Welcome, ZEN!

This past Friday, May 11th at 11:19 pm, Zoe Esther Natori entered this world (12 days before her due date)! What a wonderful surprise and start to my mother’s day weekend.

Last shot

This was the last shot of my belly pre-birth. Why hello, belly.

Four days before, I had to get all glammed up to attend the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gala in honor of my beautiful mother-in-law. I felt far from pretty, but I was able to put on a nice dress, some make up and hair, and attend the event.


Party on.

The next several days, I was in and out of a state of anxiety, pain, and calm. I knew that Baby Girl was going to enter the world sooner rather than later. I had contractions here and there, visited the doctor, and knew that things were well on their way. I was so ready to have the baby out of my belly, but so not ready to have the baby in reality. I rushed around with a massive to do list (a lot of the tasks admittedly unimportant, but I HAD to get them done… I am totally OCD). My last day of work was Wednesday. Thursday, I was convinced the baby was coming. But no baby. So Friday, I thought there was no way that the baby was coming.

Friday, I had lunch with a friend (at Le Pain, of course), sat on the median on Park Avenue to enjoy the sunshine, played with Cruzzie in his crib, and tutored. It was during my tutoring session that things changed. Like, my water broke. Hello pee in my pants while tutoring. Water on the chair, water on my pants, it was awesome. After my little tutoree left the apartment, the HOLY CRAP moment set in, and I freaked out. It was 5 pm on a Friday — meaning, the doctor’s office was closed, Cruzzie was at a playdate, and Ken was at work. I was in a state of total and utter panic. Finally, I got through to my doctor, who told Ken and I to meet her at the hospital.

Park Avenue

I know, totally weird, but I actually like to sit in between the lanes of traffic on Park Avenue (on the sidewalk in the middle of the avenue). I just stare at people walking by, the cars, the taxis, and think. It might not be nature, but it is fresh air. So it does a body good.

New York Presbyterian Hospital. I have always been amazed by the rooms, service, and staff. I have had great nurses both deliveries -- and we have kept in touch with all of them. Remarkable people.

After talking to my doctor, I waited for Cruzzie to come home. I was a mess with tears everywhere. He started to cry and we just held each other. My little monkey helped calm me even through the tears. He told me he loved me, kissed me “Mama sad, now Mama happy,” and I left as soon as Ken got back from work. I was scared to leave Cruz, but happy to know that I was about to produce something as wonderful and amazing as he is. Another life was about to happen….It was deja vu all over again — same time of the night when I went to the hospital to give birth to Cruz.

So here I was, Friday night, 5:30 pm, checking in to the hospital with Ken to have a baby. Rockin Friday night.

Friday date night at the finest.

Checked in, got a room, talked to the doctors (my doctor is a life saver — if anyone needs a NYC OB/GYN — hit me up. I am in love with my doctor), got situated.


My saint, Dr. Sona Degann.

Had two popsicles for my dinner (a grape and strawberry one, obvi), dealt with some pain, started freaking out, got an epidural, talked to some nurses, told Ken to rest up but then talked to him so he couldn’t sleep. There was some MAJOR drama around 9:30 where the epidural stopped working while Ken was getting coffee and the nurses and doctors were gone…but everything returned to normal 45 minutes later. After enough pain and tears for a lifetime, there was some pushing, some yelling, and finally, a BABY GIRL!


All bundled up like an eskimo. Welcome to the world, miss little Zoe Esther Natori!

I am in a state of pure exhaustion, happiness, ecstasy, and slight anxiety. My new life with my new family. Words can’t really describe all the complex feelings running through my brain, heart, and soul. But whatever they are, bottom line, is that I am truly blessed and happy. Mixed in with some fears, worries, and concerns. But glass half-full, right?

Me and the eskimo.

Me and the eskimo. A little shocked in terms of what had just happened, but relieved, and so flipping content.

hospital hat

I mean, don't you love these freebie hospital hats? I am obsessed with the bow. I never thought I would be a bow for a baby type of lady, but SIGN ME UP. BOWS HERE I COME!

all 3

The Josie Guy, the toddler, and the baby.

Our angel.


One of my concerns has been, and continues to be, how Cruzzie will react to his new sister at home. Although it has not been perfect, and I imagine there will be lots of hard times ahead, he has been amazing. He has embraced this new challenge of showing his sister how to live life in NYC and has really stepped up to the plate. Makes me love him even more, if that is even possible.


Sleeping beauty. Zoe means "Life" in Greek. I just loved how it sounded with Cruzzie. And if there is one letter in the alphabet that is my favorite, it would be "Z" -- so much fun to write in both script and cursive. My dad's name has a "z" in it, and I have always loved that about his name. And now, both my children have "z's," so my life is fully complete.

proud lola

The proud lola, Josie Natori, with her little precious granddaughter. She has always wanted a little girl in her life, and now she has one!

in hospital bed

Lounging together on the hospital bed. Let me just say how amazing my husband is -- he stayed both nights with me at the hospital -- sleeping with me in a TWIN HOSPITAL BED (just like last time... except that was three nights). He deserves a prize. (Yes, I am sporting the Natori Affinity Cotton Mandarin Tunic, conveniently available at natori.com)


Hanging out, getting ready to get dressed to leave the hospital and enter the real world.

leaving the hospital

We were able to leave the hospital 36 hours later. It was a whirlwhind of a weekend, to say the least. In and out, almost faster than my whole labor ordeal with Cruzzie.

I am so thankful for everything, and truly blessed to have a beautiful and loving family. Although I worry about dealing with two kids, am exhausted, uncomfortable, in pain, and look 6 months pregnant (thank you to those who tell me I still look so pregnant — because yes, I just had a baby, so yes, I still look pregnant, thank you very much), am swollen and bloated, and do not fit in any clothes or shoes, I am so thankful to have a baby with ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, lungs, heart… everything I could ever ask for.  A healthy, and happy baby.  Joining my little family, which now makes us a family of four.

family of 3

A month ago, it was just us 3.5. And now, it is the four of us.


Three + One = Four (good thing I am a math teacher).

Have a great week, back on Friday! And thanks to ALL of you for the tremendous love and support. I know my journey has just begun, and in addition to being so thankful for a healthy baby, precious son, and incredibly supportive and loving husband, I am also truly grateful to all my friends, family, readers, colleagues… anyone and everyone. Thank you!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Josie Girl


    • Thanks! I think it goes well with Cruzzie. And now both kids have z’s in them!

  1. Congratulations on your sweet baby girl!!! I look forward to hearing all about her and your new family of 4 in the coming posts. Enjoy!! And the name is perfect!!

    • Thank you so much! I am sure I will have plenty (but I hope not too many) of posts on the newest addition and all the juggling I will have to do!

  2. Your family looks complete. Zoe looks very relaxed and ready to join the world, Cruz looks like a normal, busy boy, Lola, grandmother looks beautiful as always, and the two parents look proud and ready for the challenge. Congratulations and jubilations.

    • Thank you, Nana! Cruzzie and Zoe are excited for your arrival soon.

  3. What a wonderful story with a very happy ending. Welcome to the world, Baby Z, you are very loved!

    • And I cannot believe you had to go to a gala that close to your duedate. You managed to look amazing…kudos for that tricky fashion moment 😉

      • oh and thanks for the compliment. Getting dressed that night almost led to a major melt down, but I ended up ok. But I ripped two pairs of tights in the process of getting dressed and my legs were not shaved….oh lordie. And my hair had some issues too…..

  4. Congratulations! sounds so much like my little girl, born 14 days before her due date…her big bro was 5…it was/is the sweetest experience and even though I’m not Filipino I love the name Lola for a granny name — btw, my girl is now all grown up and working for Natori! (Dana Co.)…

    • Wow, what a small world! Your daughter is lucky to work for such a fabulous company. 🙂 So far it has been a great experience having two, difficult at times, but I know it will all be worth it in the end! Just have to take moment by moment deep breaths.

  5. Congratulaions and brava for your brave appearance at our gala. She is of course gorgeous and I know just how Josie feels as I have 4 sons and now 3 granddaughters whom I spoil rotten! Take good care of yourself.

  6. can’t wait to spoil them like I did Ken when he was little
    Auntie Anne

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