KAIZEN SHINE DIAZ 12.24.19 - BIRTH STORY
Before I go into the full blown story of our how our son Kaizen was born, I feel like it’s important to back, back back it up…
Let me share with you what I feel like ultimately laid the foundation for this birth. This pre-work was crucial to prepare myself both physically and emotionally and to leave it out would be only telling half the story.
In sharing stories like this it can be easy to compare one’s experience to your own. I found during pregnancy I constantly was tempted to fall into the comparison trap.
Is it okay if we NOT do that today?
Is it okay if we all just leave comparison at the door before reading this post?
My heart is in sharing this story I can be an encouragement to the future momma who was fearful of birth. There are a lot of traumatic and horror stories out there..and spoiler alert: this is not one of them.
If that sounds good, keep reading.
If you prefer the “if it bleeds it leads” mindset, go turn on the news instead.
How you respond in your heart and actions to this blog post is on you.
So by continuing to read, just know you are signing your name to this disclaimer: “how I respond in my heart and my actions to this blog post is on me.”
If you don’t think that is possible, just skip this blog post, it’s okay!
At the end of the day, everyone’s birth story is unique.
Every birth is a miracle and worth celebrating.
Regardless of how you became a parent, it is one of the greatest honors and beautiful things we’ve ever been able to partake in.
Agreed? Okay let’s dive in…
LESSON 1: WORDS HAVE POWER
From the beginning, even before we found out we were pregnant, I had heard that our words were powerful. It wasn’t until this pregnancy though that that statement really became real as we experienced it on a daily basis.
Words can speak life or death. They can bless OR they can curse. The best part is, you get to choose!
So many people hurt themselves with their words without knowing it, and Stephen and I were the same for so many years.
For this entire pregnancy (and since then), Stephen and I chose to be sensitive to our words and speak only LIFE over our baby and our bodies.
It’s so easy to “curse” ourselves with our words, speaking negative things over ourselves.
This one little shift in our language changed everything for us. It started from the very beginning before conception even...
When we decided to start a family, we knew we had to “plan this out” a bit because we had full wedding season during the Summer months. We knew the perfect time to have a baby would be the Winter.
And…newborn puffy snow suits are the cutest thing ever so it was a win win.
When we first started having this convo seriously, we found ourselves saying things like, “well we’ll start trying now and when it doesn’t happen we’ll wait until next year.”
I was comparing my story to others around me and had seen many people struggle with getting pregnant. I assumed that would be our story too. I spoke it out.
It wasn’t until Stephen called me out for it that things really shifted. He reminded me the power of our words. He asked me “do you want to have the baby this year?”
“Yes of course I do!”
”Then why are you saying it could take two, three years, or maybe longer?”
It hit me. I was using my words to protect myself from a future disappointment that I didn’t even know would for sure happen!
”Well, I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, only to have them shattered.” I responded.
After a pause, he asked me one last question, “Why not?”
I was living in a world of what ifs and most of them were negative. It was not a fun place to be in my mind.
Together that day we vowed to only live in an abundance mindset. This is where we only expect “abundantly more than what we could ever hope for” .
Call us crazy but I don’t care. Living in this place is so much more enjoyable then down in the dumps of fear, negative “what ifs” and expecting the worst.
So we shifted our language.
We replaced: “we’re going to TRY for a baby” with ”We’re WILL have a baby!”
We replaced": “It could take a few years…” with “It will happen the very first time!”
And guess what…
It all came true.
Now…I know this isn’t everyone’s story. Remember, don’t fall into the comparison trap here.
There’s a million different factors at play here and at the end of the day babies are miracles, let’s just be real.
But I want you to step back and take a 10,000 foot view at your words revolving around pregnancy, or even your life for a second. Look back in time…do you see any curses you’ve spoken over yourself that are coming true?
Did you say as a 16 year old high school girl “I’ll never be a mom.” or “I never want kids” ? What if those words you spoke years ago still had power over your life?
Are you saying “I’ll never get out of debt” or “I HAVE [insert disease here]”
Today is the day you break those lies off and step into a breakthrough.
Now I know we have all different types of people who read this blog, but I just want you to trust me for a second because this can sound a little woo-woo…
Your words do have power, and speaking things out loud, out of your own mouth can shift everything.
If you’re speaking something out loud over yourself that you don’t want to be true, cancel it out :)
All you have to say is (out loud) “I cancel the lie that [insert lie here] and replace it with this truth [insert positive truth here].”
Science is a little behind on this topic, but they’re starting to catch up with new studies showing the benefits of positivity, gratefulness and even the words we speak and their affect on our health, wealth and wellbeing.
Try it and report back!
This concept carried us through many moments in pregnancy. I could go on and on with miraculous stories of how our words truly shaped our world during this season. There were moments where people spoke things over us about diagnoses, complications and other negativity. Stephen and I would just cancel those things out and speak the truth instead…
“Kaizen will be the perfect size. He will come at the perfect time”
“Kaizen will be healthy in every way”
“This birth will be peaceful and joyful with no complications”
LESSON 2: OVERCOMING FEAR
I knew that my body was capable of more than I ever thought imaginable. The more research I did and amazing birth stories I had heard, the more I knew that we could also believe for, speak out, and experience a supernatural childbirth.
Childbirth didn’t need to be scary and I knew I could totally trust my body to do what it was made to do. But this was not the perspective I always had.
To be completely honest, a few years ago, I was terrified of birth and being a mom! I had a ton of misconceptions and I was so scared based on what I had seen on TV, movies and the media.
Even though most of my friends around me had amazing birth experiences, I was shaking in my boots at just the thought. As we moved closer to the time we wanted to start our family, my perspective shifted.
The year before, I had done a lot of heart healing. We invested in counseling through mentors and even an entire once a week school on the topic of healing and identity. During that process, I felt like God set me free of a lot of childhood wounds I had swept under the rug and never dealt with. During this season we were also so thankful to have many amazing friends who had boldly stepped into parenthood and told us how wonderful parenthood was! This felt so refreshing because we were the “first” of our friend group to get married. Having others around us “go first” with the baby thing was actually really reassuring seeing them not just survive, but thrive as parents.
Fear is one of those things that likes to knock on the door of your mind constantly…but it only takes over once you let it in. For me, it was a process and an investment of time in actively filling your mindset with opposite and greater things like love, positivity, community, and truth.
Friends around me had great birth experiences and encouraged me that I could do it too.
Along the way, I had been recommended a book by a friend called Ina May’s guide to Childbirth. This book is a must read if you are pregnant in my opinion!
It boosted my confidence that our bodies are made for this and debunked a lot of myths that the media, and many doctors will even tell you. It felt like it came at the perfect time. I’d be worried about one thing and then the next chapter would address that very thing! Sometimes fear comes from faith, but for me it was a mix of faith and facts. Reading some of the facts in this book about birth and understanding the process was so reassuring.
We chose to go with a midwife because I loved their approaches to birth. My mom had each of us siblings born with a midwife and so for the longest time I had always in my head that I wanted a midwife to be on our birth team.
Along with hiring a local doula Shae who was amazing to help with delivery and postpartum, I also hired a birth coach named Christie and began meeting virtually with her every week. I first met Christie though a business mastermind we have been a part of together. Christie is an amazing doula herself and is working on launching her own supernatural childbirth course to help other mommas like me.
On our weekly calls, Christie became my birth coach and friend. We talked about practical things like the stages of labor, what my body might be doing in each stage and positions that might be helpful. We also went head on addressing any fears I might be hiding around waiting to come out during labor or delivery. Christie really encouraged me that any fear I had on the front side of delivery, I needed to face before being in delivery and having the baby.
Birth is kinda like a blender without a lid…
When you don’t address and overcome fears before birth it’s like turning that blender on high speed. Whatever’s inside is about to shoot out all over the walls. I worked hard on completely surrendering any situation that might come up and made sure my blender was full of gratitude, peace, confidence and love.
From the beginning, our plan was to have a natural unmedicated birth. I felt like God spoke to me throughout my pregnancy that he was going to carry me through. He kept saying “get your hopes up” to me over and over in different personal ways.
As someone who lived in the negative “what ifs” and a “don’t get my hopes up” mindset for some many years, this thought was SO opposite… I knew it had to be God.
He would prepare the way. He knew exactly who was going to be on call when I delivered, who would be in the delivery room helping, and what events would take place and in what order.
I believe that God is good all the time, that He’s like a loving dad who I can completely trust in.
During those months prior to having Kaizen, God broke off fear of birth completely off my life. There’s was nothing I was afraid of. As the weeks got close to our due date, I looked forward to being able to deliver because I knew that no matter what happened, it was going to be abundantly more than I could hope or expect…
LESSON 3: UNEXPECTED UPGRADES
On December 23rd was just another normal day for me. I remember waking up and saying wow, I slept so good last night. I woke up feeling super refreshed and excited for the holidays and to spend extra time away from the office and with family.
Our church was having a Christmas Eve-Eve service two nights before Christmas and we decide to go. I remember starting to feel more intense Braxton hicks but just didn’t think much of it. We sang Christmas songs, lit candles and threw around some fake snowballs afterwards.
After the service we came home and just relaxed.
My Braxton hicks were still there and my stomach seemed to be very firm.
I decided to take a bath which I surprisingly never thought of doing my entire pregnancy thus far. It was a way to treat myself and try to get ready for bed. During that time, the Braxton hicks intensified. I causally mentioned to Stephen how abnormal these were feeling.
Stephen thought for sure I was having early signs of labor and started packing his hospital bag (yes, we were those people who did’t pack until right before). I was in complete denial I was even in labor at this point.
I honestly just thought I would be able to go to sleep and they would go away. Through my research, I had heard so many women being in early labor for days or weeks and assumed that would be the case since it was still well over two weeks away from our “due date”.
After getting out of the bath tub, Stephen noticed my breathing was a little different during these waves. He challenged my thinking again, just like he did when we were thinking of starting a family.
“If the baby comes now would you be okay with that?”
I said yes, and so we agreed to start speaking it out. No more saying “well, it could just be a false alarm” or “this could go on for weeks”.
We prayed and declared that this was in fact real labor, and things would start accelerating.
We talked to Kaizen and told him he was welcome to come then.
And most of all, we had peace. We knew that even though this was two weeks earlier than we expected, it was actually a perfect time.
Our bags were packed, even though Stephen’s was that night.
Our work was done.
It was about to be Christmas so we didn’t have to answer any emails or go to work.
It was the perfect time.
God met us there and that prayer was answered!
Around midnight, I told Stephen that if I was actually in labor, we had better go to sleep to rest. When we climbed into bed, I couldn’t fall asleep in between contractions. That’s when I knew that baby Diaz was coming and I was in fact in real labor.
I was still in stock and couldn’t believe we might have a Christmas baby.
After laboring for an hour or so, we called our doula Shae to give her the heads up that baby was coming. It was hard to tell how far apart my contractions were so she decided to stay home until things picked up more.
During the next hour Stephen tracked my contractions and they pretty much stayed at four minutes apart lasting a minute or longer as they were from the very beginning.
Around 1:30am Shae made her way to our house and helped us labor at home for the next two hours.
Around 3:30am Shae told us that my contractions were super consistent and strong. If we wanted we could head to the hospital now.
Stephen was so excited and that’s when some nerves hit. It wasn’t fear, it was almost like a nervous excitement before you ride a roller coaster. You’re about to step on, strap in, and the ride takes over from there.
We were actually heading to the hospital, I couldn’t believe it.
In between contractions, I was reminding Stephen of things and asking if he had packed all our camera equipment and everything we needed before leaving.
I’m really glad no cop pulled us over because Stephen was definitely driving a little wild. Even though we live less than 10 minutes from the hospital.
In between contractions, we made our way to the fourth floor where our baby would be born!
I remember trying to fight back tears as we headed into the labor and delivery section of the hospital. I remember telling Shae, now I’m getting emotional, this is so exciting!
I tried to hold back tears because I didn’t want people to think my contractions were what was causing me to cry.
We got checked in and they wanted to monitor me for at least 30 minutes before allowing me to not have any monitoring. Stephen and I had desired to have minimal monitoring and checking the entire time at the hospital but our hospital requires you to have 30 minutes wen you first get there which I knew in advance.
That monitoring period was uncomfortable for me and it was hard to find a good working position that wouldn’t knock off the monitoring machines. They were a bit annoying and I knocked them off a few times because of the position I was in. After about an hour, the nurse was finally able to get a good enough reading to let me not wear those anymore. At this point she checked and I was at 4cm.
Hearing that was actually kinda discouraging to me. We put it on my birth plan that I didn’t really want to be told my measurements, but at this point I kinda forgot to communicate that. I was hoping to be closer to 6cm when we arrived at the hospital so hearing this number was a little deflating.
I reminded myself of all the countless stories I had heard in my reading and relationships of how that “number” doesn’t really matter. It’s a nice measurable thing the medical professionals can hold onto, but what we really were looking at was what my body was doing.
We began walking the halls for the next hour or so. For me whenever I felt a contraction coming on, I would grab the railing and go into a squatting position where I could sway my hips back and forth.
After laboring around the hospital for several hours, we made our way back to the triage room. I felt like I was going to throw up and sure enough, I did. At that point, Stephen started to tear up a bit because he felt so sorry that I was laboring but throwing up at the same time. I was actually super encouraged though that I had thrown up because when we go back to the bodily signs, I knew that can be great indicator that things were progressing towards transition.
My midwife soon came in and checked on me around 7:00am. She said although I was progressing, I was still at a 5cm. We could either be admitted into the hospital or we could go home at this point. After being up all night, this decision was really hard for me to make. I didn’t want to be admitted if things weren’t progressing as quickly. I also didn’t love the idea of packing up and going home to only turn around and come back.
I ultimately looked at Stephen in between contractions and told him to make the call because I couldn’t decide. Stephen knew me well and he made the decision for us to stay. All I really wanted to do was get into the bathtub to labor. He knew if we went home that is what I’d do and since they have labor tubs in the birth rooms, he made the call to stay there and get me in the tub faster! We checked in and I went straight for the water. That was such an amazing relief! I labored in the tub for the next several hours and Stephen and I both fell asleep in between contractions.
I had several moments while laboring in the tub that I’ll always remember. It was there that the intensity of labor really hit me. I questioned my strength. I didn’t know how much longer I could go. I looked at Stephen and told him I didn’t know how much more I could take. An epidural was beginning to sound a lot better than when I had walked in. I made peace with the fact that if things didn’t progress I would be okay with getting one. Looking back on this now, I was nearing transiting. Often times you have emotional responses and question how much longer you could go right before this. Christie my birth coach had actually texted Stephen a helpful chart about the four stages of labor and emotional / mental thought responses and clues you could look for to know which stage you were in. He reminded me of this as he encouraged me that this very thought I was having was a sign that I was super close!
Instead of worrying about what was to come, I refocused on taking one contraction at a time. The only reason I got out of the tub was because I needed to use the restroom… but otherwise i would have stayed in their way longer!
At that time I’m guessing it was around 10:00am. My doula brought up a breakfast burrito and some coffee suggested that Stephen take a break and walk outside in the fresh air for a while. We took a little break and as soon as he left the room, my water broke. He came back about 10min later and there was new excitement in the room. After that, things really intensified and I was near transition. My midwife came in and asked to check me. Initially, I didn’t want to know what number I was dilated because the last times it was definitely a downer. My midwife knew that and encouraged me that I may want to know the number so I gritted my teeth and said okay tell me. Turns out, I was at a 9 1/2 and would be meeting our baby boy soon.
LESSON 4: TRUST YOUR BODY
I was trying to labor in the bed, but my legs started cramping every time I’d move into the right position. I also began being way more vocal and feeling the urge to push without even realizing it. My legs were cramping up though I couldn’t get myself in a good working position on the bed.
I asked to move back to the bathroom where I had been laboring the last hour and it seemed to be helping. The whole time, Stephen was either holding my hand or feeding me ice chips throughout contractions. I wanted him there for every contraction. Even though pregnancy was happening to my body, having Stephen’s support was everything! He kept praying over me and speaking out life over every situation.
Before making my way to the bathroom to labor again, my midwife got an idea and was really excited about it. She brought out a new birthing stool for me to try. It was like the toilet, but probably easier to deliver a baby on. It was new to the hospital and the nurse had actually never used it before.
I tried it the normal way and on the very first contraction I quickly knew it wasn’t what my body needed. In this process you have to trust your body and do what it is telling you. Without even asking, I quickly flipped around and put my hands on the stool with my knees on the hospital floor. I noticed the nurses rushing around getting things ready because baby boy was coming and there was no stopping him. I listened to my body and knew when I needed to push and when I needed to rest in between the contractions.
During this time my blood pressure spiked and the nurse was concerned and hoping it would go down as it can cause complications during delivery. Stephen likes to pray specific prayers, that way God gets the credit. So he asked “how much does it need to go down? She said 140 and I’ll never remember this moment, Stephen out loud commanded my blood pressure to go from 160 to 140 and asked her to check again. She checked again and my blood pressure had dropped down to 140. It was a miracle!
It’s such a weird feeling but one thing that I really learned from Christie, and Ina May was you really only need to push when your body is ready. Pushing is nothing like the movies. If you don’t try to force it, it will eventually just become like an involuntary motion that my body goes into on it’s own. I worked with my body and waited until it said, it’s time to PUSH. I pushed and within 20 minutes Kaizen Shine was here at 1pm on the dot. 6lbs, 1oz. The perfect size at the perfect time, Christmas Eve!
Since I was on my hands and knees, they passed him through my legs like a little football baby and up onto my chest. I sobbed and ugly cried the minute he arrived. Stephen kept saying WOW and his smile was huge with tears in his eyes too. All the labor, the intense contractions, the months of growing this tiny human…it was all worth it in this moment. What a Christmas gift. Two weeks early and I would do it all over again. The euphoria-filled “high” of meeting your baby for the first time with all the adrenaline and oxytocin is real!! I experienced the most amazing bonding I had ever experienced in that moment.
Laboring and delivering Kaizen will forever be one of my most proudest moments. I felt like a bad ass who had just conquered the world.
I was so proud of my body and the teamwork my birth team and Stephen showed together. Even writing this makes me relive all the emotion again and I’m so overjoyed to be a mom to such a sweet and perfect little boy. He has changed our lives forever and he’s SIX months old to the date on the day I’m finishing this post.
LESSON 5: GET YOUR HOPES UP
To any mom expecting or thinking about starting a family, just know that you can get your hopes up.
I felt like I was supposed to share our story to connect with you and to be a source of hope and encouragement!
Labor does not have to be traumatic.
Labor does not have to be scary or gross like the movies.
Our bodies were made for this. We can trust the process. I experienced an amazing birth and I believe the best is yet to come for you too.
You can have no fear, and you can have total peace, even in the unknown!
Being a parent has only enhanced and upgraded our lives. And when I look at Kaizen I see a living sign of God’s goodness to us.
I know everyone’s story is different, so I’m going to end by reminding you of the beginning. Stephen and I believe in the power of story. Stories move and change us. They can shift beliefs and alter the course of your life.
I had several close friends share with me their positive birth stories. It gave me hope and something I could cling to when so many things were unknown for me as a first time mom. I told God “if you can do it for them, then you can do it for me.”
So I encourage you, take whatever parts of this story you like and claim them for yourself. Maybe even speak them out! The stuff you don’t, just cancel out and trash. Hold everything loosely and don’t fall into what ifs or comparison. At the end of the day, your baby is here, God is good and you can hope for abundantly more than you could expect.