When you think of new parents bringing home their first baby, a picture of a sleeping baby, a cozy nursery, and smiling parents enters your mind. But sometimes reality is drastically different – especially when you live in another country like Ukraine.
Abigail was born in Hungary even though we live in Ukraine. Hospitals in Ukraine are very bad so we traveled to neighboring country Hungary to have our first baby. After she was born, we waited a month for her passport and visa to Ukraine. Once we had those papers in hand, we could go home. During our wait, our car also broke down and it was taking the mechanics weeks to fix it. Finally, on the day we received Abigail’s visa, the car was also running.
We packed the car to the brim. We had been living in Hungary for two months and had a lot of things to take home. It took us six hours to drive home.
We opened the door to the apartment and tried switching on the lights. Nothing – the house was pitch black. I lit a candle to be able to find our way through the darkness. Abigail was crying fervently so I lit a couple more candles in the temporary bedroom and began to feed her. Meanwhile, George unpacked the car. In the process he broke the big toe on his left foot.
I became thirsty. But when there’s no electricity we also don’t have any running water. George went down the street to the 24hour store and bought me a bottle of water. He had only enough Ukrainian money for a small bottle of water. When George told the store cashier about our situation, she offered to let us put a few things in a fridge. George returned with a box of perishables we had brought with us.
George couldn't find any reason for the electricity to be out but we suspected it had something to do with the repairs being done to the exterior of the building. All the plaster had been chipped off and a wooden fence surrounded the front of the building to keep people from walking under the falling pieces.
Abigail, meanwhile, was greatly troubled by her stomach. Since she was born, she had had a lot of stomach pain. As was typical, she couldn't sleep and wouldn't settle down. By 5:30am George gave up on the idea of catching some sleep and went back to the store to pick up our perishables. The shift was changing and we couldn't leave it there any longer. He then called a member of our small group Bible study who's an electrician. He came with two other acquaintances and they tracked the electrical problem. It was a connection problem as a result of the repairs. Around 8am the electricity was working again!
At 8:30am Abigail finally fell asleep and so did I! The phone rang numerous times - how did anyone know we were back??? Anyway, George ran around and bought some cakes and drinks for the inevitable visitors we'd have later on. He slept a little around noon.
The visitors arrived all at the same time. Let's see, there was Marika and Tanya, Lyuda and her daughter Vika, Juli and Zsolt, Marta, Beci and they their two daughters. Hopefully they didn't look around the apartment much since it was cluttered with our suitcases and belongings. We couldn’t fully unpack because our bedroom was still being repaired and we weren’t moved into that room. There was no place to put Abigail's clothes until we were able to use the bedroom. The crib remained in the study filled with miscellaneous baby belongings - like a high chair. That evening we got the pack n play set up in the "back room" which was substituting as a bedroom. More than anything, we would have welcomed a good night's sleep - and gladly turned the lights out!