Friday, November 30, 2007

4 New Pics

Laine Ryan...Likes his froggy blankie.

Danna Lynn....Still on CPAP for the time being, but still kicking a** and takin' names! You can't tell it in the picture, but Danna and Laine have the same cute little upturned noses.

Forrest Michael snuggling with his lamb blankie

Pius James snug as a bug... Actually, he was flipping off his nurse who saw Billy's Broncos jersey and taunted him by saying, "Go, Bears!" She was impressed with his dexterity.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A bad day to quit bad habits

Hello everyone. First off, I know that it has been awhile since an update and I completely apologize. I take full blame, but I feel that I have good reason. We had decided that bi-daily updates would suffice. We still feel that bi-daily updates will suffice if we can keep up. However, I now have four children and a wife to keep track of. It will be hard, but I know that once I get my system down pat, I will be able to handle it.

As some of you may have heard, Moni got admitted to the hospital last night. Her swelling hasn't gone down, her pain has gone up, and overall she has a hell of a lot to complain about personally. I called Dr. Elliott two nights ago looking for answers. He hadn't called back yet as of yesterday morning, so I called again. He did call back when we were finishing up lunch yesterday and thought that he had an easy plan for getting her looked at. He was wrong. We went in after lunch at around 1 o'clock Phoenix time. By the time the ER, the Phoenix Perinatal Associates and Moni had figured out the problem, it was 1:45 a.m. this morning. The entire situation was a debacle and extremely trying for me personally, trying to go chew-free all day. For you math majors out there, it was an over 12 hour event to get Moni admitted. Therefore, we apologize for not posting, but we were kind of busy during posting time.

As for sweet Monica...she has a few problems. She has swelling and cellulitis on her lower abdomen. It is extremely uncomfortable and is holding Moni back as far as movement. She also has an outer ear infection. This is causing her the most pain, but they gave her some antibiotic ear drops which, hopefully, will work. The swelling in her legs has gone down some with Lasix (water pills), but as for her ankles, they are still pretty swollen. They admitted her so that they could give her some antibiotics through an IV for the cellulitis. She could have taken pills orally, but the doctors felt that taking it through the IV would improve the medicine's effectiveness. She will probably be discharged tomorrow, and we can't wait to have her back. Also, her pumping is much improved. She now averages 5-6 oz. of milk each session and tries to pump 6-8 times a day.

Now to the chillun:

Pius James: Still gaining weight, still breathing room air, and still pooping very well. Gampy Stubby and Gamma Vicki got to hold him today, and he supposedly had a conversation with them. He told them that he was ready to go home, and wanted to go home with them, but he felt like he needed to stay to keep his eye on his roommate Danna. It seems that his run-in with Mr. Nurse Wratchet did not seem to have any lasting adverse effects. Mamma Bear was assured by the charge nurse that Mr. Nurse Wratchet was done with the Graf kids and she apologized profusely for the bad experience.

Forrest Michael: Still gaining weight, still breathing room air, and still pooping very well. He continues to eat well and feels that he needs to stretch out for everyone to see him. He is quite the poser, and he knows that he is gorgeous. He is even good-looking when he threw up on me and pooped at the same time.

Danna Lynn: She is the only one still on CPAP. She is breathing room air on her own but they want to make sure that she uses her energy on growing, not breathing. She is doing so well. Moni got to hold her yesterday, and she made sure that everyone knew that she was pissed when Momma had to put her down. She is doing wonderfully. All she needs to do now is grow!

Laine Ryan: He is gaining weight, breathing room air (completely on his own now, Thank You), and Daddy knows first hand, pooping very well. He dropped a deuce in his diaper today that I was even impressed by. He still has small bouts with his heart rate, but he always seems to correct it on his own. He seems much happier without the mask, and likes to follow everyone's voices with his eyes when he is awake.

The boys started using the extra calorie additive to the breast milk a couple days ago. This is to help them grow, but also helps them create very ripe diapers, which Jackie Tubre can attest to.

We are having a great time with all the family in town. Becky's mom and dad, Phil and Cathy, made it in today. Phil and Cathy were the first great uncle and aunt to see the munchkins. Championship. We promise pictures tomorrow when we find the picture posting equipment.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy 1 Week Birthday!

We'll try to get everyone up to date on the goings on over the last couple of days. Some of our visitors left just this morning. Ryno, Lainie and "Frank the Tank" Brad Goertz arrived on Thanksgiving day and drove out early today. It was good to see them again and introduce them all to their godchildren/niece/nephews, despite Ryno's multiple failed attempts to kill me (i.e. losing control of my wheelchair while going downhill onto a busy street- you'd think he'd let go of his cigarette or soft drink first, but, alas...)

Bucko, Vicki, mom, dad, Mike and Becky made us all an awesome Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, complete with all the trimmings. Billy, Ryan, Lainie and Goertz did a great job of cleaning up. I, on the other hand, did a good job of watching, eating, directing and keeping my feet up. I've had a HUGE amount of swelling since the delivery. Think +3 pitting edema or play-doh/cookie dough in my feet, ankles, calves, thighs, belly, hands, face and arms (pretty much EVERYWHERE). It's made it hard to get around and is pretty uncomfortable. Dr Elliott has me on Lasix to help get some of the fluid off, but it hasn't seemed to help yet. We plan on calling him today to see what else we can do.

My cankles from a couple days ago... Even worse now.

Now, to update you all on the munchkins. We'll just go in order from oldest to youngest.

I got to hold our big bear for the first time on Saturday. His eyes were wide open and looking at me and I just about melted. He is so sweet and doing so well. They took him off of the CPAP Sunday morning to see how he did on room air. He slept so peacefully without all the headgear and he has done wonderfully so far. There's always a chance they may need to put him on oxygen or back on CPAP later if he starts to need some extra help. When we visited them last night, Pius was wide awake and active. My mom was saying that he looked so familiar and reminded her of someone but couldn't think of who it was. I had been thinking the same thing and then all of a sudden it came to me. He kind of looks like the baby pictures I've seen of my older cousin Forrest "Andy" Haag. She agreed immediately that that's exactly who it was. Pius didn't really like his nurse last night and his mama thinks he's a good judge of character, because I didn't like him either. Poor Pius was totally man-handled. I guess his nurse didn't feel that it was important to make a newborn feel safe and secure when holding or moving them. The nurse wasn't gentle at all and wasn't paying attention to all his monitor leads. Finally, when his temperature probe got caught on the scale and ripped the sticky lead off his skin and made Pius start screaming in pain, mama bear came out and took over the situation. It's surprising how vocal you become when you feel your babies are being hurt. That nurse will not put his hands anywhere near my kids again, if I have anything to say about it! Pius's weight on Sat and Sun remained at 3 lbs 9 oz. Still down a little from his birth weight, but he's eating and pooping well. Budda even got to change one of his poopy diapers last night! She was so nervous to handle something so small, but she got the job done and the world was right again.

Ryno meeting his godson, Pius, for the 1st time

Aunt Lainie with Pius

Pius James...CPAP-free!

Pius weighing in on the matter. Verdict: still doesn't like his nurse that night.

Mama Bear holding Pius and trying to calm him down after being manhandled

Pius after having diaper changed by grandma Budda

Another beautiful picture of our big little guy, Pius

He's our other big brute. He also currently weighs in at 3 lbs 9 oz (back up to his birth weight). The little porker is now up to eating 27 mL of breastmilk every 3 hours! They took him off CPAP yesterday at the same time as Pius. He is also tolerating room air very well and LOVES being free of the mask. He's a little ornery, though. I was changing his diaper when he decided it'd be funny to pee again right in the middle of it. But the joke was on him, because he only got a little drop on me and the rest went on his tummy and new diaper. Billy got to hold Forrest skin-to-skin on Sat. He really seemed to enjoy burrowing himself and getting lost in the chest hair! He always looks so content and sprawls himself out all over his bed.

Brad Goertz AKA "Frank the Tank" meeting godson, Forrest, for the first time

Blondie Boy taking a nap

Check out my sweet bod....Man, I'm hot!

Forrest getting nestled into Billy's chest

Our little princess must have been taking notes from Forrest, because she also tried to pee on me during a diaper change. I tried to explain to her that she didn't have the same parts and would end up only getting herself wet. Then I told her I'd teach her all about "squatting" when she was a little older. She has so much to learn from her mom and aunties! I talked to the neonatalogist yesterday about her progress. He said that Danna's body has been programmed to using nutrients very efficiently due to the lack of supply while in utero. It will take awhile for her body to stabilize everything, including blood sugar which has been fluctuating quite a bit. They don't want her to grow as big as the boys right away. He said that she should be about caught up with them by age 3 yrs. As of last night, she was still weighing in at 1 lb 10 oz - the same as she was at birth. She and Pius share the same room and nurse, and her big brother is always looking out for her. He always tests the nurses out first and then gives them the okay to see Danna. Mom didn't want little Danna to be handled the same way as Pius was last night, so she stood over the bed and provided most of the nursing care for her. She has been getting nasal suctioning to suck the snot out and she also had some big, green eye boogers that were pretty well fusing her left eye lids together. I hope this isn't an infection. I suppose we'll just keep watching it and hopefully swab it and send it to lab for evaluation. Otherwise, Danna is still just chuggin' right along. They will continue her CPAP for awhile, even though she seems to do pretty well during the times they remove it to weigh and assess her. We don't want her to waste calories and energy trying to breath all on her own right now. She just needs to keep on growing.

Danna Lynn wearing daddy's wedding ring

Danna...just hangin' out. She has headgear hair and red eyes from mama trying to clean the eye boogs - she was mad at me for that!

Danna without all her CPAP headgear..if only she had some meat on her bones!

Laine continues to do well. His weight last night was 2 lbs 8 oz - that's 4 oz over his birth weight! Good job, little man! He continues to take 6 mL of breastmilk every 3 hours. I got to hold him for the second time, skin-to-skin, and he's my little cuddle buddy. He shares a room with Forrest and has received excellent nursing care, day and night. I think the nurses have the hots for my boys (I know uncle Ryno and Goertz have the hots for their nurses!). He's the kid with sensitive skin. All the tape and straps have caused some redness and irritation, but he's tolerating it well. He did have a couple episodes of bradycardia (low heart rate) during the nurse's assessment when he was off CPAP to have his weight checked, diaper changed and bedding changed. His heart rate dipped down to the 60's and 70's for a few seconds and then returned back to normal (160's to 180's) shortly. His oxygen level never dropped, though, which is a good sign. He may have just been a little over stimulated at the time.

Grandma Vicki meeting Laine

Grandpa Stubby and Uncle Ryno meeting Laine Ryan

Laine holding Mama's hand...He's so tiny!

Laine minus the CPAP headgear....He needs to grow some cheeks (and not just on his face!) Also, his poor nose is raw from the CPAP prongs.

In other news, the brain sonograms and 2nd round of PKU blood tests will be done today. We'll update everyone on the results when they become available.

We continue to enjoy and cherish the time we have with the Tubre family. We were visiting Emma and Tyger's room to talk to Jac and Torey and found out that Emma only LOOKS like a little lady! That girl can rip a big one and clear a room! I think she may just be trying to impress Laine from across the hall. After all, she is his future wife and I'm so proud of my future daughter-in-law! Out of the Tubre/Graf quads, Tyger and Danna both weighed the same at birth along with Emma and Laine. They're destined for each other! Cullen and Forrest will probably be jail buddies, which leaves Pius and Abbey to be the voices of reason. It'll be fun to see how their personalities develop. I wonder if we're even close to guessing what they will be like. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

It was a sad, sad weekend for all of our teams. Good job to the Bishop Carroll Golden Eagles for making it to the state championship game! What an accomplishment for the coaches, players and the school. Alabama and the Broncos continue to struggle, but we remain loyal - no bandwagons here. I think we should start cheering for the opposing team just to jinx them. Maybe then our team could get a win.

Enjoy the pictures! We expect a record amount of comments!

G.G. Bucko holding one of the babies' preemie diapers. They look too small for most baby dolls! Amazing.

Billy, Moni, Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pictures from 11-23

Our sweet Danna. Sleeping like an angel.
Our little trooper Forrest. Sleeping like an angel.
My main man Laine. Sleeping like an angel.
The gentle giant Pius. Sleeping like an angel. Do you guys see any trends?

Dinner with the Tubres at Baby Kay's. It was a lot of fun.

Free at last, Free at last...

The Nix does get cool. It was down to around 55 degrees this evening and it felt great. Tonight we went out to dinner with the Tubres. We went to Baby Kay's restaurant (it is a Cajun joint, and it got 3 out of 4 thumbs up from our favorite 4 Cajuns). Personally, I got the Chicken and something gumbo, and it was money.

This afternoon Goertz, Uncle Ryno, Gampy Stubby, and I hit the links. We went to the same golf course that Becky and I played earlier this year. It was grown more maturely, but it wasn't any easier. Gampy Stubby won big money from me, as he shot a 42 (6 over), even with an 8 on the eighth hole. He was nails today. Goertz was one shot behind Stub, and Ryno and I were way back.

Moni finally got busted out of the hospital today. She was so excited to get out, the nurses however weren't so happy to see her go. They all said she was such a great patient, and after spending a month straight there, I think they may have become a little attached. We all know Moni has such an addictive personality. They were so good to us, and I KNOW that Moni and I will make up reasons to go up to Floor 5, B-Pod, just to see them.

As far as the chillun:

Pius James: He is still doing really well, but being a tad bit lazy. As of tonight, he is eating 9 mL every 3 hours. He has held true to the Graf name and left the nurses some very nice presents in his diapers. He is the only one of the four who is receiving photo therapy on top and bottom. The photo therapy is for his jaundice which is almost a sure problem for preemies. All four of the Graf quads have it. He is doing a great job with his breathing, but still on CPAP. He is breathing room air, the CPAP is just to keep his lungs expanded. He now weighs 3 pounds, 8 ounces, down 6 ounces from his birth weight. It is completely normal for them to lose weight before starting to gain weight.

Forrest "Frosty" Michael: He is our little blondie trooper. Forrest is doing extremely well up to this point. He is on CPAP still, but breathing total room air. He now weighs 3 pounds, 7 ounces, which is down 2 ounces. He is eating 12 mL every three hours, but at 6 a.m. this morning they are going to up him to 15 mL. He has jaundice, and doing photo therapy, but that is his only issue thus far. He really is doing well (also leaving presents for the nurses), and thankfully there is nothing really to report with him. What a little studmuffin!

Danna Lynn: Danna is breathing room air, but like all of her brothers, still on CPAP. She also, like all of her brothers, has jaundice, and is receiving photo therapy. She has high blood sugar, and they are giving her doses of insulin. Her pancreas hasn't started working yet, but eventually it will, and there shouldn't be any long-term effects. She is receiving a fluid IV, but overall is doing very well. She is eating 2 mL every 12 hours, and hopefully we will get to increase from that. She has had some residual (food left that she didn't digest), but we are hoping that her stomach starts to work right when we get the rest of her body regulated. She now weighs 1 pound, 10 ounces which is the same she weighed at birth. She is still gorgeous, and overall doing very well.

Laine Ryan: He is our "steady Eddy." No major issues. He is eating 4 mL every 3 hours. He is breathing room air, but on CPAP. He has done a great job with presents for the nurses, and really isn't causing too many issues. He is the only one that we have been able to hold so far. They call it kangaroo care, because the baby lies up against us skin to skin. Moni got to hold him last night for about an hour, and he did great. He maintained his body temperature, and really cuddled up to her. He is our little squirmer, and lets everyone know when he is pissed i.e. being layed on his side.

Our favorite news about our kids is that they got all four of them in the same quad room. We have Laine and Forrest in room 10, and Pius keeping an eye on Danna in room 12. The rooms are connected, and having them in the same room has made it so much easier to keep tabs on, and get to know them. Each of their nurses have been so patient with us having so many visitors and questions. Good Sam and Phoenix Children's Hospital really know how to make a family comfortable.

BC's big game tomorrow, and we will be listening. Go Eagles. Thanks so much to the coaches and the players help us to pass the time, and give us something else to think about. We love you guys. Good luck.

Until next time...

P.S. A HUGE thank you to Jim and Renee for the Thanksgiving card, and the stuffed animal blankies. They are helping to hold the babies food syringes, great cuddle buddies, and keep us straight on who is who in the pictures. Thank you so much.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So Much To Be Thankful For...

Prepare yourselves....this is a long one!

Hey everyone,

First off, we'd like to thank everyone for the well wishes and congratulations. We've had a big couple of days and are always excited to find out what each new day will bring. Billy went back the apartment Tuesday night to prepare it for our holiday visitors and Becky kept me company at the hospital. We had a nice little slumber party and, being the saint that she is, even gave me an awesome pedicure using all the fun things Terri Peterson sent me. My feet and toes look more like play-doh logs with little sausages stuck to the ends. They say swelling is pretty typical after surgery, but it's funny to look down at my feet and legs and not recognize them as my own. It seriously looks like I have congestive heart failure and I'm just waiting for them to start weeping that oozy stuff. Gross!

Wednesday morning Billy, Becky and I made our NICU visit to see the kiddos. Pius was still on the ventilator because the nurse said that his chest xray showed white-out on his lungs. This is most likely caused by extra fluid in his lungs that didn't have a chance to get squished out during the birthing process (because they were born by cesarean). It looked like he'd finally had a semi-bath or hair washing because his hair didn't look quite so nappy and patchy as it had earlier. He was sleeping during the morning visit and we don't touch or bother them unless they're already awake. Sleep time is growth time for preemies and we weren't about to impede on the weight gaining! His feeds this morning were still at 3 mL every 6 hours given to him via his feeding tube that goes into his mouth and directly down to his stomach.

Next, we visited Forrest. He is still doing so well and is just cruisin' right along. His feeds have been 3 mL every 3 hours via feeding tube and tolerating them very well. He is on CPAP and is breathing room air (no extra oxygen). CPAP is the reason for the funny looking head gear that you see in the pictures. What it does is essentially force air into the lungs to keep the alveoli open and expanding. He also looked like he'd been washed up a bit. His hair still looks sandy blond and almost like it might have some curl to it.

Danna was next on our list of stops. That morning, she was not a happy camper, but her parents were excited to see her progress. They had been able to keep the breathing tube out and she was also on CPAP using only room air, just like her big brother! Because her bilirubin level was elevated (indicating jaundice - very common in newborns and especially in preemies) they started her on phototherapy. This is kind of like a mini tanning bed to simulate sun exposure. She even has little foam blinders they keep over her eyes to protect them. She needs as much skin exposed to the light as possible, so they can't swaddle her up. Now, Danna is used to having very little room and when she can't feel her boundaries, it startles her and I imagine she doesn't feel very secure. Her tiny little cry was heartbreaking. We tried to settle her down by doing containment (cupping her feet and arms against her body with our hands to help her feel more snuggled) and we gave her a pacifier. It worked for a while until Billy told her we were leaving to see her brother. She puckered up and started squeaking again. She has dimples in her chin when she gets pissed just like her mama and a cute nose just like her daddy. She's tiny and precious and has everyone wrapped around her itty-bitty finger. Her feeds have been 1 mL every 6 hours. I got to change her wet diaper for the first time. Still no poop, though - her digestive system just isn't quite ready to handle too much yet (although all the boys have had at least one good, healthy, Graf boy turd).

Little man Laine was our last stop of the morning. He is also doing the phototherapy like Danna and was just as cranky, too. We tried the containment method on him and he was able to kick off my hand and scoot too far up in his incubator. He was one pissed-off puppy and his nurse assured us that he will definitely NOT be the quiet kid in the corner (unless he's sneaking off to do something mischievous and hiding it from his parents). Laine is also still doing the CPAP on room air thing. His feeds this morning were 1 mL every 6 hours via feeding tube.

All the kiddos are receiving TPN (total parenteral nutrition) through their IVs. So, even though they may not be eating much, they're still getting the nutrition they need.

The morning visit was a little disheartening for me. I hated to see Laine and Danna so upset with no way to comfort them. I almost started crying along with them but then reminded myself that it could be so much worse. After all, we were blessed with 4 precious babies.

Later in the afternoon, our long-awaited visitors FINALLY arrived (albeit sooner than they or we had expected them to). Billy's parents, Mike and Vicki, Billy's grandmother, Bucko, and my parents, Roger and Marsha, arrived all the way from Kansas. They decided to caravan from Wichita to Albuquerque Tuesday night and stayed with my dad's sister, Aunt Connie. They left Wednesday morning for Phoenix and got to the hospital around 4:15 p.m. Thanks, Aunt Connie, for feeding and housing our parents and Bucko, for the fleece stockings you made for Billy and me and for the snugly fleece blanket and hat sets for the babies. We'll be putting those to good use when we bring the babies back home during the middle of the Kansas winter!

After getting to my hospital room, Billy showed Mike (Grampa Stubby), Vicki (Gramma Vicki), Bucko (G-G Bucko), mom (Budda) and dad (Papa) the video he took of the actual birth of the babies. Amateur videography as it was, Billy was definitely able to capture the moment and the emotions of everyone in the room. Sometimes I still can't believe how it all went down so quickly and I'm so grateful Billy even had time to go up to the room to grab the video camera before they started cuttin' me open.

The video just increased the grandparents anticipation of seeing their new grandkids! We trekked down to the nursery to introduce everyone. Billy took his parents and Bucko and started with Pius while I took my parents and started at the other end of the unit with Laine. The evening visit was so much more enjoyable than the morning one! The babies had even more great news to share with us when we arrived.

Starting with Laine....he was so much more content tonight. We got to the room just in time, as the nurse was about to open his incubator and rustle him up a bit. I got to change his cotton-swab of a diaper and we got to give his head and face a rest by taking him off the CPAP for a little while. He maintained his oxygen sats well and was just alert and wide-eyed as ever. It was like he knew company was coming and he'd better shape up to make a good first impression for his grandparents. His head has become a little mishaped from the head gear, but it'll go back to normal after he is able to go to a nasal cannula. They also were able to increase his feedings to every 3 hours instead of every 6.

We left Laine in Billy and Bucko's hands and moved on to little Danna. She was sleeping like an angel on her side. We couldn't see much of her because of all the head gear and eye protectors (and because there really isn't much of her to see as it is). Everyone was amazed at how tiny she really is. Pictures don't do her size justice. Next time, we may steal the Tubre idea of using Billy's wedding band as a bracelet for her. The docs decided to increase her feeds, as well, to every 3 hours.

Moving on to Forrest, there wasn't much change from the morning. He was being a good little boy and sleeping all cuddled up under his blanket. CPAP and feedings were the same. His nurse wasn't available at the time, so I didn't get a report card for the day on him.

Lastly, we got to Pius's room and had a very pleasant surprise waiting for us. He got extubated during the day and was also put on CPAP like the rest of his brothers and sister! He was still requiring a little bit of oxygen (36% - normal room air is 21%). He was sleeping when we got to his room, but must've heard his mama's voice and decided to wake up to say hello. His nurse opened his incubator for us and I got to change his little wet diaper, too! He's such a big boy and looks like a giant compared to his siblings. He's starting to get the big picture when it comes to breathing. I told him it's pretty important and he'd better just get used to it. They were also able to increase his feedings to 3 mL every 3 hours, just like Forrest. Pius needs to keep taking notes from him.

After the nursery, we all headed back up to my room and visited for awhile. Then they all left to go eat at Macayo's Mexican Restaurant so I could prop my sausage feet up and start pumping again. I try to do that every 2-3 hours. I really hope the milk starts coming in soon because it's kind of discouraging to put so much effort into something and only getting 5-10 mL of measurable evidence of the work I've done!

Anyway, sorry this post is so long. They won't all be this way, I guess I had a lot more to report than I thought. Plus, it's been so long since I've actually been able to type one that I may have gone a little overboard. Hopefully we'll be able to post better pictures later today or tomorrow (don't hold us to that, Erin! J/K). My mom took some on her camera and we'll try to download those later.

Have a safe flight on Turkey day Ryan, Brad and Lainie! Can't wait to see you guys! As for everyone else, hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday and have as many things to be grateful for as Billy and I do. Keep the prayers a-comin'!

Billy, Moni, Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine

Danna Lynn with her head gear and goggles under the bili-lights. Birth weight and length were 1 lb 10 oz and 12.25 inches.

Laine with his red forehead and swollen eyes after the headgear removal. He's looking towards his mama's voice and trying to figure out where he's heard Budda and Papa's voices before. Birth weight and length were 2 lbs 4 oz and 14.25 inches. Wait a second, I just realized that it looks like I'm grabbing his junk! Maybe that's why he's giving me a funny face. Sorry, Laine.

Pius with his newly acquired CPAP headgear. Birth weight and length were 3 lbs 14 oz and 17.25 inches.

Forrest in his headgear all snuggled up and being a good boy. Someone should tell him he's foaming at the mouth! Typical CPAP side effect. Birth weight and length were 3 lbs 9 oz and 14.5 inches.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

1st day of their lives!

Hi everyone. It is a very excited, and sleep-depraved Billy and Monica reporting from Banner-Good Samaritan. Day one has gone relatively well. Moni and I went down and visited the Graf Quads at around 7 a.m. It was great getting to see and talk to our babies. One of our nurses was giving me a lesson on Moni's breast pumping stuff while Moni was talking to one of the babies, and I did the best that I could to remember it all, but I think that Moni once again proved her brilliance and figured it out herself. She did well with it for the first day, but she is hoping to improve. Her volume wasn't what she would like, but they say that it all is normal.

Pius James:

He is our lazy giant. He is the last of our batch to remain intubated. He does okay with breathing and eating, but he just doesn't seem to want to put forth the effort to do it on his own. He likes for the machines to handle all the heavy lifting for him. Everyone said that it is normal for "the giant" to progress the slowest. He is used to having everything done for him. I got to change his diaper, and it was so fun. I know, I know...changing a diaper is fun? HELL YES IT IS! Moni and I have been waiting for so long to change our OWN baby's poopy diaper.

Forrest Michael:

He is still our crazy little guy. He squirms, he wiggles, he cries, he basically writhes all over his incubator. They had to draw some blood today, and Moni and I got to watch. His nurse had to stick him twice because his blood is so thick and she couldn't get any out of his left arm. She stuck his right arm and got just enough blood to run the test. I can't remember for sure what the test was for, but I remember that it came back as a good score. I was able to have some father-son alone time with him and tell him about the Broncos, the Golden Eagles, the Tide, and women. He seemed particularly interested in the women, but I told him that Momma would tell him things about women that I don't even know.

Danna Lynn:

She is my pretty little girl. She is doing great. She heard that her and Pius were both intubated, and she decided that she wasn't going to be the last one with the tube down her throat. She was extubated, and seems to be doing really well on CPAP like her brother's Laine and Forrest. She has the most beautiful, little cry in the world. She started throwing a major fit tonight when I was in there with Mark, but as soon as I started talking and rubbing her back she calmed down. (The nurse also removed some excess air from her stomach, but we are going to give daddy the credit). She hadn't started eating yet because of getting the tube out of her throat, but they are planning on starting that tomorrow morning. She is kicking ass, and taking names.

Laine Ryan:

Our content little man. He really is the kid minding his own business in the corner. He is doing so well. The nurses said his only issue is that he isn't digesting his food quite right yet. Yet another perfectly normal thing for preemies they say. That is his ONLY issue right now. He is doing so well with the entire situation. We are hoping that he stays this way throughout his childhood, but a little trouble would be okay.

They are doing very well so far. The boys are pooping, and sweet Danna is breathing on her own. It has been such a blast up to this point. We promise pictures tomorrow when Grandparents Haag, Graf, and Great-Grandma Selenke get to town. We also want to send out yet another giant thank you to the Moores. Laverna sentMoni some beautiful roses, and Mark brought Moni another flower arrangement. If he doesn't quit spoiling Moni, we are going to quit telling him where we are. J/K. Thanks so much.

Until next time...

Baby's First Pictures

Danna is a little blurry, but she is still pretty!
Danna next to Moni's hand.
Danna. Moni is looking at her dark brown hair.
Danna. Our favorite picture so far. Opening her eyes to mom and dad's voices.
Forrest and me celebrating the Broncos big win.
Pius hanging out with Moni.
Pius's first look at his mama. Sweet baby boy with dark brown hair.
Forrest holding mama's hand. He has sandy blond hair. The nurse said he was feisty. Not hard to believe!
Forrest playing with his parents.
Forrest checking out mom and holding dad's hand.
Laine just chillin.
Laine right after the nurses showed him his room.
Danna with her little hat, just sleeping away.Pius dreaming about Bishop Carroll H.S. winning state. Go Golden Eagles!

Forrest dreaming about the Broncos winning the Super Bowl!

Individual updates tomorrow after we have slowed down, talked to the doctors, and basked in the glory and awe for awhile.


Billy, Moni, Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine

P.S. They were able to deliver them all in the correct order. Pius is oldest and Laine is our youngest.

Monday, November 19, 2007

D-Day has arrived

Hello everyone. As most of you know, the babies have arrived. The day started off like any other. I woke up to go to work at the QT. Kissed Moni goodbye, and went off. Got off around 2, and went home to get geared up for the big game against the Titans. Right when I arrived at the hospital, we went down for Danna's BPP. Everything was going normally. Danna's fluid sac was over 3 cm, and we thought alright we are off. The trouble was, she wasn't moving, and she wasn't doing her fetal breathing. We watched for a good half hour. We never got anything. We even allowed them to use the buzzer, which got the boys fired up, but nothing out of Danna. Her heart rate was good, but her BPP score was only 2 out of 8.

Dr. Edwards was here, and he came down to the sono room. He knew exactly what she had scored, and how she earned the points. He said that when a baby is in Danna's condition, they usually reverse in a particular order. He asked us again if we wanted to deliver all four, for the health of one? We replied that there was no doubt. He said it was time to go.

We didn't have time to even talk. The Labor and Delivery nurses came and took her straight from sono to the delivery room where they started Moni's IV, and gave her a spinal. Forty-five minutes later we were a family.
At 4:38, Pius James Graf was born at 3 pounds, 14 ounces.
At 4:39, Forrest Michael Graf was born at 3 pounds, 9 ounces.
At 4:40, Danna Lynn Graf was born at 1 pound, 10 ounces.
At 4:41, Laine Ryan Graf was born at 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

We heard a few cries before they were taken to the NICU. It was definitely organized chaos in the delivery room. After delivery, Moni went to OR recovery, and I went with Laine to the NICU. Moni had the post-ops shakes and shivers. I had the post-you are a daddy head in the clouds deer in the headlight silly grin, which I am still wearing. I can tell you all, what an amazing, life-altering, unbelievable miracle that we were able to be a part of. Thank you all so much for the unending prayers and support that played a HUGE hand in getting us to where we are now.

The journey has begun, keep the prayers coming...

We will post again tonight or tomorrow morning with pictures, and individual updates.

Things are looking good for the first-place Broncos right now!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

T minus 9 Days!

Hey all,
Week 30 days 4 and 5 have been uneventful so far. Good BPP scores were had by all this morning when they checked all 4 of them. Danna even got an 8/8! Pius was wanting to be a touch lazy and wouldn't sustain his breathing for thirty seconds over the 30 minutes that we watched him, so he only got 6/8. I think he just wanted a little more camera time and attention. The rest were all rock stars.

Billy and I are SOOO excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel! The countdown really does make it a little easier. Honestly, other than that first paragraph, and my left foot is swollen, there really isn't anything to add yet.

Billy is so jazzed up about his BC Eagles going to the state championship. I told him that they probably were able to get over the hump because he left, and they replaced him with Ted Vopat. All of his excitement kind of turned to embarrassment, as the Crimson Tide lost to Louisiana Monroe, but that didn't deter his excitement for too long.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week 30 day 3 delivers some answers

We felt like we needed to post today since we actually found something out. The doctors didn't give us the usual, "we'll keep an eye on it," or, "you're doing great." We actually were told something that we hadn't heard yet. We now know a delivery date...but there are a lot of "ifs."

Number 1: If Monica keeps doing well, we know the date. She has been doing great for the past seven and a half months. She does have preeclampsia, but it is in it's mildest form thus far and they are currently checking her blood and urine more frequently to monitor it's progression. She is getting around a lot more slowly lately. She limps all over the room, always fearful that her uterus will fall out. The weight is starting to be too much for her knees. Her belly now measures 57 inches around, but her spirits remain high. They will continue to monitor her closely for any changes.

Number 2: If Danna keeps scoring a 6 or better on her BPPs, we know the date. She has never scored lower but she has lost points for two different categories before. She has lost points for the size of her amniotic fluid sac and she has lost points for lack of fetal breathing, however, never on the same BPP. If Danna loses points for both categories on one sono, they will deliver.

Number 3: If the boys continue to do well, we know the date. Pius and Forrest are doing great, but Laine hasn't been blowing the growth tests away. He has always scored an 8, but they don't do a BPP on the boys everyday. Laine is also only in the 19th percentile, however they haven't really ever seemed too concerned. Moni and I have wondered about their lack of concern towards Laine's size, but they are the experts.

Anyway, the date will be November 26th if everything goes according to plan. That day will be the 32 week mark. There are reasons why they have made that the cut-off date. The main reason is that Danna will most likely start to get worse rather than better the longer she is in the womb. The reverse flow assures it. Also, at 32 weeks, the risks for long-term disablilities to the babies drops dramatically. We hope that we can make it that far, but everything has to go very well for the next week and a half.

Before we sign off we would like to extend more thank yous. Moni's co-worker in the trauma department at Wesley, Shelia Rupp-Haag, sent the babies some cloth diaper burp rags, all embellished differently for each kiddo. Another very helpful gift that I, as a man, would never think of until the need would arise. Also, thanks to Ed, Nancy, Steph, Kelly Graf et al, for the care package which included kick a** snickerdoodles (that we have used to bribe nurses) and gift cards to McDonalds, Starbucks, the QT, and my personal favorite, Chipotle. You guys are going to help me keep up with Moni in the weight gain department. Thanks so much. Speaking of weight gain, Mark continues to keep us pleasantly plump. His latest gift of Lulu's cupcakes lasted a record 5 minutes after his departure. He spoils us rotten.

Please keep the thoughts and prayers coming. We will continue to update the blog with any NEW information. Please don't hassle us, we promise to deliver.

Until next time...

Bill and Monica (think big cigars and stained blue dresses - hee, hee)

P.S. That sign-off was all me (Monica)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quickie...30 and 2

Hi everyone. We told you we would post the pictures. Here they are...

This one is Moni, her friend Deb White, and Deb's grandmother.

This picture is of Laine's blanket from the Tubres. It makes sounds and everything.

As for what happened today. Danna's BPP was great. She was moving all over, and she scored an 8 of 8. Moni's contractions were good today also. She only had five during her monitoring session. Great job, Babe!

Today the Tubre ladies helped to distract Moni for awhile. They busted her out of her room, and took her to see the Tubre cupcakes. Moni was going to get to feed Abbey, but Abbey didn't want to wake up to eat. They just fed her through the tube for her 2:30 feeding.

Moni and I are doing well, the babies are doing well, we are getting excited, and Moni's story of seeing and holding the cupcakes makes us even more so. We think that with yesterday's doppler of Danna, and our conversation with Dr. Clewell, that we are officially day to day. We hope that today's great day isn't the calm before the storm. Hopefully another couple weeks.

Until next time...

P.S. Ryno...Jackie knows you are coming for Thanksgiving, and expects her cookie for "first to post...championship" award. As you would say, "Don't sing it, bring it."