Gabe Gallagher here. It's night shift here at the old NBICU. That's what most people would call the newborn intensive care unit. Me? I just call it home. For now. I mention it's the night shift because it seems a little more lax here at night. The charge nurse is a little more flexible. Not so many specialists and other hospital personnel standing over your shoulder. For this reason, my nurse is letting me borrow her computer to update our progress. The nurses here are awesome by the way. Well, except when they bring in that little vacuum thing and suction all the boogers out of my nose. I hate that! I wish I had the strength, dexterity, general coordination and knowledge to blow my own nose. Sheesh. It's a killer. It's like the giant vacuum of doom whenever I see that thing coming. Other than that, they are all wonderful. I know they like me. "Oh Gabe! You are sooo cute!" "Oh Gabe! Look at those pretty eyes!" I know, I know. My parents made a pretty good looking kid, what can I say?
So, on to how we are doing. Today, we are officially 34 weeks. That is how they date us here. If we were still inside my mom's body (I tried to talk everyone into staying in there by they way...) we would be 34 weeks along. So this marks the week where we are supposed to be learning that whole suck, swallow, breath thing that is so important when you eat. Well, (ahem) I actually know how to do that as of a week ago! That's right. I know how to latch and everything. Everyone keeps telling me how smart I am. I really like it too! It's so much fun to be so close to my mommy and eat at the same time. The only tricky part is that it is sooo exhausting. I mean, I try for about 15 minutes and I am wiped out! They won't let me practice or try for longer than 30 minutes or else I will expend more calories than I am actually getting. I need a good six or seven hours of rest before I can try again. My mom tells me she is going to try and figure out a plan to breast feed all of us, somehow, in some way. Personally, I think she is crazy. But I appreciate her for trying. Who knows? Maybe it will actually work.
My brother Christian has been practicing too. He told me he's latched a few times but doesn't quite have it down like I do. I told him to just relax and let it happen. But he wants to do it perfect and right away. If he doesn't do it right away and perfectly, he gets all worked up and stressed and needs to close his eyes and sleep it off. He's kind of an intense preemie. Just chill man. That's what I try to tell him. Just chill broseph.
My sister, Sunshine, just got the clear from the doctor yesterday to go ahead and start practicing breast feeding with mom. She had higher oxygen requirements than we did and needed to be a little more stable. But now, all three of us are on what's called a 'regular flow' nasal cannula getting 1 liter of oxygen help. It is a big deal! I thought my parents were going to die when Sunny finally was on a regular flow. They were so happy and lavished exorbitant amounts of praise on her. She sure took her sweet time. But now that is finally on regular flow, she is doing awesome.
So learning how to eat is our next big obstacle. Right now, we all have tubes through our nose that we get my mom's breast milk in. We have to learn how to eat from a bottle as well as from my mom to be able to go home. Obviously they won't send us home with this silly tube. I mean, who's to say my dad won't try and put Mt. Dew in there or something? Speaking of caffeine, we all get a little caffeine shot twice a day. It is supposed to help us have less apnea episodes. Because we are so small and so early in coming to this crazy world, sometimes we forget to breath and our heart rate drops dangerously low. My mom and dad hate this. But we usually recover on our own OK. Only sometimes do we need help from the nurse to come back up. But the older we get, the less we have been having.
We are getting so big! My bro Christian is 4lbs 2 oz. Sunshine is 3lbs 14 oz. And I am the svelte, thinner guy weighing in at 3lbs 9 oz. Another milestone to note here. Usually at 4 lbs, we are able to keep ourselves warm and don't need to be in our little hot plastic boxes. We still are however. It's a slow progression. When we can keep ourselves warm, we will move to an open crib situation. I have mixed emotions about this. It will be nice to be a little bigger. My mom will be able to handle me more, I'll sleep deeper, I won't look like I belong in a child's play crib. But I'm afraid it will be too darn noisy out there! I'm sure it will be fine. I'll be ready. My mom keeps telling me I am brave and she's proud of me. So we just keep our heads down and keep keeping on!
Hey, Sunny! Psst, wake up! Do you want to add anything to our progress update? Sunshine! Yoo hoo! Last chance to say hello sis. Well, she is really passed out. Maybe next time.
Christian. Hey sleepy head. Did you want to add anything to my report? "What? What are you talking about? What report? I am soo tired. Dude, let me go back to sleep."
Okay. I guess nobody has anything to add. I wish I could meet all of you in person. Maybe someday. I can't wait to smile at you and maybe even cuddle with some of you someday and tell you thanks for helping our progress along. Thanks for your sweet thoughts and occasional meals for my mom and help with cleaning her house and painting our nursery and lots and lots and lots of prayers.
This is Gabe Gallagher signing off for now. Good night!