The crisis in Ukraine has brought a lot of day-to-day life to a standstill for those still in the country. Things are unpredictable, and many are concerned with doing anything that will jeopardize their safety.
Still, some parts of life can’t be put off. On the second day of the war, a pregnant Ukrainian woman named Viktoria found herself in labor. Thankfully, her trek to the hospital with her husband went smoothly and safely, though it was nothing like what she’d imagined the lead-up to the birth of their child would be like.
Viktoria arrived at the hospital to find the lights off but the staff welcomed patients. Her time in a comfortable, colorful room was short-lived, sadly, as raid sirens forced the hospital staff and patients to hide out in the basement.
“The doctor said we needed to go to the bomb shelter. There was panic as people were rushed. I couldn’t even put my trousers on because it was too painful,” Viktoria said.
“When we entered the shelter we were shocked. It was built in Soviet times and wasn’t maintained, it was crumbling and very wet and cold.”
Viktoria and her husband were among about 50 people in the main room. There was another small room, separated by a shower curtain. She hoped she would get back upstairs in time to give birth, but when her water broke, she was brought to the other side of the curtain.
“There was no medical technology, just a gynecological chair,” she shared.
“At that moment I wasn’t afraid. I trusted my doctor – the only thing on my mind was holding my son and ending the pain.”
Viktoria and her husband welcomed a baby boy, Fedor.
“With his black hair, he looked like a small copy of my husband, who cut the cord. When I held Fedor he was very warm,” she shared.
“I just felt, wow, love and pure happiness and all these mystical feelings.”
Viktoria remembers talking to her baby boy after he was born.
“You’re lucky, you’re unique, you’re born in Ukraine, you’re a new Ukrainian,” she told the baby boy.
“Every morning now I wake up a bit earlier just to look at him sleep, he looks like a small angel. I also look out the window to see if the buildings have stayed in their places or if they’ve been ruined,” Viktoria said of her experience after giving birth.
“I hope my son will experience this war only from stories — that he will never, never feel what it’s like in real life. I don’t want him to know real war.”
“Despite the war, Fedor has brought so much love, happiness, and kindness into our home. We take care of him, and it makes us happy,” Viktoria said, despite the uncertainty they face.
“I’m hoping and praying for peace — he’s a new Ukrainian, he should grow up in a new Ukraine.”