Tyler and Irve Edmond orchestrated a heartwarming surprise for their family by embarking on an 18-hour road trip to bring their baby boy home. In late May, just three weeks after their son Eli was discharged from the hospital on May 4, the first-time parents journeyed from North Carolina to Oklahoma, leaving their loved ones completely unsuspecting.
“I expected them to be really surprised because they had no clue we were coming,” revealed mom Tyler Edmond in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
To make the surprise even more unexpected, Tyler ingeniously created a web of excuses, rescheduling appointments and crafting a 10-day vacation without her mother’s knowledge. The couple shared their heartwarming surprise through a TikTok compilation video on June 2. The footage captured the magical moments of Tyler placing Eli in his baby carrier outside the homes of his great-grandmother, grandaunt, and grandmother. With each visit, she rang the doorbell and hid nearby, capturing the family members’ priceless and joyous reactions. The video has already garnered over 4 million views, with Aunt Rue’s response quickly becoming a favorite among internet viewers.
Tyler Edmond expressed her delight, saying, “Everyone’s reaction was just so priceless.”
Starting his life with unique circumstances, Eli, now 7 months old, spent an arduous 170 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, North Carolina. Born prematurely at just 23 weeks, weighing a mere 1.9 ounces, Eli made remarkable progress during his NICU stay. Unlike many other micro preemies, he didn’t experience major head trauma or long-lasting effects from his premature birth, which Tyler Edmond described as a miracle.
Upon returning home, Eli still requires occasional assistance from an oxygen tank and will be fed through a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) for the rest of the year. However, his parents emphasize that caring for Eli has been relatively easy as he maintains a happy and laid-back demeanor.
The Edmonds are grateful for the positive impact their story and surprise visit have had on others. Sharing their journey on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, they have received an outpouring of love and support from people who shared their own preemie stories. Tyler Edmond mentioned that hearing these stories from different perspectives has been encouraging and has provided them with a valuable perspective on their fortunate situation.
As they continue documenting their experiences, Tyler and Irve Edmond appreciate the joy and connection their story has brought to others, making their journey all the more rewarding.