Ma fi maya the technician said as she did Iman’s echo today. These words are Arabic and in English translate to: “there is no fluid (water).” This is very good news for sweet Iman!
Like every echo before this it was a team effort to make Iman calm for the test. Her mum didn’t hesitate to sit on the table with Iman in her lap, alternating between a bottle and a pacifier as I held the phone with “Baby Shark” playing, and the technician was very nice and sang along with us! As she captured the images of Iman’s heart, she could see that Iman didn’t have any fluid around her heart, which is a common and potentially long-lasting problem that affects many children after heart surgery.
The doctor came in to see the results. After reviewing them, he said she was good to fly back to Kurdistan!
This is bittersweet news because it is wonderful that Iman is well enough to go home, but due to the coronavirus all flights to Iraq are grounded now, and we don’t know how long it will continue. If Iman is still here in one month then she will have a follow up echo, but we hope she will be in Kurdistan by then and do the follow up there.
Iman has improved so much since coming here; she struggled at home to put on any weight, and now she has very full round cheeks and is gaining weight!
I remember meeting her mum for one of the first times as we were eating lunch, and she said that Iman was her only daughter and for this reason she was her princess. I love this depiction, she is her mum’s princess and all of ours too! Thank you Lord for her life, for making her stronger and her ending her time here in rejoicing.
Our princess Iman had her post surgery follow up today. The doctor was happy with the results from her surgery, and scheduled another echo in two weeks, which, if she continues to improve, may be her last one before returning home to Kurdistan! Iman’s mum goes all out in comforting Iman for echoes- she sits on the table and places Iman in her lap, she has videos, a bottle, and toys ready to keep her from crying so that the doctor can get a good picture!
After her appointment we waited for another little one, Mohammed Salah from Dohuk, Kurdistan, to be admitted for his catheterization, and also we waited with Asmaa’s grandmother, another Kurdish family, as Asmaa was in surgery. The mother of Iman is always a good support to have near, having not only walked through this recently herself, but also her personality is well suited to reassure and comfort others.
I walked with Iman in her stroller for a while as she eventually fell asleep (and woke up soon after). Really both Iman and her mum were very patient and putting others before themselves in their patience. Any day with these two is very special.
When it came time for us to go, once again, while we were outside the operating room, we looked like a family congregating by the way we interacted with each other. I love those moments when you witness the deep connection that is so often ineffable.
I was surprised when I saw Iman in the arms of her mum walking into the Echo-cardiogram area of Sheba Medical Center! The last time I saw her was her surgery day, but now she looked so much like the baby I knew before. She was her usual happy, smiley self.
Her echo today was satisfactory for the doctor, she has progressed this past week and was discharged to Jaffa today! Her mum was very happy to come to the base- especially because of the delicious Kurdish food she would eat here as opposed to the hospital food! Thank God for the life of this precious girl, we are so glad she is back!
During Iman’s echo, we found out that her heart function is not as well as the doctor hopes for her. Iman’s mom was excited at the thought of potentially returning to the house in Jaffa. When she heard the news about Iman’s heart, she was disappointed.
The plan is to continue to monitor Iman for the next two days. If all is well, then she will be able to return to Jaffa. Please continue to pray for Iman’s mother, who is very tired from caring for Iman day and night in the hospital. Iman is still a joy to all she meets, and continues to bring a smile to all.
As I was about to enter little Iman’s room at the children’s cardiology department of Sheba Medical Center, the head of the ICU stopped to talk to me about Iman’s mother. He was very worried for her and felt that she might be a bit lonely and perhaps in a depression. He asked if we could do something to support her a bit. My heart was sad to hear this because usually Iman’s mother is such a joyful and positive person. Yet she is missing her husband a lot and of course is worried about Iman.
The doctor also told me that Iman is doing very well and they extubated her today (one day after surgery) that is awesome! Then the doctor asked me more about the work Shevet Achim is doing and showed a lot of interest in that. Again I felt very thankful and blessed to work for Shevet Achim and for building God’s kingdom through this work.
When I entered Iman’s room I could see for myself that Daiki Iman isn’t in such a good mood. Indeed she was happy to see me but her face was very absent and she didn’t talk. Fortunately, another Kurdish mother, little Halbast’s mother was in the hospital for his discharge. I sent Iman’s mother to her to chat and sit together for a while.
In that time, I was standing next to Iman’s bed singing for her and playing with her. She was very opened up, grabbed my hand a lot and played with it. I was really happy to see her in such a good mood.
My singing put her to sleep. Her mother came back after a while in a cheerful disposition which I was very happy about.
She is still going through a hard time. My prayer is that she will see the good in all of this and feel God working. Please pray that we can give her the support she needs. Also pray that Iman will carry on getting better and better.
After a much anticipated wait, Iman had surgery today! It was a very special day because my parents are visiting so they got to experience first hand what it is like on a surgery day at the hospital, and I was so happy it was little Iman’s surgery day, as her mum is like a sister to me.
We were waiting at the door of the OR. At around nine o’clock, the mother of Iman walked out that door and burst into tears. I ran up to embrace her, and she cried into my shoulder. She was clutching the mermaid doll that she had bought Iman at the hospital. We walked over to the chairs, and she continued to weep as we held one another. After a few minutes she looked up and looked at my parents and realized from just looking at us, that we were family. They loved meeting her, and as the wait began to set in, we hunkered down for the hours ahead.
Gradually the table became cluttered with tissues, coffee, water, and cookies. This is one of my favourite sights, like a messy house that you know is well lived in, we are together for this agonizing process. Even in the painful waiting, there was laughter over inside jokes and the not so inside joke of what the families call me. They don’t say Alena, they call me Deike Shevie.
Shevie is our beautiful community dog, equally loved and shared, but I’m her main caregiver and very much like her mum, so they call me Shevie’s mom, which in Kurdish is Deike Shevie. But now that my parents are here, they are known as the grandfather and grandmother of Shevie! Iman’s mother loved this.
Surprisingly, the surgery only took around three and a half hours, which is short compared to most. The surgeon came out to say that everything had gone very well and she would be out in another few hours. Iman’s mum was so joyful that she asked for the doctor’s picture. After she had taken it, he invited her into the photo as well.
When they wheeled Iman out of the OR, her mother jumped up so fast. Iman was brought to the sixth floor to her new room. The elevator could only fit the bed Iman was on and the three nurses so they asked me to bring Iman’s mother up to the sixth floor. For a second we waited for the next elevator but then we looked at eachother and then took off for the stairs, which we sprinted up.
In her big bed, Iman looked like a little doll. She is really so beautiful.,br and we are overjoyed for how well the surgery went. Her sweet mum is so relieved now that it is over. Please pray for Iman’s recovery, as that stage now begins. We thank God for His work in her life.
One of the cardiologists today told me that Iman has been scheduled for surgery tomorrow! As I reached Iman’s hospital room today to share the news, I found her looking beautiful in a lovely dress, and full of life! Her mum has a bad cold, but was pleased to know that there will be surgery for her baby tomorrow!
Please pray that the surgery will go ahead without complication, and for peace for Iman’s mum.
Iman’s mother joyfully exclaimed that Iman had been improving, and that she was hoping for a surgery soon. Iman was still happy as always, and it was so lovely to be greeted by her warm smile.
The doctor confirmed that Iman has been recovering well from her respiratory virus, and reported that another doctor would assess her today and decide on a surgery date. The family is gaining hope with Iman’s improvement. Please pray for Iman and her family as they have been waiting for a month for this surgery.
Iman’s smile is so beautiful. It is always a joy to see her and her sweet mother. Iman was transferred to a different unit, as they are now monitoring her because of a respiratory virus. Please pray for her family. Iman’s mother has two more boys at home, Iman’s older brothers, she is missing them.
Today I met Iman for the first time and she is so lovely! She is a very smiley and happy girl even though she is going through a lot of sickness. At the moment, she is in the hospital with a respiratory infection. Her breathing sounds really noisy and she is coughing a lot. At one time Georgia, Iman’s mother and I, played a hiding game, which Iman found very funny. It was good to see her laughing so much. It was a really special opportunity for me to visit Iman because I got to see the amazing work God is doing through His people.
Since our beautiful Iman had to be taken to the ER on Friday, we were able to visit her today in the Sheba Medical Center. For this visit I was accompanied by two new Danish volunteers. It was their first time in Sheba and first time meeting Iman. Emma described her impression this way:
“Today we visited Iman. It was very special, because she has a virus, so we had to put on some blue suits, to protect us. It was also special to see a little child lying in a hospital bed, but even though she was sick, she had a lot of enegy, it was really great to see.”
Beautiful Iman couldn’t stop smiling and was very happy about the Danish visitors. Her face was lit up the whole time we were in the room even though we were dressed in that weird way. She laughed and moved around joyfully.
Her mum was also very happy about the visitors. She smiled at them happily and tried to have a small conversation. I was very impressed by Iman‘s Mum. She was still optimistic and happy even though she had to be in the hospital with Iman, whose virus prevents the doctors from moving forward with any procedure. So please pray for a fast recovery for Iman and for strength and patience for her mum.
Our beautiful Iman has had a cough for three days as of this Friday. Also concerning was how high her heart rate was. Normally she is 140, but it was 170. So Shevet head nurse Colin and I took Iman along with another little one at Shevet from Kurdistan, named Asmaa, who was also presenting concerning symptoms to the emergency room.
The doctor said that she did have a virus, but didn’t understand why her heart was so fast. When the blood test they did came back it showed that there was evidence of a cardiac injury, so they decided to admit her to the cardiac ICU.
Throughout the day it was really sad because Iman who was not well to begin with was further agitated by all the tests she had to undergo, but her mom was a superstar on calming her down and helping the doctors get an accurate reading of her daughter’s heart rate. It was a very long day for them, but God’s grace was in the midst of us.
At 6:30, I went up to the cardiac ICU where we normally work to see if there was food that Asmaa (another little one) and Iman could eat, and the nurse gave me two plates of food along with many other things like bread, hummus, and cookies. At around 10 p.m., Iman’s room was ready and we left her and her mother to sleep. Please pray for God’s protection over Iman, He knows her heart and every cell in her body.
Little Iman is hungry for lunch on a bright and sunny (early) spring day at our Shevet home on the Jaffa seacoast. She is waiting for her surgery. Mom is waiting too. God bless them and give them patience.
Last night was pretty hard for our little baby Iman (the family’s preferred name for Roster). Her breathing was very fast, heard even without the stethoscope. Iman‘s mum was very worried so we decided to take Iman in the ER this morning.
I was a little bit nervous about going to the ER because it usually takes a long time and the language is sometimes a big problem. But not this time. Praise be to our caring God, He provided an Arabic-speaking doctor! From that moment on, I just knew again that God is taking care of every situation.
After we took an Echo and an X-Ray, we waited a bit for the results. In that time, Iman’s mum showed me some pictures of her husband and children, which were very nice to see. Iman was crying and probably in pain, but Magaritha kept her distracted from time to time.
Eventually, the doctor told us that Iman has a Virus which causes coughing and pain, but they can treat it with medicine which they gave her right away. Iman‘s mum was very relieved. Suddenly she was very happy and wanted to see one of the other mums who needed to stay in the hospital. While she was visiting, I was able to spend some quality time with Iman. After singing for her and walking around with her in my arms, she fell asleep. She looked so beautiful and peaceful! Her mum told me later that Iman didn’t fall asleep easily and was glad that she could finally rest.
After such an exhausting night and day, Mum and Iman were able to go back to the Shevet base again. On Sunday, Iman will see doctor Katz and they will discuss Iman’s treatment. Please pray that her virus will be gone by then. Also pray for wisdom for the doctors as the decide on how to go on with Iman. Thank you!
Roster has so much character. On the way to the hospital this morning, she spent the journey waving out the window at the other cars. I was really struck by how expressive she is. She manages to tell you so much in her face, and her little mannerisms.
Eventually, after a long wait, Roster was called in for her first assessment. Almost immediately she exploded into a storm of tears. Together Julio, the nurses, her mother and I tried everything – “baby shark”, bubbles, a lullaby, walking round the room with her, making faces, complete silence – eventually she started to calm down and her beautiful smile returned. Everyone in the room breathed a huge sigh of relief as everything went quiet.
We had another long wait together after Roster’s assessment. This time, Roster and I explored the waiting room. She is really inquisitive and enjoyed looking at the playground, the pictures on the wall and, of course, Joela blowing kisses. Two other Shevet families were waiting at the same time. It was really nice to have our little community in the waiting room, talking and sharing fruit together.
We were told tonight, that Roster will probably need a surgery, but the medical team need to discuss tomorrow to confirm if she is suitable for this. Please pray that she will have the treatment she needs, and God will be with this special family during their time here.
Today beautiful Roster stepped into our life. This nine month old girl stole my heart the second I saw her. Right from the start a lovely smile was on her face. Even though she didn’t new me she seemed to trust me. This lovely trade is also clearly visible in her wonderful mom. After the long travel she was very exhausted but expressed her thankfulness to be here. From the start I realized that Roster and her mum are connected in a very special and beautiful way. Roster was calm and seemed to feel safe as long as her mum was with her. She even let me carry her all the way to the car, her eyes constantly resting on her mum. As we arrived at the car Roster allowed us to be put in the seat without any fear. She even gifted us with a beautiful smile and started scanning her surroundings curiously.
We are very blessed to have these two beautiful people in Shevet now.
Eight-month-old Roster still only weighs a little over three kilograms (seven pounds) due to her heart defect. And since she and her family are refugees from Syria living in a camp, she is especially vulnerable to chest infections during the coming winter weather which could take her life. Doctors in Israel have agreed to accept Roster, and the Interior Ministry has approved her visa. But the father has spent weeks going from office to office in Kurdistan seeking permission to leave the region and return, and has yet to find a sympathetic ear.
Please pray with us for the spirit of the Lord to move and open a way for Roster and her family to be treated for what the word of God says they are: made in the image of God himself.