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Meet Carter and Gabriel Hooten

Carter and Gabriel Hooten were born at 31 weeks gestation. Carter weighed a whopping 5lbs and was 16 inches long, Gabriel weighed 3lbs 5oz and was 14 ½ inches long. At 18 weeks pregnant, I was told that Gabriel, (Baby B), was not going to make it to birth, that he had aqueductal stenosis of the third ventricle of his brain.  

I was hospitalized at 24 weeks because Gabe’s cord became insufficient, I was given steroids for the boys’ lungs and had a million tests done including a fetal MRI. Six weeks later I went into labor on my own and delivered them at 9:48am and 9:51 am via C-section. I wasn’t able to see either of them when they were born, they passed them directly through the drive-thru window into the NICU as soon as they achieved an acceptable Apgar score. 

Carter and Gabriel Hooten in the NICU at U of U Health
Carter and Gabriel Hooten in the NICU

Both boys were on CPAP their first day and then went to a nasal canula 24 hours after birth. Carter was moved to a step-down room in the NICU after about 12 hours and then remained in the Eat/Grow room until he was discharged three weeks after birth. Gabe was moved out of Room 1 on day 2 and was moved next to his brother in the Eat/Grow room until he was discharged five weeks later. 

Gabe had many tests and two surgeries before discharge. He never made it to a crib—he was in an open warming bed for the majority of his stay in the NICU. His surgeries included brain surgery to place a cranial reservoir that was tapped daily, as well as a G-tube button to make sure he could receive all of the nutrients he needed. Gabe had a VP shunt placed a week after his discharge from the NICU, which lasted for 12 years, five months, and four days before it needed to be replaced. 

Both boys did very well after discharge, Carter caught up on the growth chart by his third birthday and Gabe is on the growth chart but remains significantly smaller than his brother. Carter is a healthy smart 13-year-old boy that plays basketball, chess, video games, and loves to ignore his mom(!!). Gabe is a healthy but immunocompromised smart 13-year-old boy that loves video games, teddy bears, computers, and ignoring his mom(!!). 

Prior to August 2021 Gabe was very healthy, during his shunt revision he developed pulmonary edema and has had many health effects from that. He spent five days in the ICU after the shunt surgery and had another surgery on his abdomen related to the shunt prior to discharge. Six weeks later he had another emergency surgery that was unrelated to the shunt, and four weeks after that he was diagnosed with severe RSV but did not have to be hospitalized. Needless to say, we are looking forward to a quiet 2022. 

Carter & Gabriel Hooten, former NICU Patients
Carter & Gabriel Hooten, former NICU Patients

Meet Our NICU Alumni

This is a special project that documents our NICU alumni. We are so grateful to watch these amazing young patients grow into their lives, despite a challenging start.