She’s Here! Meet Our Baby Girl Zaya

Welcome to the world, Zaya Soleil!

SHE’S HERE! Travis and I are so in love with our baby girl Zaya. I gave birth to Zaya on Monday, August 3, 2020, at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.

What makes Zaya’s birth even more special is she was born on our 9th wedding anniversary! My original due date was August 1st so we always joked throughout my pregnancy, “What if the baby is born on our anniversary?”

Well, it happened! And you know what? I’m really happy Zaya was born on our anniversary. I think it makes the day even more special for us. Travis jokingly said we won’t be able to go on an anniversary date for the next 18 years because Zaya will always want August 3rd to be about her birthday. LOL! I told him we can always get creative with planning our anniversary celebration.

Welcome to the world, Zaya!
Our sweet baby was born on our 9th wedding anniversary!


All of the events surrounding Zaya’s birth, such as my getting an ECV procedure to turn her from a breech position and switching hospitals at the last minute, happened quickly and make for a long story.

From not having a healthcare provider for six weeks to finding out my baby was breech one day before my due date, I feel like the entire experience was traumatic for me. However, my care at U of M was a positive experience and the medical team there took excellent care of Zaya and I. It’s just the overall experience I had from 34 to 40 weeks pregnant was incredibly hard on me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing my birth story, but right now I’m not ready. I’m still processing everything that I went through and trying to find healing. So I can’t tell you for sure when I will share my labor and birth story, but I would like to share it with you one day.

Right now, I’m just taking things one day at a time. Perhaps it would be best if I shared my story in small parts. It is a long story to tell. Plus, it wouldn’t be as overwhelming for me if I wrote it out in shorter posts. I don’t know. I will take some time to think about it.


We ended up choosing Soleil for Zaya’s middle name. On an Instagram post, I shared the reason why we chose Soleil. Even though we had spent months thinking over middle names, we still couldn’t find one that we both loved.

The day after I gave birth to Zaya, we found ourselves still thinking about a middle name for her. We started thinking about special moments that stuck out to us from the labor and birth. I don’t know why but after Zaya’s birth, the moment right before the sunrise was really special to me.

After the doctor handed Zaya to me, I remember looking out the window and I noticed the sky had a tinge of pink color to it. The sun was getting ready to rise. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t nighttime anymore because I had been laboring for a few hours after midnight.

Sun. What names mean “sun”? After searching through different name meanings for “sun”, we decided we loved the French name “Soleil” and it flowed well with Zaya.

Zaya Soleil.


She was born “sunny side up” or in the posterior position. My doula told me I only pushed three times. I don’t even remember how many times I pushed because I was exhausted from the labor. Out of all of my pregnancies, my labor with Zaya was the hardest for me.

Zaya weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces. I was so relieved I didn’t have another 10-pound baby. Both Zechariah and Zephaniah were each 10 pounds at birth.

Travis cried when Zaya was born. He cried for all of our children’s births that he was present for– Zhen, Zechariah, and Zephaniah. I remember holding Zaya skin-to-skin and turning to Travis to ask him, “What do you think?” His eyes were filled with tears and he smiled at me and said, “I love her.”


The kids had always been excited about my pregnancy so they were anxious to meet their baby sister. However, because of COVID safety policies, they weren’t allowed to visit us in the hospital. It felt strange to us not having our children at the hospital with us. I missed the kids so much, but I remained positive and knew we could make their first meeting special once we got home.

Elijah (20) and Michala (18) took good care of the little ones so that also put our minds at ease while we were in the hospital. We checked in with them through phone calls and text messages. We also used Google Duo video chat services to introduce them to their baby sister. Of course, it wasn’t the same thing as meeting their baby sister in person, but it was nice to connect with each other in some way.

Each time we talked to them on the phone or on video chat, Zhen would ask us a million questions about Zaya. Did you have the baby yet? When is she going to be here? Can I come see you at the hospital? Why can’t we go to the hospital? I can’t wait to hold my baby sister. I miss you, Mommy and Daddy. When are you coming home? 

I can imagine it was a little tough not having us home and then not being able to visit us in the hospital. But Elijah and Michala said the little ones did really well while we were away and they made sure to make it a fun time so they didn’t stress out too much.


In a few days, I’ll share a blog post and photos of the kids meeting Zaya in person for the first time. It was the second exciting moment about Zaya’s birth. The first, of course, Zaya being born. Travis and I had happy tears in our eyes when the kids met their little sister for the first time.

In the coming weeks, I’ll also be sharing more content about my motherhood journey, life with a newborn, and how we’re adjusting as a family of eight. There’s so much I want to share and I’ve been jotting down my writing ideas in my journal so I don’t forget.

But in the meantime, we’re soaking up this special time with our baby and children. My blog post schedule may be lighter than usual so I hope you understand.

And if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m extremely tired! Haha! Sleep deprivation is real over here. Newborn life, right?

I love you, Zaya!


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