No kidding around for baby born in vehicle on pali on April Fools’ Day

Tanalei was born in the front seat of her parents’ car as it entered the Lahaina side of the pali Monday, April Fools’ Day.

“No, this is not an April Fools’ joke,” wrote Tanalei’s mother, Krysha Kuahuia, in a Virtual Newsroom entry in The Maui News.

Kuahuia, 23, now the mother of three, was having labor pains Monday morning. The Lahaina woman, speaking from her Maui Memorial Medical Center room, described what happened next in a matter-of-fact manner.

“We decided to head to the hospital, and the water broke in the car and I literally pushed her out . . . right after, 30 seconds later,” she said.

At about 8:30 a.m., she gave birth in the front seat of the car, driven by the newborn’s father, Desmond Vasquez, with her two children in the back. Kuahuia recalled that with her other two children she gave birth a couple of hours after her water broke – but they made it to the hospital.

“It was scary experience,” she said. “I didn’t think I would have her in the car. I just felt like I had to push.”

Kuahuia recalled seeing her newborn’s head and then catching her.

Vasquez pulled over on the side of Honoapiilani Highway at the first rise of the pali. They were being trailed by other family members, who pulled over as well.

The couple was a bit scared because they did not have a bulb to clear the baby’s lungs of fluids, but that was not an issue.

“Right after she came out, she started crying right away,” Kuahuia said.

They checked her lungs and mouth and wrapped her in some baby blankets. The experience with the births of the other two children helped, she said.

“I think it was just instinct,” said Kuahuia. “I think anyone in that position would have known what to do.”

When the medics arrived about 20 minutes later, they helped cut the umbilical cord, she said, adding that the traffic at that time was not too bad.

Medics told her that this was the first time that they had heard of a woman giving birth on the pali.

Mother and child took the ride to the hospital in the ambulance. Both are fine and were set to head home Tuesday afternoon.

Tanalei, which means “sweet caress,” was measured at a healthy 7 pounds 5 ounces and 20 inches in length.

“I actually felt so much better just having her the way that I did,” the baby’s mother said, comparing Tanalei’s birth to her other children – with the significantly shorter labor time.

The family will be talking about the birth of Tanalei on April Fools’ Day on the pali for years to come.

“Oh yeah, that will be story of her life,” said Kuahuia.

* Lee Imada can be reached at

* Birth on the pali. The unidentified paramedic in a photo on Page A1 on Wednesday was Chris Gilbert. He was helping a mother who had just delivered her baby on the pali Tuesday morning. A paramedic for 32 years, the last 20 on the west side, Gilbert added that the pali is one of the more common spots to give birth for women traveling from West Maui who can’t make it to the hospital. He said he has responded to the deliveries of three or four babies on the pali in his career.

* The Maui News wants to promptly correct errors in fact or make clarifications on information appearing in the newspaper. To report an error or clarification, please call 242-6343 or send email to