Henry Taku Yoshida Park was born at 4:38 pm on Wednesday, April 11 on the second floor Labor and Delivery unit of Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo to Jenny Yoshida and Albert Park and big brother Felix Joon Yoshida Park. As he was only 27 weeks and one day old gestationally, 2 pounds 6 ounces and 12 inches, he moved up three floors to CHOC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the 5th floor. There he was cared for by a team of loving, doting, exceptional nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, administrative assistants, and lactation consultants.
He was born small, but strong. He yelled the yell of a full-term baby when he was delivered, letting his presence be known to all in the room. He started his “outside” life fighting an infection and luckily kicked it in just a few days. He was a fighter! His bright, dark eyes sparkled, looking around at the tubes and plastic walls around him. He was so active and alert for a small baby who should have been spending days swimming in the womb, his only job to grow bigger and stronger. There was something so lovable about him, he seemed to affect everyone who crossed his path, especially his adoring parents who came every day to hold him skin-to-skin and stare at his adorable face.
On May 13, Mother’s Day, Henry’s doctor was worried that he might be coming down with an infection because his vital signs were subtly changing, and started him on antibiotics. His parents came to be with him, hoping for the antibiotics to quickly do their work, as they had done so well at his birth. In the early hours of Monday, May 14, Henry’s body got tired, his breathing got shallower and later his heart was having a hard time stabilizing. Dr. Anthony Liu did valiant work directing a team of amazing, loving, fast-thinking nurses, respiratory therapists, an x-ray technician, and a pharmacist in a marathon of attempts to stabilize Henry with medication, intubation, and three resuscitations, but at around 4 am it was clear that Henry could no longer keep his body going. They stopped all the attempts to save him, and he passed away, a mere 33 days old. He had grown to a plump 3 lbs, 4.5 oz and 16 inches.
He is survived by his parents, Albert and Jenny, and brother Felix; grandma Marla Yoshida; grandma In Soon Choi and grandpa Jong Kwon Choi; uncle David, aunt Lisa, and cousin Iris Yoshida; aunt Jane Park, uncle Nino Reyes, and cousin Jordi Reyes; aunt Katy and uncle Jake Hoskinson; aunt Jessica Choi; and so many great aunts, uncles and second cousins. He is also remembered by his second family of aunts and uncles consisting of the NICU staff at CHOC. His tiny presence left a huge indelible mark on our world. Henry will be loved and missed always.