New life: First Big Island baby of 2019 birthed at KCH

  • Clarissa and Johnson Garcia celebrate the birth of their second daughter, Alekah Obra Garcia, who was Hawaii Island’s first newborn of 2019. ((Garcia family/courtesy photo))

  • Clarissa and Johnson Garcia celebrate the birth of their second daughter, Alekah Obra Garcia, who was Hawaii Island’s first newborn of 2019. (Courtesy photo/Garcia family)

KAILUA-KONA — Alekah Obra Garcia waited just long enough to be first.

Only one minute into the new year, Clarissa and Johnson Garcia’s second daughter made her world debut. Her arrival took both parents a little by surprise, as Clarissa’s due date was Jan. 11 and she was scheduled to be induced on Jan. 7.

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But Alekah had other plans.

Around 8 p.m., the contractions started. By 10:45 p.m., the Garcias situated themselves in a room at the Kona Community Hospital obstetrics unit. And at 12:01 a.m., Alekah came into the world as healthy as could be, measuring 19.14 inches and weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces.

“I don’t expect she’s to come,” Clarissa said Tuesday morning. “After all that pain that I’ve been through, it’s worth it. It was so fast. It’s amazing.”

Kyra Acasio, a nurse at KCH, made some calls after the delivery and said Alekah may have more than one claim to fame.

“I know (she’s) the first baby on the island,” Acasio said. “And right now, (she’s) in the running for the first baby in the state.”

Hospitals on Oahu and Maui confirmed Alekah arrived before any of their newborns. Acasio had yet to contact hospitals on Kauai as of noon Tuesday.

Beyond coming unexpectedly early and likely as Hawaii’s first new soul of 2019, another unique layer to Alekah’s birth is that it happened at the facility where both her parents make their livings. Clarissa, 39, is a certified nurse’s assistant and Johnson, 38, works with KCH environmental services.

But surrounded by co-workers and friends, the early hours of 2019 were anything but another day at the office.

“Everybody was so happy, the nurses and doctors here, so happy for us,” Clarissa said. “(It’s) a wonderful feeling.”

The family will return with Alekah to their South Kona home this afternoon where she’ll meet her 2-year-old sister, Amira Obra Garcia, for the first time.

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Her mother, for one, can’t wait.

“She’s perfect,” Clarissa said.