Hi everyone. January 23 marks the day that Danna busted out of the NICU. Danna had the longest stay in the NICU but she probably had the smoothest ride out of all the babies. She, from the beginning, seemed to require the least oxygen, had the least bradycardia episodes, and picked up the bottle feeding probably the easiest of the four (even with that tiny little mouth of hers). The reason for her extended stay really had nothing to do with any health problems but was more because of her size.
Danna Lynn Graf was born at 4:41 p.m. on November 19, 2007. She tipped the scales at a whopping 1 pound, 10 ounces and measured a giant 12.25 inches (I want you to look at your hand and visualize her size. It helps put things in perspective).
From the beginning we knew we had quite the little princess on our hands. While the squad was still in the womb, Danna was always curled into a ball right next to Pius. Our biggest complication during the pregnancy was the fact that Danna had IUGR or"intra-uterine growth restriction." We found out at 25 weeks that Danna's umbilical cord and placenta were not functioning correctly. It had nothing to do with anything else. The boys weren't hogging all of the nutrients, Danna just couldn't receive what she needed because of her faulty cord. This condition can happen just as easily with one baby as it could with four. It was at this time Dr Elliott told us of decisions we would have to make in the near future. He informed us that we needed to think about and discuss with each other what we would want to do if Danna took a turn for the worse. We could: A) Deliver all the babies the moment she hit that crucial point, even if we were only in our 26th or 27th week of the pregnancy, or B) Continue with the pregnancy for the sake of the other 3 and let nature take it's course with our baby girl. Obviously not a decision ANY parent EVER wants to make. We told him right there and then that we came to Phoenix to have FOUR babies and we'd put our faith, our trust, and our babies' lives in God's hands. NO ONE LEFT BEHIND.
I must apologize if any of this is repetitive....but the story of their delivery (which was completely on "Danna Time") went a little sumpin' like this: I went to work on November 19th like normal, I got off around 2 and called Monica to see how things were going. She said to stop by the apartment to grab our Broncos gear (Denver played a Monday night game against the Titans) and then we could notify the staff that we were ready to do the daily ultrasound. Because of Danna's pint-size condition, they were checking her Biophysical Profile daily and would get all their heart rates at the same time. When I got to Banner Good Sam hospital that afternoon, they wheeled us down to sono. We began everything like normal. The tech checked the boys' rates and then went to do our routine "Danna watch." Up to this point Danna had always passed with flying colors, receiving 6 or 8 out of 8 on her "daily quiz". However, as soon as we started monitoring Danna that day, we knew she wasn't going to pass this one. Things didn't look right from the get-go. She was moving VERY little, she wasn't "practicing" her breathing, and her heart rate was beginning to slow. Dr. Edwards immediately came down and told us it was time to go if that was our decision. There wasn't even a pause in our response, as we had talked about this "worst-case scenario" already. Like I said before, "no man left behind". So, 45 minutes later, we went from a family of 2 to a family of 6.
I've GOTTA get this girl a blue and orange headband!
Over the next couple of months Danna gave us a little preview of what to expect for the rest of our lives. Everything had to be just perfect for our little princess or she would squeal and let us know that something wasn't to her liking. It could've been that her diaper was wet, or she didn't like her position in her isolette, or she wasn't getting enough personal attention....You name it and it probably pissed her off at some point of her NICU stay.
When we first got the Banana-girl home, I remember asking myself, "Is she always going to be like this?" The first couple weeks she was extremely moody. Only her mama, her Great-Aunt Renee, her grandma Vicki, or I could even have a chance to calm her down. And let me stress that word, chance, again for good measure. Sometimes even WE didn't work. We have to remember, though, Danna had spent her entire life in the NICU and then all of a sudden everything was entirely different. She got out of the NICU, she came in to a busy apartment where we were getting ready to pack up and leave the next day, she flew on a plane (albeit it was a fancy private jet), and then she got to our house where there were a ton of people around sometimes. Up to that point, she had never been in a room where there was more than 5 people at one time. I am sure it was quite the culture shock.
Since her first month at home she has been a completely different baby. Danna is EASILY the best behaved now. She entertains herself, she plays with her mom and dad and keeps US entertained, she eats well (extremely slowly, but very well), she sleeps well (extremely lightly, but very well), and she really is our "Pretty, Pretty Princess." Don't get me wrong, we still go through our "Danna Times" every once in a while: She wants to be picked up NOW sometime, she wants to get up from her nap or her night's sleep NOW sometimes, she wants her diaper changed NOW sometimes. Once someone caters to her needs, though, she is perfect. She is such a good, content and sweet little critter.
Danna has four favorite people in the world: Daddy, then Mommy, then Grammy Vicki, then Aunt RayRay. There won't be any argument from Moni that she definitely is a "Daddy's girl." She is always happy with me. I have taught her not to trust any man except for the guys that I like (yes, I'm starting her early on this). She will now go to Stubby, Ryno, Sergio, Godfather AJ, and Grandpa Rog. And that's really about the entire list of men that she will actually crawl to and allow them to pick her up. She will let some guys hold her, but rarely does she crawl to a man. Perfect. Danna also loves her mom and her GrammyV. If Vicki puts her down and picks up one of the boys ,Danna lets her know that that is completely unacceptable. Danna has claimed Grandma Vicki as her own when the boys are around. It is pretty hilarious to witness.
Danna fixing her hair for the camera. Just as happy as could be in Grammy's arms.
Along with her favorite four, Danna also has three least favorite people in the world. Pius, Forrest, and Laine have yet to earn Danna's trust. All three of the boys will be so gentle and loving (when Moni or I are right there telling them to be) but Danna rarely will have anything to do with them. She also likes to be left alone playing with her toys (I use this term loosely...she will actually choose to play with a piece of string rather than ANY of their baby gadgets). The boys will all try to steal her toys but she knows if she screams and Mommy or Daddy see it happen, she will get the toy back. She is becoming a tad bit rotten, but we are planning on nipping that one in the bud (maybe) when she learns English and is able to reason a little.
Danna, when I found out we were having quadruplets, I asked God for ONE girl. I did want a girl, but I wanted it to be A single girl and not the plural girlS. I have to thank God again because He gave me the best one in the world. We all love you so much. You are my Pretty Pretty Princess and mommy's little peanut.
Still so tiny. Look at how that newborn sock fits on her left foot. We used to have to put tape around the cuff to keep them on.
Gettin' some Kangaroo Care lovin' from mama. It's hard to grasp how small she was unless you were able to hold her.
Danna's skin was so thin, you could see her loops of bowel. They kept a close eye on her belly because it got distended easily and quickly....a major concerns for preemies.
Our miracle angel baby
We still laugh at this picture when we see it! Funny little alien baby eyes....it didn't help that the hat was a little snug, even for her little noggin.
Pitiful. Just plain pitiful.
Still not much bigger than a football at 3 months old
Whoa, gotta watch that umbilical hernia...it could poke an eye out! It's totally resolved now, thankfully, and didn't give her any problems.
Her Royal Highness. Here, Danna is modeling her first of MANY tiaras.
Got a little Pius-Laine sandwich. This is Danna's classic "serious" face. It takes ALOT to get her to smile for strangers. Usually she's very stingy with them until she gets warmed up to you.
Danna used to LOVE this Bumbo chair.
Just because she loves her Tygerman doesn't mean she has to love his team!
Mama can't resist those tiny little piggies! I foresee lots of mother/daughter bonding time doing girly things in the future!
Baptism Day with Godmother Aunt Lainie and proxy-godfather, Great Uncle Jim
Uncle Jim.....just one of the many victims Danna has wrapped around her finger.
Daddy with the apple of his eye
One of the few men she allows in to her circle of trust. Danna likes the fun sounds Sergio can make come out of his mouth.
Grampy Stubby's 2 little princesses....Danna Banana and Aunt Lainie Rosie Posie Toesie
Still doesn't have quite enough hair to rock a pony tail....but we'll give it a solid effort anyway!
This is what happens when you wake up earlier than the rest from a nap. Mama found stickers and can't bear to throw perfectly good things away without getting a LITTLE use outta them first! What a trooper.
I think Forrest swapped Danna's halo for his horns.
This little girl can scrinch up her face in every which way. Sometimes she smiles so hard, it looks like it hurts.
Our little Dorothy from KS
Aunt Jac....another person Danna called dibs on. She is the biggest cuddlebug and is perfectly content with laying on someone's chest all day just snuggling (Danna...not Jac).
Believe it or not....the hat was not mom's doing. Leave it to her sisters (their aunts) to pick up the slack.
One of my favorite stories from their birthday party. When we pulled this unicorn (we call it a horsey around our house) out of the bag and showed it to Danna, her jaw literally DROPPED and she just looked at it in utter amazement. Priceless. She still loves that thing and especially like to cuddle with it.
Playing dress-up with mom's boots
We Love You Baby Girl!
Mommy, Daddy, Pius, Forrest, and Laine