This evening, we gave thanks at our community here in Jerusalem for the successful surgery today on 8 week old baby Saan from Kurdistan. They were able to successfully switch his two big arteries and also close his ASD, a hole that was created in a cath in Kurdistan between the two upper chambers of his heart, to allow some oxygenated blood to go to his body. When we said our goodbyes earlier to Saan’s sweet mother, the ICU doctors were with Saan and seemed pleased with his progress. They were talking about perhaps extubating him tomorrow, if not tonight. The next 24 hours are very important, and we are praying that he will continue to make a good recovery after his complex surgery during this time.
To spend time alongside Um Saan during the long wait for her precious baby to come through his surgery was a great privilege, and Archie and I were deeply humbled by her resilience and courage throughout the minutes and hours that ticked past as she dealt with all the emotions that a loving mother experiences when her newborn is taken to an operating theatre for such a procedure. Communicating through Google translate helped us to ‘speak’ with her and answer any questions she had. As the hours slipped past, we prayed quietly for God to surround her with His presence and to enable the surgeons’ hands to perform this complex surgery through to a successful outcome. God is the great Healer, and it was to Him we turned to ask for comfort, healing and wholeness.
To see Um Saan’s smile of relief as her tiny son lay in ICU after his procedure and she heard first hand from a doctor that her little one was doing well, was a moment we shall never forget. Praise be to God for His loving kindness, His comfort and His equipping such a brilliant and empathetic medical team to be the ones appointed to perform this intricate surgery on baby Saan.
Today was a big day for our little Saan. Early in the morning I picked him up from the Ashdod family house and brought him directly to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. In his last Echo, doctors found out that Saan is too small to get his big switch surgery, so we admitted him today to the hospital. He shall gain weight there and maybe he can have the surgery then already next week.
The admission itself was actually pretty easy. The doctors needed Saan’s mother, coworker Hison and me to explain everything about Saan, from when the Iraqi doctors found out he has TGA, until why he even has to get admitted today. Then they measured Saan’s oxygen, he was crying a lot, so it was hard to even get some results, and two doctors took a small blood sample.That was the worst part for our little baby. You could barely see his veins so they needed three attempts to get enough blood. So after that he was almost drinking a whole bottle of milk and fell in a deep sleep.
It was good to see him get some rest after this exhausting morning. We had to wait for a room to get free anyway, so his mother and I were just chilling for a while. She gave me the impression of calm today, as if she wasn’t scared at all of all the things that may come at her. I have huge respect for her, as she is always just taking the next step, taking it easy and isn’t rushing if it’s not necessary to do so. When she got her room in the pediatrics ward, she seemed to be fine with everything and maybe even happy with staying in the hospital.
I’m sure I will enjoy the next time with her. In the next few days, Saan just has to gain weight, and if he has success, maybe the surgery can already take place next week! Please pray that everything will go well from gaining weight, to a successful surgery to recovering well. May the Lord keep our little boy and his lovely mother safe.
Saan was born with transposition of the great arteries, to a Yazidi family living in a refugee camp in northern Iraq after fleeing from the invasion of the Islamic State eight years ago.
Monday night he and his mother flew into Israel, and today he had his first echo at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. His heart appears more complicated than expected, and at 3 kg (6.6 lbs) he is also too wasted to undergo a major surgery.
Doctors will seek now to increase his weight and study his anatomy in preparation for surgery.