Aya's Heart Surgery

from northern Iraq

If Laughter Were Medicine...

Posted on Tue, 10/11/2011 - 20:47 by Donna_West

It was another disappointment today for doctors and Aya's mother alike. As I arrived at the hospital to walk to surgery with Aya and her mother this morning, it was in the process of being canceled. A little glimpse through the Plexiglas window showed only a small portion of the surgical team finishing their morning briefing. There was disappointment all around, except for Aya. As she nursed and snuggled to her mother's breast after fasting for the last eight hours, Aya relaxed and found all was right with her world once more. 

Aya's mother had not yet found her comfort as she wondered if she would now return to Kurdistan without the surgery she came to Israel to receive. As I tried to sooth her and explain the unexplainable (due to the language barrier), Lamo's mother came to check on Aya's mother. Nobody can comfort another mother like one who has already experienced the same feelings, fears and disappointments. Also, since Lamo's mother speaks three languages, she has been most gracious to be our translator any time she is needed.
As for Aya, she had a GREAT day. This little girl is very easily entertained and delightful to interact with. It amazes me to see how clever she is. She found that the air-conditioning vent in the window sill would keep her balloons in flight for a very long time, unfortunately out of her reach. But once she realized a sheet would reduce the airflow we were in for lots of fun and games.
Then there was the gift of a few new toys. After a short play time on the bed, the new toys needed time on the playground. To my surprise, she remembered how to get there on her own. More time was spent playing hide and seek. After a little lunch, we went to the sea. This seemed to be the highlight of Aya's mother's day. Everything about it was new to them

Delayed Again, But Maybe Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Mon, 10/10/2011 - 22:36 by Stephanie Ventura

After much prayer for a surgery today, today revealed that God had another day in mind. We spent the morning with little Aya and her mother, patiently waiting and hoping for nurses to tell us that her late morning fasting (which included several hours of crying for food and milk) would end with a dosage of anesthesia in preparation for surgery. It wasn

Possibility for Surgery

Posted on Sun, 10/09/2011 - 00:00 by Stephanie Ventura

With plans set for a brisk walk, Aya and her mother were excited to stretch their legs inside the walls of the Old City. About five minutes into our plan, a nurse from Wolfson hospital called and asked us to bring Aya in for admittance because she may have surgery the following day. While this was good news, Aya

Change of Plans

Posted on Thu, 10/06/2011 - 00:00 by Tracy Honafius

Aya was discharged without surgery today. While her mother was a bit disappointed, Aya seemed unbothered by the change of plans. Both were packed and ready to go when we arrived at the hospital.


Aya Admitted for Heart Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Wed, 10/05/2011 - 20:59 by Donna_West

Aya and her mother, left, at Wolfson Hospital this morning.

Sweet little Aya was whisked off to Wolfson this morning in hopes of surgery tomorrow afternoon. With everyone trying to get ready at the same time for a morning departure (we were also taking two other children and their parents), the finishing touches of hair combing and barrette placing had to be completed after we arrived at our destination, the hospital. When Aya's admission procedures were completed, she settled in to the comfort of her room, and she was all smiles and cuddles as she was surrounded by familiar faces. 

Tonight Aya is spending the night in the hospital. Her mother has been told if a life-threatening case presents itself with another child, Aya's surgery may be postponed. We won't know until morning. Meanwhile, the most difficult part of the wait will be the fasting through the night and early day: Aya, who is only a year old, will not only have to forego the nourishment of her mother's milk, but also the comfort of her mother's breast. Please keep these issues in mind while lifting Aya and her mother up to the Lord during the night and day ahead.

Lots of Tears, and a Smile or Two

Posted on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Cry me a river was the theme of the day for little Aya.  Aya's family in Iraq has no car, so the very thought of being confined to a car seat certainly didn't start her day with enjoyment.  The fact that she needed to be on her mother's lap in order to nurse gave her a bit of a reprieve from crying all the way to Tel Aviv. When we arrived I took her from her mother's lap so her she could get out of the Van. She snuggled  her frail little body into my arms reminding me of precious bonding times with my own children years ago. We were in for a very long day and I could already tell the extra hands and arms were going to be needed.

Upon entering the nurses station, numbing cream was applied to her arm and hand in preparation for the drawing of blood . While the cream was doing it's job, the doctor and nurses were busy looking into her ears, taking her temperature, swabbing her nose, checking all of her vital signs, sending her to  x-ray and all kinds of things that did not inflict pain. Aya's mother and I kept our hands busy just trying to contain Aya to the position the medical staff needed her to stay in to do her examination. There was no let up from the crying until lunch time. When Dr. Alona said, "Go have lunch and come back at two." It gave Aya a chance to calm down.  During this time period we had a chance to play, move furniture and have a nice long walk with Jeff.

The good news from the echo was that even though Aya's heart defect is more complicated than I can explain, the repair of the defect will be straight forward, simple and may happen as early as next week.  We have some more bloods tests to "endure" to get more information about an unusual clotting factor before surgery takes place.  Therefore we are invited back in the morning for more blood work before the holiday begins. We are so grateful for God's mercy toward this precious little one and we are looking forward to seeing all the good things He has planned for this family.

Aya's Already Won Our Hearts

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 00:00 by jonathan

What a sweetheart! We'd hardly picked Aya and her mother up from the airport in Amman before she'd won us over with her shining eyes, sweet smile, and fearless desire to boldly go where no Kurdish baby has gone before.

Unlike some children who have hidden shyly behind their mother's robe, Aya in short order fully and joyfully explored our entire Amman office:

The only tears came when she wandered into a dark bedroom and couldn't find her way back out, and again today as we drove across the Jordan River to Jerusalem, and Aya learned the hard way that there is a car seat law in Israel.

Tomorrow morning is her first appointment with doctors in Tel Aviv. Stay tuned here for more adventures!

Aya from northern Iraq

Posted on Mon, 08/08/2011 - 06:55 by jonathan

Aya's mother brought her to the cardiac screening by Dr. Kirk Milhoan in northern Iraq last November.

Kirk at that time found that Aya needs life-saving surgery within 6-12 months. We hope to have her in Israel by late August.