This weekend, Mother's Day could be an especially big day for Donna Arm.


The 68-year-old mother of three, grandmother of eight and great grandmother of four received a new heart on April 25, becoming the first person to undergo a transplant at Henry Ford Hospital since the coronavirus crisis emerged.


Doctors hope she will be discharged by the weekend, to celebrate Mother's Day at home.


"I have so much to look forward to," she said Thursday, in an emotional video conference from her hospital bed.


Arm, who lives in Romulus, has had congestive heart failure since 2014.


It worsened over the years. Climbing stairs, going to the grocery store wasn't just difficult, it was exhausting. She was admitted to the hospital on several occasions.


Recently, Arm's condition became especially dire.


Because she was worried about the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, Arm put off going to the hospital for help — something doctors say people who are sick should not do. "I didn't go to the hospital when I first got sick" this time, Arm said. "I was probably sick a month. ... I didn't want to go and have another problem on top of a problem."


Eventually, though, she had no choice: "I got to where I couldn't breathe," she said.


Her family dropped her off at the hospital, unable to follow her inside because of coronavirus restrictions. "It's been really hard not being able to be there for her … to drop her off as sick as she was and leave her there knowing she's always been there for us," said Arm's daughter, Sheila Woods, who is 44 and lives in Wayne.


"The heart was extremely enlarged," said her surgeon, Dr. Hassan Nemeh. "The left chamber, particularly, wasn't pumping much. ... She was starting to have organ dysfunction. ... She was in significant advanced level end stage heart failure. ... Her heart was functioning at probably 10% capacity."


Henry Ford suspended transplants on March 14; doctors didn't want to risk exposing transplant patients to the coronavirus.


They monitored patients already in their organ transplant program, managing them with medication. When the need for transplant became urgent for two patients, Henry Ford sent them to hospitals out of state where the coronavirus hadn't yet taken such a hold.


Toward the end of April, the number of COVID-19 patients began to decline some, opening up non-COVID areas in the hospital for transplant patients with delicate immune systems.


Which meant that Arm wouldn't have to travel for surgery.


Transplant, Nemeh said, "was the only way out of her situation. … She had a mortality potential within hours or days."


Initially, Arm was hesitant to go ahead with a transplant.


She was tired, worn out.


"I was very, very sick," she said. "I think I gave up."


But after thinking about it and talking with family over FaceTime, she said, "I had a peace come over me and it was OK. So I told them, 'yes.' "


Arm was placed on the transplant list at 11:49 p.m. April 23.


By April 24, she got word a heart was available.


By the 25th, she was all done with surgery and on her way to recovery.


"It was just a miracle," Arm said.


"I'm so happy I did it because I have so much to look forward to. I have a new life, a new beginning. ... I'm just going to look forward, be strong and do what I have to do to enjoy the rest of my life."


Said daughter Toni Adams, 48, of Garden City: "Every day's going to be mother's day for us now."