When I was just 10 weeks pregnant, I had a dream that I was holding a baby girl in my arms as I nursed her. I was looking down at her face – she looked just like her dad – she had a full head of black hair and was staring up at me with big green eyes. They say you have intense dreams when you’re pregnant, but this felt different, so visceral and so real. In that dream I felt the bond between me and her so strongly that I loved this dream-baby as deeply as I had ever loved anything. It was as if I had actually been there with her.
I woke up from the dream, and I remember feeling shaken. It’s no secret that I had wanted a baby boy for as long as I had even been thinking about being a parent. I remember telling a friend that it was as if this baby visited me in a dream to show me that I was going to love a daughter in a way I couldn’t imagine or anticipate. Although we decided to leave the sex a surprise for delivery day, since that dream I just knew that I was carrying a baby girl.
Frankie, you have been such a light in our lives for the short time that you have been here. We are so lucky to have you as a daughter, and I wanted to make sure that I wrote down your birth story while it is still fresh in my mind, so that later you can go back and read about the day that you came into this world.
On a sunny, beautiful Saturday morning in Los Angeles, your dad and I woke up early with a full day of adventuring planned. You were already three days past my due date and we knew you could be arriving any moment. We got into the car and drove to the Los Angeles Zoo, even though mommy was feeling like a manatee herself! It was 92 degrees that day, and your dad and I walked around the zoo for several hours. We loved seeing the monkeys, especially because there was a new baby monkey being held by it’s mother and we laughed at their antics. We ate shaved iced (pineapple and strawberry flavored), and mused about how we would be taking you to Hawaii soon after you decided to come out.
When I finally got too tired to walk around anymore it was time to visit our next stop, “The Salad Place.” You see, in Los Angeles there is a restaurant famous for a salad that makes women go into labor. We thought it would be fun thing to say we tried, but had no expectation or indication that you were ready to be born! We shared the salad and pizza (we were the 8th couple of the day there for the salad!). After the salad we went next door for some gelato and then decided it was time to finally head home. It was about 5pm and mama was VERY tired and needed some sleep. I sent some texts to our anxious family members letting them know that I was not any closer to going into labor and there were no signs you were coming out just yet.
We had been home for just two hours when, without any contractions or indication whatsoever, my water broke, letting us know that it was finally time for us to meet you!. I was very scared and very nervous! It was about 7:30pm, so I called your Auntie Danielle and your Dad called your Obaachan (Japanese for Grandmother) to let them know it was time! They both made plans to get to the airport in Seattle as soon as possible to make it in time for your entrance into the world.
Even though your dad decided it was time to water the plants before we went to the hospital, eventually we got into the car and made our way to Cedars- Sinai Hospital, where the real journey started. We were already exhausted after a long day of looking at the animals, but knew we were in for a marathon. We were assigned room #7 with a stunning picture window looking over Beverly Hills. You and I were spine to spine at the start of labor which meant each contraction that came brought a lot of back pain for both of us! I got an epidural soon after to alleviate the pain and we were able to “rest” through the night. The next morning, on August 25th, while all was quiet and your dad was still sleeping, I remember watching the sunrise and wondering how our would change when your dad and I got to finally hold you and meet you.
I was comfortably laboring with you for 24 hours before your doctor told us it was finally time to start pushing around 7pm that day. By this time I was exhausted, but ready to run across the finish line to meet you. 7pm also just happens to be the shift change at the hospital, so our favorite nurses who were with us the night before returned, and our current team decided to stay to find out if you were a boy or a girl! This meant we had a room FULL of people excited and energized to meet you, and to encourage and support mommy through pushing!
After a few short pushes your doctor announced to the room that you had a full head of long black hair, but of course, I already knew this because we had met in my dreams 7 months earlier. Your daddy counted to ten with each and every push. The nurses and staff found it funny how he seemed like a sports coach. We listened to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, the very same song that we listened to the day that we got married. Your Auntie Danielle and you daddy held each one of my legs as I pushed and pushed, and after almost two hours of pushing you were held up for me to see your beautiful chubby cheeks!
You instantly started making fish lips ready to eat and have continued to be a good eater! You were officially born on Sunday night August 25th at 8:24pm, and you weighed a shocking 8 pounds. I couldn’t believe how big you were! Mommy got to hold you right away as daddy cut your umbilical cord. You were perfectly healthy, thriving, and happy from the moment you entered the world! Dad, Obaachan and Auntie Danielle all held you within that first hour of your birth.
It took us up until almost the hour that we left the hospital to decide what your name would be, but finally mommy and daddy decided that you would be called Frankie, after your grandfather who never got the chance to meet you. He would have loved you more than life itself. You and your daddy get your full heads of hair from him, and he is also the green eyes of your dad. And soon we will find out if you will have those green eyes as well.
Your daddy and I have loved each other for 17 years before you joined us, and we could never have imaged what you would bring into our world. Since the day you took your first breath, you have been the sweetest, happiest, and, I have to say, hungriest little girl in the whole world. You have brought us nothing but joy, you have been so easy on us as we are learning how to be parents for you, and we feel so lucky to be able to call you our daughter. We will love you forever and ever, and we know that the world is a better place since you came into it.
Mom and Dad
A quick note:
Although Frankie’s birth itself was very textbook, after I delivered the placenta, things took a dramatic turn as I quickly started loosing a lot of blood. The emergency team rushed in and a group of 7 doctors and nurses worked to locate the source of the bleeding and stop it. It was very scary for everyone, especially John who stayed by my head encouraging me to stay awake and alert to the best of my ability. After some time, the doctors located a blood clot and were able to stop the bleeding. After this ordeal I spiked a fever with violent shakes for a few hours and endured many side effects from the medications used to stop the bleeding. It was scary, traumatic, and difficult. I fully believe that had I delivered anywhere else my life would have been in jeopardy. I am grateful to my incredible OBGYN, and the nursing staff at Cedars-Sinai for their stellar professionalism and top notch medical practices for keeping me and Frankie healthy throughout the birth and the emergency that ensued afterward.
As I write this, Frankie is 7 weeks old, we are both healthy and doing wonderfully well. Frankie is in the 80th percentile for height and weight and still has her full head of hair. We don’t yet know what color her eyes will be, but if I had to guess, I’d say they will be green like her dad’s.