Human Interest

Ukrainian mom living in bomb shelter grateful to have delivered baby in hospital during war


Life goes on, even in the midst of war. Countless women in Ukraine are still counting down the weeks until the birth of their babies.

Just one month ago, Elina Brynza was surprised with a baby shower by her friends, according to an Instagram post. Just weeks later, things looked very different as she hid with her one-year-old daughter in a bomb shelter several times each day. When they no longer heard gunfire, according to an ABC News affiliate, they were able to sneak out and run back to their home.

Elina was 39 weeks pregnant when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. She tried to remain calm about bringing new life into a war-torn world, but also had to face the reality of giving birth in a war-zone.

Many Ukrainian women are reportedly giving birth in underground bomb shelters at hospitals in her area. Brynza, meanwhile, prayed she would go into labor during a break from the gunfire, and that they have enough time to get to a hospital before her son was born or the shooting began again.

READ: As Russian forces continue attack, orphans in Ukraine struggle to stay safe

Being pregnant during this chaotic time in Ukraine is difficult for many reasons. In Brynza’s case, her doctor — who knows her medical history — will most likely not be able to deliver her son. Brynza shared on Instagram that she suffers from thrombophilia, a condition causing the blood to clot too easily. Thrombophilia can lead to pregnancy loss, placental abruption, incomplete fetal development, and pre-eclampsia.

There are many uncertainties in Ukraine currently, but Brynza finds confidence and peace in her faith.

“Today, our windows were shaking, and I calmly took the child and went down into the pit in the garage,” she shared on Instagram (translated). “Some kind of ‘aircraft’ was shot down a ten-minute walk away, and an airfield was blown up 5 km away. At this time, hearing terrible sounds, we were sitting in a cold dirty pit, and I sang Christian children’s songs to the baby, believing every sung word.”

‘Tenderly in Your hands,

We are kept in Your hands,

Night and day,

We rest,

In Your reliable hands.’”

Brynza clung to her hope in God and looked forward to meeting her son. “We want to give him the name Mark,” she said.

In her most recent Instagram post, Brynza celebrated Mark’s safe arrival. “Our son Mark, today is your first day of life and I did not want to give you to anyone after a cesarean. The kids are being taken away for the night, but the nurses let you stay. I imagined how I was breastfeeding you, holding your little fingers, admiring your little lips and eyes, rejoicing at your similarity to a handsome dad,” she wrote. “I didn’t have time to hold you in my arms, but I managed to kiss you and it’s so much, now, when I’m in the hospital, your dad and little sister, and you’re in intensive care under ventilators. All alone, in another district of the city, you are in intensive care with pneumonia, in a serious condition. I don’t even want to think about what will happen if heavy hostilities break out in our city now. And what a mercy that today I could give birth in the hospital, and you are in the hospital with light.”

Saying that each day was like living in a fog, Brynza concluded, “We pray and trust you Lord, please have mercy.”

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