Today could very well be our last full day in the hospital here in Czech as we’re hopeful that some time tomorrow morning Bethany and the baby will get released. Czech hospitals require a 72 hour stay from the time you give birth and that time would be up tomorrow around 10:30am. Even though we’re excited to get home, our stay here has actually been very enjoyable. I though it would be good to write a bit about our experience here and maybe some of the differences we have noticed between Czech and the States.
Above is a photo of the room that we’ve been in the past three days. On Monday and in to Tuesday, Bethany and Karis were sharing this room with another mommy and baby. They were released yesterday and the room was given completely to us and that’s why I was able to sleep here last night. The past few days have been very warm outside (mid-high 80s) and there is no AC in here, so we brought our own fan that has been running non stop. At times we have been sweating in here, but we’re thankful for the moving air. The sun is setting as I type and I’m feeling the cooler begin to blow which is a nice break for the warm day. Over all this place has been a nice, temporary home.
In the States we only really remember seeing the pediatrician a few times during our stay at the hospital. Here we see her daily, if not a few times a day. Today the doctor and nurses came early to check on Karis and they gave us the task of weighing her before and after every feeding. Our room has a little scale and they gave us a chart to keep track of Karis’ weight and at first we thought this would be burdensome task, but it’s been just fine. Occasionally the doctor or nurse has come in to check her progress. Any staff person entering our room has the potential to be difficult because of the language barrier, but we have done pretty well understanding what’s going on. We have been super impressed with the kindness of the staff here and their willingness to try and speak whatever English they can to us. They are kind, sweet, and in general just have a love of babies. It’s great to hear them talk to little Karis in Czech and we have felt very cared for by everyone here.
Karis’ crib on wheels (shown above) is pretty nice. It has a little heart monitor that we have to turn on and off when we lay her down or pick her up. We have forgotten to turn it off a few times and it begins to beep loudly! I actually like the crib better then the plastic, bucket-style one that we had in the States because it’s a little more spacious and seems quieter in general when we are picking up or putting Karis down. Since she’s mostly just sleeping right now I’m glad she’s got a queen (baby) size mattress.
Like most Czech homes and schools, you’re asked to not wear shoes inside and that’s true here. We brought our own house slippers and every day they clean our floors and the floors of the entire hospital. You are also given a mug and a glass cup, along with your own silverware. They leave the silverware with you and just bring food, which I think is pretty smart because you can just reuse your silverware and it cuts down on the dishes they have to deliver and do on a daily basis. I also figured out how to hook my computer up to the TV in the room so we could watch a little American baseball (Go Dodgers!), so that was fun this afternoon. Our room has a wardrobe for your clothes and a full shower in the bathroom (not something I remember us having in the States).
It will be a joy to take Karis to our home tomorrow but as I’ve written we have been really blessed here. Part of learning a new culture is having experiences like this one and I can honestly say we’re thankful for it. I’ve even been thinking about all the women throughout the globe who give birth in so many different facilities and locations. For us, this has been similar to what we call home but for others this is quite different. We’re thankful for modern medicine and well trained people who can care for us despite a language barrier. There’s no other way for me to express it than to say it’s all grace.
It was another day of sickness and lots of sleep. Not only did I sleep in today, but I ended up taking two naps, both of which were more than two hours in length. Avery, Titus, and I continue to hack and cough while sharing the Kleenex box which is running low. Thankfully, Bethany has been able to stay healthy thus far although she said she’s a little worried she might be sick by tomorrow. This is our life and for me it feels like I’ve written this same blog many times before.
Bethany has gone in to full “nesting” mode. I asked her today if pregnancy nesting was scientifically proven and she affirmed it so it must be true (plus, I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven that challenging a pregnant woman is unwise). This has happened with all of our kids, but right before she’s about to give birth (either a few days or weeks before), Bethany gets a little crazy with getting things organized, purchased, or whatever else may be required. With Titus I vividly remember running around Sears trying to find a new dishwasher for our house. Bethany was dead set on having a new dishwasher before that baby came. That same night she ended up going in to labor. I don’t remember the specifics for when Avery was born, but I think it had something to do with Christmas decorations or cleaning the house. For the past few days it’s been a bunch of the same.
Today she really wanted to make sure we went to the mall and got a few things that we’ve been needing. Even though I’m sick, we packed in to the car and off we went (I should be clear that she didn’t force me–I went of my volition). She also followed up on a tax accountant in the U.S. to help us with international tax law. She was working with the kids to make sure they cleaned up the living room and got things organized. She did all the dishes. She got a box out of the garage with baby clothes that she’s been wanting to loan to another family (which I hand delivered today). Earlier this week we were reorganizing our bedroom, throwing out old clothes, and even taking things down to the basement storage. Maybe some of these things sound normal to you, but I’m telling you things have ramped up around here. At one point she asked me if I wanted her to drive the car because I wasn’t feeling well and I told her I was too scared of her driving us because of her super nesting mode she’s in. Her response, “We gotta get this stuff done.” Yes, mam!
Above is a photo of me sleeping on the floor of my office today. I don’t remember a time in my life where I’ve done something like that, but I guess there’s always a first time for everything. The back story goes like this. I had a long meeting in the morning and got back to the office around 1:15pm. I hadn’t had any lunch, so a few of us went and grabbed some lunch. Upon returning I just didn’t feel well. I figured I would just go home, but the thought of driving for 30 minutes just didn’t sound possible considering how I was feeling. As soon as we walked back in to the office, I laid down on the ground and feel asleep for what I think was about 45 minutes. My body just basically shut down. During that time time, my teammate Daniel got this photo of me presumably because the thought it was just weird that I would fall asleep right there. I literally used my wallet as a pillow.
After my nap, I did feel well enough to get to the car and drive home. However, as soon as I got home I laid down and slept for another 2 hours. Titus ended up convincing Bethany to send me in some medicine because he thought it would instantly make me well enough to take him outside and play baseball. I took the medicine, but it definitely wasn’t enough to get me outside and on my feet. I feel completely and utterly exhausted even now.
Tonight we ended up taking a meal to one of our missionary friends and teammates, but while we were driving Titus said he was going to throw up. We pulled over and sure enough he took care of that in the parking lot of a grocery store. We honestly thought he was getting better even though he’s still really stuffed up, but I think we’re going to keep him out of school again tomorrow. Avery doesn’t seem to have it as bad as Titus and I, but she’s still battling something too. This really isn’t my favorite time to be sick with Bethany so close to her due date. We’re in that place where anything could happen and my hope would be that we could all feel better before that baby arrives. Not only do I not want to be sick when the baby comes (simply because that’s usually not good for babies), but I also want to be well enough to help with all the other details. Lord willing, we’ll be healthy and ready but even if that doesn’t happen we’ll just have to figure out how to respond well.
I feel about as sick as I’ve felt while living in Czech. I slept for four hours this afternoon and still feel exhausted. Those who regularly follow our story know that we have not been very healthy since moving here, and the past week has been no different. It’s hard to distinguish between what is just the normal cold season stuff and what is our bodies adjusting to a new climate. The weather has gone from cold to somewhat warm, so that could be affecting us. We don’t get nearly as much sun as we used, so that’s a theory too. And then of course there’s just the normal sickness that goes around and right now we know a lot of people who are sick, so that could definitely be it. Maybe I am saying this because of how I’m feeling at the moment, but I think sickness has been one of the most difficult things that we’ve experienced over. It seems like whatever we get is worse and lasts a lot longer that what I remember having in the States. Yet, I know God is using it to sanctify us. I just wish the sanctification process required less Kleenex.
There’s not much to write about when you spend most of the day sleeping, but there is a story from when Bethany picked up Titus today. He had last week off because of some normal holiday break, and today was his first day back in a week. One of the hilarious things about his class is that everyone calls him “Ty Ty” (I think they picked the nickname up from us because we often call him that when we’re talking to him). As Titus and Bethany were walking out of the coat room there was a little girl standing near the walkway who saw them, stopped what she was doing, waved, and said, “Bye Bye, Ty Ty” in English. Bethany was so excited that the girl spoke to him in English and so she made sure he said goodbye to her as well. It was a cute moment and something we want to remember.
I’m off to bed. Pray for us as we try to get healthy and get our energy back.
I could probably summarize my day in just the title of this post: “Sleep and Vitamin C.” Essentially, that’s all I’ve done today is sleep and taking as much vitamin C as I can. I think today was worse than yesterday and my energy has just been completely sapped.
Last night I tried to find some NyQuill around the house, but we don’t have any. I thought we had purchased some in the States, but I guess I was wrong. We have had friends, even other Czechs, try to find that kind medicine here and they turned up nothing really similar to it. I don’t know if there are regulations or not against it over here, but man I sure could’ve used some last night. I ended up taking some Tylenol PM just to get some sleep which was helpful, but it’s just not the same as NyQuill.
We’ve gone back and forth today about whether we should chance going to Prague tomorrow or not. Unfortunately, the place we’re staying won’t allow us to change our reservation so I guess we’re planning on leaving tomorrow morning on the train. My other fear is that I’ll be stuck laying around and sick in bed. I’m hoping that rest tonight will be really good for me and that the Sudafed that I found will help me sleep.
As a family, I can think of no other time in our lives that we’ve been as sick as we have been in Czech Republic. I recognize that there are ebbs and flows to sickness in family, especially with young kids, but it sure does make it difficult. The past two days we have had to cancel our Czech lessons because I’ve been sleeping and our Czech teacher cancelled tomorrow’s lesson because she is sick!
I realize the common cold is temporary, momentary, and light, but when you fill up a trash can with tissues throughout the day it’s hard not to focus on anything but the moment. Despite all the sickness, I know I am supposed to keep my focus on Christ. Lord willing, I can do that better tonight and tomorrow.