My heart is broken and my words are few because of the news that this final blog brings.
It has been one day since our last visit with Baneen. Today we were told by the doctor that overall nothing has changed with her condition, for the better or the worse. A slight difference, however, is that administration of oxygen to her has been decreased, in order to test if her body will cope with the change. She is still in limbo between life and death. Doctors quote her outlook as 50-50.
Last night we prayed with Baneen. James chapter 1 encouraged us to believe
Last night we received an alarming phone call from Baneen
Doctors battled for Baneen's life throughout the day today, closing her chest for the first time in many days, then reopening hours later when it became apparent that her heart was responding poorly to the change. They told Baneen's parents that they estimate she has a 50% chance of survival at this time. As we watched and prayed I felt a continued strong sense of hope, and this was echoed by the head of the ICU:
Baneen's father has just called to say they are working on his daughter now...we will keep you posted.
To be honest, Baneen is unstable. Her health has become more complex. The doctor stated today that she is now suffering from
For young and fragile Baneen, today marked yet another milestone in her four months of life. A diagnostic procedure, called a cardiac catheterization, determined that Baneen's compromised state was the result of a large thrombus (blood clot) in her left lung. This dangerous mass was blocking blood flow into her lungs, resulting in a rapidly decreasing oxygen level. Within minutes after this discovery, she was rushed into the operating theater for her third emergency surgery. Doctors feared her life would be lost if not for rapid intervention.
Against great odds, the thrombus was successfully detained and a new shunt was created, connecting the aortic and pulmonary valve. The end result is that Baneen's lungs are receiving adequate blood supply and oxygen once more. The surgeon reported that the next twelve to twenty-four hours are extremely critical. However, she is considered stable in ICU. Although I was denied access into the ICU to see Baneen, and could not take any pictures, I spent some poignant moment with her parents who seem to be at the end of themselves emotionally.
Baneen's mother wept uncontrollably, rocking back and forth in her seat. Her husband, though calm, wore an expression of deep pain. I sat with them, my arm around Baneen's mother, feeling completely helpless. I knew no words of mine could bring them consolation. So I prayed. I cried out to the Father who sees, who hears, who bears our pain. And I am asking you to do the same. Have faith that Baneen's life is precious in His sight. Have hope that her heart will continue to beat. But above all, let love for this child and for this family undergird your prayers. "But there abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Before arriving at Sheba Medical Center today, I was reflecting on how much God has done for the children who have come and gone through Shevet Achim. When I think about all of the miracles that I have been blessed to witness, I am reminded of how much God can do and does.
Baneen was still intubated when we visited today, and the doctor said that he is not entirely sure what her progress is yet. They need more time to monitor her and her responses to medication. He did mention that some progress has been made, but not enough to confirm that the operation has fully corrected the nerve damage.
It was a sweet time with Baneen
It's official: Baneen has now acquired the royal title of "Queen of Sheba." Not only does she have the beauty required of a queen, but she also has the strength. Her reign continues at Sheba Hospital's ICU, with Baneen alive and breathing, but still very critical. Her surgery was still tentative for this afternoon, until 1 pm when it was cancelled due to a delay in the OR schedule. There is a possibility, however, that it may take place tomorrow. Usually, my heart feels heavy and overwhelmed when I walk into her room, but today it was different. Today, I felt a renewed sense of hope and the need to speak words of encouragement to her. I told her how beautiful she is, how much God loves her, and how one day, her heart will be made strong and new. As the nurse performed her assessment, I said, "I know you haven't seen her smile yet, but she has the most beautiful dimples." The nurse didn't say a word, but smiled as though imagining it herself. Baneen's body may be small and weak, but she testifies of God's power to sustain. The last two days, this Scripture has spoken comfort to my soul for all in need of strength: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power." Isaiah 40:28-29
The morning began with a scheduling mixup: When I arrived at Sheba, I was prepared for Baneen to have a catheterization. But her mother was quick to inform me that her daughter would in fact be having open heart surgery. This didn't seem to match yesterday's report, but I trusted her word and sought out the doctor to hear the details. I recognized Dr. Katz from yesterday evening and he again took the time to clarify plans for Baneen. "I was misinformed the last time we spoke," he began.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful baby named Baneen. She had loving parents who searched far and wide for someone who could rescue their precious daughter's life. Two operations later and still this quest for hope continues. Baneen's story goes beyond the realm of a fairy tale as her health hangs in the balance. Though much like the princess Sleeping Beauty, Baneen lies sleeping in Sheba's ICU, waiting for the kiss of life.
It is a sobering thing to stand over her small body. Each breath is regulated, each heartbeat accounted for. Earlier this week, doctors attempted to wean her off the ventilator, but her lungs would not tolerate it. Twice today, I tried speaking with someone about her current condition, but to no avail. Finally, just as I was leaving, a doctor stepped off the elevator. Praise God for His perfect timing! Dr. Katz graciously explained the situation to me.
Whereas Baneen's lungs were initially not receiving enough oxygen-rich blood, they are now receiving a surplus. Thus, her lungs cannot function without the assistance of a ventilator. Before doing any further surgical repair, however, Baneen must undergo a catheterization tomorrow. This diagnostic procedure provides doctors with 3-D images of her heart. "We think we know what to do [for Baneen], but we want to know," Dr. Katz stated. He sounded confident that once a catheterization was complete, the proper surgery could be executed. The goal: to give Baneen's lung just the right amount of oxygen-rich blood, allowing her to breathe independently.
I appreciated his honesty as well as his desire to keep pressing on towards a solution for Baneen. Her parents, likewise, press on with hope-filled hearts. They are not willing to give up, despite the challenges. Baneen's father is faced with losing his job if he does not return to Iraq in two weeks, and relatives do not want her mother to stay in Israel without her husband. As you intercede for this family, consider these issues as well, asking God for wisdom and favor on every side. Nothing is too difficult for the One "in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:10