Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Failure at ZAGS

Well, we were not able to get Liam's birth certificate yesterday.

It turns out that we need our marriage certificate to be "apostilled."  Basically that means we need an original copy with an internationally recognized notary.  In order to get this Beth's mother will have to go to the same courthouse that we received the certificate in Georiga, and not only get another certificate but have it apostilled and rushed to Moscow. 

We hope to have all of this finished and his birth certificate in hand by July 9.  If it's a month after his birth there will be slight fine, but it's good to know that there is no major rush.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Liam Doesn't Exist Yet -- Legally Speaking

Yep.  As of right now, Liam does not exist in any sort of legal status.  The only current information about Liam is a sheet of paper stating that Beth Rhodes gave birth to him on June 9.  He has no name, and I'm not mentioned in anything.

But tomorrow, everything will change.

In order to get Liam's birth certificate, tomorrow we will have to go to the записи актов
гражданского состояния, or ЗАГС (ZAGS), the civil registry of Russia.  We most not only bring our passports but also our marriage certificate, and the previously mentioned paper we received from the hospital.  We still are not sure yet if we need to bring Liam, but we hope to find out tomorrow before leaving.  Our best guess is it's going to be a long day.

And we do all this to receive Liam's Russian birth certificate-- only then can we go to the American Embassy and get his American citizenship worked out.  Right now we're looking into dual citizenship.  We've heard both that he will and won't be able to, so we'll hopefully find out a definite answer  tomorrow.  But how cool would it be if he could have a dual?

We'll let you know how things go!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A First Video

I just realized I hadn't posted this.

Here's just a little montage of some footage taken over Liam's first few days.

I should have another up shortly!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two Weeks Later

Sorry it's been so long.  Things have been hectic here, but thankfully we haven't been missing much work-wise.  Things have kind of been at a lull, and the first week of Liam's life our entire team was outside of Moscow at a conference.

Liam turned two weeks old yesterday.

Beth recently started a blog about Liam and her pregnancy here in Moscow.  You can find the blog at  Please go and follow.  It's very exciting to see Beth writing.  I will contribute from time to time, but probably through only adding picture or video.

Here is a recent post about the day of delivery.  It's long but I hope you enjoy it.

We went in for a check up on Tuesday the 8th.  The doctor said that there were still no signs that the baby was going to come in to the world on his own and she wanted to start the induction process.  She sent us to the first floor to check into labor and delivery.  As soon as I got there I was surrounded by a troop of Russian nurses, each with a job.  They took my blood pressure, felt my stomach, measured me, weighed me, felt my ankles, asked millions of questions, took my clothes, showered me, and dressed me in a gown and robe.  I felt like I was in a whirlwind and didn’t understand anything going on.  But finally I was ready and they admitted me to the hospital and took me to my room. 
The induction process my doctor wanted to use was a slow process.  She started Tuesday evening with a preparatory procedure…I was then supposed to sleep through the night and then they would start medication in the morning.  Tim and my mom stayed with me until about 11 that night and then they had to go home.  I slept like a baby until the nurse woke me up the next morning. 
About nine o’clock Wednesday morning they gave medication to start labor.  Tim and my mom arrived five minutes after this and contractions began soon after.  By 11 o’clock they were rolling me to the delivery room.  Tim had to go downstairs to get scrubbed in and suited up.  I was in the delivery room for about 30 minutes waiting for him…getting a little desperate…I was so glad when he finally arrived.  I sent him right out to ask the nurse when I could get my epidural.  By noon the anesthesiologist was in my room giving me my epidural and I couldn’t wait!  He told me, “five minutes and no more pain.”  However, fifteen minutes later one of my legs felt a little tingly…but not quite the pain relief I was expecting.  I told the nurse and the anesthesiologist came back and upped my dose.  My other leg felt a little tingly…but my pain was increasing by a lot!  I told the nurse again that I was still feeling pain.  The anesthesiologist returned and after chatting with the nurse for a moment…decided to redo my epidural.  He pulled the first one out of my back and put a new one in a few vertebras higher.  Then he gave me twice the dose.  Five minutes later I was feeling nothing…my lips were even numb.  I guess due to the fact I couldn’t feel anything I stopped breathing as well as I should, and the baby’s heart rate started dropping.  A small army of nurses came into my room and yelled at me to breathe.  I had to really focus and breathe…but his heart rate stabilized.  This was about 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
I napped for a while and Tim and I talked.  I was thinking that this labor thing wasn’t so bad.  We were incredibly surprised when around five o’clock my doctor came in and told us it was time to turn the epidural off.     I told her no…and asked why!  She told me they must because I had to be able to feel to push.  I was confused because I know a lot of women in America who have not felt anything and been perfectly able to push.  For about the next two hours…I got the full natural birth experience.  I really thought I might die.  I also glared at my doctor constantly.  Only the fact that I needed her then kept me from telling her exactly how I felt about her.  If you have spent any time in Moscow you know that Russians are crazy about their cell phones and answer them whenever they ring.  You can always hear stories about teachers answering calls during a lecture, bank tellers in the middle of your transaction, or waiters while you are ordering.  This cultural trend is also true for doctors while you are in labor.  At least six times during the final part of my labor, my doctor’s phone rang and she would leave the room.  One time she told me that the next contraction we would push…however, right as the contraction started she got a call and left.  I told Tim I was going to push anyway…but he talked me out of it.  Finally at 6:53 William Soren Rhodes was born.  They washed him right there and wrapped him up and Tim was able to spend the next hour or so walking with him and talking to him.  I was not so lucky.  The doctor needed to fix me up…so they called the anesthesiologist back.  He gave me what he called a super epidural…he said I wouldn’t be able to feel my legs at all or be able to walk for at least 2 hours.  However, when the doctor came back in a few minutes later I quickly informed her that I could feel everything and wiggled my toes for her.  She promptly took a needle and poked me with it.  I yelled and told her that it hurt…she asked if it was pain or pressure.  I informed her it felt like she just poked me with a needle.  The anesthesiologist came back and gave me something else.  An hour later I started coming to.  Tim kept talking to me…but I couldn’t really understand or respond to him.  I could just look at him and our son.  It didn’t matter what I was feeling…seeing them together was pure joy.  About 2 hours after Liam was born we were able to go to our room.  My mom and our friend Andrea joined us in the room and we ate dinner.  I couldn’t stop looking at Liam.  He was perfect and it started to sink in that I was his mother. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's Liam!

On June 9, 2010, at 6:53 p.m. Moscow time, William Soren Rhodes was born.

He weighed in at 3.8 kilos (8.3 pounds), and was 55 centimeters (22 inches) long.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No Baby Yet

Well yesterday was Beth's official (kind of) due date, and it's come and gone and our child isn't here yet.  We're definitely not fans of waiting--mostly because of the unpredictable part of it, but we're trying to be patient.

While we're waiting, here are some recent baby-related pictures!

We did the obligatory photo shoot before the baby:

Here's the baby's part of the room-- we went with the outer space/cosmonaut theme:

Here are some scans of an ultrasound taken a couple months ago:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Found in Translation

Most of our time here in Moscow has involved language mistakes.  It's just life.  The Russian language has been a blast to learn, but is insanely difficult.  So part of the learning of course is just screwing up.  All the time.

And it's bothersome for me especially, because I don't want people to know that I'm "not from around here."  And occasionally I get away with it.  But I almost always don't.  There's always this point when something clicks in the other persons head that you can visibly see them realize "oh, he's not Russian."

But here are a couple instances lately where I've had good interactions.

  • A week or so ago I took a couple passports to be registered, and when I dropped them off, the man told me in English that they would be available on Tuesday.  Then, for some reason, he looks at me and then says it in Russian.  With my natural desire to try to fool people by any means, I go with Russian and continue our conversation.  It felt so good.  As dumb as it sounds, it gets frustrating when people revert to English automatically.  Just because it show's how obviously not Russian I am.
  • I went to a fruit and vegetable stand near our apartment, and of course butchered the endings on some of my words (when you address a direct object, for instance if you say "I want strawberries," whatever the direct object is, in this case the strawberries, you have to change the ending of the word.  And there's a different ending if it's plural.  Am I putting you to sleep already?).  I'm sure I messed it up, but the woman apologized to me!  She said "excuse me, I'm sorry I don't understand so well, I'm not from here."  Even though it was me who messed the language up, something felt so good about not being the one apologizing.
  • I stopped by another fruit stand a few days ago to pick up strawberries (yet again).  This was the first time this spring I had stopped by this particular stand, but the woman there asked about Beth.  She said she knows that she is pregnant and was wondering if we had the baby yet.  I told her not yet, but any time now.  She was warm and very well-wishing.  I know this really isn't that big of a deal, but I cherish interactions like these.  You can believe we will be frequenting this stand often.

These are just three of my good experiences, but for every one good experience I could share probably 20 mistakes.  But it's all part of language acquisition.  And it keeps you humble to say the least. :-)