Kyiv woman’s ‘nightmares’ become reality as granddaughter born amid bombing

‘The baby is kind of our ray of hope in the midst of darkness,’ said Maia Mikhaluk.

22 March 2022

A first-time grandmother in Kyiv has described the moment her “nightmares” came true as bombs began to fall while her pregnant daughter was having contractions.

Maia Mikhaluk’s daughter Sasha was 38 weeks pregnant at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – their home city of Kyiv continues to be shaken by explosions and gunfire.

Sasha started having contractions at about 2am on March 15 – having waited for her contractions to become more frequent, a few hours later they began to hear bombing.

Maia Mikhaluk (second from left) with her husband (centre) son-in-law Nikita and daughter Sasha
Maia Mikhaluk (second from left) with her husband (centre) son-in-law Nikita and daughter Sasha (Maia Mikhaluk)

“In my nightmares I saw this happening in the middle of the night during air raid, during bombing,” Ms Mikhaluk, 51, told the PA news agency.

“And it was just that, that’s how it happened.

“There were loud explosions and we felt like probably she needs to go to the hospital before it gets too bad.

“The ambulance came and they took our daughter and son-in-law, and we just stood near the window on our floor looking at the ambulance go in on an empty road toward the sound of explosions and it was really scary.

“Just praying to God that you keep them safe.”

Sasha gave birth to a baby girl, Briana, on March 16 and has since returned to Kyiv.

Baby Briana was born on March 16 - her grandmother Maia described her as 'our ray of hope in the midst of darkness'
Baby Briana was born on March 16 (Maia Mikhaluk)

Ms Mikhaluk said that both mother and daughter are doing well, although she added there was now “a new level of responsibility” to consider.

“Well, of course, it’s amazing. It’s like nothing else. It’s the most amazing experience and the happiest,” she said.

“The baby is kind of our ray of hope in the midst of darkness.

“But yesterday, I think when the air raid started, and we heard explosions close by, we were sitting in the bomb shelter and I saw that Sasha was leaning over the baby and crying.

“I can understand, you know, her as a young mother of a firstborn, she’s questioning whether she’s doing everything she could to protect the baby, and it’s on all of our minds.

“We’re happy, but it’s a new level of responsibility, and it’s a new level of fear when explosions get close.”

Early on Tuesday, Ukrainian troops pushed Russian forces out of Makariv, a suburb of Kyiv, Ukraine’s defence ministry said, allowing Ukrainian forces to retake control of an important highway and stop Russian troops surrounding Kyiv from the north-west.

However, the Ukrainian defence ministry said Russian forces battling toward Kyiv were able to partially take Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin – north-western suburbs – some of which had been under attack since Russia’s military invaded almost a month ago.

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