Today little Maili or “Abu Shwareb,” and her beautiful mother returned home to their family back in Kurdistan. They returned with Khanda, another Kurdish child who came together with her mother. In their time here the two moms have become like sisters because they have gone through all of this experience together. It is always beautiful to see how much the families love each other after just a short while of being together. I guess it is because they can relate to each other’s feelings in the different yet similar situations they have had to go through in their time here.
Her mother schemed to jokingly tell her dad that she has to stay another one to three months, when in fact she is flying home on Sunday. Of course he was extremely happy when he realized it was only a joke. Over the video call we took a family photo of them holding the phone with her father. Maili is the spitting image of her father except he has a mustache. All of us (her mum and dad included) have taken to calling her Maili ‘Abu Shuwarb,’ which translated, means ‘father mustache’ in Arabic, and is also a type of fish. Today someone at the hospital became very confused when that was not her actual last name! This family is, as you can tell, so much fun.
Maili will need another cath and surgery during her next visit to Israel in a few years time. She and her mother bring joy and laughter wherever they go; these two light up a room. We are so happy for this outcome for Maili and ask you pray with us for her to continue to be well.
Last week, after Maili’s mother fainted just her daughter’s cath, she joked that on the day of Maili’s surgery, she will need anesthesia in addition to Maili, in order to endure the waiting period of the surgery.
I am happy to report that Maili’s mum did not need to be anesthetized during the wait. Quite the contrary, she was very calm for most of it. She often called her family to update them as to how the surgery was going, and to tell of what the surgery would entail. She explained the surgery involved rerouting the blood flow from Maili’s upper body to her pulmonary artery and then to her lungs. It was good for Maili’s mum to ask the surgeon the level of difficulty of the surgery, because by cardiac standards, this operation is not complex.
Another Kurdish mother waited with us and we enjoyed getting lost in looking at family photos from our respective households and homes. As we browsed through pictures, I noticed how Maili’s mother not only has a beautiful face, but that smiling looks to be natural to her countenance. Her face is indicative of her demeanor; it exudes warmth and joy. This is most obvious when she is speaking of her children. This is one of my favorite things about her.
At around nine in the evening, with her surgery having started at three that afternoon, Maili was wheeled from the operating room to the ICU. She and the other Kurdish mothers had been fasting since early morning for Ramadan, and even though they could break their fast at seven thirty, they all waited until Maili was out of surgery to eat and drink.
Please continue to pray for Maili. Her mother often prays that God will watch over her. Tonight, as Maili recovers from surgery, we thank God that it is completed, and we ask Him to hold Maili in his hands.
When we arrived at Sheba hospital, Maili’s mother had dressed Maili up for her first assessment at Sheba hospital. She was truly adorable. For most of the echo, Maili’s mother sat on the table holding her in a blanket as that was the only way she was consoled. Eventually Maili fell asleep. Her mum was in really good spirits and made jokes throughout the day, but was also balanced and serious when discussing Maili’s diagnosis.
The echo confirmed a diagnosis of Pulmonary Atresia. Her oxygen saturation is better than expected. The cardiologist thinks they would like to do a CT scan to see Maili’s vessels that cannot be seen in the echo. She will most likely need a surgery as her condition has also affected the development of her right ventricle. As the doctors discuss her case, please pray for them and for Maili’s life.
Maili and her mother arrived in Israel today by crossing the Jordanian border into Israel, along with two other Kurdish children and their chaperones. Maili is four months old, diagnosed with pulmonary atresia in Kurdistan; her first appointment at Sheba hospital will help elaborate on her condition. Until then, Maili and her mother are quarantining in our Jaffa community home with seven other families who came recently also from Kurdistan.