The birth of a child is a joyous event but in the case of 30-year-old Vicky Shastoplov, a Ukrainian refugee, and resident of the suburbs outside of Haifa. Separated from her husband who remains in Ukraine for now, it was also a moment of sadness.
Four months ago, a few weeks after war broke out in Ukraine, Vicky Shastoplov fled her home town of Kiev with her 4-year-old son Arik. Their lives and that of her unborn baby were in danger.
Shastoplov and her husband, Eduard, decided it would be best for her and Arik to flee Ukraine as soon as possible. However, a compulsory conscription order for all men of eligible age meant that her husband would have to remain behind in war-torn Ukraine.
Recalling the early days of the war, Shastaplov said, “We couldn’t leave the house for two-weeks. We kept away from the windows and did nothing that endangered us in any way.” Already, in her fifth-month of pregnancy, she realized that things could not go on this way. “When I discovered that my physician had fled the country, I knew it was time for us to leave as well.”
Their journey started at their synagogue in Kiev. From there, Shastoplov and Arik traveled by bus for some 24 hours until they reached the Hungarian border. From there, they went on to Greece and then finally reached their destination – Israel. There she was finally reunited with her brother and his family, and Shastoplov and Arik have been with them ever since. “My brother and his family rescued us, I don’t know what we would have done without them,” she said.
Four-and-a-half-months have passed since Shastoplov last saw her husband, but they have daily phone conversations.
A few days ago Shastoplov gave birth at Rambam HCC and immediately sent news of the birth of their second child – a girl, Alice – to her husband, via WhatsApp. She shared, “He was very excited and said that Alice’s birth was the greatest gift he could have received. He asked me to thank the staff here at Rambam. The situation is complicated but we hope to see one another soon and he will finally meet his daughter.”
Shastoplov continued, “Three-weeks ago, missiles landed close to our house in Kiev. I hope the war will end soon and our family can finally be reunited.”
Dr. Yaniv Zipori, Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Rambam and Shastoplov’s attending physician, said, “It was an emotional and complex situation but everyone in the Division stood by her and supported her as much as possible.”
From her bed in the maternity ward, hugging new-born Alice and her son Arik, Shastoplov explained that they had come full circle. “My parents immigrated to Israel after my brother was born in Ukraine and I was born here, four years later. When I was 12-years-old we returned to Ukraine where I lived for another 18 years. Eduard and I were married, and Arik was born there. Now, 4 years later I have given birth to Arik’s sister in Israel – just like my brother and I.”