Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The lil' scribbler arrives

Finley just after birth
Six days late. Less than three hours of labor. A pound lighter than his older brother.

Finally, the new lil' scribbler has arrived! He made his grand entrance ten days ago, on Mother's Day (traditionally called Mothering Sunday here) in the United Kingdom. And, thank goodness, he came without all the medical drama his big brother made us endure.

Frankly, the lil' scribbler's entrance was . . . not to put too fine a point on it . . . boring.

Kate with a cuppa
Recovery from any British birth requires a proper cup of tea.
Wonderfully boring!

The whole labor and delivery thing was a breeze. {Ed.'s note: Easy for you to say. Try giving birth.} Kate's first contractions started around 1:30 in the morning. Her body decided to skip the introductory contractions. Instead, she dove straight into the full-on powerful ones. We waited an hour or so and then headed off to the hospital.

The maternity ward was packed. Who knew 2:45 am on a Sunday was such a popular time to deliver? In truth, the maternity ward was simply so understaffed that they couldn't even operate an entire wing of the ward. Understaffing is one of the National Health Service's not-so-secret methods of cost controls. Anywho, during our drive to the hospital they called and sought to redirect us to another hospital across town. But we missed the call — the phone was tucked away into Kate's bag — and we showed up at the hospital to crash the party.

Finley sleeping
Sleeping while momma takes a shower.
They made room for us, grudgingly.

We didn't take up much of their time. Our new baby boy, Finley, was born roughly an hour and a half later. Nor did we take up much of their resources. Unlike in the U.S., where most births are overseen by obstetricians, most births in the U.K. are overseen by midwives. Our midwife managed everything on her own. If there had been any complications, further medical staff was around. But generally the approach to birth here is less "medical" and more "natural," though circumstances or personal preferences can of course dictate otherwise.
Jackson meets Finley for the first time
Jackson met his new little brother, Finley, for the first time.
Grammar holding Finley
Kate's mom ("Grammar") holding Finley in the hospital.
In general, if it's a mother's second (or third, fourth, etc.) baby, they aim to send momma and baby home from the hospital within six to twelve hours. This has shocked some of our U.S. friends, who spent a day or two in the hospital after giving birth. But so long as both the mother and baby are doing well, and the baby is nursing successfully, they urge you to go home.

Finley in carseat
Ready to go home.
But going home doesn't mean you're suddenly on your own. A midwife comes to your home the next day to check on the baby and mother. If all is well, another midwife visit is scheduled for two days later. After two or three further days, you see a midwife again when the baby gets a poke for routine blood screenings. Several days later, you have another evaluation to make sure all is well and the baby is growing as expected. At that point, your medical supervision is handed over from midwives to a "health visitor," who makes periodic visits to babies and toddlers and follows their development. The usual vaccinations and other routine medical checkups are passed over to a general practitioner (GP), your family doctor.

Jackson holds Finley
Born early in the morning and home in time for dinner. We let Jackson, his devoted big brother, pick the clothes we bought for Finley to come home from the hospital.
I've been asked several times whether Finley, having been born in England, is a British citizen. He is not. Like the vast majority of countries in the world — including all of Europe and nearly all of Asia, Africa, and Oceania — the U.K. grants citizenship on a jus sanguinis basis (i.e., by "right of blood"). That means one parent must be a British citizen, or at least that immigrants like us need to be "settled" and have permanent residence status. However, if or when Kate and I gain U.K. citizenship in a few years, our children can also gain citizenship at the same time. Additionally, if Finley continues to live in the U.K. until he's ten years old, he becomes eligible for citizenship regardless of the citizenship status of his parents.

So, if the lil' scribbler isn't a British citizen, is he an American? Yes. In the U.S., like much of the Americas, citizenship is granted automatically on a jus soli basis (i.e., by "right of soil"), so anyone born within American territory is granted citizenship. Finley doesn't qualify on that basis. But generally speaking, the U.S. also grants citizenship to children born to U.S. citizens living abroad, as long as a few minor conditions are met. Finley (and his parents) check those boxes.

Congratulatory cards

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your little one! I love the photos of the big brother getting involved :)
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