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Here's why Vancouver's first baby of 2023 won't be in Canada for long

She's not a typical New Year's baby
Baby Hana was the first child born in Vancouver in 2023, but her story is not that of a typical New Year's Eve baby.

Baby girl Hana Amr Fouad was born at 2:54 a.m. on January 1, 2023, in Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital, weighing in at nine pounds 1.5 ounces. But circumstances surrounding her birth are not typical of a new year's baby.

Parents Salma Gasser and Amr Fouad flew to Vancouver from Cairo, Egypt "to give the baby this opportunity," says her father.

They carefully considered the place of Hana's birth and secured visas for both the U.S. and Canada but ultimately, "we chose Canada because the Canadian passport is better," explains Fouad. However, things haven't quite gone to plan.

For starters, baby Hana was over a week late.

Gasser, whose brother lives in Vancouver, arrived in Canada two months ago and Fouad arrived just under a month ago. This is the pair's first time in Canada.

Hana's due date was Dec. 17 and the couple pre-paid for a natural birth but in the end, Gasser needed a C-section.

Mother and baby are resting at home with the midwife but the delay and changed birth plan have caused complications for the family.

Fouad says that since arriving in Canada, Egypt has imposed strict limits on credit cards and the value of the Egyptian pound has been steadily depreciating, both of which are putting unanticipated financial strain on the couple. The hospital bill for a C-section is also higher than for a natural birth so the couple is facing an unexpectedly higher cost for Hana's birth. 

"We are still trying to figure it out," says Fouad.

The family is anxiously awaiting the birth certificate for baby Hana - which can take up to six weeks to be issued - and then plan to secure a Canadian passport for their daughter. They will be returning home to Egypt but have plans of coming back to B.C. in the future.

"We hear Vancouver is much nicer in the summer," he says.