Ali gleamed with happiness as he excitedly started the engine of the little red car in the electrocardiogram room. He was so excited that we could not get a blood pressure reading on him. He was dancing and would not stay still enough for the monitor to obtain an accurate measurement (or a still photo).
We started this day with the hope of taking Ali home. But soon after we left the house, we were informed that Ali had to go back to the secondary ICU, due to an echo that showed fluid in his lungs. As we entered the hallway in front of the ICU, Ali and his mom were the first people we met. Ali’s mom demonstrated the picture of a real-life hero, instead of being disappointed and discouraged. She stood tall and kept a smile on her face.
It was wonderful to see how she still encouraged the other parents and kept joking and laughing. Please pray for Ali that he will be discharged very soon and of course also for Ali’s mom that she will keep this inspiring, positive attitude and that she will visibly receive God’s strength in this uncertain time.
Little Ali has been moved to secondary ICU in the last days, which shows a big improvement of his current health situation! This handsome boy looks very good, isn’t pale anymore, but is sitting in the bed and moving to all kinds of music and sounds around him. Since he is a strong child he was already extubated, which is another good sign in his development. Only the pain at his surgery site brings him to tears.
Ali wants to be active, so he moves around and explores the bed. His mother welcomed us warmly; she is so happy to watch this great progress. She is smiling all the time and joking with her son. She is a very thankful woman. Praise to the Lord for this good news! Please keep praying for him that his wounds are healing and he develops well further on.
So today was the day for Ali’s surgery, and Ali’s mother was very emotional. I hugged her and she didn’t want to release me. She told me that she is both happy and sad; happy that Ali is going to be better and sad because he is alone in that room. I told her that Ali is in good hands!
After maybe four hours they took Ali out from the surgery room. The doctor told us that the surgery was difficult but that Ali is doing well. Mother was very happy and grateful. She smiled and thanked God. Please join us in praying for Ali and his health.
“Yes, Ali has a special heart,” said the cardiologist today while she was reading and performing a new echo for Ali. But what is also special is the care God has for this very special boy. Ali was crying at the time of the echo but at the end he fell asleep. His oxygen levels have been very low in the past few days. Finally today he has been admitted for his assessment cath.
The surgeons want to check his lung pressure and want to understand and get more information about Ali’s heart anatomy because he has a very complex heart. This is why they are going to perform the cath first. After gathering all this information, the cardiologist will decide how to do the operation. The doctor explained everything related to the cath.
Possible (but low-risk) complications of the cath include: needing a blood transfusion and it was a really special moment when Ali’s mother told the doctor that her mother and grandmother are Kurdish-Jews and she consented that Ali could receive Israeli blood. The doctor also explained all risks related to anesthesia. They will perform another echo while he is sleeping. The mother was really thankful and relaxed. We really appreciate your prayers for both Ali and his mother.
Ali had his chest CT scan this morning. Because he is so young, it was done under sedation by anesthesia, and he frightened them a little bit due to his blue color and low oxygen levels.
Mom was really brave, even when they made her step out of the room during CT. As soon as they told her she could go to the recovery area, she jumped up and ran to be with him!
It has been difficult for Ali’s mom to be told “wait, wait” for decisions about his care, especially as so many other children at the house are going for catheterizations and surgeries. Ali’s oxygen saturation’s have also fluctuated a lot in the past few days, with periods when he is more cyanotic (blue). This makes everyone concerned about the wait. Ali’s mom is lovely and helpful at the house, often helping with the other children and translating for a Yazidi family from Syria who does not speak Kurdish.
After the doctors review the CT scan information, they can create a plan for this precious child with his unique heart.
Meanwhile, please Pray for Ali, his beautiful and strong mom, and for the doctors. Pray that Ali and mom receive the comfort of Jesus through this long and stressful process.
Nine-month-old Ali is one of four small children born to a peshmerga soldier in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. The father himself came through cancer treatment just two years ago.
Although chubby, Ali has multiple heart defects and only about 70% of a child’s normal oxygen levels. He may need more than one surgery. These surgeries are not available in Iraq, and the family does not have the resources alone to travel abroad. A helping hand extended now by the people of Israel and their Christian friends will be long remembered.