Having a Baby . . . Overseas (Part One)

Let’s make this clear right away . . . my wife and I are not having a baby.

Those of you who know us personally can go ahead and give a sigh of relief. I feel better just having written that.

So, what I really want to share about today is the experience of our son and his wife having a baby in Costa Rica.

Our son grew up in Costa Rica, and a large part of his heart still makes its home here, even though he lives in the United States now. When he and his wife learned that she was pregnant, they began talking about the idea of having the child in Costa Rica, so that he/she would have dual citizenship.

We, of course, were thrilled. We loved the idea of our grandchild being a Tico or a Tica, and we knew how much it would mean to our son. Excitement began to run pretty high at the thought.

They began researching, asking questions, and talking to people who had done such a thing. One couple was extremely helpful, having come to Costa Rica twice to have their children. They, too, had family living in Costa Rica, and wanted their children to have the advantage of two passports and two cultures. The two couples spoke by video call, messaged back and forth, and shared a rather unusual reason for connection. They gave insight into the hospital experience, what to expect with the process of registering the birth, how to navigate getting the child both an American and a Costa Rica passport, and what to expect during all of these processes.

It became apparent that lots of paperwork, planning, and detail would be involved. First, they made contact with who many consider the leading obstetrician in the country. He spoke with them by video call and assured them that he would be happy to work with them. He regularly delivers babies at CIMA Hospital in Escazu (San Jose) and began to gently guide them through the process of planning a delivery in Costa Rica.

They began working with the obstetrician in the United States, explaining to her that the eventual birth would be in Costa Rica. She was cooperative and helpful, providing records and documents as needed.

Three months seemed like a good time period to plan on being in Costa Rica, with ample time before the birth to ensure good prenatal care before delivery, as well as flying within the recommended time period of a third trimester pregnancy. (Most experts seem to think 36 weeks is the cutoff.) They chose to plan their flights at about 33-34 weeks. This gave ample time for good prenatal care, and it seemed a safe time to fly.

For convenience, they rented a condo on the same floor as ours. This has been really fun – to have them so close. Lots of meals together, whistles down the hall at each other, trading dishes, etc. It was convenient later on, too, when labor started in the early morning, and even later on, when the baby needed her grandparents to walk and rock her at 3:00 am so her parents could get some sleep.

Once they arrived in Costa Rica in mid-August, the excitement really began to take off. We all enjoyed the drives to San Jose (1.5-2 hours) for doctor’s appointments, immigration business, and meetings with the doula. A doula is a birth coach – the International Doula Institute defines a birth doula as a professional support person trained in the needs of the family during pregnancy and childbirth. She advises on all aspects of pregnancy , birth, breastfeeding, etc., but does not deliver the baby, although she was present in our case.

It just happened that the doula’s home was in our old neighborhood in Rohrmoser where we lived from 1992-2003. So, that meant a trip to our favorite bakery, PAN MORA. They still make and sell two of our favorites – Quesadillas (it’s a pastry, not a Mexican food), and Pina con Queso. (See photo – Pina con Queso is a bread with consistency like a baquette, but softer, with cheese baked on top, with sections that come apart like an orange.) We eagerly anticipated the trips to the doctor and the doula!

I was the designated driver for the blessed event, no matter when it happened. Brenda prepared herself on how to deliver a baby, should the baby arrive in the car before we pulled into the hospital. She watched YouTube videos and prepared a “birth kit” for the car with necessary items like gloves, scissors, antiseptic wipes, etc. Our main concern was whether we would make the 90-minute drive in time for the actual delivery.

Early on the morning of October 11, there was a knock on our door, and there stood our son, with a smile on his face. He quickly told us that Eva was having regular contractions. We had agreed earlier that once they started we would just head for the hospital regardless. So, we all quickly packed our pre-packed bags into our Terios and we took off down the road toward the hospital.

Our son had made sure that Eva was pre-admitted at the hospital, so that once we arrived, she could be attended to as quickly as possible. The admittance was quick and smooth, and they advised that it was a bit early, so we took rooms at the Holiday Inn next to the hospital. Eva was able to rest and be in a comfortable place while the labor intensified. About 9:00 pm, it was evident that it was time to go back to the hospital.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, we had to stay in the waiting room in the hospital lobby. Nate came down now and then to report on progress. At 2:00 am, he exited the elevator and gave us the exciting news. Emily Tan Maxfield had arrived. All was well.

Now the time crunch was on. They needed to get the baby’s Costa Rican birth certificate as soon as possible, as they needed to leave the country on November 18. The birth certificate was the key to securing passports from both Costa Rica and the United States.

Stay tuned for Part Two where Emily arrives at her new home, visits doctors, gets her passports (two very different experiences), and starts her life as a Tica. In addition, I’ll share cost information, and other helpful tips from Emily’s parents.

Until next time,

This is Paul, A Part-Time Expat

(Actually, we are not part-time any more, but the name remains. We are now living full-time in Costa Rica.)

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For more from A Part-Time Expat, visit the sites below.

Jaco Hoy/Jaco Today.  There you will find photos of Jaco, Costa Rica, and the surrounding area that I have taken.  I invite you to “like” and follow the page to see the sights of Jaco and the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Turrialba Hoy/Turrialba Today. There you will find photos of the area around the city of Turrialba, Costa Rica, as well as Volcan Turrialba. I inviteyou to “like” and follow the page to see sights of this beautiful region.

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqlXDrZvDmRtJq4SbNfXhFQ Piano by Paul

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