Alder Hawken: A Birth and A Name

A Birth

Alder Boy,

You have jumped in with two (long plank) feet into a family with three older siblings who were SO eager to meet you.  The anticipation for your birth day was just about driving them all mad.  For the past two months, any time Zeek was talking or asking about you, he called you by your full name, EVERY time.  Alder Hawken.  Alder Hawken.  “Mom, when Alder Hawken comes out, I want to hold him.”

We spoke your name over you because, unlike your brothers and sister, we decided on a whim to find out if you were a boy or girl at your 20 week ultrasound.  We didn’t tell many people that we found out because no one anticipated us finding out. So, it was (mostly) our little secret.  We planned for you, dreamed about you and talked about all the fun things we would do with you and show you.  Your brothers in particular cannot wait to teach you how to rock climb, fish and fling arrows from a bow.  We waited and waited for you to decide to join our family.

Monday night (March 20th), 3 days overdue and the night before you were born, we were driving home from Grandpa and Grandma’s house when from the back seat of the van I could hear Zeek praying softly, “Heavenly Father, tonight would be a GREAT night to have a baby.  Amen.”

God decided to grant Zeek his prayer because that night about 3 am, I started having some contractions. I had already been awake since 2 am because of pregnancy insomnia, so I was a little startled when all the sudden a strong contraction came from left field.  They were scattered and random for an hour but by 4 am, they were steady at 5 minutes apart.  I called Grandma and asked her to drive to our house and called the midwife Susie and told her I was finally in labor.  Daddy and I left the house for the birth center at 4:45.  Daddy, never one for driving life in the slow lane, for some reason decided he’d travel in the slow lane from Salem to Aurora and a few miles under speed limit.  I remember feeling like it was the longest drive ever but wasn’t in much pain yet and just told myself to remain calm and quiet and that we would get to the birth center on time.

We arrived at 5:30, just as the dawn was breaking and I slowly waddled my way up the stairs to that sweet old farmhouse in historic Aurora.  I jumped into the birthing tub at about 6 and labored with contractions still 4-5 minutes apart. I had never had contractions that far apart with your siblings and it was a refreshing change. I could breath a bit in between and relax my mind and body. Contractions continued to be far apart and I remember thinking, “this is going to take forever if they don’t speed up!”

By close to 7, contractions were still about 4 minutes apart… but I started feeling like I needed to push. I kept telling myself, “nope. There’s no way. Birth is still so far off….” But push I did.

With about 4 pushes spread over 15 minutes, I quietly pushed you right out into this big world at 7:15 am on March 21st.  As I pushed you out without making a peep, I remembered your daddy hating when I screamed in his face with Ellery’s birth and I thought to myself, “well, Skyler ought to be enjoying this!”  You practically came out still in the bag of waters – Susie had to pull it off over your shoulders as you came out.  I had never seen it (or ever known with any of my births when my water broke), so that was a pretty cool sight!  I was a little shocked by your light and creamy head of hair when all of your older siblings came out with dark dark hair.  I kept looking at you thinking, “is this blonde guy really my child?!”

You, my darling, were a perfect birth – as perfect as one might be.  Shortly after you were born, Daddy something along the lines of, “that was awesome! See?! You can TOTALLY do that again!”  I told him, “no Sky, this was the perfect ending of our birthing experiences.” 🙂

Alder Hawken, you fit yourself right into our family like a hand in a glove.  We are all so excited to spend our days with you.

Love you buddy,

A Name

And as far as how we landed on the name Alder Hawken…

Whenever we’ve shared our baby names with people we get many mixed reactions, particularly lots of  “Ohhh…  That’s a nice name…”  We’ve never picked our kids names because we just loved the cute name and how they sounded and often they aren’t names I loved at first.  We’ve always named our babies names that have a story behind them and that we felt the name meaning was who they were called to be.

Alder: We found out we were pregnant with this sweet baby on our very last day of staying at Young Life’s Washington Family Ranch last summer.  While there for the week, we had the great joy of spending time with one of the program director’s kids, one of whom was named Alder.  Alder was about 10 and one of the most gentle spirited, kind and respectful kids we’ve ever met.  As we drove away from camp, just after finding out we were expecting, I mentioned, “hey, if it’s a boy, maybe we should name him Alder.”

The more we considered and prayed about the name, the more we felt it was right.  One night, Skyler told me that when he thought of Alder (which simply means alder tree), he was reminded of Psalm 1 and loved these verses being spoken over our boy:

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭1:1-3‬ ‭

We also wanted to in someway recognize my dad and the incredible man of God, father, and grandpa that he is.  However my dad’s name is Ronald Kirklen… while fitting for him, it wasn’t exactly like I wanted to name my little baby boy Ron or Kirk… 😉 (Sorry Grandma – your name choice is lovely!! hah).  We loved that Alder was a portion of the name Ronald.

Hawken: With the first name Alder settled on, we started individually considering a middle name. We didn’t talk about it until one night where I brought it up and Skyler said he kept thinking of the word “faithful” while considering Alder.  Meanwhile, I had the word “steadfast” stuck in my mind.  We stumbled upon Hawken (which means steadfast) and claimed it for our Alder.  We also loved that it is a nod to one of the men in Skyler’s life who is very dear to us because of his wisdom and encouragement in Skyler’s spiritual walk when he first became a Christian – Dave Hawkins.

And so, we knew our boy would be Alder Hawken, tree planted by the stream whose leaves do not wither but prosper, steadfast.

Cannot wait to spend all our days with this boy, speaking these words of life over him and praying for his life’s journey.





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