Friday, July 29, 2011


Day 21

My grandmother died yesterday.

If you remember she broke her hip about two weeks ago. Initially she seemed to do okay after surgery. They were getting her up into the chair and making small progress towards heading to a rehab centre, when her heart started to act up. On Wednesday night she was having trouble maintaining all bodily systems at an even keel (her heart rate would speed up, then they'd give her meds to slow that down...but then her O2 sats would drop etc.) She died around 11 am yesterday morning.

I wish I had got to see her one last time. I feel bad that I don't think I'd seen her since Christmas, when she lives a 20 minute drive from us. Now I suppose I had a good excuse, being on bed rest for over 100 days this year, but still... I wish I'd made the time the last couple of weeks to go see her in the hospital. To be fair, I was afraid to bring any of Grama's hospital germs to Kaia...but I could have come home and showered between hospitals. She just seemed to be doing well, and I thought I would get the chance to see her again soon.

My Grama was my last living grandparent. When Aidan died last year, one of the small hurts among thousands was that I was afraid my Grama would die before I could get a picture of her with her great-grandchild. Then Kaia was on her way...then Kaia was born...and now my Grama is gone. And I'll never have that photo. It's a small thing to be sure, but it would be nice to have a picture of my Grama with my baby, so I could say to Kaia one day "that's you with your great-grandmother". I have a few photos of me as a baby with my great grand-mother. I was hoping for one for my child.

Since Grama had Alzheimer's she was often best with people and things that cannot talk...for instance she LOVED her dog. She didn't have to verbally communicate with a dog, or remember or pay attention to anything a dog said, and thus dogs for her were easy to be with. I haven't seen my Grama with a baby in years, but I had hoped she'd get some of the same satisfaction out of holding a small person who would have no demands for conversation. I guess I'll just have to imagine she and Kaia would have got along smashingly.

The hardest part to swallow about my Grama's death is that prior to her broken hip, she was in very good shape physically. Her family doctor kept telling my uncle she could live another 10 years. Mentally she wasn't all there, but she didn't have heart problems, she didn't have diabetes, she didn't have high blood pressure (or low blood pressure). She ate well and loved having 'a cup of tea' at almost any time of the day. She could still go for short walks. She didn't use a wheelchair, a walker or a cane (although now I'm wondering if that would have helped to prevent her fall). But one little (okay big) broken hip, and two weeks later she's gone.

It's things like this that make me so fearful for my family, and for me and for Kaia. Grama was fine...and then she's dead. I mean granted she was 85...but still...fine, and then dead. It's scary how fragile life is. As much as my Grama hasn't been herself since the Alzheimer's started to get bad...I'm going to miss having her around. She was an important part of my childhood, and now she's gone.

In Kaia news, she's still needing the extra whiff of oxygen. They tried to wean her off of it yesterday and she started desatting into the mid to low 80s overnight so they put it back on. I'm kind of sad that she's NEEDING the oxygen, but trying to keep it all in perspective. She's not a 'normal' ex-32 weeker. She's at high risk of chronic lung disease due to her lack of amniotic fluid, and I'm okay with her not being 'pushed'. She's also going down for her hip ultrasound today, so we will know for sure if she has hip dysplasia and is going to need a harness. I'm betting on it. What did make me feel better was that when I told my brother about Kaia's hip issue, he said that his girlfriend also had hip dysplasia as a child. Hers was corrected with surgery. I've known his girlfriend for 5 years, and I never would have known that about her. So I guess it is pretty fixable. Good news is that Kaia's other issues aren't holding her back in the weight department. She was 1990 grams as of last night (ALMOST 2KG!!!) and gained 85 grams in one day! That's over a pound since she started gaining weight after her initial loss after birth. My little chunker. At least all that pumping is going to good use.


  1. so, so sorry about your grandmother, emily, and glad kaia's still doing well. hang in there!

  2. I'm so sorry about your grandmother, Emily, and I totally understand wishing you would have spent more time with her. A few years back my aunt (she was really more like a second mom, even breastfed me as a baby, weird I know but she and my mom were so close) died of breast cancer, she had been battling it for years and I thought she was doing well, until she just wasn't. I lived about 15 minutes of her for years but only saw her a couple of times because, like you, I always thought there was more time. I miss her so much and wish I could get that time back, but I know it's gone. I'm so glad that Kaia is marching right along. A little bit of o2 at this point can't be horrible, and that little girl sure is chunking out! Her lungs probably just need to catch up to her expanding waist line, ha ha.

  3. Good News/Bad News....Sorry about your Grama. When my grandpa died suddenly 3 years ago, I chose to celebrate his 86 years. It was just easier that way for me.

    I am glad to hear Kaia is gaining weight. Are there any other tests that can show if there is an underlying problem with her lungs? Obviously immaturity being a premie, but could there be anything else?

  4. So sorry about your Grama.

    Glad Kaia is gaining weight and holding steady. Hopefully she won't need the extra oxygen for long.

    I was born with hip dysplasia, too, and had to wear a brace for a while when I was an infant. Mom says it didn't slow me down, and it's not something that was noticeable at all once the brace came off. I'd forgotten all about it until I read your post about the Pavlik harness.

  5. Such sad news about your grandmother:(
    Thinking about you, Kaia, and your family

  6. I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Thanks for the update on Kaia.. we are always thinking of her! Life is such a circle isn't it?

  7. so sorry to hear about your grandmother. And happy to hear that your little girl is gaining like a sponge. Yes, hip dysplasia is very nicely treatable nowadays, and the only risk is that of arthritis in later years, but by then the hip replacement surgery will be so slick that they will probably only need to fix the surface of the joint, not like now... anyway, I digress, my point is that it is not a huge deal.

  8. My condolences...Seems like if it's not one thing happening, it's another. Since January of this year I have had a baby at 30 weeks, lost my father, my father in law, dog of 16 years, had my first ever car accident, a major water leak at our just purchased house, and the list goes on and on....All you can do is keep trucking (and really enjoy the time you do have with your family and friends).

    My goodness Kaia is getting big! Hoping she can get back to breathing all by herself again real soon.

  9. I'm sorry to hear about your Grama and that you will never get that picture of her holding Kaia. I assume that she was told that Kaia was born and even though she might not of understood, maybe deep down it reached her somehow.

    It is scary how fragile life is.

  10. So sorry about your Grama. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and also does well with animals and babies. I'm so sorry you didn't get to introduce them.

    Kaia sounds like she is doing wonderfully and chunkin' up. Go Kaia!

  11. I'm so sorry about your Grandma. Of course every loss is its own grief but I do think there's something different/difficult about losing the last member of a given generation in a family.

  12. Sorry to hear about your Grama. I think everyday about my Grams...and how she will never hold one of my children. It's a difficult thing to swallow. It's up to you to tell Kaia all about her now, though. You'll do a good job. Sending hugs to you and your little girls always.

  13. Sorry about your grand mom. Reminded me of my own dearest granny who died 2 years ago. Sorry about the picture you cannot have.

    Lot of love to your daughter and good to know she is doing well