A Ukrainian mother has spoken of her extraordinary journey from fleeing war in her own country to giving birth at City Hospital here in Nottingham.
Lesia Husar, 41, gave birth to baby Richard on Sunday, June 12, having travelled over 1,200 miles from her home of Chernivsti, Ukraine, to escape the ‘daily fear of bombings.
City Hospital staff, who Lesia says were very kind and helpful, set up a moving Whatsapp call with her husband Taras, who was on duty in Ukraine at the time.
Baby Richard was born on Saturday, June 12, weighing 4.5 pounds.
After first heading to Romania, a pregnant Lesia, along with her 14-year-old daughter Renatta, flew to the UK where she was welcomed by a host family in Woodthorpe – and was moved to see that the family had stacked her room with supplies in anticipation for the arrival of her baby.
This included a pram, cot and clothes for baby Richard.
Along with the pressures of the long distance travelling while also pregnant, Lesia also had to do this without her husband Taras, 41, who decided to stay and fight in the war as a voluntary policeman.
A former policeman, Taras felt that it was an important duty to carry out as he himself was wounded while fighting Russian forces in 2014. Taras also lost some friends in the fighting eight years ago.
While it was a difficult decision to leave her husband and flee to the UK, Lesia is from the small city of Chernivsti – which had Russian planes overhead constantly and people seeking cover in cellars in fear of bombings. She had to get away for the safety of her daughter and her then-unborn child.
When they eventually arrived in the UK, Lesia and daughter Renatta were met by a welcoming family. They were also thrilled to meet the whole street during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations where neighbours brought gifts and presents. Lesia was taken to Nottingham City Hospital where she gave birth to baby Richard on Sunday, June 12.
For the birth of her daughter in Ukraine, she had a C Section under general anaesthetic so didn’t see or experience any of the birth. At Nottingham City Hospital this time round she was awake and got to experience everything.
On the birth of her newborn son, Lesia said: “I am so grateful to everyone – my host family and their neighbours and the staff at the hospital here in Nottingham. I was so stressed during my pregnancy, which doctors have said might explain why Richard was so small when he was born, but it has been a big relief to be cared for in Nottingham by such kind and supportive doctors and midwives.
“I love my country and want to go back to Ukraine soon, hopefully by the summer, but the war must end first before I can take my children back there.”
They called their son Richard after her husband woke up one morning, before the war started when she was in the early stages of pregnancy, and said to her that if it was a boy they had to call it Richard. Strangely, neither had any idea that their baby would eventually be born in England – but Lesia said that her baby having an English name now feels right.