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When the Unthinkable Happens — A Dublin Mom Dies Giving Birth — Her Neighbors Unite to Help

Dublin residents have stepped up to help a local widowed dad, now alone to care for his newborn and 3-year-old son.

By Dublin resident Natasha Giannini 

Two days before Thanksgiving most families were scurrying around getting ready for the holiday, a time in which families gather to celebrate. 

Our neighbor, Anna So, was on her way to the hospital that Tuesday morning to deliver her second child, a boy, to be named Jake.

Pictures were posted on Facebook, by dad, Josh, showing the delivery room and their older son, Ryan, so excited to become a big brother (at the ripe age of 3). Such an exciting time for a family and their Dublin neighbors, who were sharing their joy at their family's expansion.

But that evening our neighborhood was hit with the blow that Anna had tragically passed away during the birth of baby Jake. Jake had a rough start, struggling to take that first breath and was taken to UCSF for further intensive care. 

Josh kept all of us updated daily via Facebook, as we all felt helpless as we watched Josh do his best for Ryan and Jake, knowing he just lost his wife and the mother of his two boys. Jake came home Tuesday, seven days after he was born. Such a miracle after such devastation. 

Our Dublin Ranch Gleneagles community is an especially unique one. To say we are neighbors is so impersonal. To many of us, this community is our family. At the very least, we are all friends.

When something this tragic strikes, such as that which happened to the So family, we cannot help but to have the overwhelming desire to help in any way we can find. 

Some made signs to welcome baby Jake, some have set up an online meal calendar, some moms are continuing the preschool research for Josh (which Anna was doing) and some are looking to make a monetary donation to the So family to help with funeral expenses.    

Anna will be laid to rest this Saturday at a private ceremony in Livermore. 

While it's a really hard time to find "extra" money to give away, if you're interested in helping out, please send checks, made payable to Josh So to: 

So Family Fund
c/o Nersi Bossina
Senior Vice President 
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
101 California St., 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Josh So wrote the following letter to his wife, Anna, on Facebook after she died. We've posted it below with his permission.

Letter to my beautiful wife Anna — 1975-2011

By Josh So on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 9:48pm

Dear Anna,

It's been almost 11 years since I have written you a letter, but today I am so hurt and demoralized from the events last Tuesday night that I have to put something down. My heart hurts, and I cannot stop crying every night and day because I feel like somebody ripped my heart out, kicked it around and kicked me some more. I am still in disbelief as to what happened and no matter what medical professionals say about how rare Amniotic Embolisms are, it's not rare enough because it took you away from Ryan, Jakey and I.

Going back to freshman year in college, I still remember the day I met you. You were vibrant, assertive and had the most outgoing personality I could ever imagine. I was immediately attracted to you but it was not the right time to ask you out. We kept in touch via Pine email and shared funny jokes.

That one weekend on my birthday that we somehow ended up meeting up, I still remember that day clearly. The object of obsession was a Tickle Me Elmo, and we search high and low for one and eventually found one. We also ended up watching some cheesy movie with George Clooney called "One Fine Day," but hey, it was a date right? Throughout that year I can't believe how much I spent on the phone and cell phone. We talked all the time, sometimes sitting in my CRX outside in the car or even on the toilet so my roommates wouldn't bother me. 10/24 was the magical night that we decided to get together. I scrambled the next morning to find you a birthday present. I was so clueless, the only thing I found before our dinner at Moose's was a pair of workout pants. I never lived that down. 

It was a great night and was the 1st time where I felt like it was a good relationship that would last forever. That year was so incredibly great and I looked forward to talking to you every night after class and driving down from Davis to hang out. 

We were really on the same page, and it was scary how much we thought alike — from politics, to family, the religious belief, to sports, etc. It was a match made in heaven and it showed through our many years together. It also made life so predictable that I had full trust in you and you in me likewise. 

As I look back at all our pictures and videos, I reflected on everything that you have done. You were incredible. Working endless hours to succeed first at Schwab through the Wings program, to what you were doing at Sutro with both underwriting and being a VP, to finally Morgan Stanley. I still cannot believe that you would wake up at 4 a.m. and sometimes 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday to go to work, come home and still take care of Ryan, pay bills, cook and clean up and keep things in order. I don't know how you did it. You raised Ryan to the utmost standard, spent an incredible amount of time with him, made sure he had the cutest clothes to make us all laugh, and fed him so well with all the incredible food that you make.   

Honey — you were beautiful, talented, extremely smart and loving. I always looked forward to coming home and even if I had the roughest day you supported me, talked sense into me, gave me hugs and kisses and took incredible care of me. Sometimes I don't think I deserved you but you always were by my side even through the roughest times — 2 ACL surgeries — you drove me back and forth, got my meds, took care of Ryan and made sure I was OK.  When I crashed the F-car, you said time to go get the McLaren! I adore you. 

Right now I am sure you are in a better place and looking down on us. Ryan and I have been praying every night. He gets down on his knees, closes his eyes and puts his hands to together. He says please God take care of Jakey and Mommy. We love them both. I miss Mommy and love mommy. I even eat my choi choi (vegetables) just like she tells me."

Words cannot express how lonely I am without you. It also breaks my heart that Ryan will not have his mommy anymore and worse Jakey will not know his mother at all. I miss your kisses, your hugs, your laugh, your rants about stupid drivers, and your endless spirit and energy. I love you. 

your (honey)bunches.

Sarah Frank December 03, 2011 at 05:08 PM
This brought tears to my eyes. In this day and age in America, death during childbirth is so rare, yet all of us moms take for granted how lucky we are to be alive after childbirth... I wish there was some way I could help...Your family is in our prayers.

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