Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The roddom situation is getting more and more complicated and stressful.

We weren't completely happy with yesterday's place, so today we decided to follow up on another recommendation and visit roddom #6. It's closed for washing now, till Nov. 27, and we knew that it wouldn't make sense for us to have any plans for it, as I may go into labor sooner than it re-opens. But we wanted to talk to a doctor there and see what she had to say about other options available.

Funny, but she said we should check out roddom #7, the one we went to yesterday. We told her we'd already been there and gave her the name of the doctor we'd seen: she said that was a very good doctor.

And then she said something that yesterday's doctor should've told us herself - but didn't, for some reason: that the #7 place would close down for washing on Nov. 28 (#7 right after #6), till Dec. 15.

My approximate due date is Dec. 5. If we decided to stick with #7 (and it was very likely that we would) and nothing happened till Nov. 27, I'd be homeless - roddomless - and our yesterday's doctor would go without her money... She told me to come over for ultrasound on Nov. 22 - they have some really cool, new equipment, she said, donated by Yushchenko himself, showing half the stuff in color, etc. My theory is she'd try to convince me to have the baby early, by giving me fake ultrasound results or something. Very risky for her, yeah, but she does need to make money to feed her family... Why else would she not warn us that we'd better look for some back-up options?

This must be too confusing - and yes, we're confused. And I'm really, really pissed now.


Since #6 closed down yesterday and only a few women with newborns were still there, the doctor was able to show us what one of the post-delivery floors looked like.

Regular rooms (free or almost free, at least officially, I assume):

Two adjacent rooms, for one woman and a baby each, separated by the wall with a large window in the middle of it: if one of the women suddenly felt sick, her neighbor might notice and call the nurse, we've been told. There's one nurse on each floor, we've also been told, for it's a state hospital, not a private one. (I can't say exactly, but it looks like 20 to 50 women may fit on one floor with their babies, and one nurse for them all is definitely not enough.)

Each room has a bed (three types, all pathetic), a regular table and a table to wrap the baby on. There are no curtains or rugs, nothing to make the room just a tiny little bit cozier.

There's a shower and a toilet for every two adjacent rooms; the toilets don't have seats attached to them - instead, stored in big plastic bags attached to the door, are some round things cut out of thick, heavy, brick-colored rubber cloth, which you lay on the toilet before sitting down. There's no toilet paper, of course.

(Pretty miserable - but still way better than staying in one room with 15 other women and seeing your baby only when it's time for breastfeeding. That was how my mama had me - and those were considered totally normal conditions then.)

Rooms you pay $200 for and stay for as long as you have to (five days or so seems to be the norm):

Six rooms - two singles, in which the shower and the toilet are all yours, and four doubles, where you share the shower and the toilet with the neighbor. All look exactly like the free rooms, except there's a fridge in each one and no windows in the walls. A really important distinction is that husband and other relatives may visit you there in the afternoon - but the nurse is still the same one, serving the whole floor on her own...


Two of my friends had babies at roddom #6 ten years ago. One got yelled at at the reception - because her waters broke and some of the stuff got on their precious chairs - but otherwise that was a very uneventful and nice delivery - and a wonderful daughter... Another had her husband present at birth - they must've been one of the first couples in Kyiv to do it, the pioneers; Hillary Clinton stopped by at this roddom that week, and the husband even tried to say something in English to her...


There's a lot more I could write about - but I'm so exhausted now, and some of it is so weird that I need to digest it first.


I haven't been photographing #6 a lot because I felt that I might still have plenty of time for that when I end up having the baby there - now I'm not so sure, though, so I sort of regret it (19 photos):


I have to post this: it says "Baby I love you" and is an example of the written surjik.

'Baby' (malysh) is written in Ukrainian, the rest is in Russian (ya tebya lyublyu instead of ya tebe lyublyu):

Surjik is a crazy mix of Russian and Ukrainian spoken by many people here; very ugly until you realize it's a language in itself and it's impossible to be fluent in it without some practice... Neither Russian, nor Ukrainian, could be thought of as a special type of illiteracy...


  1. Wish i could offer any advice, but this is way beyond my league, just hope you get to keep your baby next to you at all times, Mishah as well.

    And that you all go home as soon as possible.

    Good luck!

    P.S.- You're going to break the world record of photo taking :)

  2. Hey Neeka,

    The photo of you in the mirror. . .its great! You look good. . .

    I hope you guys will find the right place for you, for your little one to be born!

    Wish you all the best. . .

    I am personally back in the US with my little one, and her vecmamma (Latvian for baba) and her baba and dido, all who live in Minneapolis, couldn't be happier!!!

    Looking forward to your many future posts about such things!