There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Monday morning began on a note of excitement and anticipation. Not only was it baby Lawik’s three-month birthday—a milestone his mother was eager to celebrate—but his CT scan and echo looked better and doctors were decreasing ECMO heart-lung support and preparing to disconnect the device altogether. We got a hopeful phone call from his mother, who told us Lawik was still doing well with lessened support.
However within half an hour we got another phone call, this time from a doctor in the ICU. During the slow, painstaking process of weaning Lawik from the ECMO, he began bleeding suddenly and all the doctors’ best efforts were not enough to save him. Doro, Kathy, and Petra rushed to the hospital, where they prayed and grieved alongside Lawik’s mother.
The next morning, we brought Lawik and his mother to Jerusalem, to a cemetery on the ridge just above the Garden Tomb.
Meanwhile at Sheba Medical Center doctors planned to send baby Kamel home to Gaza on Sunday after his lifesaving surgery. But an echo first thing that morning showed increased pressure on some of the valves in his heart, and his cardiologist is now considering a catheterization to resolve this before Kamel goes home:
Little Jamal from Gaza finally went home on Sunday, along with our wide-eyed Ahmad N:
Both are doing very well and need to return in a month or two for follow-up. Mohammed A.S. from the West Bank also went home on Sunday after a cath last week and we’ll see him next week for an echo:
Sheba doctors hoped our sweet Hazhin from Kurdistan would be ready for her arterial switch operation this week, but she was not stable enough. They discovered that she had too much blood flowing to her lungs through the shunt that was placed in her first surgery, and not enough to the lower half of her body.
Little Somaia from Gaza is still in the ICU at Sheba and not making much progress in being able to come off the ventilator. She is however growing quite a bit, and is often awake and alert now:
As they wait for improvement for their own babies, Somaia’s aunt and Hazhin’s dad are incredible blessings to us and the other families in the hospital. Immediately after Lawik’s death on Monday, Somaia’s aunt was sitting face-to-face with his mother on the floor of the ICU, comforting her and crying with her:
In fact, it was impossible this week not to be struck by the overflow of love and faith. In the darkest, most seemingly hopeless moments—weeping in an ICU room where the machines have gone silent, standing before a child-sized grave—still grace and hope have abounded.
While these moments are devastating, sometimes even crushing in their weight, they are not the end. We are walking through a story yet to be finished, and while we cannot fully understand every chapter, we know the Author is good. The ending is written, sealed two thousand years ago when a grave not far from Lawik’s burst open and was left empty. We are being guided step by step to that beautiful final chapter which is not an ending at all but the prologue to eternity. Until then, may we continue in faith and obedience to the One who will one day dry our tears and make all things new.
Thank you for joining us in prayer,
Bria for Shevet Achim