For Fran Pentino, this is a very special Father’s Day. It’s his first. He and his wife, Heather, were blessed with a daughter, Payton, who was born at Saint Mary’s Hospital on August 12, 2008, weighing just over 3 1⁄2 pounds.
“Heather went into premature labor and was put on bed rest. So we knew that the baby would arrive early,” Fran recalled. “The care we received, at least from my standpoint, was great. It’s certainly a very anxious time in your life, when you’re having a first child and don’t know what to expect. But we were well informed throughout the entire process.”
Payton spent the first 30 days of her life in Saint Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Fran and Heather visited her at least five times a day. Watching his newborn daughter sleep with wires and tubes attached to her, Fran thought about how beautiful she was, and how tiny.
“The nurses in the NICU were just fantastic. Fran said. “We were very grateful for the help and the care they provided.”
The nurses talked with Fran and his wife about the successes of other premature babies, and taught him how to change his first diaper. “My wife was especially thankful for that,” Fran said, adding: “They didn’t have to decorate Payton’s isolette with a crafty name tag or give her the ‘best eater in the NICU’ award, or buy her first bathing suit when they found out I was a swim coach. I believe that they did all that because they cared about us as a family. It was something I witnessed with other babies and parents as well.”
So today, we wish Fran Pentino a Happy Father’s Day. At 10 months, his daughter is healthy and thriving. She has long since “graduated” from the NICU, but her parents still remember those precious, early days at Saint Mary’s. “ I can’t say enough about the care my wife and child received. You have a very special hospital,” they said, “and we are fortunate to have had our child there.”