Deeply loved

Alena and I visited Rafif today in the ICU. I had heard the reports from others who had visited her earlier in the week, but I was quite shocked to see how she looked today.

I met her on the day she arrived at Sheba, just a few days old I’m sure, back in July, and from then until now, I think her body seems even more frail. Her eyes were more yellow than I have ever seen, and her skin was shiny where it had stretched due to being swollen. Her tiny arms and legs were blotchy and red. This poor girl is in a very serious condition.

I was given some news today which is sad for me to write. The plan previously was to make a tracheostomy for Rafif and send her to a hospital in Gaza where she would live, supported by a ventilator to see how her body responds and improves; sadly this care plan is no longer an option for her. Rafif continues to have sepsis, and no medications are helping her, her organs are systematically failing and she is bleeding internally. The prognosis was clearly stated to me today, they are expecting that she will soon die in the hospital here.

Her family know about this turn of events, and they would prefer to stay in Gaza instead of sending her grandma back. In some ways I am grateful for their decision about this, as it would be so difficult to see their baby looking so poorly.

It felt important to me and Alena today to spend time standing with her, declaring that she isn’t alone or forgotten and she is loved.

It was lovely how many members of staff came speak with us about Rafif; they care for her with great love and diligence. It brought a smile to us to hear one of the nurses calling her by a nickname, maybe something like Rafush. We told her we also have an affectionate name for her between us too, Fifi.

It is hard to explain how it’s possible to love a baby who I don’t think I have never seen properly awake, yet we do love her dearly and it is a privilege to be, in some small way, like her family, as she lies here in the hospital.

Please pray for Rafif and her family who now know this prognosis for their baby.