A lot of things have been on my mind this week and I really should get better about writing blog posts. It’s sometimes my only outlet to the outside world.
Lots of waiting this week. Waiting for things to happen. Waiting to feel settled. Waiting to know the immediate future.
These waiting times are a part of life though and I’ve been through them a million times before and will likely go through them a million times again. Sigh…so while I’m waiting patiently for the ball to get rolling on several things, I’ll at least share one thing that came to pass this week that I had been previously waiting for: Baby S’s birth certificate!
This won’t seem like a big deal to most people. Don’t you get the birth certificate from the hospital? Yes…if you give birth in a hospital. But what happens when you don’t?
I’ve heard that in other states/counties/cities it’s a much easier process than Los Angeles, so I kind of wonder if L.A. just makes things a pain in the butt on purpose. 🙂 Because it IS a bit of a pain in the butt, so I’ll share the steps for anyone who might be in the same position.
If you live in Los Angeles County, these rules apply to you – UNLESS you live in either Pasadena or Long Beach. If you do, you’re lucky and can go to your local office (see document below for #s to call). Otherwise, the below applies to you. Note that your midwife should hopefully give you all these documents, but just in case they don’t, or if you want to be extra prepared beforehand, here’s how it works:
This document lists all the necessary proof you will need to gather. Please read over this list CAREFULLY. They will turn you away if something is missing! (I know, because it happened to me the first time. Story on that below…)
1) You will need to make an appointment to go down to the vital records office in downtown L.A. after the baby is born. I STRONGLY suggest calling to make an appointment as soon as you can after the birth, within the first week if possible. With my daughter, 2.5 years ago, the first available appointment they had was a month out. With my son, the first available appointment was 2.5 months out! With the popularity of home births rising, I can only imagine that the wait is just going to get longer. Here is the info to call: (213) 240-7812, M-F 8am-4pm.
2) Your midwife should give you a letter, on their official business stationary, confirming your pregnancy and that you were under their care. Or they can instead fill out the “Affidavit of Birth Information for Out-of-Hospital Births” portion of the above link. Or, to be double-covered, they can do both (as my midwife did 🙂 ). If your midwife does not give you this, you will need to ask for it.
3) At your first pediatrician appointment, you will need to ask your baby’s doctor to write a letter for you (on official letterhead stationary) proving that a live child was born. The requirements for this letter are in the document linked above. I think it’s helpful to print a copy of the page with the physician requirements highlighted and give it to your doctor. Make sure that they sign in pen, and not an electronic signature! (Ours signed with an electronic signature and mailed it to us and I had to take the letter back in to the office to get signed.)
4) You need proof that the birth was in Los Angeles county, or really, you only have to prove that you live in L.A. County. Supposedly, you can verify this with just your driver’s license, but I suggest also printing out a copy of a utility bill from the date of the birth and having that with you as well.
5) The specifics of this last requirement confuse me a little. We’ve been on the safe side both times and I had KP come with me to the appointment as the witness (and as the father, obviously 🙂 ), however, you might actually be able to get away without the father being there. If a midwife/doctor was NOT present at the birth, then you absolutely must have some sort of witness who was there attend the appointment with you. You and the father will need to provide an ID, but I handed them KP’s ID while he wasn’t even standing by me and they accepted it…so maybe you would just need the father’s ID, but he wouldn’t need to be there? If he’s not there, I do think that he needs to sign a form in the above link though. However, if you want the father’s signature on the birth certificate, you’ll want him there.
Both the mother and baby MUST be present at the appointment though. Bring your baby! 🙂
The appointment will take around an hour. It’s a bit boring and you kind of just sit there and wait. If you are taking along older siblings, bring books or entertainment for them. You will get an official birth certificate copy to take home with you, and you will need to bring $28 for the certificate.
Oh, I should also note that parking is a pain!! Give yourself PLENTY of time to arrive and park before your appointment. There’s hardly any parking downtown, especially when they’re doing construction nearby. There is a parking lot behind the Vital Records office building, but it’s a bit hard to find, so you may have to drive around a bit to find it (I can’t remember the name of the streets right now 🙁 ). It cost $8 to park.
When C was born, I diligently gathered all the necessary documents and arrived early to the appointment. As I started handing everything over to the worker, she told me my driver’s license was expired. My birthday had been 2 weeks earlier and in the fog of new-babyhood, I had not even realized that I was supposed to renew that year. I had not thought to bring my passport with me or anything, so I had no valid ID. And we were turned away and had to make a new appointment (and they were not very kind to us about it either). KP and I got into an argument, and it was not a pleasant time. Learn from my mistakes. Bring along your driver’s license AND passport. Want more encouragement to be super thorough when applying for a birth certificate? Read below.
Earlier this week, it was time to register Baby S. I once again diligently gathered all the materials needed, KP took off time from work, and we headed down to the Vital Records office. I started to hand over all my paperwork and they asked for my ID and I went to pull out my driver’s license…only to realize that I did not have it. I had my old expired license, but not my current license. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. How in the world had I not checked for this beforehand? Wasn’t that exactly what I has messed up on last time?? How could I have been that dumb? It hit me that I must have never replaced my license in my wallet after flying 2 weeks ago and it was still in my backpack.
However, LUCKILY for me, this time I has also brought along my passport, just.in.case. I thank goodness I did!! I gave them my passport and all was well. But I did feel pretty dumb for almost making the exact same mistake as I had with C. 🙂