Lippold Cheney – Alvarez Olvera Baby Registry

BABY ON THE WAY…

Hello, Family and Friends!

Mauricio and I are beyond thrilled to share with you the news that we will be welcoming a baby sometime around November. We have an incredibly strong relationship and are confident that, together, we will approach parenting in such a way that all three of us grow and evolve in concert. Mau and I are first-time parents, so we know there’s a lot we don’t know yet, but we feel so prepared in so many important ways. However, one area in which we would definitely benefit from some support is the material. Mau works with his mother, Betty, as a curandero (i.e. traditional medicine practitioner), while Emily is currently working part-time for a non-profit literary publisher as well as working with Mau and Betty as she’s able. We generally feel we have “enough” and are very happy, but we know we’ll need more as our family grows.

We are so grateful to have already begun to receive some support – much of our family and friends here in Mexico City are providing us with consumables and smaller items and both my mother-in-law and mother have both stepped up to purchase some bigger ticket items (e.g. crib, stroller). However, as a multi-national family unit, we have some costs unique to us that most parents and spouses don’t have to manage. In the last two months, we had to spend a few thousand dollars (much of which was unbudgeted, despite an aggressive amount of due diligence to budget accordingly) on im/migration costs for both me and my beloved 22 year old Honda Civic. Additionally, given that shipping to Mexico is both expensive and unreliable (I have some firsthand horror stories! No se lo recomiendo!), we determined it is likely best to engage our broader, international community in supporting us via financial contributions to key costs that amount to a bit less than $5,000usd. We also liked this approach as it included family and friends that are only able to contribute a few dollars, as well as those that might have more than a few they’d like to share. Since that community consists largely of my/Emily’s network – I’ve put together this registry in English using my own voice, though Mau and I spent weeks hemming and hawing about its contents together. I am infinitely grateful to have such a supportive and engaged husband; I couldn’t imagine a better life partner for myself and I know our child is so lucky to have him as their father. 

Below my closing and photos is the birth registry list we created. I share a great deal of detail (+ hyperlinks!) in the list both to be transparent given this is a somewhat unconventional birth registry, as well as to give you a bit of a peek into how we’re living and what we’re up to – i.e. Capricorn-style intimacy (my apologies to Ruby and anyone else who doesn’t indulge in astrology, jaja!). 

In order to avoid transaction fees and keep this process relatively private, we’re running our registry here (on my barren website) and accepting contributions via the following methods:

If you are able to share support this way, please make sure you include your name, your email, and whether or not you’d like your contribution to be public or private. We will follow-up with everyone who contributes to confirm our receipt of your support and to share our personal thanks. <3 And, if you would like to mail us something, let me know and I can advise – it can be tricky, but it is possible!

As people step in to support us, we’ll update this page to keep you informed on our progress + to share updates on our lives, the pregnancy, and maybe a few photos. 🙂 For now, enjoy a shot of Bartolo and my belly (+our fridge!), a picture of us at a recent family outing to Teotihuacan (it was Mau’s 1st time & Emily’s ~5th!), and Mau enjoying a beer on one of the calmer days of our *very eventful* (no sabes, nooo sabes!) and very long drive in my car from the USA to Mexico City.

Lots of love from Emi, Mau, & Bartolo in Tepito <3

P.S. For the curious, Bailum the Eternal Kitten is still thriving at 17 years old, despite a bit of arthritis in his paw when it’s cold outside. He has retired back to his birth state, Indiana, where he enjoys a very cushy life with my mother. He is present everyday in Mexico with me, as we have either a photograph or Bailum-inspired artwork in every single room. Bartolo’s name was chosen, in part, to honor the spiritual lineage of cat familiars in my life – Bailum and Barney (my childhood kitty!).

BIRTH REGISTRY LIST

American Visa for Mauricio (estimated $850): In order for Mau to enter the USA with Emily and the baby to visit many of you, we have to move through an involved application process in two distinct parts (I-130 Petition & Application) that together may take two years. We have been unable to initiate the process because we had to spend the money we budgeted for his visa on my Mexican im/migration costs. This was an important step to take to ensure my access to government-sponsored emergency medical services, in case they are needed during my pregnancy or the birth. The day I give birth to a Mexican citizen, I will be granted automatic status as a permanent citizen; it doesn’t work that way for Mau in the USA! 

American & Mexican Passports for the Baby ($335): Within a few days of birth, we are required to head to the US Consulate in Mexico City to file a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, $100) and apply for their passport ($135). Within the Mexican system ($100), we’ll have a few more steps. Our child will be a dual passport holder before either of their parents! 

Homebirth, Prenatal Consultations, Other Care ($2,500): We plan to welcome the baby at home with the support of midwives from Morada Violeta (which means our cat, Bartolo, can be present!). Our birthing process ($1,500) includes placenta processing and postnatal care, while our prenatal consults (estimated $400) have just begun and will take place every 1-2 weeks until the baby arrives. With regard to other care (estimated $600), we have several independent laboratory costs to cover. Plus, I am hoping to be able to see a chiropractor once during my third trimester. I would also very much appreciate the opportunity for a professional prenatal massage (in addition to the belly and foot massages that Mau so graciously provides). Bodywork/massage has been so important for my health through the years – I wish it was more normalized as basic care! We’ve included our birthing budget in our registry, because we were forced to spend much of the money we had set aside for that purpose on im/migration costs. 

Refrigerator ($600+): Our dorm-style fridge no longer works well for us after moving to a fourth floor apartment. Our home gets very warm in all seasons, so we need to refrigerate almost all of our produce (even potatoes!) to keep it from spoiling. We have also learned that it is risky to store cooked food (like soup!) at room temperature for just a short time. Bonus bummer, our freezer no longer fully freezes things, which will make it impossible to safely freeze breast milk for the baby. We think a fridge similar to this one would be small enough for our apartment but big enough for the needs of our family. 

Washing Machine ($500): We currently wash our clothes using my in-laws’, Betty and Gustavo, washing machine. While this has been great (for us, at least!), we anticipate having increased and more urgent laundry needs with a baby in the household. Again, we don’t have a lot of space to spare, so we’re looking at small and durable (e.g. can run a few loads back to back) machines like this one. We currently line dry all our clothing and linens, and we would keep doing that for the foreseeable future – though a dryer is definitely on our long term list, especially if/when we move to a bigger home one day.

Parental Leave & Car Repairs (Anything Above & Beyond!): We – sadly, like so many people – do not have access to any formal parental leave support. As a result, any additional funds contributed to us above and beyond our hard costs will be used to allow us “parental leave” from working, so we can not stress about money and just focus on orienting to our new family member and lifestyle. Secondarily, after driving my car full of everything I own back and forth across the US and Mexico a handful of times, the suspension in Henry the Honda is pretty worn. It needs to be replaced if the baby is to sleep through any of the countless speed bumps and potholes in Mexico City.

Anything else? If you have experience being a parent or knitting together a family across political borders and think we’ve forgotten something, we’d love your insight. We’re learning a lot very fast about more than we could have ever imagined!