Jason and I had booked a long weekend trip to Florida about two months back. It was just for the two of us to get away and reconnect. A time for rest and rejuvenation. We were both so excited for it since it had been 8 years since we had taken a long weekend for just the two of us. I had spent the past 7 weeks researching hotels, flights, activities, and restaurants. I was so ready to get out of this cold Minnesota weather and enjoy some sunshine and see the ocean.
The problem: Our trip was to start on Thursday morning and Hattie had just been discharged from the hospital Wednesday afternoon. What should we do?
It was so hard. I felt so incredibly conflicted. If you know me at all, you know that I am a hand's-on-mama. I love being with my kids and I like being the one to be here at bedtime. I love taking care of them and I love being their mama. So for me to take a vacation was a rather big step. To take a vacation when my sweet Hattie had just gotten home from her hospital stay was...well....difficult. I spent a great deal of the evening crying. Crying because I didn't want to leave her, crying because I didn't want to miss out on something important for my marriage, and crying because I knew that our tickets were non-refundable and we would simply be out the money if we didn't go. After much convincing, I packed my bags and left the decision to leave based entirely on how Hattie fared during the night. If her fever broke, then we would go, feeling comfortable that things were moving in the right direction. If the fever remained, then we would stay home and I would continue to care for Hattie and see her through this nasty virus that she had picked up from who-knows-where.
The fever broke.
Since Hattie's fever had broken during the night and all signs pointed to her being on her way to recovery, reluctantly Jason and I set out on our trip. Jason and I arrived at the airport and boarded our plane.
It was a nice, smooth flight. We left at 7am and arrived in Orlando at 10:47am. The whole day lay ahead of us.
The first thing we did once we got the rental car, was find some lunch. We stepped out of the vehicle and were greeted with sunshine and 85 degree weather. It was absolutely beautiful. It's hard to be crabby or have a bad mood when you are surrounded with weather like that! I called home to get a quick check on Hattie and things seemed to be progressing towards getting back to normal.
We went to Downtown Disney and walked around, looking at the shops and people watching.
Whew...Minnesota snow-bird showing off her tan. ;)
By evening I called again to check on the kids and especially Hattie. I was trying so very hard to be in the moment and enjoy Florida, but my heart was still back in Minnesota wanting to be there to see first-hand how she was doing. To snuggle with her on my lap. Read her books. Tell her she was doing so great and that by tomorrow morning she would be as good as new.
Friday morning proved to be another beautiful day in sunny Florida. Forecast said we were going to get up to 90+ degrees. It seemed like the perfect day to head to Cocoa Beach and enjoy some ocean time!
We rented an umbrella and a beach chair. I was amazed at how strong the sun was. This fair-haired girl was a little worried about getting a sunburn, so I spent some of my time under the umbrella enjoying the shade. Here was my view:
While I was sitting and relaxing, I made a call home.
Mom said that Hattie had some yucky diapers and per our instructions from the hospital, if she started to show any signs of moving in a direction we didn't like, then I was to call the pediatrician on Friday to have her seen before the weekend. So...I sat at Cocoa Beach with tears in my eyes as I dialed the clinic office. I spoke with the pediatrician who said she didn't need to see her, but because of the diapers, I needed to push the fluids hard to try and avoid dehydration and watch for the signs...because if it came back, she would need to go to the ER again.
It was a surreal feeling...being surrounded by so much beauty but feeling so sad and heartbroken on the inside. It made for a rather difficult day.
(Jason did a lot of swimming...that's him in the center...way out there.)
We returned to the hotel, freshened up, and went to Disney's BoardWalk.
After that, we drove to Universal's CityWalk to grab some supper. We weren't sure how much longer we were going to have in Florida so we decided to try and fit in as many things as we could.
While at CityWalk, Mom called. Hattie had thrown up again right before bed. The tides were turning and I didn't like the direction they were choosing what-so-ever.
I went to bed that night with tears in my eyes. My baby was sick and here mama wasn't even there to hold her and comfort her. I felt utterly helpless.
We awoke the next morning and headed to the Orange/Grapefruit grove while we waited to hear how Hattie was doing. Would today be the turning point for her or was she going to continue to just get worse?
While in the grove, I called home yet again. Hattie wasn't doing well and my mom was getting concerned. I spent half my time at the grove parked under an orange tree talking with the ER at Children's Hospital, looking for advice on what we needed to do for Hattie. Once off the phone with them, I dialed the pediatrician and spoke with her. It was becoming increasingly apparent that there was going to need to be an early flight home. I called Mom and told her what they had told me and that I was going to try and catch a flight home. We got in the car and headed for the hotel.
Once back at the hotel, I started to fold my clothes and get things organized so in case I needed to leave, I could. I called Mom and while I was on the phone with her Hattie started throwing up again. I looked at Jason and I said "Get me a flight home, I' m leaving." We began hastily throwing things in the suitcase and hurried out of the hotel.
While on the way to the airport, I booked a flight home to Minnesota. God was watching out for me as I was able to get the last seat on the plane. I had less then an hour to get checked in, go through security, and make it to my gate. I hugged Jason good-bye and through tears he let me go. We knew that he was going to have to stay behind and take the originally planned flight home as this emergency ticket cost us a lot of money and we just couldn't afford two of them.God made it all happen and as I stood at the gate waiting to board, I knew that in only 3 short hours, I would be there with my little girl.
***To be continued***