to see if her little heart had stopped yet. If her heart had stopped beating, we would know when it was time to deliver our stillborn baby.

Subsequent visits then showed fluid buildup spreading to her heart, lungs, stomach, and down into her extremities as well. The doctors were also seeing heart defects noting that she was most likely was in heart failure.

Until a miracle occurred.

At around 20 weeks, the fluid was completely gone, and no serious heart defects appeared. Arabella was born full-term, as an overall healthy and vibrant little baby.

Baby Arabella - i am worthy shirt

Arabella is now 14 months, and I wouldn’t change a thing about her. She is a gift, not a burden, and I 100% consider myself lucky to be her mama. This baby girl is strong. Literally! She has been meeting most of her gross motor developmental milestones right on pace and is therefore getting into everything like a typical toddler!

Baby Arabella and her siblings
Arabella with siblings, Lincoln & Hannah
Tiffany Kim and her family including Baby Arabella
Tiffany and Paul Kim with their children

She is bright, full of joy, and has made my world and the world of many others a better and brighter place. I really hope that through her, others can see that a life with Down syndrome is a life worth living, and that she and others with this condition are equally as worthy and valuable as you and me.

Tiffany explained that her experiences gave her a need and desire to be there for other parents who may be going through similar situations. Unsure of exactly where to start, she turned to Instagram and started #OnesieWednesday to share Arabella’s story with a Cricut onesie on a regular basis. She applies creative, memorable sayings on each of the onesies to spread more awareness about Down syndrome.

These fun iron-on creations are Tiffany’s way of starting conversations and talking about Down syndrome in a more approachable way for those who may not feel comfortable asking outright. Tiffany advises that while it may feel awkward at first, one of the best things anyone with questions about Down syndrome can do is just ask. She even hosts a Q&A every Friday in her Instagram stories where people can send in their questions.

Baby Arabella with heart of onesies

Since starting in 2019, Tiffany has made more than 25 onesies with the help of her trusty Cricut Explore Air® One. The making process has also become a sort of therapy for Tiffany. Being able to lose herself in a craft, even if it only takes 30 minutes, is something that she looks forward to every week.

Where does she get the ideas for all of these different onesies? Tiffany told us that her inspiration comes from Arabella herself, Pinterest, and fun phrases she finds on social media. One of her favorite onesies to date says, “Clowns are scary. Down syndrome isn’t.” She loves the lighthearted tone of the phrase and found that many of her followers feel the exact same way – clowns are terrifying – but people who have Down syndrome definitely aren’t.

Baby Arabella - Clowns are scary but Down syndrome isn't shirt

At the end of the day Tiffany said that if there was one thing she wanted everyone to know about people who have Down syndrome it is this:

It’s not something to be afraid of – she’s a human, not a label or condition. She has purpose and worth and value. They’re more like us than different.

Does someone inspire you like Arabella inspires Tiffany? Please share your story with us in the comments.