Federal Way welcomes first baby of 2002

For years, Federal Way skate and snowboarder Jerry Motomatsu held the distinction of being the last Motomatsu in the world.

On New Year’s Day, he was joined by another.

Bryce Akira Motomatsu was the first baby born in 2002 at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. He weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and, to parents Motomatsu and Vashti Gaudet, he’s beautiful.

Motomatsu said he was hoping for a son to carry on his family’s name.

“We were a Samurai family,” he said. “My aunts and uncles were always saying, ‘You have to have a son.’

“They are thrilled,” he said.

Motomatsu and Gaudet said they never expected to be the first parents to deliver. Gaudet was due Dec. 18.

Doctors were going to induce her labor on Dec. 27, but Motomatsu fell ill, so they called everything off.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, Gaudet started having contractions.

She was walking in the hospital to help with her labor when some of the nurses told her the newspapers were calling to talk to her about delivering the first baby of 2002. “I didn’t have a clue,” she said. “It was really surprising.”

There were a couple other women also in labor on New Year’s Eve, but the nurses told her she was way ahead of them, Gaudet said.

“We were racing,” Motomatsu said, laughing.

Both parents have been spending a lot of time at home since Bryce’s birth. Motomatsu’s coworkers at Insulate Inc. call periodically to check in on the new parents, who have spent the last several days admiring their son.

“He’s beautiful,” Gaudet said. “He’s so alert and attentive. I don’t know what to expect, but he’s always smiling and looking at us.

“It’s a whole reality check,” she said. “We made him.”

Motomatsu expects there are big things waiting for his infant son, who was the first child born in the new year and who saved his samurai family’s name.

“It’s a brand new year and a brand new baby,” he said. “On top of the New Year, he’s going to know he’s special.”

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