Meet the Hongs!

Oliver and Ming met through a friend at Purdue University for the first time in 2007. Oliver tagged along with a friend to Ming’s to try some baked goods. It actually was not love at first sight! Ming thought Oliver was nice but didn’t think he was her type. Over the years they would run into each other on campus on occasion. After they hadn’t seen each other for a long stretch, they reconnected through mutual friends in 2009 and suddenly it just sparked. The couple got engaged in Taiwan after Ming met Oliver’s grandparents and extended relatives. They got married in Indianapolis in 2015.

Ming was born in Hong Kong. Her family immigrated to the Indianaplis when she was two years old. They speak the Chinese Cantonese dialect at home. Ming and her sister learned English at school and went to Chinese School to keep up with writing and reading and learning another dialect, Chinese Mandarin. They also received a lot of support from their Chinese Christian church.

After high school, Ming went to Purdue University. She switched from pre-med biology to youth, adult, and family services. She thanks her parents and mission trips for this change in career, as she realized the resilience in families and the benefits of providing support and advocacy. She moved to Columbus immediately after getting her Master’s Degree from Indiana University (she followed Oliver). Ming is currently a clinical social worker at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is grateful each day for being able to work with her patients and their families.

Ming loves to spend time with family and friends, play tennis, exercise with Title Boxing, read, go shopping, travel, watch Netflix, and dote on their three cats. She supports Compassion International, NPR, Mid-Ohio Food Bank, and NCH.

Oliver loves sports! He grew up playing badminton, soccer, track and field, ultimate frisbee, skiing, and snowboarding. He currently plays badminton with a club in Columbus when he can. He goes with Ming to Title Boxing, too. Oliver also enjoys cooking, eating, marveling at tech gadgets, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and watching movies and Netflix. He likes superhero movies and also dotes on their cats. He supports NPR and Habitat for Humanity.

The Hongs have had two sons. Logan was conceived in 2018. Their plan was to start trying after two years of marriage. After 8 months of trying, they found out they conceived Logan! At their 18 week ultrasound, they were excited for their gender reveal, followed by a party and baby moon to Canada. Little did they know that this ultrasound was the one that would share the sad news that Logan had hydrops fetalis and a cystic hygroma which led to his passing. There are two types of hydrops. Logan had the non-immune type. Hydrops is diagnosed due to fluid buildup in at least two of the baby’s body area. Their prognosis was 60-90% mortality rate and this condition affects 1 in 1000 births. There can be many causes such as an infection from before birth, anemia, chromosomal abnormality, heart or lung defects, and liver disease. The Hongs were informed that Logan could pass in utero or shortly after birth.

They were referred to a high risk OB clinic and completed all kinds of screenings for infections and genetic testing. Everything came back negative. At the 21 week follow up ultrasound, Logan fought hard but passed away. They knew when the sonographer started the machine and they didn’t hear the usual heartbeat. He was induced and was born sleeping at 1lb and 2oz at 9inches in length on September 13, 2018. The couple was able to marvel and hold their sleeping angel.

They actually named him after they found out the news. As they glanced towards their male cat one evening, his face reminded them of X-Men Wolverine. Oliver and Ming love superheroes and knew Logan was a fighter as he stayed so strong to let his parents know him for that long! So he was named after Wolverine! 

Following that heartbreak, Ming was tracking her ovulation in hopes of carrying another child.  Seven months after Logan’s passing they were pregnant again! When Ming got the positive pregnancy test, she was so excited and immediately woke Oliver to tell him the news. The anxiety did come soon after, regarding the health of the new baby.

They continued to see their regular OB and high risk OB and had additional ultrasounds. Each ultrasound caused anxiety and it did take awhile before Oliver and Ming felt comfortable sharing their pregnancy. They didn’t do a gender reveal but did find out they were having a boy through an earlier screening (blood draw). Elliott gave them a scare when they found heart arrhythmia at his 18 week ultrasound. Thankfully this went away on its own by week 22. There had been no other complications, but naturally that didn’t keep the parents from worrying about hydrops.

Logan’s younger brother, Elliott Zhian Hong, was born 11/24/19, 4 weeks and a day early! His due date was 12/23/19 and they had been so concerned he might be born on Christmas. But he made his own debut. The Hongs were supposed to be at a wedding on 11/23/19 in Indianapolis. Ming was only one cm dilated on 11/22/19 with contractions so they went ahead and drove to Indianapolis for a wedding. They went about the weekend (had breakfast with friends, went to a hair appointment) until it got pretty painful by noon! They got ready for the wedding (start time 5:30pm). They made it there at 4:30pm and asked to take pictures with the bride (Ming’s god-sister), groom, and family. They drove the three hours back home with Oliver Speeding the last 45 minutes and went immediately to St. Ann’s in their wedding attire. Ming was 7cm dilated and Elliott was born 11/24/19 at 3:30am. He was 5lbs 15.9oz and 17inches! Elliott is their miracle rainbow baby!

Elliott has many facial expressions in his sleep and when he is awake! He enjoys sponge baths and listening to his parents’ voices! They are so very proud of him and over the moon for his arrival. 

The Hongs have three cats from the same litter – Harry, Arya and Sansa (named after Game of Thrones). They adopted all three after fostering them and they are now 6 years old. When Elliott is around, each kitty will come and sniff but really hasn’t done anything more. Sometimes they care and will watch Oliver and Ming with Elliott. Otherwise, they still want to be babies themselves and cuddle!

Ming has always loved the name Elliott. Her god brother and his father’s middle name was Elliott.  They had a list throughout the pregnancy: Elliott, Liam, Levi, and Eli. Oliver was not fond of any particular one. When he was born, they immediately chose Elliott. Oliver and Ming had to pick his Chinese name and wanted to use the way it would he pronounced in English as his Middle name. “Zhi” means aspirational in Chinese and “An” means peace, both of which his parents wish for him.

Elliott exceeded a lot of his expectations the moment he was born and they were very proud parents. For example, as a late term preemie it was predicted he may stay in the NICU, lose 10% of his body weight prior to dishcharge, need checked for low blood sugar for 24 hours, and likely have jaundice. However, Eilliott didn’t go to the NICU, only lost 3% of his body weight, blood sugars didn’t drop, and he didn’t have jaundice. They were also told that it is common to take 2 weeks to gain back birth weight. Nope, he did that after one week. And the Hongs were warned he probably won’t learn to latch for nursing. Nope again, he learned. His name has been very fitting!

The Hongs have learned that being parents, there is a lot that is not in your control. And you worry a lot, even before conception! But every part of it is a blessing and there is joy that comes hand in hand. The journey with both of their sons has brought family and friends, and them as a couple closer together. They are so grateful for these supportive relationships. It really does take a village. Knowing there are people who care makes a world of difference.

Copyright 2020 Stacey Ash Photography

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