Saturday, January 26, 2008

We are home!!!

We finally made it home and it was so nice to step off the plane to the feeling of cold air. Marsha, Bucko, Mom, and Dad flew down to help us transfer all of our new stuff back home. We must have really accumulated a lot because we filled the van and had a lot more stuff to carry on the plane. Thank you so much, by the way, to Chris and Holly Hifield??? for driving our van home for us, and then thanks to Mom, Dad, Lainie, and Adam for unloading it. The house looked great, it was spotless as Mom, Terri Peterson, Bucko, Aunt Bertie, Rachel, and Lainie had worked their butts off cleaning for a couple days. We quickly made it unspotless.

The babies did so well on the flight. We hardly heard a peep from any of them, and they have done very well adjusting to being the centers of attention for more than just three people. As for Monica and I, we have done very well NOT being the centers of attention anymore. It is okay though, and we are gladly ready to share the spotlight with the little squirts. Monica and I have had all four of them by ourselves for the first two nights home. We have done well handling the feedings and changings, only having about 9 arguments. The kids are trying to divide Team Parent, but they are failing as we are doing a nice job of teamwork. However, after being alone with them for 6-8 hours it is a welcome sound to hear the door opening in the morning with reinforcements.

Sorry it is such a quick post, but the feedings are calling. We promise more updates and pictures to come. As far as the question about any media, The Wichita Eagle came out yesterday to interview us and take pictures for the newspaper. The story will run on Sunday. Thanks for all the prayers.

Billy, Monica, Pius, Forrest, Danna, and Laine

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We are coming home!

The first picture of all of them in the house together.

Well the time has finally arrived. Miss Danna finally busted out, and we are heading home. We fly out tomorrow at around 11:00 a.m. It has been quite a ride here in Phoenix, and we wanted to thank some people who have made it all possible.

First and foremost, we thank God everyday for giving us the strength and the means to bring four HEALTHY children into this world. It has been amazing to see how everything has worked out even when we were stressing about how we were going to do it. He has one helluva plan, and we are so thankful that He feels we can handle these little boogers.

First of all, among the many humans we need to thank, thank you so much to Becky Brady. As some of you know, she is a travel nurse and she took an assignment in Phoenix specifically to help us with living arrangements. Not only did she do this for us, but she has done so many more things too. She has been an incredible source of support, encouragement, and happiness (not to mention she is always ready to try a new restaurant). She is also one HELL of a babysitter. And Cary, we don't know what you are talking about with this supposed 12 hour sleep schedule. Try 16 hour sleep schedule. Seriously though, we don't know what we would have done without her.

Becky holding Pius and Forrest one evening at home.

Next we need to mention the second most helpful person we have had down here. Mark Moore has been our tour guide, our computer tech, our "cook", and so much more. Despite not really knowing either of us before this ordeal, he has never hesitated when we have asked a favor. He has helped us out more than he will ever know and we will be forever grateful. We will really miss spending time with him, and hopefully he will be up to "the Dub" to see our squad soon.

Mark is actively looking for babysitting jobs after he completes the 12-step program for fear of babies.

Another set of people that we need to mention are all of our physicians and nurses, beginning with Dr. Tjaden and his staff. They got us started on our journey by helping us create our little miracles. Our Wichita ob, Dr. Feuille, and Moni's primary care physician, Dr. Nickel, were also instrumental in getting us to Phoenix for care and understanding that we needed the most experienced high risk pregnancy care. The next set of medical professionals that we need to mention are the Phoenix Perinatal Associates. Drs. Elliott, Strong, and Edwards were all amazing, extremely knowledgeable, and so reassuring for us. They were always in our corner and did what was best for Moni and the babies. Another group that we would like to thank are the neonatalogists for the babies. Drs. Slater-Meyer, Leonard, Amar, and Martin have been unwavering in their baby-first mentality. Whether we wanted to hear certain things or not, they always told us what was happening with our children and the plans for their care.

Monica made sure not to let me forget the nurses. Starting with Moni's first visit to the hospital, she always had excellent nurses. There were so many, but she had a few that consistently took care of her including Tallie, Cherise, and Crystal from Banner Good Samaritan 5-B. They spoiled all of us including our visitors, and were always supportive through the good days and the bad. As for the kids, they also always had great nurses. Their primary care nurses, Gwen and Peggy, were especially good to all of us and we will never forget everything they did for us. Although not a nurse, we had the BEST sonotech of all time. Olava, who we always requested and waited for, was such a positive person. She always seemed to have a way with the babies when they were still in utero and they really seemed to behave for her.

Peggy and Danna have lots of secrets they won't tell mom and dad.

Gwen cuddling with Danna and Laine before Laine busts out.

Another set of nurses and medical personnel who took care of us, albeit from afar, were those at Wesley. It seemed that we had a new care package from them all the time, and they donated PTO hours and kept Moni up on all the latest Wesley gossip. We can't wait to get back to see all of them.

We would also like to thank our insurance company. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas has been extremely helpful and understanding of our situation. Thank you especially to our RN case manager, Jenny. Thank you so much for decreasing any possible headaches that could have arisen.

We also need to thank Quik Trip. They were so flexible and so supportive of our unique situation, and even more so, after the kids arrived. My store manager for all but one week, Dan, was so understanding and helpful all of the time. I plan on working at the QT back home, and the people down here have helped to make the transition very smooth.

We also had so many wonderful visitors. Everybody really helped to ease the homesickness. Moni's friends Karen, Deb, and Melody made for wonderful guests. Our friends Yaeger, Goertz, Snook, and Donna really helped us feel like we were back home for awhile. My cousins Steph and Kelly helped make my birthday weekend awesome even though Moni was on house arrest. Moni's brother Paul and his girlfriend Shawnda and sisters Emily, Rachel, and Mollie made special visits to see us. They were wonderful low maintenance visitors knowing that with four children we were unable to entertain too much. My aunt Rosie who was down to visit her buddy, took us out to dinner and spent a fun evening with us. We will take credit for Moni's Uncle Phil and Aunt Cathy even though they came to see Becky. Without all of them our kids would be without proxy Godparents. Our family (Roger, Marsha, Mike, Vicki, Bucko, Ryno, and Lainie) coming over Thanksgiving was home away from home. They definitely made us feel comfortable and special through the holidays.

We would also like to thank St. Gregory's Catholic Church. Frs. Dougherty and Sandberg and Deacon Carmen really helped us to stay connected with our faith. They were also there for us with getting the babies their emergency baptisms.

The Tubres have been our saving grace on more than one occasion. From telling us what questions to ask, to giving us a heads up on the adventures of parenting quadruplets, to letting us gripe about certain policies and people that we crossed at the hospital, they were a supportive outlet for us so many times. They also gave us a good start on our preemie clothes even though Pius and Forrest are already too big for them. We cherish the friendship we have developed and thank God that He put them in our lives. We are even thankful for DeeDee despite the poor gambling karma shared between us.

We would also like to thank our family and friends who have already signed up to help when we get home. Kelly said that she has already started receiving emails from many family members and friends letting her know what and when they can do things. The schedule is going to be a great way to make sure that everyone is getting time to visit and we aren't getting too overwhelmed with people. Thanks again.

And finally, to all of you, our faithful commenters and supporters. You guys have kept us entertained throughout the worries and the joys. You helped us stay positive and helped the slow time before the babies came pass quickly. We are so thankful for all of your thoughts and prayers.

Well...another new chapter now begins. We are so excited to be home and see what surprises these guys have in store for us. As long as you guys are interested we will keep our little blog going. Until next time...


Billy, Monica, Pius, Forrest, Danna, and Laine Graf

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Small change in our itinerary

Hey everyone. As some of you may have already heard, our return home is being delayed by a couple of days. We will be coming home on Thursday now. Diva Danna is not quite strong enough to hold her airway open in the carseat or the carbed. If she is still struggling with the carseats then they will send her home on a monitor. The doctor said she is doing great, just not quite big enough yet.

As for the little hellions that are living with us now, they are doing well. They keep Mommy and Daddy up all night, and are hungry again first thing in the morning. Funny how you actually need to feed them all the time. More to come in the next couple days. Forrest is hungry...imagine that.

B, M, P, F, D, and L

P.S. Thank you to Mom, Bucko, Lainie, Rachel, Terri, and Bertie for cleaning our house in preparation for our homecoming. We will be home to destroy it shortly.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And the Cheese Stands Alone

The "Cheese" is unhappy about standing alone.
We hope you guys don't mind, but we need to start this post out by mentioning who visited last weekend. Moni's big sister, Mollie, came down to meet the babes and help mom and dad out with them. We are feeling bad because any visitors we get now are kind of stuck on house arrest too. Mollie was a sport about it and she was even able to give us a few tips on parenting. She let Pius sleep in bed with her one night when he was being a gigantic turd and Moni was at her wits end with him. What a sweet aunt. Thanks for coming down, Mollie, and we are so sorry we forgot to mention it before.

Now onto more current news...We now have the three boys home. Danna (the cheese) is left alone at the hospital. It didn't take long and she had a new roommate. Her roommate is a triplet and Danna let her know that triplets are no big deal, really.

Moni and I really think that Laine might be an angel sent from the Good Lord. Between Pius and Forrest, we were running pretty ragged. Pius would NOT sleep from around 2 in the morning until about 6. Forrest could not be consoled from around 1 in the afternoon until around 4. Laine, our little calming influence, came in and seemed to straighten things up. Moni and I probably had our best night of sleep since we had ANY of them home (we average about 3-4 hours a day). All three of them were perfect angels and required just a little maintenance throughout the night. We hope this trend continues and Laine isn't just masking his true intentions. We really think it might be for real because all of his nurses told us that he was one of the sweetest babies they had cared for.

Individual updates:

Big Poppa: He had his first doctor's appointment yesterday and he passed with flying colors. As a matter of fact, his doctor said that he is at the top of the growth chart for babies born at his gestational age (31 weeks). He weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. You can see the doctor wasn't lying. He has been spitting up a little bit after feeds, but the doctor said it is nothing to worry about and gave us a few tips for trying to prevent it. His first two nights at home were a little scary for mommy and daddy, but we have since got into the groove with him and we did well with the adjustment.

Frosty: Just when we started to figure out Forrest, Pius came to join the party. You know those little onesies that say, "Party at my crib, 2 a.m.?" Well if the shoe fits...Forrest was doing a nice job with the sleep until Pius showed up. Those two together formed quite a team of a little terrorists. He has continued to thrive at home, and yesterday at Pius's doctor appointment he weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Just so you guys know kind of what we are dealing with, Monica weighed him with all of his clothes on the first time and he weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces. We knew that couldn't be right so we stripped him down and found the culprit in his diaper for the weight. Ryno, since math wasn't your strong subject, that means that there was 6 ounces of "Forrest goodness" in britches.

Little Man Laine: Before we delve into Laine, we would like to preface our thoughts with the reminder that we get to change our minds about him or any of them at any time. As we said before, our angel got to come home last night. He really has been a great addition to the other two stooges. He must have said something in "infant language" to the Twin Towers about behaving. When he got home, the behavior really did straighten up. Before we left the hospital he was weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce. They told us that he was eating between 55-65 cc's (30 cc's equals 1 ounce) at each feeding and we can easily attest. The three boys are eating Moni out of breast and home. So far we have been lucky and Moni has been able to keep up with all four of their appetites with her pumping. Hopefully that will continue.

Danna Banana: She continues to amaze us and the professionals with her capabilities. She is off all oxygen and taking all of her feeds (and then some) at each feeding. She received her 2 month shots tonight and did very well. We are hoping to bring our little "Diva" home on Friday or Saturday. If she doesn't have any setbacks and she passes her carseat test, our family will be complete by the weekend. She weighs 3 pounds, 14 ounces now and is steadily climbing up the scales. It is hard to picture her being Pius's birthweight, but the scale doesn't lie. She is still being politely called "feisty" by all of her nurses. That makes daddy grin and mommy grimace.

The Three Stooges all awake for their first picture together. From L to R is Pius, Laine and Forrest. I think Laine is getting squished because it looks like his eyeballs are about to pop out. Either that or he's leaving mom and dad a little present in his pants.

They were all a little bit greasy. It wasn't bath day until today. Pius found something else to eat.

So cute together...don't ya think? Forrest is such a ham for the camera.

Laine and Forrest finally close enough to breathe on each other...or lick each other I guess. Forrest was hired to taste test Laine for Pius.

We tried hard for a "baby-hawk" for Laine, but there just isn't enough hair up there. Gampy Stubby, do you think he could borrow some rogaine? Besides, Laine didn't want us to accentuate his already rather large noggin. L to R is Forrest, Laine and Pius.

This is how they were acting most of the time we were trying to pose them.

This is the "act" they are putting on for the video camera. They were not acting this cooperative before.
As for the entire squad, here is our tentative plan: Our parents and Bucko are flying in for assistance and we will fly out of Phoenix at around 10:30 next Monday. All of this is contingent on Miss Danna following protocol. We are so excited, but also so bogged down with stuff to do and babies to care for.

We definitely need to let everyone know about the help that Becky has provided. Not only has she made it possible for us to come down here in the first place, she has babysat for us a couple of times so that we can run errands. She is our guardian angel and we thank God so much for her.

We also needed to mention another rule that we forgot (our NICU friend, Melody, reminded us about it). If you are over at our house and need to smoke please bring something to cover up with or change into while you smoke. Like EVERY other rule, it is not pointed at anyone in particular and non-negotiable. That rule goes for everybody, including ourselves if we are in that kind of mood.

One more thing before we wrap this one up is about the scheduling. Kelly has received a couple of your emails and they are duly noted. She does have a job that requires 40-60 hours a week, and may not have time to respond right away. Please trust that she is getting them, and she will be in touch when she gets a second. Thanks again, Kelly, for orchestrating our helpers.

Graf Quad Squad

P.S. Now, not only are mom and dad reading the comments, but the three boys are looking at them too. They have been a little disappointed with the responses thus far, but Moni and I are telling them to keep the faith. The commenters always come through.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hiccup Wars

Thought you'd all enjoy a little video of the boys being cute. We'll post more pictures sometime later, being that Laine is scheduled to come home tomorrow!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Talking about coming home

Hi everyone. We are a little sleep-deprived but in pretty good spirits. The twin towers are keeping us on our toes, and making us rethink the whole children situation. Just kidding...kind of. For the most part, Pius and Forrest are taking turns being turds. Yesterday afternoon Forrest had me at my wit's end, and last night Pius almost took a trip over the balcony via Mommy's right arm. Overall we are adapting and doing alright though.

The two little ones are thinking about coming to join the party shortly. They are both off oxygen and their feeding tubes, and taking their feeds "ad lib." This means that they can be fed as much as they want whenever they show signs of hunger. They have continued to gain weight well with Danna weighing almost 4 pounds, and Laine weighing around 5 and a half pounds. As far as the big fellas weights, we will get updated weights tomorrow at Pius's appointment.

Now, as for the big homecoming we feel like we need to present you all with the regulations suggested to us by the kids' doctors:

1. In order to meet the kids you will have to have had your flu shot at least 7 days prior to visiting. You can visit the health department or your doctor should be able to give you one.

2. We are going to ask that if you are wanting to come over you please give Moni or me a call first just in case we have something else going on, or too many visitors over already.

3. If you are coming from your work, we ask that you either bring a change of clothes or stop by home to clean up. We will also be asking people to remove their shoes at the front door. So Ryno, at least bring a change of socks and your velcro shoes so it is easy for you.

4. Please do not bring children that are not in high school yet. We HATE to make this a rule, but it is actually a hospital-wide rule as well. It is only temporary until the babies get bigger, and we feel that the RSV season is over (RSV in immunocompromised preemies can make them very sick or can even be deadly).

5. Obviously, if you are not feeling 100% healthy, or if someone in your house is sick PLEASE wait a little longer before you visit us.

6. When you do visit, you will be asked to wash your hands thoroughly on arrival, before handling a baby, and throughout your visit. We will have some hand sanitizer at the house, but feel free to bring your own and apply whenever the thought crosses your mind. It is amazing how much infection can be prevented through hand washing.

7. While we will need help with baby holding, feeding, and diapering, please remember that there may be days when Mom or Dad have been unable to spend necessary bonding time due EACH baby. We may want to be the ones handling the babies at the time of your visit, but don't worry I am sure we will be able to put you to work somehow.

8. When you do hold the babies we ask that you refrain from kissing them on the face. We know that they are irresistible and all, but this is just another way to prevent the spread of germs.

We do reserve the right to alter or add to the rule list if we think of anything else. We hate to make all the rules because we are as excited to show them off as you are to meet them. However, after talking with the doctors and with each other we have decided that we have invested too much time, effort, and money into our children to put them at any unnecessary risk. Please do not take offense to anything we are asking. We are not directing any of these rules at anybody in particular, and we can assure you all that the rules will be the same for everyone. We are planning to have an open house when the weather warms up, and their doctor and we feel they are ready.

After we have been home for a week or two, and have figured out what we are going to need, we will start scheduling helpers. We were a little bit afraid of having 26 people one day and nobody the next so we have asked Kelly Graf to be the "Graf Quad Care Coordinator". She will be in charge of who is going to come over to help and when and what they are going to be doing. She will be in direct contact with us so please work with her and let her know when and what you would be willing to help us out with. Like we said before, we know we will need more than baby holders, so please don't be offended if Kelly asks you if you would like to do something other than hold. Kelly has set up an email address for the helpers. Please use this to set up your times. It is Kelly will make sure that all of you are getting to come over and be a part of it, but please remember that there are SO many Graf Quad Squad supporters that want to help so please don't be like Pius, and have a little patience. We are planning to keep our blog going upon our return home so you all will be able to keep track in between visits.

It is so exciting to be talking about coming home with four healthy babies. We can't wait to see everyone, and would like to say in advance how much we appreciate all of your help and patience on our return. We promise pictures and maybe a video in the next couple days.

The Graf Quad Squad
B, M, P, F, D, and L

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"He ain't fat, he's my brudder!"

Hi everyone. We thought we would give another update because today was a big day for the Graf Quad Squad (and because we like to spoil you, Erin). We now have half of the crew together. Pius busted out of the NICU today and we were all so excited. They both slept for the first 4 hours together. Monica had an appointment so I took the two of them under my wing. I think Monica actually wanted to test me as much as Pius and Forrest. The kids both took their entire bottles, were diapered, clothed, relatively clean, and the house was still standing when she got home. I, on the other hand, was curled up in the corner in the fetal position sucking my thumb and calling out for my mom. Just kidding. The boys made it very easy on me. They both slept the entire time. As soon as Mom came walking through the door though, they heard a voice they both knew and trusted and they were wide awake and ready to eat again.

All four of them continue to eat well and are doing remarkable considering they aren't even supposed to be born yet. They would have been due on January 21st. As for their names, many are probably wondering where we came up with such "odd" names. We agree, they are kind of different. We thought that we would use this post to enlighten everyone on the childrens' namesakes. Pius James is named after my maternal grandfather, Pius (Papa) Selenke, and Moni's father, Roger (Papa) James Haag. Forrest Michael is named after Moni's maternal granddad, Forrest Dewey, and my father, Michael (Gampy Stubby) Graf. Danna Lynn is named after Moni's maternal grandma whom they called "Dana", Doris Dewey, and my mother Vicki Lynn Graf. And FYI, Danna is pronounced like "Anna" with a D. Laine Ryan is named after my maternal grandmother, Elaine "GG Bucko" Selenke, Aunt Lainie and Ryan Seacrest (we really love American Idol, it has NOTHING to do with Uncle Ryno Graf). Just kidding...I hate American Idol.

Pius and Forrest's first meeting away from the hospital.

Forrest a touch unhappy about sharing the spotlight.

Now Forrest is deciding if Pius can be trusted in his Boppy circle.

Forrest is still a little weirded out. Pius is thinking it may be a little harder to eat Forrest than it would have been to eat Laine.

Forrest is finally warming up to him, little does he know of Pius's dinner plans.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments. Even those who we don't know that have commented, it is good to know we have thoughts and prayers coming to us from all over the world (don't worry German peeps Tina and Maik, and Emmy and Andy, we know who you are).

We can't think of anyway to end this other than to say what we have already said and MEANT a thousand times. We love everyone, thank everyone, and can't wait to get home.

The Graf Quad Squad

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Two Peas in a Pod

First off, just wanted to say thanks for all the great comments! Sorry if we made you feel guilty, Cary. Actually, we aren't really sorry at all. Like we've said before, we are always interested in who is following our story.

We had a little surprise the other day when we walked into the babies' rooms. Danna lost her roommate and Laine not only acquired a new roommate, but got a bedmate as well (he moves quickly. Watch out, Abbey). Pius and Laine are now co-bedding (at least until Pius is discharged). It was so amazing to see them together and interacting with each other. Their size difference is incredible! I think Laine was worried Pius would eat him for lunch, and Pius was probably thinking, "Hmm, that looks like a tasty little morsel!" How cute.

Danna was just chillin' in her isolette, looking around. She's been very active and alert from about 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm each day, and she expects to be played with at that time. Just another one of her many demands.

This is a short post, but it's better than just posting the pictures. More to come later!

The Graf Gang

P.S. Way to geaux LSU! Because Billy and Forrest predicted the win (and the overs) we can go buy groceries! Woo-Hoo! LSU.....Championship!!!

Pius licking his chops. Laine oblivious to the danger.

Big Poppa

Danna Banana....Does she look like a Dewey?

Here, Laine. Let me help you out with removing that feeding tube.

Another shot of Pius in all his chubby glory.

This is a VERY short video of Forrest getting a bath. My camera ran out of memory while recording it. He started screaming just after this little snippit.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Close, but no cigar

Hey everyone! We've had a crazy week so far with Forrest home. It definitely takes a little while to establish some sort of routine even with one baby. I shudder to think what it will be like when they all start coming home! The title of that post will probably be "Utter Chaos"!

Our "big Poppa" Pius was scheduled to come home on Sat or Sun, but he decided he wasn't ready to leave his favorite nurses in the NICU. On Friday, he had an episode of bradycardia when he was sleeping. He stopped breathing long enough to cause his heart rate to drop (that's the bradycardia) and the nurse had to leave Danna's bedside to go stimulate Pius to breath. Because of this, the docs wanted to watch him a little longer, and he'll have to go 5 days without any more red marks. If he has any more episodes, they'll have to start the 5 day count over again. He's still doing great, along with all the others and gaining weight like crazy. He is also still oxygen and feeding tube free and it's great to be able to see his whole face without all the tape and tubes! He has dimples to go along with his little "butt chin" and fat head. He currently weighs 7 pounds, 3 ounces and has outgrown all the preemie clothes. The nurse squeezed him into one yesterday and it looked like a muscle shirt.

Frosty had his first doctor appointment last Friday and passed with flying colors. The docs said he looks great (which Forrest is fully aware of already) and we just need to keep doing what we're doing, including giving him a baby mohawk every time we brush his long, blond hair (I just can't resist it). He does have a small umbilical hernia that is pretty common in preemies. His belly button just looks like a big outtie. Between Billy, Becky and me, he is being fed every 2-3 hours on average. He takes breast milk mixed with some higher calorie formula called EnfaCare, and he can also breastfeed up to 2 times a day. He has gained weight since his hospital discharge and is probably around 6 pounds, 15 ounces, or so. Not really sure since we don't have a scale at the apartment, but he was about 6 pounds 13 ounces at his Friday appointment. Also, I'm proud to say that he has peed all over Billy's face a couple times now. I told him he should have been using the pee-pee tee-pees that Mary sent, but I guess it'll take a few more squirts to the face before Billy starts to listen.

See, Jac, the pants don't ALWAYS have to be hiked to their neck!

Forrest showing off his lil' mohawk after a bath

Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive....

Too close, mom, too close! My girlfriend, Emma, will see all 3 of my chins!

The little princess has been doing great, too. Her nurse tonight said she has been doing really well with her bottlefeeding and she even took her whole bottle this afternoon when Becky was feeding her. She was also being a little brat and fussing for no apparent reason, causing Becky to stress out. What a high maintenance little girl! She thinks that just because she keeps gaining weight, she gets to push people around with it. Tonight Danna weighed in at 3 pounds, 6 ounces. She's still our little peanut, but they'll probably be able to move her out of the isolette and into an open crib shortly. I think she also has dimples, but it's hard to tell with all the tape on her face.

The little stinker after giving Miss Becky such a hard time

Little man Laine got a bath yesterday and enjoyed some snuggle time with mom. He took 30 of his 40 mL bottle and then tuckered out. I think the bath before the feed may have taken the energy he needed to finish those last 10 mLs. He's still such a sweet little boy and usually only cries when it's warranted. I keep waiting for him to throw a fit for no good reason, but he just lays there and stares at you like, "What more do you want from me? Back flips and cartwheels?" He continues to gain weight like he should and is now up to 4 pounds, 15 ounces. He's really starting to fill out and even has those big, beautiful Selenke lips like Grandma Vicki and Uncle Ryno.

Mom and dad are still doing just fine. Enjoying our first baby at home, as well as the time away from the baby at home in the beautiful 70 degree Phoenix weather. Billy and I have done a good job of taking turns with feeds and getting up or staying up 'til all hours of the night with Forrest.

In our last post, I forgot to say congrats to Bob and Janeen Smith on the arrival of their little girl, Erin Noel. Wish we could've stopped in to see you all when we were in town, but it was good to at least see Bob at Players. Hope things are going well with all 5 of the kiddos!

Jaclyn, hope the "boob infection" is getting better. It sucks, I know. Thanks for all the tips and advice from our last conversation. I'll call you about what I found out about the formula measurements.

Thanks for all the continued support and prayers! A huge thanks to all my Wesley friends who were able to donate some of their PTO hours to me. That helps SO much with the insurance dilemma we have been facing! We really can't thank you enough.

For those of you who we've talked to that say, "Oh, I check your website all the time!" but never comment (you know who you are), you'd better start giving us shout-outs, even if it's just a quick note to say hi and you're reading! Your comments are sustenance for us!

Also, we'll be getting more recent pictures of Laine and Pius when I visit them after church today. We'll post them as soon as we can.


Billy, Moni, Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Surprises Galore!

Hi everyone. Yes, the rumors are true. Moni and I escaped the confines of Phoenix for a little while and visited home for a couple days. We had two free flight vouchers saved up from our return trip debacle from Germany last March, and when our nurses and doctors found that out, they told us to escape for a couple days because it won't happen again for about 24-53 years. We had mixed emotions as we flew out of Phoenix (Moni cried and I remained the strong one), but we had a wonderful time. Frank the Tank was one of three people who knew we were planning our trip to Wichita. He picked us up Thursday afternoon at the airport and we went and surprised everybody (Moni's parents first, then my parents, then Bucko and Lainie, then the Selenke clan who were helping to set up for the wedding, etc, etc, etc). It was so much fun. We felt like "rock stars." This weekend, Deutschmomma (cousin Steph Graf) turned thirty and celebrated the blessed event at Margarita's on Friday. My cousin Katie Duling got married to Eric Mohr on Saturday, and we were happy to be able to be there for that as well. Also, the Haag cousins, aunts and uncles had a get together at Players on Sunday. We got to see so many friends and family on our visit back home.

Billy and Moni's sister, Mollie, at Margarita's

Mostly Graf cousins at Margarita's (the birthday girl is in the burgundy coat)

Friends Delane (plus 2), Moni (minus 4) and Karen (plus 1) at Player's

The nurses told us that the kids had quite the party in their parents' absence. They all grew so much and they really looked grown-up when we got home. They were planning on sending Forrest home with us yesterday, but he couldn't quite pass his car seat test. He passed it this afternoon, though, and right now it's just me and him watching The Sugar Bowl. We are having a blast. He cut the cheese and I gave him a high-five and told him that he didn't have to apologize because there weren't any ladies around. It was awesome!

Forrest getting ready to pass his car seat trial

Each of the babies are doing pretty well.

Pius James: Dr. Martin told us today that he might be able to come home tomorrow. Right now, the fact that he isn't taking all of his feeds is what is holding him back. He doesn't quite eat all of his meals so they have to feed him the rest each time through his nose. As of this afternoon, he had taken 5 feeds in a row, and Dr. Martin said if he kept it up he would be able to come home tomorrow. He isn't on any oxygen, and just has his feeding tube left. He now weighs 6 pounds, 10 ounces!
Big Boy Pius without any oxygen

Forrest Michael: We have already touched on Frosty, but we were told that other than his little car seat episode he had a great weekend. He bottled every feed, and didn't have any oxygen issues. Basically he was just working his nurses with his charm (except for Saturday night because his nurse was Doug, and they just chilled together all night). We forgot to get his most current weight before we left the hospital. I guess we were excited or something. A couple of days ago, he was 6 pounds, 7 ounces, so I'm sure he's close to Pius in weight. Since he's been home, we've noticed that he sure is a smiley baby. It's always fun to see that facial expression even if he doesn't know what he's doing.
Forrest smiling about being at home on the couch watching football with dad

Danna Lynn: She continues to try to do as well as her big brothers with her feedings. She does a nice job about every three feedings. She wears out easily and she isn't consistent quite yet. Her oxygen dips when she is eating, but that's about the only time. She has developed quite the personality and is gaining a reputation as the little diva (the nurses are polite and call her "feisty"). She is currently weighing in at 3 pounds, 1 ounce. Woo-hoo! We surpassed the 3 pound mark!

Laine Ryan: He is still probably the farthest away from going home at this time. He really is struggling with the bottling but his nurse reminded us that he is still supposed to be inside mama. He chokes quite a bit, and when that happens he quits breathing. The doctors have assured us that the light will click on any day. It just takes some of them a little longer than others. He still seems to be the most alert. I really think that he knows our voices, and he always seems to be awake whenever we are around. He just looks at everything and has a way of capturing your attention and heart. He now weighs 4 pounds, 9 ounces. He's getting so big!
Buddies Laine and Forrest


Thank you all for being patient and not sending too much hate mail about our non-posting. The posts may start being a little fewer and farther between with Forrest home and Pius not far behind. We're already feeling sleep deprived after only 1 day and 1 baby. Always worrying if he's eating enough, sleeping in the correct position, still breathing (you know, that old acorn!), etc. Thanks, Jac, for the spreadsheet template you've been using to keep track of eating and diapering. We're already putting it to use.
Moni's brother, Paul and his girlfriend, Shawnda from Albuquerque are here to visit for a few days. Becky, Moni, Paul and Shawnda had a good time going out to dinner tonight while the boys stayed in and ordered pizza. After dinner, they went to meet the other Graf babies in the NICU. They'll be going back home on Thursday, but we look forward to hanging out with them again on Wednesday.

Paul and Shawnda at the restaurant, Z Tejas

Also wanted to send out a huge thank you to Moni's Uncle Tom and Aunt Joyce Dewey and family for the Christmas gifts. It was good seeing cousin Erin at Margarita's on Friday where she gave us a heads up on the card being in the mail. Also wanted to thank the "Great Aunties" for the quilted blankets, Syl and MaryJo Seiler for the big, crocheted-edge receiving blankets, Junior and Karen Jaax for the multiple burp rags and monogrammed blankets, and for the Duling family for all the outfits. We enjoyed seeing all of you at Katie and Eric's wedding!

B,M,P,F,D,L Graf