HomeNewsArticle Display

Little guy, big fixed heart: part I

Ashley Mockovciak, Team Shaw spouse, left, and Tech. Sgt. Ben Mockovciak, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 202 F-16 tactical aircraft maintenance instructor, lean over their son Noah’s bed at a hospital at Charleston, S.C., circa February 2017.

Ashley Mockovciak and Tech. Sgt. Ben Mockovciak, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 202 F-16 tactical aircraft maintenance instructor, lean over their son Noah’s bed at a hospital at Charleston, S.C., circa February 2017. Noah was admitted to the hospital after he experienced a heart attack in his home, leading to the discovery of congenital heart defects. (Courtesy photo)

Ashley Mockovciak, Team Shaw spouse, kisses her son Noah Mockovciak in a hospital at Charleston, S.C., circa February 2017.

Ashley Mockovciak kisses her son Noah Mockovciak in a hospital at Charleston, S.C., circa February 2017. Physicians discovered Noah had heart defects after he experienced a heart attack. (Courtesy photo)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFNS) -- When Ashley and Tech. Sgt. Ben Mockovciak learned they would soon be parents, they were overwhelmed with the exciting idea of welcoming a healthy, beautiful child into their family.

“It was the best feeling in the world,” said Ashley, tears in her eyes as she remembered the moment she held the positive pregnancy test. “It was just incredible joy. We were like, ‘Maybe this time we can finally have a baby.’”

When Noah James was born months later, the new mother wept with happiness in the hospital room as she held him in her arms with her husband by her side.

“It was pretty amazing,” said Ben, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 202 F-16 tactical aircraft maintenance instructor. “It was just awesome to see him after all the complications we had in the previous pregnancies. Once he was here, we kind of took a deep breath and everything was good to go. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning.”

Following a short stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, the Mockovciaks were able to take their newborn home shortly before Ben departed to attend noncommissioned officer academy.

“I only got to spend a few hours with him at home, but it was just awesome knowing he was at home with Ashley and they weren’t at the hospital and we got everything handled,” said Ben. “It was a big weight lifted off my shoulders when they were here and comfortable and settled in.”

Though they were overwhelmed with excitement to have their child home, they were also overcome with other emotions.

“Bringing him home after the seven days (in the hospital) was nerve-racking, because it’s different working with children than it is when you’re the parent,” said Ashley, referencing her time as a child caregiver. “It’s totally different…you’re like, ‘Where do I start?’”

From sudden illness and accidents to their child refusing to eat, the couple worried about the things many parents fear, compounded by Ben’s absence due to training.

“You get full of worry,” Ashley said. “That’s the first thing: fear of failing as a parent and then worrying. You’re going to worry as a parent forever, because you want to do it right.”

Unfortunately, the Mockovciaks’ fears would soon be realized during an appointment with their son’s pediatrician at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

“The first person to notice the difference was our doctor,” said Ashley. “She listened to his heart and said, ‘It’s something more than a murmur,’ so she recommended we go to a cardiologist.”

Two weeks later, Noah’s growth began to slow and it became difficult for him to eat.

At approximately 4 a.m. on Jan. 29, 2017, during one of Ben’s weekend trips home from the academy, the couple worked to comfort their crying son, feeding and rocking him in their arms to no avail.

The parents’ nightmare soon became reality.

“(Ben) tried to walk Noah around, comfort him, and it just wasn’t calming him down, so I asked for (Noah),” said Ashley, voice falling to a near whisper as she recalled the night. “Once my husband put him in my arms, he was coughing and he just stopped completely. There was no movement, he wasn’t responsive, so I kept calling his name.”

Calling to the newborn in her arms, she made a horrible realization: Noah was unresponsive.

“I heard her yell, ‘Oh my God, he’s not breathing,’ so I ran into the bedroom and you could see Noah’s face was blue and he wasn’t breathing,” said Ben. “I had no idea what to do, so I called 911. They said they were sending an ambulance, which would be about 15 minutes, but it felt like 15 hours just waiting for the ambulance to come.”

Years of training guided Ashley. As calm washed over her, she placed her baby on the floor, tilted his delicate head back and started performing CPR.

To the Mockovciaks’ relief, Noah responded, regaining consciousness with a cough before the ambulance arrived.

As the family arrived at the hospital, they realized their difficult journey was just beginning.

When the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital physicians tended to Noah, they discovered the truth of what happened: he had a heart attack.

Sitting in a hospital room, the family was faced with an uncertain future.

(To be continued.)

Engage

Twitter
The 2-week training will focus on @GenCQBrownJr's #AccelerateChange Action Order C: Competition by dissecting the g… https://t.co/J97obvYz10
Twitter
Building on women’s hair updates announced in February 2021, beginning June 25 when hair is secured behind the head… https://t.co/kjocdaU8Co
Twitter
“When you look at the numbers, 500,000 is a lot of [#COVID19] vaccinations. That reflects every #Soldier and… https://t.co/0hDKneUwUU
Twitter
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is sponsoring a research project with the @WitchitaState's National Inst… https://t.co/r1SZzmLUGo
Twitter
.@NellisAFB recently hosted an #AirForce Weapons School Integration exercise that taught graduate-level instructor… https://t.co/sdRcG9Tqle
Twitter
Industry and government operators, engineers, and test professionals assessed the ability to do medical evacuation,… https://t.co/GosqQbx3Ac
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: As part of the @UTNationalGuard's state partnership with Morocco, @UtahAirGuard Airmen are taking part in African Lion 21…
Twitter
“This office is the first organization that will stand-up from an enterprise-wide perspective to address digital ne… https://t.co/94P7CNFxGj
Twitter
"Multi-capable #Airmen is a series of training events designed to engage Airmen in developing a combat skillset out… https://t.co/7b4VFMb9cm
Twitter
"I'm probably not the first to be qualified, but the first to have the opportunity." @GenCQBrownJr sat down with… https://t.co/vh14QdB6sp
Twitter
#CitizenAirmen from the 30th Aerial Port Squadron & @AFRC_433, loaded supplies onto a C-5 Galaxy, to deliver suppli… https://t.co/MDSVEtQbZm
Twitter
.@59_MDW medics assisted a hospital in #Honduras during Exercise Resolute Sentinel 21, where they performed life-ch… https://t.co/DRGyg4NOhL
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth at today's SAC-D hearing: "Our nation’s competitive strategic advantage relies on air and space superiority…
Twitter
To maintain open lines of communication with #AirForce allies and African partners, CMSgt Brion Blais, @HQUSAFEAFAFhttps://t.co/4nGOtWJnLp
Twitter
“I can help [#Airmen] and prepare them for the challenges they’ll face as NCO’s; everything I’ve encountered has pr… https://t.co/YT3x1UjGFU
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth is speaking now on the future capabilities the Department requires to protect the Nation--including the Gro…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense is asking A/SecAF Roth about investments to modernize the @USAirForce
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,311
Follow Us