Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bureaucracy about town

I had to go to my bank here to get a statement. My friend lives near that metro, and I had letters for her, so it seemed like I could combine the errands. The only problem of course being that I couldn't leave Sophia for too long.

It was my first time traveling that far within the city since May or so. Six months! I was nervous about how I'd hold up physically. I guess I didn't go anywhere without David for a long time, but we did go as a family to church and elsewhere. In fact, as I left today, a friend from church was on his way over to fix David's old stroller for Sophia!

I felt okay physically and it was good to be out in the world...a little bit of culture shock and a little bit of post-partum shock, or whatever you call it when you're doing the same old things, but as a different person.

I met up with my friend and we headed over to a cafe to sit for a few minutes. As we walked in, the guy making crepes (blini) was a kid (now grown) that I'd known in the orphanage. I started talking to him until I realized he was working on an order. They had changed the cafe around and I felt a bit discombobulated and had trouble ordering "Earl Grey" with the right Russian pronunciation. I remember those old days trying to order McDonald's and drawing out all those words, Beeeg Mahhhhk, Kyehhhchup so that the servers would understand.

We only stayed for a little while as I was nervous about getting to the bank. My friend came with me since she had the day off. While waiting in line, I looked through my paperwork and felt so confused about the dates. My latest papers said "2015," but when was that? Last year? And I hadn't been back to this bank since last June? What had happened in the meantime? Had I skipped a year of government inspection? I had a translation of my latest bank statement, so I must have used it for going to the UK. Was that last year?

The clerk called me over and had a form for me to fill out. Incidentally, for the IRS, which meant I had to fill out all my info. in English. Doesn't sound complicated, but it's really hard for me now to write out Russian words in the Latin alphabet. It's like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. At one point I did switch alphabets, but didn't get chastised.

After muddling through the documentation, I was told to come back the next day...ah, well. My friend and I said goodbye and I headed back to the metro.

Back home, our friend was still fixing the stroller. Then he and Andrei left together as Andrei headed out for a radio gig.

I need to mail off my documents to the immigration bureau and then my reward will be to get going with Advent.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Keeping on

Haven't really felt like writing, but I promised myself I would be transparent and keep sharing my thoughts.

I've probably mentioned it before, but God ministers to me through music. I wish I knew Scripture as well as I know song lyrics, but there's room for both! And I try to challenge myself to match up the songs with corresponding Bible passages.

Recently when I've been trying to quiet my soul, I keep recalling the words "...'Cause life is hard. And it might not get easier."* That's from a song I learned at summer camp back in middle school. Not too positive, right? But the line before that is, "..and we all need Jesus." So, in that case, the words ring true. In John ch.16:33 Jesus tells his disciples, "In this world you will have trouble." I don't see that as a scary thing. I just see it as assurance that going through hardship is normal and doesn't mean that we are being neglected by God or specifically targeted. Of course I am writing this while still trying to convince myself that my troubles aren't any worse than anyone else's.

And then of course there is the obvious: "I cry out. For your hand of mercy to heal me."** Not my favorite song musically, but a good song of appeal, reminiscent of a Psalm.

There are also a few that we sing in Russian that are comforting to me. For some reason I like "With all I am" (Hillsong) better in Russian, but I'll include some of the English words here:

Jesus I believe in you
Jesus I belong to you
You're the reason that I live
The reason that I sing
With all I am

I'll walk with you
Wherever you go
Through tears and joy
I'll trust in you

And I will live
In all of your ways and
Your promises forever

And that one I guess is about Jesus as a precious friend and the center of life. For me I think it's about how He sustains me. I want to cling to Him and all of the promises that He represents.

P.S. Found this site, kind of neat:

*"We Believe in God" (Amy Grant)
** "Good to Me" (Vineyard)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A year of this

Still need to finish typing up Sonya (Sophia)'s birth story. It is bittersweet in a way because I didn't know until recently how injured I was. But she is a delightful baby and I think the birth experience was gentle for her, if that's a thing.

The birth story isn't scary, I promise. :)

But as for daily life, I am feeling very thankful to be allowed to be at home. I don't really have a way to even get out by myself with the kids, but I look forward to doing that as I get stronger. While I have my MIL helping (hopefully for years to come!) and David doesn't need to be in school, I am really looking at it as a time to heal. It is a very important time in terms of being more functional in the future.

This morning I convinced David to snuggle with me in bed a little longer, as Sonya can sleep until 10 or 11. A text from Andrei told me it was snowing outside. I hadn't even looked! Then a friend came over and took David out to play, and Sonya went down for a nap, so I had a quiet house for a bit. I made an orange peel and cinnamon infusion on the stovetop and it was so relaxing. We had lunch, the friend went home, and David went down for a nap without a huge struggle.

Andrei came home and we chatted for a bit before David woke up. Then thanks to David having had less screen time earlier in the day, I felt no guilt putting on Netflix while cleaning the kitchen before small group. Then Nina came over to help before friends came for Bible study. David was so excited to play with her!

It was good to see church family since it had been 5 months. I was still very symptomatic today but got to see people and have a connection with the outside world. Survived another day!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Help! Blogger has done away with all my links that were in the sidebar. I had just updated them and it looks so lonely now. If you're reading this and have a blog, please share the link below since I don't know when I'll be able to restore them.

I saw on a few other people's blogs that theirs were back up. But not so with mine. The comments widget is gone, too. I could go find a screenshot of my sidebar and manually reenter them, but...

"Hello, tech support?"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sophia's birth story, Part 2

After about 39 weeks or so, the midwives started asking if I wanted them to check me, which I didn't. I declined scheduling an induction too. One midwife told me I could "go ahead and schedule" the next few appointments. You mean there's going to be more than one? Depressing.

What was required now at every appointment was a "non-stress test" to monitor fetal activity. A good idea in theory, but not very comfortable. Sophia had thankfully gone head down, but was still flopping around due to my diastasis recti. Reclining in the chair was the worst possible position, and they couldn't get the monitor to stay in place.

A few more weeks went by and I was now more than 41 weeks. At 42 weeks it was Game Over. Funny how you can go the whole pregnancy avoiding complications, only to have the baby forcibly evicted in the end!

It turned out that this appointment was going to be my last before being induced. My dad waited for 3 (!) hours as they kept me on the monitor, then sent me down for an ultrasound, then back up to schedule the induction for first thing Monday. The midwife finally convinced me to have an internal exam, ouch. I could have sworn she was actually trying to get things going.

I wasn't crazy about the nurse OR the midwife that were on duty, and they were both scheduled to work Monday as well. It wasn't looking good for proceeding naturally. When I finally got to leave, they kept saying "see you Monday!" Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence! 4 days to get something started.

To be Continued...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sophia's birth story, Part 1

While I'm facing the reality of a post-partum body and having a newborn all over again, it seems like a good time to review the miracle of Sophia's birth!

(for anyone just tuning in, we live in St. Petersburg, Russia, but I traveled both times to the U.S. to give birth...)

There were a few things about David's birth experience that we changed right away, or at least hoped to do differently. For one thing, I switched from the local Ob-Gyn in my hometown to a midwifery practice in a neighboring town. Longer commute, but a very caring community for the most part. Different birth plan, too-but I'll get to that later.

As my pregnancy progressed, I was often measuring ahead of schedule, and wondered if this baby might be early. I also had gestational diabetes, though. Once I got on a diet, my weight gain slowed down and things seemed more normal. But I still wondered if I might go early.

Once I got towards my due date, though, I had zero symptoms of labor. Same as with David! I mean, not a hint. I barely even felt pregnant. I was carrying really low though (low tone in abdominal muscles), and was told repeatedly that baby had "dropped" and that I looked "ready." Actually, I started getting those comments about 2 months before she was born.