Hello. It has been such a long time friends. The last stages of my pregnancy just left me feeling so uninspired to write in this space. But I've missed it. I've missed sharing all of the creative happenings here. I've missed all of you as well. There has been so much going on in this little corner of the world that we share. Some of it joyful. Some of it sad. For those of you who don't know, baby Caleb Keaka was born on July 10th, and then went to be with our Heavenly Father five hours later. I wanted to write down his birth story so that we wouldn't forget it. If you are of the heart to read, I would like to share it with you all.
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We found out that our family was going to expand in December of 2015. My first trimester was just like Liam’s – mommy was so fatigued! Brother Liam got quiet a few movie hours while mommy cuddled up in bed to rest those first few months. But by our second trimester I started to have more energy and I was able to think more on you – to start preparing a place in our home to welcome you.
I remember there was one Sunday when I started to move furniture – your daddy and I got into a little argument – he wasn’t ready to start rearranging – on the Lord’s day nonetheless, and I started crying because I wanted to prepare a place for you and I felt that your daddy wouldn’t help me! Daddy had a point though – it was the Sabbath – but oh how I was ready to prepare a place for you. Daddy and I prayed about it, and talked about it, and after that moment we began to prepare for you in earnest. Your baby quilt was cut out, and I sat and hand quilted it on the couch while brother Liam watched movies. Whenever I worked on that quilt, putting in those imperfect little stitches, I could feel you tumbling and kicking. I felt connected to you. Often times you would wake me up at 3:30 in the morning and I would wake up and sit on the couch and talk to you while working on projects for you. Little pants to guard your legs when you learned to crawl. A toy cube with pull tabs and bells to encourage you to chase it. I learned to knit with you – my first ever sweater for you to keep you warm during the winter months. So much preparation for you little one.
My pregnancy with yours was similar to your brother Liam’s – just a bit more back pain since I had to lift Liam up all the time. We were so excited to see your ultrasound pictures at 20 weeks. Every time we went in to the hospital to get checked, we were excited to hear your heartbeat. You would kick upon hearing it, just like your brother did.
We went to the mainland to visit with mommy’s family for the whole month, and during that time mommy was having so many contractions. I had a feeling that you were wanting to come into the world early. And early you did come.
I started having contractions while I was teaching piano on the 8th of July. They lasted throughout the entire night and next day. We slept over Uncle Braddah and Auntie Denni’s house because we didn’t know if brother Liam was going to have to stay with them when we went to the hospital. But even though my Braxton Hics contractions were sharp, they didn’t have any pattern. We stayed with them all day waiting for the contractions to get active, but it didn’t come. Mommy was a bit worried since you were a little early, just a few days shy of 37 weeks, so we went in to get checked at the birthing center on the 9th of July. When we went in, mommy was dilated at 1.5 centimeters. They monitored your heart and it was strong! Your movement was good too. We checked out and then went home to rest.
Mommy woke up the next morning at 2 in the morning. I started knitting a vest for you. It has been cold yesterday up in Waimea and if you were coming, you were going to need something warm for your chest. I remember contemplating making cinnamon rolls for church, but I got so tired and started cramping again that I went back to sleep. When I woke up, I was feeling so crampy and off. I remember walking around the kitchen and thinking we didn’t have a middle name for you! Daddy and I were looking at names, and then we came upon Keaka. It meant God’s precious gift. Because I didn’t feel good, I asked daddy to make pancakes to share with the brethren for breakfast… but he was worried about me, so we decided to pick up cereal to contribute for breakfast at church. Daddy bought all the good stuff. Captain crunch and Cherrios and Honey Bunches of Oats. Mommy had a bowl of Peanut butter Captain crunch and a bit of spam at church. During the preaching hour, mommy went into the hallway to walk. Mommy counted 11 sharp contractions during the preaching hour. Pastor Darrell preached on the tongue. During break Auntie Celeste and Daddy came to check on me and just at that moment a sharp contraction came and caused my eyes to water. Daddy wanted to drive up to the hospital right then, but I asked him to wait a bit longer. I made a goal to wait out the devotionals. It took a couple hours. I bounced and walked and the contractions kept coming. I told daddy to wait until we had a break between the devotionals and Pastor Darrell’s next preaching hour. Well, the devotionals finished but Pastor Darrell didn’t call for a break, but just started into his message! I asked daddy to go because I don’t think I could have waited for one more message.
We left for the hospital around 2 and got checked in at 2:30. Mommy was dilated at 5/6 centimeters. After church Auntie Celeste came to help daddy coach me during your birth. By the time she came, my contractions were very close together. At 4:30, mommy was at 8.5 centimeters and ready to push by 4:50.
You were born on July 10th of 2016 at precisely 5:00.
The midwife on call was Bridget Malloy and she let daddy help catch you. Daddy was the first to hold you as you came into this world. They placed you on my chest and you curled up and looked so tired and sleepy. When I saw you – oh sweetheart you were so beautiful. I noticed right away that you had daddy’s nose. The Pagat nose. It’s a strong trait and hard to get away from. You looked like your brother, but with lighter coloring. Just in that first glance, I knew that you were going to change our lives. I just didn’t realize how much you would change us.
When they saw your chord, everyone exclaimed how large and healthy it was. Now that I think about on it, I think our connection was so strong, because my body knew that you would have trouble breathing on your own. So it strengthened the bond between us to help what your little lungs just couldn’t do. When they cut our connection, you started to change colors. The nurses took you from my chest and started to give you Oxygen to help you. Daddy rubbed you and called your name, “Caleb. Caleb”. When they wheeled you out, daddy went with you and Auntie Celeste stayed with mommy. I didn’t fear for you because I thought you just needed a bit of help. I trusted you with the Lord. It wasn’t until Doctor Gree came in to explain what was happening with you that I began to realize that the Lord might have different plans for you other than the ones we imagined. I had time, those few hours in the room to pray, and to resolve that the Lord’s will would be done. That you belonged to him.
The staff at the hospital labored so hard in trying to help you to breathe. To find out what was wrong with you. They were going to fly you and daddy to Oahu to see doctors who might have been able to better see what was going on with your little body.
But the Lord had different plans for you.
The airplane that was to take you and daddy couldn’t land in Waimea because of the weather so they got redirected to Kona. The Waimea ambulance went to Kona to pick up the crew so they could come and get you. You returned to the Lord just as the crew came racing up the hallway.
This is a blessing I constantly thank the Lord for – that daddy was with you just before you passed away. That you felt his hands on your little body before you went to be with our Heavenly Father. I thank the Lord that daddy was able to tell me in person that you went to be with the Lord. That we got to hold each other and pray together and we got to see each other accept that the Lord’s will would be done.
You weren’t there when I said goodbye – but I got to hold your tiny body and sing to you from Isaiah 40.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,
because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.
Surely, the people is grass
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth
But the word of our God shall stand forever
The word of our God shall stand forever”
~ Isaiah 40:7-8
Oh my sweet sweet baby boy. Your life was so short, but you changed us so much. The Lord used you in such amazing ways.
He used you to open up my heart – to teach me about surrendering to His will. To trusting in His plan. I have such an amazing understanding of loss, and grief, and compassion and love. Your dad and I now pray every morning together – asking the Lord to give us our daily portion of grace. To use us for His honor and glory. Did you know little one, that your short life, and with God’s grace - our surrender, has caused people to turn their eyes to the Lord? To come together as a people to pray? Amazing.
Concerning your name little one. Caleb: Faithfulness Keaka: God’s precious gift. The meaning of your name is Faithfulness… God’s precious gift. So many layers of meaning. It was our hope for you to be faithful to God – but oh sweet boy, it was our faithfulness that was strengthened. You my son were indeed a precious gift.
Your short life had such an amazing ministry. Beacause of you, I know what it means to keep my eyes on our Savior. I know what it means to yield. I know what it means to be weak so that our Savior can be strong. I know what it means to trust. You’ve made me stronger in my walk with our God, and for that I am so grateful for you my sweet sweet baby boy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
To God be the Glory.