Masha Bychkova, 28, was born in the Ural Mountains in a small Russian town. Her passion for horses led her to Fort Bragg, where she guided trail rides at a local ranch. Masha now works at the Fort Bragg Bakery and as a bank teller. Nearly seven months pregnant, riding her horse is difficult to say the least. “My family is very important to me and it’s hard that they’re so far away. I guess our little zoo is just my way of making a family here.” Included in the “zoo” are two horses, two dogs, a cat, multiple rabbits, chickens and one lonely goldfish. Masha’s pregnancy was a planned one, although at times both she and her fiancé Skyler feel as if they’re not really ready.
“We’ve had all our tests and ultrasounds done at the hospital, and also toured the facilities and taken pregnancy and post-partum education classes available through the hospital. It was good to meet other couples who were having the same experiences that we were!” Neither Masha nor her fiancé were well-educated on the subject of pre- or post-natal care before now. “There are so many tests and procedures that are needed to assure that our baby is healthy, and the hospital has done a great job of providing information and choices. We feel so safe knowing that there is such a caring safety net for us and our baby.”
Because of the impersonal and frustrating nature of socialized medicine in Russia, Masha feels that she receives close personal and friendly care when she visits the Mendocino Coast Hospital.
“Every time I visit, no matter why, I feel that I am treated like family. I actually look forward to it.
I always get the feeling that the hospital staff would go out of their way to answer questions or offer help.” Masha’s experiences with pregnancy haven’t always been perfect either. “We had one miscarriage and it was very difficult for both of us. We were really happy when the hospital showed so much concern, monitoring our second pregnancy every step of the way.”
Masha is happy that there are so many choices for her care during pregnancy. She knows her friends at the Mendocino Coast District hospital are always there with help and support.