When we arrived to see Salwa and her mother in Sheba hospital’s pediatric ICU this morning, we heard that Salwa had had some problems during the night. Her condition was not good, as a result of her big surgery yesterday. Switching her great arteries at four months of age, rather than in the first few days of life, has resulted in such a big change for her delicate little heart, that her body is struggling to cope.
The medical team decided it’s safest to put Salwa onto ECMO. Receiving this news for me was a sharp shock. Its jarring and difficult to know that this sweet baby, just two days ago smiling and babbling in her mothers arms, is now transferred to a life-support machine. Her chest is open, so her mother is not allowed to spend too much time in her room, keeping Salwa from infection.
There are many Kurdish mothers in the hospital at the moment; each of their babies in recovery from big surgeries, three of them with the same diagnosis as Salwa. All of them flocked to the side of Salwa’s mother during this horrible morning, to give their support, even when they could have been focused on their own babies’ recovery. I suppose the healing of their own babies cannot feel complete, without the healing of each one of the group.
Salwa’s mother bravely faced the day with desperate prayers, repeated over and over, laced with tears, gasping for breath and willing with every part of her, the healing and life of her baby. She understands that Salwa’s heart is weak and that her body is struggling. It was so sad to see Salwa’s beautiful mother’s heart being wrenched with fear for her daughter’s life.
Salwa was taken for a CT scan, which thankfully showed that her brain is looking to be in a good condition without bleeding, and that her coronary arteries are in a good condition as well. This is a big answer to prayer, and gives some tentative hope for Salwa.
Later in the afternoon, we received word from the hospital that Salwa was being taken into the OR. It was a fairly short procedure, around an hour or so, where the surgeons aimed to help the blood flow out of the left side of her heart. We hope that it helps Salwa. Seeing Salwa being brought out of the OR was an incredible sight. Her tiny body in a huge bed, and all the machines, plus about eight medical staff slowly, slowly, so carefully, wheeling her past and transferring her back to the ICU. There is a huge amount going into the efforts to save her life.
Please please pray for Salwa’s recovery and for her mother.