Always a joy to see
Seif had to go into surgery at Sheba Hospital today. The doctors tried last week to remove Saif’s tracheostomy and prepare him for breathing normally. After two failed attempts, they determined part of Saif’s trachea above the tracheostomy had closed with the passing of time and has to be reopened to enable normal breathing. This surgery was today through an endoscopic procedure.
When Seif was called into surgery at eleven o’clock this morning, his mother waited patiently with us in the waiting area. She was really worried because she knew that a surgery at the throat is complicated and has risks. No one really knew how long it would take, so we were surprised to hear that the surgery was finished after just two hours. It was a beautiful picture to see his mother being overwhelmed by relief when she saw her cute son. Although everything seemed good, we saw that he still had his tracheostomy. His surgeon told us that they couldn’t open his throat because the scar tissue is too hard and that they will need to do an open-surgery to fix it. The risk of getting a cold in winter is too high so they will need to do it in four to six months.
Pray for Seif in the time he is still with his tracheostomy, that he will be healthy and safe. Please also pray for Saif’s mother in this time of waiting. She really wants the struggles that the tracheostomy brings daily to their lives, to be gone and done with once and for all.
Recently, doctors at Sheba Hospital hadn’t been able to remove Saif’s tracheostomy during a bronchoscopy. The suspicion was that Saif’s trachea had closed up over time so that not enough air could transfuse. That’s why a CT scan was due today. The doctors wanted to get a clearer picture of Saif’s situation and decide on a possible surgery.
We hadn’t expected this surgery to take place tomorrow already. But that’s exactly how it will be. Please pray for Saif that the surgery goes well. We will of course keep you informed about this.
After his CT appointment today, Saif was surprisingly active. He even showed us his dance skills. That was a real spectacle in his room.
A strong little man
Today I accompanied Saif and his mother for his admission to Sheba Hospital as he has his Broncho-scopy tomorrow. The day started out quite chaotic as it was unclear at which ward Saif was expected. So I was sent from one station to the other. After a while, everything could be clarified and we were taken to the right station. Saif was admitted. Tomorrow is his big day so please pray for this intervention and above all that Saif may grow into a strong young man.
A few days in Ashdod
Now the time has finally come for Saif to come to our family home in Ashdod for a few days. Previously, he had received antibiotic treatment for his pneumonia at Sheba Hospital. Today, the doctors checked his condition and did tests to make sure Saif could spend a few days with us in Ashdod. All results were good – thank the Lord!
Before we finally made our way to Ashdod, Saif really wanted to say goodbye to the fish in the Sheba Medical Center aquarium. In the last few days he had looked at the fish again and again and really made friends with them.
Finally, after a long traffic jam, we arrived in Ashdod where Saif will stay until Tuesday. Then he will return to the hospital to be admitted for a bronchoscopy.
After the weekend
After a weekend in Sheba Hospital, I visited Saif and his mother today. I found them exactly where I left them on Thursday in their room.
Saif is doing well. His fever is gone and he is receiving antibiotics for his pneumonia. In the meantime, another doctor is checking his tracheostomy and he is seeing what he can do about that. Saif’s mother is hoping that it can be removed, so Saif can start to learn how to talk and breath without it. This is not easy, so we ask for your prayer.
Back to hospital
Today our cute boy Saif returned to Sheba Hospital from Gaza for an ENT appointment where he should get admitted for a bronchoscopy tomorrow morning. Doctors also wanted to find out if he is ready for his tracheostomy to be removed or whether he needs a bigger or smaller tube.
However, after some long waiting hours without a lot happening, Saif’s doctors told us that there were some communication problems when his bronchoscopy was scheduled and that there is no ICU bed free for him now.
Therefore, Saif’s admission and procedure was postponed for another two weeks. Seif and his mom are now staying for a few days in our house in Ashdod where they will wait for an echo appointment for Saif that was ordered for next week before returning home to Gaza.
Please pray that next time his procedure will work out and that they will have a blessed and restful time with us meanwhile!
Welcome back Saif
Saif and his mother went to their ENT appointment today at Sheba Hospital. Saif has a tracheotomy and the appointment was to check on it with a camera to look at his vocal cords.
As I am sure you can imagine this is not pleasant in any way shape or form especially for this lovely active little man. After the inspection the ENT specialist still can’t really say if removing the tracheotomy is possible just yet. It would appear at least one of Seif ‘s vocal cords isn’t currently working and there appears to be some damage to his esophagus. So a longer stay in the hospital at a later date will be required to better assess him under sedation and decide the extent of the damage and the best plan moving forward.
Please pray for improvement over the coming time as he awaits his next appointment. Today was a joy to be able to spend some time with playful, full of life little man Saif.
He reminded me to be thankful for God’s many blessings – Saif himself is one of them – and to take life one day at a time.
Good heart condition
After Saif and his mother were with us in our guesthouse since yesterday, we drove them to Sheba hospital this morning for Saif to have an echo. The results of the echo and ECG were good, his heart is okay and the doctor wants to see him in a year again for a check up.
Because Saif was found to be presently ill with pneumonia for which he was being treated with antibiotics in Gaza before coming to Israel, his E.N.T appointment at Sheba was rescheduled for mid January. His mom was very patient and waited with friends in the hospital until we could drive back to Gaza.
Please pray for a successful assessment in January at the ENT.
Waiting for a pediatrician today
Finished with a week of check-ups
In a good condition, echo reveals
Continuing with tracheostomy
We welcomed back Saif today for a week of appointments at Sheba hospital. His first was to see an ENT doctor to check his tracheostomy. Initially, when he was discharged a few months ago, the department thought they could close his trach in a few months.
After the examination today however, it is apparent that he will have the tracheostomy for some years as his windpipe needs to grow stronger and this will only come with time. His mother, who is a midwife in Gaza, does an incredible job of caring for her son’s tracheostomy; it is not easy, every few minutes he needs to have inside his throat suctioned which requires a portable machine she carries with her wherever they go. But as I said, she is a remarkable mother and caregiver for him. Please pray for this situation, for this mom, and her little Saif.
Not able to cry
In the morning today, I dopped co-workers Carina and Moshe off at Sheba hospital and they wrote the following.
It was cold and the mother added a blanket for the baby. Saif is a lovely boy, he looked around and waved with his little hands. We went to check how his tracheostomy tube is. When we got to the doctor, he checked and said that the cannula looks good and that it is normal to have fluids there from time to time. All the nurses in the department enjoyed seeing little Saif and greeted him warmly. Then Sebastian came to pick up little Saif for the van ride back to Gaza.
When I put Saif in the car-seat, he started crying but because of the tube he‘s not able to really cry, you can just hear a loud gasping which made me feel pity. Please continue to pray for him and his tracheostomy tube. He will come again for evaluation in two months.
Shevie greets Saif
When Saif and his mum arrived at Sheba Hospital, I opened their van door, co-worker Sabrina drove the van to the front of the hospital and was surprised to see me there. As Saif’s mum exited the van, we embraced and exchanged greetings.
I was thrilled to see Saif all decked out in his winter clothes. Today he had two appointments, one for an echo, and one for a neurology check-up. His heart is looking well and he will return in two months for another check-up. He is staying the night in our Jaffa community house, and will go to an ENT doctor tomorrow. Hopefully, that doctor will determine if and when they can remove his tracheostomy.
When Saif and his mum came to Jaffa, there was another surprise waiting for them: “Shevie,” our community dog!
Please continue to pray for this sweet boy as he grows and especially for the resolving of the situation with his tracheostomy.
The return of Saif
We sent Saif off into the Gaza unknown a month ago, and thank God he returned to us today happy, healthy, alert, and gaining weight! He and his mother spent last night in our Jerusalem guesthouse to be sure he could reach his 10 am appointment on time this morning. Which he did (almost) even after he and mother squeezed in a visit to pray on the Temple Mount early this morning.
Saif’s doctors seemed happy with the way his heart is functioning. And his nurses, generous and loving as always, resupplied his mother with “Baby Calorie” and MCT oil to help him keep putting on the kilos. They hope to see him again at the end of January.
Saif returns home with a boatload of supplies
What a big day for Saif, his mother, and the pediatric department at the Sheba Medical Center! After four months of treatment Saif was finally released today to return to his home in the Gaza Strip.
The level of loving care given by the doctors and nurses was evident over the last few weeks as they peppered us with requests to make sure Saif would have all the equipment, medications and support he’ll need to survive and thrive in Gaza. It took four carts to wheel all the supplies through the Erez crossing into Gaza this evening.
Let’s continue to pray for this precious boy and his family.
How big he looks!
Baby Saif is due to have a CT scan next week, and after it is read, if everything is okay, he can go back to Gaza.
Please pray for him. In this picture of him today, I was struck by how big he looks! He has grown so much. May his progress in Gaza continue. We are praying that in half a year, it will be possible to remove the tracheostomy.
Please also pray that the Lord will help in providing outlets through which to purchase the special equipment he needs. Thank you.
Making encouraging progress
Saif has been moved from the Secondary ICU of Sheba Medical Center, to the General Pediatric Ward.
While this has been a long road for him, he is continuing to grow stronger. His weight is now 3.9 kilos! He has noticeably grown since starting bottle feeding, and the hope is that when he is 4 kilos, the doctors may be able to take his trach out, so please pray for his future.
Thank God for his progress these past months. I remember the day he had to have the tracheostomy and his mother was distraught and discouraged. Now, because he has been improving, he may be able to breathe without the device, so please pray into this for his beautiful life.
Bright-eyed and thriving
Saif was bright-eyed and content, but hungrily sucking on his fingers today when I arrived to his room at Sheba Medical Center. His mom was attentive at his bedside, as usual.
It is obvious that Saif has been growing and thriving these past few weeks— his feeding issues seem to be a thing of the past. This was evident as well in his weight today – a whopping 3.29 kg!
As he has been stable and gaining weight recently, his mom was given some good news. The doctors are considering removing the tracheostomy tube next week!
This would be a huge answer to prayer, as it would simplify his care and make it much safer for Saif to return to Gaza with his family.
Please pray with us that Saif will tolerate this decannulation procedure, that his airway will remain open, and his ever-optimistic mother will see the healing hand of God in this situation.
Praying for growth
Looking into a beautiful face
What a joy it was to see this beautiful little face looking up at me!
Saif’s mom, so full of kindness and always welcoming, was bottle-feeding Saif when we found them at Sheba Hospital today.
It was good to see that Saif was drinking without great difficulty. Praise God for this improvement. He still has a long journey of recovery and care, please continue praying for him as he grows.
Saif is stable
Saif was stable in the secondary ICU today, crying occasionally but quickly calmed with his pacifier and some baby-talk. He is quite alert and responsive!
Although his respiratory status is stable and he is off of oxygen, mom related that he is vomiting formula when given by bottle. He is also finishing up a course of antibiotics.
Saif’s mom was cheerful and seemed more rested today. She was happy with the nurses caring for Saif, and introduced me to one of them — as it turns out, I met this nurse in the 6th floor PICU last week— and I agreed that she is excellent! Compassionate, kind, and careful with the small patients in her care, as well as with the parents. A real blessing!
Please join us in praying for further plans for Saif: that he can get the nutrition he needs to grow; that plans can be made for his needs with a tracheostomy tube; and, that his mother will continue to be encouraged and refreshed despite his long hospitalization.
This is the hope
Co-worker Colin and I found baby Saif in the secondary ICU of Sheba Medical Center today, having been transferred there. We were able to meet Saif for the first time in person!
Seeing him and his mom together was so special. He is such a cute baby. Presently he is working on bottle feeding. Hopefully, after three feedings in which he is drinking milk without any complications, he can transition to being bottle fed completely and his feeding tube can be taken out; this is the hope.
His mom voiced her concerns about what it looks like going to Gaza with him being on a trach, so please be in prayer for God’s wisdom for his future.
A small victory
Saif’s mom was so happy to receive a visit today; her time in the PICU at Sheba hospital has been long and tiring.
Despite her obvious fatigue, she updated me on her baby son, then went with me to see several other parents of babies also in the ICU! Since she speaks a little English and is also comfortable with the Arabic/English translation app. It’s always a joy— and sometimes a bit funny— to an outsider who sees us communicating with a few words of different languages, translation apps, and a version of charades! One of the nurses laughingly commented today, “yes, we all communicate by pantomime here!”. I have unofficially nicknamed Saif’s mom “the Gaza ambassador in the PICU” for her knowledge of the infants and parents, her ability to welcome them and orient the new families, and her willingness to help with information and emotional support for others.
Saif is doing well with his tracheostomy, breathing on his own, and with just two liters of oxygen by a trach collar. He is alert much of the time, quickly comforted by his attentive mother. He continues to get feedings by tube, and his weight crept up to 2.5 kg (5.5lbs).
Although this weight gain seems minuscule, it is a victory for this small boy. Please pray with us for Saif to gain weight well, wean off of oxygen, and be able to put all of his energy now into getting bigger and stronger.
Breath of life
Our prayer is that soon Saif will be weaned off mechanical ventilation and be able to breathe on his own and for courage and strength for his mother.
Saif struggling without mechanical ventilation
Saif’s mother shared that after the surgery for Saif’s diaphragm, Saif turned very blue and was unwell. Thankfully she reports that today Saif is doing better.
Please continue to pray for Saif and specifically for his lungs. Almost all of his life he has been supported by mechanical ventilation, and it is difficult for him to now be free of this support.
We praise God for sustaining Saif’s life. We praise God because he supplies our every breath and because he is the reason for life.
Saif is a lion
Trusting in God for Saif's healing
It was a pleasure to finally meet his mother today, sharing the company of some of the other mothers who have unwell babies in intensive care. She is a caring and kind lady. Like the other in-hospital mothers around her, she is placing her trust in God for the healing and outcome for her precious son.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4
Thank God for his safety so far.
The next 48 hours
Saif had an arterial switch operation today. The brain MRI performed showed some injury, but the neurologist was able to clear him for surgery.
The mother says that the surgery went well. Saif is currently in the intensive care unit. Please pray for the next critical 48 hours.
Fighting for his health
Pleased to meet you, little Saif
Saif reaches Israel in safety
One-month-old Saif was rushed to the Sheba Medical Center in Israel late last night in an ICU ambulance, where surgeons will attempt surgery to switch his transposed great arteries back to their natural position. If successful this surgery can give Saif hope for a normal and healthy life.