PHOENIX - Ask any new parent, and they will say the first few weeks at home with a newborn baby are stressful.
Some Valley parents, however, say their stress was compounded by the fact they had to jump through hoops in order to prove their baby was theirs.
Little Walker Harlin will have quite the story to tell when he's older on how he came into this world. It all started on October 5, when his mom, Lael Harlin, started having contractions.
"We called the hospital to find out when we should go in, and they were like definitely not yet," said Lael. "You might not even be in labor, so wait until they get closer together, and they never did."
The contractions were coming more frequently, and lasting longer
"I told my husband to call 911, and he did, and thank goodness because three minutes later, he was born on the bathroom floor," said Lael.
Little did Lael and her husband realize, however, that this unexpected entry into the world would cause quite a problem.
"He's a citizen of nowhere because he was born at home and not to the witness of a doctor," said Lael. "An ambulance came in and cut the umbilical cord, and they took us to the hospital in an ambulance. He was born at home. Qe have to prove to the state that it happened the way we say it did."
The Harlin Family
The Harlins had to make an appointment at Maricopa County Vital Records to try and get Baby Walker a birth certificate. Two weeks later, the family had their interview.
"We had to provide my medical records, his medical records, our passports, our marriage certificate, and the ambulance records to the state to prove he is ours and an American citizen," said Lael. "No sleep, and all of the things with an infant and a toddler and this is the last thing I want to be doing right now. We definitely feel like we're alone. In fact, no one said anything like, 'oh, when this happens to other people, it gets done quickly', or 'don't worry'. Nobody has assured of anything."
As it turns out, the Harlins family was not alone.
"It just turned into a really unpleasant process in one of the happiest moments," said Greg Hansen.
After bad experiences in hospitals. Greg and his wife, Janelle, decided to have their fourth child at home with a midwife. They, too, had to navigate the process of getting their child a birth certificate.
Janelle (left) and Greg (right) Hansen
"We were just unsure if what we submitted was even correct, if they were going to take it," said Janelle. "We had no idea, and then three months later, we got a piece of mail and we had a birth certificate. So we had no idea if it was even going to go through or not. There was no communication."
Both the Hansens and the Harlins say the process has been stressful.
"In between pediatrician visits and no sleep, trying to figure out how and when and what this whole process is has been impossible," said Lael. "We have support and resources and people that can help us, and a lot of people don't have that."
Little Baby Walker did receive his birth certificate a month after he was born.
Meanwhile, officials with Maricopa County Public Health say they were not made aware of these issues from these families directly, and are continually striving to make the process easier.