Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Best Mother's Day EVER

I don't care what anyone says: my Mother's Day tops that of anyone else on the planet.

Last Tuesday, our insurance company told us that we can take Norah anytime, anywhere without permission, so long as it was restricted to a day trip, and not overnight (which is fine since she needs the ICU-only ventilator at night). This. Is. A. Huge. Deal. We're planning to take her every weekend: the zoo, the park, parties, and most importantly - doing nothing at all at home. But without question, Jeff and I agreed that the first thing we wanted to do was visit his family in Logan, a good drive northward. The next family get-together just happened to be on Mother's Day. It was perfect. It was difficult to keep this secret, but we knew that the payoff of a big surprise would be worth it.

Norah cuddling with her Grandma
We got to the hospital at about 10:45am, and didn't have her back until almost 8pm! She did great in the car, sleeping most of both ways. When we got to Jeff's parent's house, we parked on the far end of the driveway, and went through the garage, as to not give away our surprise. We were the first to get there. Jeff's mom opened the interior door to the patio, greeting Harper, then Jeff, then me, then.... NORAH! She squealed in delight, immediately fighting tears. She could hardly believe we had brought her with us. Jeff's dad said that the moment he heard his wife's reaction from the other room, that he immediately knew why.

Enjoying my in-laws' gorgeous backyard
It was so fun to sit in the living room, watching everyone do double takes as they came through the door, realizing that we had a very special guest with us. This was Norah's first time outside of her little 25-mile radius. This was the longest duration she had been away from a hospital since she was an itty bitty fragile baby. Everyone commented on how healthy (and beautiful) she looked. We ate dinner together, played, cuddled, went outside, and Norah met lots of new faces. As usual, it was sort of like having a celebrity in our midst. One of the most exciting parts of this day was Norah finally getting to meet her paternal great grandparents. G&G Gunnell had yet to meet Norah since they can't easily travel. They were thrilled to meet her, and fell instantly in love. It meant so much to Jeff and I that Norah spent time with everyone, especially them and her Great Grandma R (my mother in law's mom). The three of them are so wonderful, and I just can't say enough great things about them. In many ways, I like to think of Great Grandma R as the white version of my own Mima - my filipina lola that passed away a few years ago. And G&G Gunnell are the sweetest, most cheerful couple you'll ever meet. I just love them!

This photo sums up their relationship
As usual, navigating Norah's equipment was no easy feat... but this time we had loads of help. Every time we moved from room to room, we carried Norah (of course), the ventilator, the a/b monitor, the oxygen tank, the suction machine, miscellaneous medical supplies (maintenance and emergency types), and all of the tethered tubes, wires, and power cords. One of these days I want to hold it all and stand on a scale to see what it weighs. It's madness, but it's worth it. This girl does not travel light. More still, we had her diaper bag, and other random bits that were with us but not necessarily taken from room to room.

So much happiness in one photo
As the day came to a close, Harper said that he didn't want to take Norah back to the hospital. He said that he wanted her to stay and come home with us. I think he can sense that our days of living in the hospital are numbered. We're yet another step closer to drawing that "Get out of Jail Free" card from the deck. Norah didn't want to be left there, either. Jeff and I told and signed to her that we were leaving, and she started to cry. Can you even imagine having to leave your little toddler at the hospital every day? Can you imagine your visits being borrowed time? Let me tell you, it's the pits. But there's that light at the end of the tunnel. And we're ready.
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