I've been preoccupied with my pregnancy for the past few days, and that kept me from writing.
The third trimester is tougher than I could imagine; the toughest moments include trying to decide where to deliver the baby; keeping myself from reading too many horror stories about giving birth; trying not to whine to anyone who'd listen, thus directing most of it at poor Mishah; being exhausted and restless at once; growing heavier and heavier; being insomniac again. Oh, and living in Moscow through it all.
Yesterday, I got stuck in a terrible traffic jam - just because some inner devil forced me to buy six overripe hurma (persimmon) fruits. I was on my way from the second maternity hospital I'd chosen to inspect, and I was almost by the subway when I saw a market. I stopped and bought hurma, joyfully, for the first time this year. Then I realized it was 6 p.m., the rush hour. With the very soft hurma in a plastic bag and with my belly, it would've been problematic to squeeze inside the station, let alone the train. So I got myself a cab and spent the next hour and a half in it. Could have taken a plane and flown to Kyiv instead. There's a good Ukrainian proverb: Za durnoyu golovoyu i nogam nema pokoyu - 'Because of the silly head, the legs don't get any rest.' It's about me.
Today, Moscow's air has been replaced with smog. It's not as bad as in 2002, but I wasn't 33 weeks pregnant then, either.
To make things even worse, folks at the synagogue across the street have been slaughtering chickens and God knows what else for Yom Kippur all day today. That's unbearable. They've built something of a shed outside, which probably prevents people walking down the street from seeing it - but the sounds coming from over there are horrible. For me to feel traumatized, it's enough to see a dozen or so stray dogs running around our neighborhood - and now this. I love to watch rooftop weddings at the synagogue, I don't find them intrusive at all; I also love the sound of church bells and the Muslim azan - but hearing poor animals scream all day long really, really hurts.
To end this on a very happy note, the ultrasound doctor has finally been able to determine the baby's sex: it's a girl!!! The name we'd chosen long before I got pregnant is Marta - Marta Smetana. (She's in a breech position, though, and that's not good, but I do hope she'll turn around when it's time for her to be born, inshaallah.)
Later today, I'll post photos of the Moscow maternity hospitals I've checked out already, two of them. I haven't been inside, but some stuff outdoors seemed pretty vivid, too.