Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mommy and Max Adventures

On Wednesday, Max, Daddy and Mommy went to the doctor for a visit! Ira, my faithful and wonderful interpreter, met us at 7:30am in the metro. We wanted to get there early so we could try to get ahead of the crowds. I came with my stack of papers, which had the various tests I needed, with their room numbers and times they were open. They were all open in the morning, which worked out nicely for us. I also had with me a syringe that I’d purchased at the pharmacy for about 15 cents, as well as my urine sample, in a plastic sour cream container!  

Though Dougle couldn’t go to the doctor appointment with me this time, he came for his test. He was required to get some type of lung x-ray. We are thinking it was to test for TB, but aren’t sure! For his test, he had to step inside a narrow black box, with his chest up against the wall and his chin up. Then, he was asked to hold his breath when they closed the door. He did, for about 5 seconds, and then it was done. Total cost: 50 cents! Of course, then he had to go to a separate place to pay and bring the receipt back. Apparently the test would have been free, but we had gone to a clinic that was outside our region where we live. So, we paid an “out of region” fee for all our tests (all about 50 cents each).  
For my tests, we had to go to several different rooms for each test. When we arrived at the room number, instead of having a list you sign your name onto, we just walked up to the crowd waiting around and asked who was next. Ok, WE didn’t ask, Ira did! ? Then we said we were next in line. As people showed up, they just asked who was next and that is how the line went. The first room was just a finger prick, to test for gestational diabetes. It was very interesting, as I watched her squeeze my blood into a glass dropper and then blow it out into a little container for holding blood. She also smeared some blood on two glass slides. After that, we went to another room, getting again in line. Here, I accidentally got confused at whom we were after in line and we went out of turn. Dougle was waiting in the hall at this point and said that someone started yelling at the man who let us in. They were yelling at him for letting us in when it wasn’t our turn, and he said he did because I was pregnant! Then the same lady yelled at us when we came out after they drew my blood for other tests. Oops. That was my mistake! 

We went to another room to pay for that test, which was about $3 and our out of region fee. Then we went to get my cardio-gram. I am not sure how they are done in the United States, but this seemed like it might be different! But I am not a doctor and don’t know. I laid on a bed and rolled up my pant legs. She clamped two things on my legs and two clamps on my upper arms. Then she put suction cup things on my chest. After a few minutes, a machine spit out a print out of wavy lines all over it. We had to go to another room where the nurse told me it looked great, then to pay the fee, and then back to the original room to tell her my “normal” diagnosis from the other nurse and turn in my receipt!  After that, we went to a different room to turn in my urine sample. Mine was the only one in a sour cream container. All the rest were in glass or plastic jars. Note to self for next time! It took from about 8am to around 10am to get all this done. Then we went to the doctor’s office (in the same building) and waited our turn in line, the same way that we’d done at all the other stops. 

The doctor was very nice. Her nurse had all my files out and ready. She went through some paper work, asking about my previous delivery and about some family history, as well as giving us a form to fill out at home and bring back. It is in Ukrainian, which will be a challenge, since we’ve heard it is pretty different from Russian! I had my check-up and then they scheduled me for my next visit, two weeks later. The nurse also filled parts of a registration booklet about my pregnancy and visits so far (from the records in Moscow, as well as those here). So, now I have my official pregnancy registration, that I’ve been instructed to carry with me at all times! On the way out of the clinic, we had to stop by and get it stamped to show it was official!

Ahead of time Ira had called us and told us about customary “tip” that is given to the head doctor and my doctor. It was to say thank you for letting us go to their clinic, since I live out of region and am a foreigner. Ira said that doctors are toward the bottom end of the pay scale and don’t get paid very much here in Ukraine. So, customary tipping helps insure better service. Ira even brought some pink envelopes to put the money into (which was about $45 dollars for each). We gave these to the doctor and then left. 

Overall, I had a good experience. The clinic there is pretty worn down; the building is old, 1/3 of the lights in the halls are burnt out, and the heating doesn’t work, so you have to wear your coat in the hallways. However, the exam rooms are warm, with electrical heating, and best of all, the doctors and nurses seem to be very friendly and helpful. We are happy with our pre-natal care so far!

Our next task: finding a doctor and hospital for delivery. We are going to Kiev this weekend (leaving Sunday on a 6 hour express train) to check out two private clinics there: a German clinic and American clinic. Then, we hope to be able to take my pregnancy registration documents I received at my last visit to the hospital here in Kharkov. We’ve heard several good things about it from several people, my OB-Gyn even commenting how it was the best here in the city. So, hopefully we will be able to do more question asking and look around next time we go in to check it out! 

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement as we figure this all out!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Things and Pictures

Hello again! Well, we've been having fun recently, getting settled into the culture, looking for an apartment (which we hope to sign a contract on a more permanent place soon!), visiting doctors, etc. Things have been going well. We even hope to start up language classes again next week, since we have been able to get several important things accomplished in the last two weeks! I went to the doctor again, which I have some interesting stories from that, so you will have to stay tuned for those stories. 

I am just posting a short blog with pictures of Canaan in the past few weeks. We've been having fun, as always, watching him develop. Today his new word is "soon." He was bidding goodbye to his Grand-Dad and Gran-Nan on Skype and said, "Back soon." He also has
 picked up the work "pop-corn" from a Veggie Tale video where a giant popcorn meteor is coming. He has decided he likes this word, even though he has no idea what it means, and says it randomly throughout the day and smiles! Dougle has decided we must pop some popcorn for him soon!

I hope you enjoy some of the pictures. 
  • The tree is a fall craft that Canaan did. We did it with Malachi and Denyce, too, which makes crafts even more fun!
  • Canaan likes to hold things under his chin. In this picture, Canaan brought all his markers with him for his diaper change. He held all he could in his hands and put the rest under his chin!
  • Then there is our cutie as he sleeps. He is getting too big for his pack and play, but we've been waiting for a permanent place before we buy a bed for him. We've just been "in between" places for so long, that he will be all grown up out of his bed soon!
  • Then there is the "marker make-up." He got carried away with drawing on his white board and it ended up looking like dashing eye shaddow!
  • Monkey Love. The last picture is of Canaan with his singing monkey he got for his birthday from Grandma Janie and Poppop. Thank you...for the loud, singing monkey! 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Doctors and Mentors

Hello! Sorry for the long absence. We have been having a hard time keeping up with e-mail and blog posting since we haven't had internet at our house. We are so spoiled! However, great news, we got it up and working just a few hours ago! So, this is a bit long of a post, but I am catching you up on my doctor adventures so far, as well as our visit from the Jarboes!

The last week has gone well for us in Ukraine. We are now all over our illnesses, have done some shopping around (pricing and getting some more of those household ‘necessities’), and have been checking out various venues for pre-natal and the delivery of Max. Dougle has been trying to read a bit in a local newspaper and one day came home with a different paper than normal. When he opened it up, we knew God had a hand in his picking it up, because there was a whole section devoted to ranking the top 5 hospitals for delivery in Kharkov! He got out his dictionary and spent time looking over what it had to say. We were pleased with what they reported, since it was a bit out of the ordinary for normal hospitals here. A few things we were pleased about was that the top ranked hospital had options for private rooms for delivery and recovery, allowed the baby to stay in the room with the mother, as well as allowing some visitors. In addition, they have been able to deliver and care for at least one baby that was born weighing just over a pound, which gives me comfort that they have proper equiptment for emergencies. So, while going to Kiev for delivery may still happen, we are going to check out this option here in Kharkov. In fact, we went yesterday to try to visit the clinic, but were turned away because I don't have the right registration papers for being pregnant! Things here in Ukraine seem to require different paperwork than we are used to in the States. So, we were turned away from being able to ask any questions until we had the proper documentations required about my pregnancy. One thing that is also different is that the delivery hospital and doctor is not the same as the doctor and clinic for pre-natal care. So, we had to go to a different clinic to register and set up for my pre-natal appointments. However, though we were turned away at the first attempt, we were able to meet a great girl (she is my age) who has helped us tremedously. One of the missionaries with the Southern Baptist that we have met has been extremely helpful in helping us get some information on set-up and doctors. She also provided us with the name of an interpreter, Ira, who has helped interpret for medical mission groups they've had come. So, she is familiar with some of the medical terminology! Ira turned out to be a triple blessing. She found out where the hospital was, and then when we had to seek out an alternative pre-natal clinic, she made multiple phone calls on our behalf to set up an appointment with a friend of a friend of hers. So, she was able to get me into see a pre-natal doctor the next day (today) so I could be an officially registered pregnant woman!

Today we met Ira at the clinic. After waiting for a while- yes, you have to wait even here in Ukraine for doctors!- we were able to visit with the doctor. She seemed very nice. First she had to look over my records from Moscow and then take them to her head supervisor to make sure they would approve me as a patient, which they did. Then Ira wrote out a hand written application asking for me to be admited as a patient, saying that I would follow the instructions of my doctors. After signing that, and giving my other information (except family history- I have never been asked any type of family history questions either here or in Moscow), we paid the $20 registration fee and were in. They gave me several notes for tests that I needed to come back and get Wednesday morning before coming in for a more 'official' visit. So, bright and early Wednesday morning I will be going in for some blood work (for which I need to bring my own empty syringe), a urine sample (that I collect at home and bring), as well as a gestational diabetes test. Dougle also will be required to have some type of chest x-ray test, which is a first. He was never requried to take tests for my first pregnancy! In addition, we learned that blood types here have different classifications. When I told them Dougle's blood type, they were confused that I gave them a letter for a blood type instead of a 1, 2, 3, or 4 blood type classification. So, we will have to look that up and see what each number cooresponds with!

So, that is our medical adventure so far. We still are planning to check out the hospital here, as well as one in Kiev to try to determine what is best for us. Please pray for us, since we don’t know everything to look for in an adequate hospital! We are just trusting God to give us wisdom and direction in this decision. We are less than 3 months from Max’s arrival!!

Tuesday of this week Jay and Sherry Jarboe, from our sponsoring congregation arrived. We really enjoyed their visit; they were a big part of our team’s mentorship in Texas and have continued to be a great blessing while here. They were here for just a bit over 3 days, since Kharkov was just a pit stop before they head off to the European Family Missionary Retreat where Jay will be speaking. But we sure enjoyed all the time they were able to spend with us! It was nice hearing about their stories from when they were going through adjusting and settling into their mission field in Mexico, years ago! And, they are great with our kiddos, which endears us to them even more. They are like "fill-in" grandparents while they are here, taking time amidst jet lag and listening to us talk, to read books to our kids and play with them. We are so grateful for their time with us!We were able to take them to a Ukrainian restaurant that had been recommended to us. It was very tasty and an excellent place for taking guests to experience the local quizzine. In fact, it was a perfect setting because it wasn’t very noisy like many restaurants can be. In addition, they had a “children’s room” right next to where we were sitting, in which the kids got to go in and be entertained after their meal. The lady who watched the kids was very child friendly, entertaining them with painting, coloring, paper airplanes, balloons, etc! Denyce and I took turns sitting in there with the kids. I got a cute picture of the kids enjoying all the personal attention and entertainment!

Well, that is all for now. We want you all to know we love you and think of you often! Thanks for checking in with us! Hope your week is going great too!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

5 PM Outing

5pm Outing
One thing that is hard to adjust to is the winter darkness. When Kharkov “fell back” doing the time change, it started getting dark around 5pm! Now, dusk starts falling around 4:30pm and by 5pm, it is pretty dark. I took a few pictures of Canaan out on the playground, around 5:30pm! So, we will be playing and running errands by the light of the lamps for a while. The worse part is that some places are very poorly lighted. For example, there are no lamp lights in David and Olivia’s courtyard. So when we walk there after dark, we just have to guess where the roads and sidewalks are and hope we don’t fall too hard in the big holes and cracks that litter all the roads and sidewalks! I feel like I need headlights on my stroller! One thing we will be getting soon for the stroller is reflectors, so that we can be seen by cars! The shortest day of the year is on December 21st, so I imagine we will be seeing more darkness until then. One thing we found helped in Moscow was having plenty of inside lighting; we scatter lamps around the house and turn them on to give a sense of brightness to remind us that it is not time to start getting ready for bed yet!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The First Two Years

Dougle and I gathered these pictures, that are just of Canaan, during his first two years of life with us. We thought you might enjoy seeing pictures of our cutest boy as he grew up over the past two years! We thank God for giving him to us and pray for many more years together with him! And, we look forward to soon adding Max to our family in February!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Years Old

Two Years Old!
Hello all. This post is coming a few days late, due to some illness in our family. But we are happy to announce that we have been parents for two years now! I mean, we are happy to announce that Canaan Kirt is now TWO YEARS OLD! Canaan turned two on Thursday, October 30th. We had a party planned for that evening, however Mommy and Daddy (and Uncle David) were too sick. We were thoroughly disappointed in having to postpone the party, but we were able to have a party on the following Monday night! I hope you enjoy all the info and all the pictures from the party!! And a thank you to everyone who sent gifts to Canaan, as well as a BIG thank you to Liv and Dave for bringing them to us!!
Also: this slideshow is a little long, so don't feel obligated to watch!

Proud “Academic” Accomplishments
Alphabet: Canaan can say all the letters of the alphabet, though he still skips “W” most of the time. He also can recognize almost all the letters if written for him. He has recently started to sing his ABC’s, though he won’t do it by himself, he always requires the help of everyone who is present when he performs. We will have to post a clip of this soon too; it is too cute.
Numbers: Canaan can count things, like the steps as he goes up or his cars he lines up, 1-10. Though he hasn’t been inclined to saying the number 7, he has finally started to recently. He can also recognize all the numbers 1-10 when written.
Colors: Canaan can recognize the 10 basic colors: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, white, black, brown, and pink. In fact, he loves to talk about everything using these color words!

New Words
The past few months have brought an onslaught of all kinds of new vocabulary. While Canaan tries to repeat so much of what we say, whether he understands it or not, I try to just include the words that he says on his own, not just words he randomly repeats. I know I won’t be doing this much longer, since his vocabulary seems to be increasing by a word or two every day, but I know certain people who hold him dear to their hearts like to know what all is new. One thing, it is interesting to look at some of the new words and see what types of new discussions we’ve been having lately: for example the verbs hit, throw, bite, bump, hurt or a few nouns like oven, timer, and microwave! And, since there are so many, I won’t put his pronunciations for all of them. Most of them are the word, just without the first letter (he’s been leaving off first letters these days), or they sound similar to the word, to the trained Mommy ear! So, here are his newest words in the past month that I can think of, though I am sure I am missing a few:
Verbs: line up, blow nose, hit, throw, bite, bump, hurt, see, hide, have it, sing, walk, open, broke, watch, clean up, crash, fly, paint
Nouns: train (not just choo-choo), plane (not just air), fire truck (not just truck), tracks (train tracks), legs, arms, hands, mouth, face, pants, shirt, jacket, board, ladder, oven, timer, microwave, oatmeal, towel, shampoo, room, piece, page, crayon, careful
Prepositions: (he loves prepositions)- next, around
Adjectives: dark, messy, other,
Misc: oops, bless you

New Favorites
So, here are just a few favorite phrases or activities that Canaan has recently.
Peas and Corn- For the past week, whenever we ask Canaan what he wants to eat, he always replies with “Peas, Corn.” He loves most vegetables, while having a distinct dislike for all fruits, except for eating a banana and drinking orange juice. If his yogurt comes with tiny bits of fruit pieces, he spits them back out at us!
“Mommy play you.” This is a cute phrase he says all the time these days. He hasn’t got the correct personal pronoun yet, but he has been more and more frequently asking that people play with him. So, whoever is the coolest person in the house (Chi, Auntie, or Uncle David always top Mommy and Daddy if they are around), then he will be tugging on their pant leg and asking them to “play you” (with me)!
“Na-Nan have it.” This new phrase, though just a couple days old has been used frequently. He has discovered a way to express that he wants something and we should give it to him to see!
Crayons- Coloring with crayons is a new favorite pastime. Sometimes it is just carrying around the crayons that he likes so much. But he loves his crayons. Since arriving in Ukraine, I have had a hard time finding crayons, which is strange to me. I have looked just about everywhere I go, but have only managed to find them in one store! But, I did find some great crayons for little hands. They are small, but fat, and have no paper on them, which tended only to get in the way before. Many times Canaan will pull his crayons out of his box one by one, make two circles or lines or scribbles with each one, and then put them down on the table in a nice, neat line. He will go through every crayon like this, making a few strokes and then putting it down in line with the rest that have been used! He is so funny like this! He also likes to group the colors, pulling out the four shades of blue crayons, choosing to color with the two shades of yellow at the same time, etc. It is so cute and funny to me!
Playing with Friends- Since we now have our teammates near us, we have been spending time with them recently, as well as trading off babysitting, etc. Canaan has taken note of this and wakes up most mornings wanting to “Go Chi’s house” or “See Auntie, David.” He loves his new friends and buddies and likes to play with them! This, I myself like as well. Though at times getting together young 2 and 3 year olds can take a lot of work for the mommies, since they are still having to teach their little offspring how to share and how not to hit, it is also very nice and rewarding to see them playing happily together and chasing each other playfully through the house! Of course, Aunties and Uncles are the best too, since you generally don’t have to worry about those issues with them! 