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
RT @DefenseOne: JOIN US TODAY @ 2 P.M. ET when our “State of Defense” series continues with a live interview featuring U.S. Air Force Chief…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Teaching service members how to effectively shoot weapons. That’s the job of Combat Arms Training and Management. Watch…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team - 25 years ago today, we lost 24 U.S. & Canadian Airmen in the Yukla 27 crash. It was a surveillance training so…
Twitter
Taking care of Airmen and their families! https://t.co/AVeidzDPcV
Twitter
Wherever Airmen go, the Federal Voting Assistance Program ensures their voice is heard. @FVAP works to ensure servi… https://t.co/tkJts1yo3Z
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: For #HispanicHeritageMonth, we're celebrating the stories of Hispanic & Latino Airmen! @188thWG SSgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez…
Twitter
#TotalForce Airmen participate in night operations during a base-wide, total force exercise @HAFB. Airmen & pilots… https://t.co/kJYNKwHY7n
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: California fires/smoke no match for UTA Airmen - https://t.co/pJysQ6snRh (Story by the @940Wing) #ReserveReady #ReserveRes
Twitter
Whistleblowers are NOT insider threats. Learn the difference and how you can appropriately report questionable gove… https://t.co/AaTvBfHcTv
Twitter
SrA Denise Arabie, 319th Operations Support Squadron radar approach controller @319thRW, describes the importance o… https://t.co/zkwMx6Qw3i
Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
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
1,281,142
Follow Us