It’s not very often you get to completely remove yourself from your life and spend some time living in the most real dream you can imagine. Just pack an overnight bag and jet away—around the globe or around the corner—and imagine away the life you left behind for a while. Don and I did just that on Saturday night. It doesn’t matter that we called a cab to take us to a hotel that we could walk to from our front door, or that the majority of the guests at the hotel were wearing shoes that I’d need to sacrifice my rent money to buy; for 23 blissful hours, we were Mr. & Mrs. Awesome, and we were king and queen of the world.
For me, the brief stint in the lap of luxury started on Friday afternoon, when the social worker at the hospital booked me in for a 90-minute facial at a trendy spa in Yaletown. On top of the three masks and the deep gentle cleanse, the Facialicious treatment at Skoah also included arm/leg massages and a deadly scalp massage. I left feeling like a million bucks and positively glowing, literally. I’m not a girly-girl and I’ve never had a facial. Hell, I’ve never had my brows waxed. My introduction to the spa lifestyle was resoundingly positive.
I floated to the hospital and met Don there when he got off work, and after a pukey visit with Nyana (more on that later), we made our way home around nine o’clock. An impromptu birthday party for me followed—we’d made plans for some friends to come visit, friends we haven’t seen since, well, before we got pregnant, but it wasn’t until Don brought out the birthday cake that I clued in that the gathering was in my honour. Our guests didn’t realize it until then, either. The cake, by the way, was an amazing creation by one Angie Nagy, a co-worker of Don’s who does cakes on the side. If you live in Vancouver and need a cake for any occasion, I’ll give you her number. Best cake you’ll ever eat.
Saturday morning I officially turned 31, and the three of us celebrated as a family. It was Nurse Awesome’s first day back from a two week holiday and we were thrilled that she would be in charge while we were enjoying our staycation. We dressed Nyana in a beautiful turquoise outfit from Grannie—yes, Ny owns clothing that isn’t pink—and took some photos to commemorate Nyana’s first “Mum’s Birthday”. Back in October, when Nyana was nearly a month old, Don held all two pounds of her on his birthday, and the two of us breathed a sigh of relief that at least we wouldn’t be in the NICU on my birthday, too. Amazing how random the cards you’re dealt can be.
Check-in at at the hotel was 3pm, and the taxi dropped us off at around five past. I accidentally tripped into the reflection pool at the front entrance of the hotel pool on our way to the concier—
Wait, wait, wait – hold on a minute here. You tripped? You didn’t say anything to me about tripping before. And it didn’t look like you tripped, it looked like you just sorta…walked into it. Here’s what happened – we pull up in the cab and everything is happening quickly. We’re all ooh’s and aah’s at the fancy entrance and the pretty cars in front of it, and the uniformed doormen and the guy pulling our luggage out of the cab, and paying the cabbie – by the time I looked up I was being ushered down this little walkway following my bags. I didn’t even see the reflection pool to my left, let alone the main entrance doorway on the other side of that. I was just looking where people were pointing me and then BAM! Karen goes down. What the?? What just happened? It looked like Karen just fell into a pool of water? Where did that come from? Oh hey, cool, there’s a reflection pool here. Holy crap! Karen fell in the pool! What the…? How did that even happen? The doormen just sort of looked stunned for a moment – it made a pretty big unexpected splash – trying to figure out how it had happened (we’re pretty sure it was the first time anyone had done that yet) and then what to do. As always, Karen was prepared with flipflops and long shorts and the doormen were able to get her a few towels to dry off on, so there was no damage done as we walked in to register…despite a serious case of the giggles.
Right. Thanks, Don. As I was saying, I accidentally tripped on my way into the hotel. The saccharine girl behind the desk welcomed us as Mr. & Mrs., gave us our keycards, and escorted us down the hallway. She assured us our bags would be delivered to our suite shortly, ushered us into the elevator, and pressed the button for the 17th floor. We were both filled to the brim with anticipation about what the weekend held, and the room didn’t disappoint.
Floor to ceiling windows through the entire room offered expansive views of the North Shore mountains and Coal Harbour. Even the bathroom had window walls, a giant jacuzzi soaker tub positioned perfectly to soak in the views of the water and sky. Marble in the bathroom and leather touches in the living room, and cheese and fruit welcoming us. We settled in to watch the hockey game before our dinner reservation.
At 7:30pm—Don in jeans and his nuptial Armani shirt, and me in my out-on-the-town curls—we strolled into Oru restaurant for our five course menu with wine pairing. Over the next two hours, Don and I indulged in spiced almonds, gingered tomatoes, sablefish, butter chicken, and more. Every dish brought to our table was more delectable than the first—the tuna tataki with some spicy watermelon sesame sauce was out of this world delicious, and it culminated with a chocolate ganache bar with pralines and raspberry sorbet. With a wine suggestion with every course, I was slightly beyond inebriated as we made our way back to our hotel room. A jacuzzi overlooking the city lights awaited.
We fell asleep lost in our king-sized bed and before we knew it the front desk was calling with our 9am wake-up call. Our complementary pastries and lattés arrived shortly thereafter and we enjoyed breakfast in bed while we contemplated our day. We found ourselves lazing around Facebook for a stint before taking ourselves for a dip in the hotel pool, and before we knew it, it was time for our one-hour, side by side couples massage. I can’t speak for Don but I understand why people spend days at the spa. While we were there we ran into one of the NICU nurses, there with her boyfriend to celebrate their anniversary. Ironic that we escaped to the spa to get away from all things hospital, and that’s where we have our first occurrence of real life and hospital life colliding; all three of us in bathrobes and borrowed shoes.
Our massages flew by in the blink of an eye and the next thing I knew, we were heading out the front door, luggage in tow, this time avoiding a tumble in the tranquility pool. The cab brought us home to drop our belongings, the bus took us to White Spot to fill our bellies, and we were on our way to visit our babygirl, who we hadn’t seen in more than 24 hours.
Nurse Awesome was on shift again this afternoon and had some bad news for us: we’d had a large emesis this morning, adding to the “every day since Wednesday” trend, and Nyana was quite tired and physically uncomfortable. It was a harsh crash back to reality—after 24 hours of pampering and being referred to as Mr. & Mrs., I hated reverting back to “parent of sick child” and hearing that she might have an infection, our biggest fear following her surgery last week. We had bloodwork tonight and we’ll know more in the morning.
In the meantime, Don and I have said goodbye to our weekend of luxury and are once again focused on home. As nice as it was to escape reality, it is important to get our focus back on tomorrow. Nyana has had some pukey days and there has been some talk of advancing the tube to the jejunum, meaning we would feed directly into the intestine instead of the stomach. Monday morning rounds always offer the most insight and hopefully in the morning we can address the weekend’s complications and start a plan forward.
Sincerest thanks to everyone who participated in the drive to send Don and I on an overnight getaway. It was exactly what we needed to give us one final push to the finish.