Saturday, October 24, 2009

Portabebés a la venta en Costa Rica!

Como cada vez que salgo a la calle con un portabebé alguien me pregunta si podría conseguir aquí en Costa Rica... ahora sí! Portabebés hecha y a la venta en Costa Rica:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Making Gabriel a Gringo

Here's my special archive for the the whole process that I went through to get US Citizenship conferred on my Tico-born baby Gabriel... in order to travel to the States we needed to go through this (or we could have applied for a visa and had him travel on his Tico passport, but that would have been a useless expense since he qualifies for US citizenship anyway). In the end, we were able to obtain Gabriel's equivalent of a US birth certificate (called a Consular Report of Birth Abroad) and his U.S. Passport in a process that lasted a little more than one and a half months.

First of all, plan to spend two whole days at the U.S. Embassy in Pavas; you'll probably get out before noon on the first day but it's better not to have anything else you need to do those days.

Here are things I did before turning in my paperwork:
1) Filled out a DS-2029 form (printed from\
2) Provided an "official record of the child’s foreign birth" a Costa Rican birth certificate from the Registro Nacional de Costa Rica (there's one in Heredia city)
3) Provided "evidence of the parent(s)’ U.S. citizenship" with my own certified birth certificate, my current US Passport. However, since I was told incorrectly by phone that I needed to prove 5 years of physical presence in the U.S. (which I would have had to do if I were married) I also submitted high school transcripts and college transcripts. Another option would have been to get "proof of employment" letter or payment stubs from a long-term job in the States.
4) Since Julio and I are not married I did not have to provide "evidence of the parents’ marriage", but this might be pertinent to other friends who might be going through this same process soon! :-)
5) Provided "affidavits of parent's residence and physical presence in the United States" - I thought I had done this by including this info on the DS-2029 form, but it turned out I needed to do more (see below)!

I had the above documents and a few more on the day I turned in the paperwork at the US Embassy. They only accept documents through their Walk-In Service: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 11:30 am but do not recommend coming in on Mondays as that's a high-traffic day. They went through them and strongly suggested I bring more supporting documents to the interview. The interview was scheduled for several weeks later in the early afternoon.

So here's a list of additional supporting documents brought to the interview (which Julio, Gabriel and I had to attend together):
**Since I am an "Unwed US Citizen Mother" it turned out that I only needed to prove 1 year of physical presence in the U.S. and that can be done using my passport (mine proves only 1 full year staying within the US borders since it was issued in 2003, but that's enough!)
**In item number 12 on the application form it requires you to: "List periods of physical presence in the U.S. Prior to the child's birth in exact detail... Vacation trips abroad, schooling in foreign countries, and any other brief absences cannot be counted as periods of physical presence in the U.S." So I had done that at home while Gabriel was asleep and I could type it out simply enough. Now here's the fun part: when I got to the embassy they required me to create an affadavit including me writing out all of my physical presence OUTSIDE the U.S. prior to Gabriel's birth!!!! I had to write that all out longhand with Gabriel fussing in one arm (took me about 40 minutes!) because he had been waiting a long time and was no longer patient or willing to be in the baby carrier. And because I was in the U.S. Citizen Services section (and not in the other waiting area where the Ticos wait for their visa appointments), no one offered to help me with my baby.
** Gabriel's Costa Rican passport
** Julio's Costa Rican ID card (cédula)
** Julio's Costa Rican passport
** They wanted to see any other proof that I was pregnant with this baby and that he is really mine... so I also provided photocopies of:
-The "Expediente de Parto" document from my midwife Rebecca
-The official letter from my midwife Rebecca stating that she had seen me throughout my pregnancy and attended the birth.
- Ultrasound photos and corresponding health records from the 2 visits we had with Dr. Adam Paer during pregnancy (even carried a copy of the CD with photos)
- Snapshots of me throughout my pregnancy, one during labor, and a couple of the first photos of me and Julio with Gabriel on his birth day.
- Copies of blood and urine tests I had taken during pregnancy (which if a medical official were to review them would indicate I was pregnant)
- My Carné Perinatal and Tarjeta de Citas from my 3 visits to the ebais (health clinic) before Gabriel was born and the 2 visits I made after he was born. (After that I told them we were seeing a private pediatrician so they didn't need to schedule further appointments for us.)

Some related online resources:

Acquiring Birth Cerificate Abroad (CRBA)

VIP treatment!

One thing I love(d) about being pregnant and now a mother in Costa Rica is the VIP treatment! Not only do we get to go in the "preferential" line at the bank and other offices, but EVERYONE is so considerate and helpful. There is a true respect for the hard work that is carrying and raising a baby. If I am alone I get even more help. For example, the parking lot guard at the farmer's market will help me load my bags in the car, people will give up a seat to us on the bus, or attend to me first at the meat counter at the grocery store.

The very best VIP experience I had was back in June on a Saturday when we needed to withdraw money from one bank and deposit to another. The only banks that are open on Saturdays are in the mall, so that's where we went. We were frustrated when we saw that there was a line of over 50 people at the first bank - not only were people packed inside, they were waiting out the door and down the hall. However, there were no babies and no small children outside, so I went to the guard and asked to go in. There were no babies or small children inside either; I was called up to the cashier immediately... and (shockingly, amazingly to my gringa mind) no one groaned or complained at all - rather they smiled at Gabriel and continued to wait patiently. I repeated this experience in the other bank.

The second best VIP experience I had was at Immigration... more on that later!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

La Comunicación de Eliminación de Noche // Nighttime EC/pottying

Like I've mentioned before we started daytime Elimination Communication (EC) at about 1 month. For several months we just changed him at night if he fussed. At that point we were using some work-at-home-mom produced all-in-one (AIO) dipers similar to BumGenius brand. Since they have fleece against the baby's skin they don't feel wet even when the "soaker" inside is wet.

Starting at about 4 months those AIOs stopped fitting so well and I wanted to keep him drier at night, so we went to using Motherease AIOs (a terrycloth cloth diaper that closes with snaps) without their covers. I feel like this gives a quick release for pottying or changing if they do get wet. Our little guy rarely has a bowel movement at night, so that's not too much of a concern.

Gabriel is now nearly 6 months and every night is different - sometimes I'm just so tired all I can when he rouses is plug him on the breast and we both fall back asleep. However, if I'm in a lighter sleep stage I'll usually wake up and try nursing him over the Baby Bjorn Little Potty (BBLP) and see if he'll pee. Seems like he squirms and kicks lightly when he needs to pee then moans and kicks when he's wet, so if I'm fast asleep it's hard to catch early.

Once it gets light out it's a bit more delicate - if I sit him on the potty he'll really wake up and be ready for the day versus just changing him and we all sleep longer. This week we have had a couple completely dry nights and then a couple nights/mornings with 6 wet diapers! First thing in the morning is also when he's likely to have a BM, so I do keep an ear tuned for his warning signs (little farts!)

I think that with babies in general and especially with practicing EC there are always going to be occasional puddles. So for protecting the mattress - I find it is useful to have something other than just sheets & mattress cover. We currently have a "Blue Max" waterproof bed pad but I would not buy it again as it doesn't breathe and overheats us... I have my eye on changing it for the Wool Puddle Pad from instead!!!

The bottom line is that everything changes all the time with the individual baby... if you are thinking of ECing your baby at night you'll need to see what works for him or her this week - or even just tonight!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

blessingway and baby shower

13 December 2009
I was very blessed to have a low-key baby shower last weekend with all of DP's family and many friends. It was great food, great company, and not stressful... it really just felt like a regular family bar-b-que (instead of a traditional baby shower with parlor games). The only "game" we played was to have everyone share their advice for Julio & I and their wishes for our baby Gabriel. Then Julio and I read them out loud for everyone to hear.

Instead of getting lots of baby things we don't want or won't use, we asked for anonymous contributions towards a custom-made padded rocking chair for nursing. It's awesome - we did receive contributions for all but $14 of it!!!! It's already completed and pretty darn comfortable. Of course a few miscellaneous gifts showed up too, but I'm amazed that our plan worked out so well!

Today I had my Blessingway at my house which turned out wonderfully. I was a bit more nervous about it because I was planning it with one of my friends helping to facilitate. It's hard to ask other people to honor you! Being a (sometimes lonely) ex-pat I have definitely learned to bring people I love together. Five of my friends and one of my midwives (also a friend!) were able to share in person today. It worked out wonderfully and I anticipate many more get-togethers between women who had not met previous to today! We did a belly cast of my amazing belly - oh, it turned out sooooo cool! I highly recommend it!!!! (I got mine online at

I am blessed to have been able to read my own birth story from my own brave mother in 1977 (that she just wrote out for me)! She had a natural birth in a birth center and there are amazing pictures of my head just emerging, my first bath, and our first breastfeeding bonding time. That has always been "normal" birth for me and I know it has influenced me in my own choices to study as a doula and now to choose natural birth.

The blessings and good thoughts my friends shared were so touching. It was also great to share some of the quotes and excerpts of emails from my friends and family back in the States who had contributed via email. I feel so loved and supported and I am very happy that I was able to have the Blessingway turn out just how it did!

Elimination Communication at 7 weeks - starting out

3 March 2009 - Gabriel at 7 weeks

EC'ing since: flirted with EC since his birth (cueing when he peed during BFing or when he pooped), starting in earnest just before 2 months (using timing, cueing, and lots of nakey time)

Diapers (use 'em? what sort? how often?): CDs when out of the house - usually prefolds in Bummis SWWs or Kushies AIOs. At home we are using Motherease OSs (aside from nakey time) because I can leave the covers off for more immediate awareness/action. He is used to a dry diaper, so fusses right away when he pees.

Favorite 'potty': I've been using prefolds when I am nursing and we are also starting to use the Baby Bjorn Little Potty. His first "caught" poop in the potty was when I first posted this (3/3/09)!

Other info: My best friend Liziee from elementary school started ECing when her daughter (now 7 years old) was born and I was fascinated to hear about it - she inspired me to read Diaper Free! and be prepared for ECing my own baby.

I am a perfectionist so this is hard for me... I am trying not to obsess over ECing, but still focus on it. Hard balance! My other friend who has successfully EC'ed tells me that I'm doing just fine and the best thing is just to relax and enjoy the process. I guess it's good to remember that there's no deadline and that he'll most certainly be diaper free before anyone else his age!

Our current stage: I generally hold him over a prefold while I'm nursing and make our cueing noise ("pssst") when he pees. But he does spend most of his days and all of his nights in cloth diapers - I'm leery of putting him in the sling without a diaper cover. Not sure why since he's dry I'd say 90% of the time when I get him out! Most of his poops we've caught; they've either been while he was nursing over a prefold or he waited until we were already changing his diaper to let loose!

sharing about Gabriel's birth

20 January 2009

I had a beautiful birth! Gabriel was born at home on 10 January, 2009 at 3:50am. I expected him to come a week or so after the due date, so this was a bit of a surprise! I honestly think that the 6.2 earthquake in Costa Rica on Thursday got my labor jump started!

I feel blessed to have been able to have a wonderful natural labor (9 hours) at home utilizing a lot of walking in the (nearly) full moon light outside our house, a birth pool and DP Julio being wonderfully supportive!!! Gabriel is so perfect and healthy, for which we are very thankful!!! He weighed 8lb, 12 oz. and was 50 cm long. His Apgar score was a 10 out of 10!!!

My midwife is awesome and things worked out very well - although we were all tired, because I was laboring at night she was able to arrive much much faster than expected. Which was good because he was born less than 3 hours later!

I had a not-so-beautiful afterbirth - a partially detached placenta - and lost a lot of blood. I was on IVs during the day and then have been taking iron supplements, iron-rich food, and drinking lots of water. My midwife is surprised and pleased at how well I'm bouncing back!

I'm working on writing out his birth story...