Pinger’s Story

SO, it has been now three weeks since our little guy’s birthday.  As with our other four dozen children, here is his story:

This story starts about 6-8 weeks before his birth…The Wife, per usual prenatal practice, was required to undergo twice-weekly fetal nonstress tests during the third trimester.  In layman’s terms, they hooked The Wife up to the fetal heart monitor and the Toco thingamabob that senses contractions.  In years past, these have been relatively routine and baby responded properly…that being fetal heart rate increase when baby moved and/or when The Wife contracted.

This time was different…

During more than half of these twice-weekly visits, baby was not very cooperative.  Heart rate did not accelerate to the levels they wanted for long enough after the movement/contraction.  The OB office conducting the monitoring increased the frequency of her visits to thrice weekly.  This always makes for challenging logistical arrangements but due to the flexibility of my schedule and the EXTREME generosity of friends and neighbors, we were able to pull it off.

Baby continued to not do so well on most of the 3x/week visits.  He would pass some of the tests but often barely but sometimes he’d be very cooperative. It was pretty much hit and miss.  As we approached the 38 week gestation mark, The Wife and I meet at the testing center for the usual routine.  Being the nerd that I am, I watch the data on the monitors.  I see that she’s having a contraction as the Toco thingamabob shows the peak being drawn…but then I see the fetal heart rate drop to about 70 as the contraction reaches the apex.   After a short time, fetal heart rate goes back to the 150 range.  Hmmmmmmm…I don’t think that is what we want.

As it is getting later in the afternoon and I went home because I needed to relieve the babysitter. I apologize profusely as my tardiness forced the babysitters husband to have to leave work to get their oldest son from school.  Within 30 or 40 minutes after I get home, The Wife calls me with the news that she has just been ADMITTED and will be INDUCED shortly.

Oh, really?!  My brain had to chew on that for a few seconds but then I got my act together.

The baby flunked enough of the tests and he is far enough along that it would be better to deliver him vs. let him continue this way for another week or two. I understood that and immediately called the neighbors to let them know the exciting news and she said she’d be here within an hour.

So, roughly within a 120 minute period, I was at the hospital, home, and then back at the hospital.  I go looking for the Labor & delivery rooms…they are not in the same spot!  I mean, we have our own memorial wing at the hospital (since all our children were born there) for this now and they dare to move it!!??  (Shaking fist!!)

I finally find The Wife’s room. It was a relatively quiet night in the maternity ward.  She is sitting up in the bed quite calm with the IV in and pitocin started but on a very low level.  No more uber-pitocin after Peanut’s and Flip’s experience, thankyouverymuch!  This was at about 1800 hrs on Wednesday 10/9.

Throughout the labor, baby heart rate continued to give us issues.  On a couple of occasions, they put The Wife on oxygen to help out the little lad.  Success…heart rate stabilized.

Midnight rolls around…time to deliver baby.  Doctors and nurses have everything setup and baby Pinger is born at 0026 on 10/10.  This dude was COATED in vernix.  It looked like he lost a fight with a plate of nachos! I have pictures to prove it but will leave those off the blog! 🙂

It took him a little while to start crying and to start turning pink…but he did but was quite congested.  If it was anything like Bubba’s birth story, it was because The Wife’s labor was relatively short… ~5hrs. Not much time to squirt the fluid out of baby.  He nurses and gets washed up. I thought they were going to need a Craftsman pressure washer to get the cheese off of him!

But after the get him all cleaned up, he’s still somewhat congested, so they put him on oxygen for awhile and it cleared up within an hour or so.  But that is when they discovered a heart murmur.  Down to the NICU he goes to get put under closer observation.

Later that morning, a pediatric cardiologist comes to look at him.  He orders an echocardiogram and EKG.  I saw them do the echocardiogram briefly. It was pretty neat but I did not see them do the EKG.  I think I ran home.  They determined that he has something called Tetralogy of Fallot.  In my layman’s understanding, it’s a combination of having a narrow pulmonary artery along with a hole in a valve in the lower chamber of the heart.  The narrow artery causes the oxygenated blood to backwash through the bad valve which keeps the body from getting the proper amount of oxygen saturation. It will require surgery between now and when he’s six months old.  Prognosis is excellent.

We’re in great shape. We have received excellent care from the doctors involved…covering the natural order of things.  He’s already been baptized, so the supernatural order’s covered as well.

A few images of the blessed events.


Pops and baby


When I went down to the NICU, it really settled in my mind that we were in a hospital ICU. I was not immediately ready for this…I have really only seen this on TV.


A delicious meal of the gold-standard chicken fingers (of course) from the hospital cafe!


Pinger looking onward from his bed, shortly before being discharged.


So, Marc, why the nickname of Pinger?  Well, it took me awhile to think of an adequate one. But I remember a conversation as a child with a friend in which he commented on a car we were nearby. He said, “Listen to those valves ping!” (I guess the car needed a tune-up…I have no idea…a gearhead I am not. I just take the car to the shop…yeah yeah I know…mancard violation).


So, for now, he has that name since he’s got a bad valve that pings murmurs that needs to be fixed and a hose that needs repair.  I think Pinger sounds better than Murmurer, don’t you?

Thank you for your prayers for his healing.  Today we started a 54 day rosary novena for his healing.  Please feel free to join in some/all of that novena for this intention.



    1. It may have been me. There are a lot of us in the back these days with a recent onslaught of births! It was a pleasant sight seeing seemingly every other gal coming into Mass expecting 🙂

      Take THAT world!

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