Baran's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

God's Wonderful Timing

Posted on Thu, 09/17/2015 - 20:56 by Alexa Bigl

Our Heavenly Father answered our prayers very quickly. Baran has been transferred to the secondary ICU! Thank you for your faithful intercession. Baran’s mother is so happy to have another definitive sign of Baran’s healing.

I was fortunate to walk into the secondary ICU today as the doctors were doing rounds (sharing all the updates and overall situation with each other). As medications continued to be weaned and switched, the doctors are very pleased with Baran's progress.

Baran loves his pacifier, and it is a truly amazing to see him awake and strong enough to hold your finger and smile at his mother.

Prayers for the future include being able to take out Baran’s internal pacer wires, continued weaning of medication, transfer to the children’s ward, and (as always) continued weight gain.

Continued Progress!

Posted on Wed, 09/16/2015 - 21:11 by Alexa Bigl

After the two-day holiday, Rosh Hashanah, we were so excited to visit Baran and his mother today! As I walked into the ICU, his mother was sitting in a chair holding Baran while feeding him a bottle. He has been eating formula from a bottle for the last two days. There is still a tube down Baran’s nose into his intestines, but it has not been in use for the past couple of days. We thank God that, even with this change, Baran is still gaining weight. Today he tipped the scales at 4.0kg!

It was a blessing seeing this loving, caring mom tenderly holding her baby. There is something so comforting and healing in a mother’s touch. we are full of thanksgiving that Baran can once again be regularly held by his mother.

Baran’s breathing is also progressing. He is now on a less invasive form of supplemental oxygen. With only a small amount (fluctuating between 1 and 2 liters) of 100% concentrated oxygen, God’s hands are certainly still on this child!

Despite Baran’s mother’s amazing strength, she is tiring of life in the hospital – especially living in the ICU. Let’s lift up our voices in prayer that Baran will continue his progression to a point where transfer to the secondary ICU or the children’s ward will be the next step!

Abundant Grace

Posted on Sun, 09/13/2015 - 21:10 by Ruth Zellweger
Little Baran has been making much progress this past week. He is still in the ICU and under close observation by the doctors, but for the last six days he has been breathing on his own! Of course, he still needs a lot of assistence, including high flow oxygen, but each day that he is breathing on his own is a huge success. Baran is also actively looking around and though he does not speak, he communicates well with his big eyes. This is especially obvious with his young mother, with whom he has a very close bond.
Our Shevet community is so thankful for each step that Baran is taking towards recovery. However, it is a slow process and Baran's mother will need a lot of patience in the weeks and months ahead. She has another three and a half year-old son waiting for her in Kurdistan. Please continue to pray for her and her family. May Baran be a living testimony for God's abundant grace.

Breathing On His Own

Posted on Mon, 09/07/2015 - 20:45 by Alexa Bigl

 We are very happy to share the wonderful news that Baran is still breathing on his own after yesterday’s extubation. While a nasal cannula is helping deliver oxygen-concentrated air for Baran, he is doing a wonderful job with his breathing! The oxygen saturation of his blood was above 90% all day, which is the goal.

Baran’s mother got to hold Baran this morning for the first time in four weeks. She excitedly showed us the pictures, and Baran looked so happy in her arms. We continue to pray for Baran’s strength and for continued healing of both his heart and his lungs. He still has a long road ahead of him. We are thankful to God for the amazing work He has done so far in Baran’s precious life.

We have a specific prayer request for Baran today also. Despite continuing to receive feedings directly to his intestines, Baran is still struggling to gain weight. At a mere 3.6kg (7.9lbs) he needs to gain a lot of weight to build his strength for healing. Thank you for your intercession!   

Praise the Lord

Posted on Sun, 09/06/2015 - 21:31 by Rebekah Yang

Today was a regular hospital visit for Jesse and me. Before we arrived at the children's ward, we prayed that God would bless our time with the kids and mums at the hospital. Around noon time, Baran was extubated once more, though left with an oxygen nasal cannula. The ICU nurse says that, so far, he’s doing well and that his blood gas level is also very good.

Jesse and I prayed and offered our thanks to God. Jesse especially prayed in Kurdish for Baran's mum to have strength to look after Baran daily and that God's hands would continue to touch and heal him step by step.

Before we left, little Baran was still sleeping peacefully without any trouble.

Thank you, Lord, for your wonderful work in Baran’s life. May your mercy and grace shine upon Baran and his mum. May both of them know you and be living testimonies for the sake of your glory. Amen!

A Mother With Her Child

Posted on Wed, 09/02/2015 - 22:01 by Austin Cords

Baran’s condition, though reintubated appears to be continuing to improve in very small and very minute steps. There is a plan already to extubate him tomorrow to see if his lungs have improved enough to breathe regularly. The medical staff will be also using a positive pressure mask to give a slight help to his lungs while off of the ventilator. His mother continues to show concern for him a want for others to pray for his health.

It has been heartwarming to come alongside the mother as she valiantly waits and stands by her son and improvements occur, as well as heart-wrenching as he struggles to gain weight and breathe on his own. Both my wife and I can relate in a small way to the depth of care for a child. My wife, Loni, shares her insight into this struggle:

Baran's mother is longing to care for her son, in every way that she can- and, it seems, in ways that she cannot. She and I hovered over Baran on his bed as a nurse in the ICU took care of him. The nurse eventually changed his diaper three times during only a few minutes. Baran's mother fervently handed baby-wipes to the nurse, as there was nothing else that she could do. What sort of hardship is being endured, when you find yourself longing to change a dirty diaper? 

I very much admire the strength of this perhaps downcast woman that I stood beside that morning. She appears to be hopeful, but she isn't running away from her grief in this trying circumstance. She is simply there for her son, and diligently seeking out how she can be there for him even moreso. From this I hope to learn from her.

Baran Re-intubated

Posted on Tue, 09/01/2015 - 21:49 by Maureen Grimshaw

Baran remains in the ICU and sedated although he is able to open his eyes and reaches for his mothers hand. Since the stent was fitted he seemed to be breathing well, but yesterday after he was taken off the respirator he showed signs of weakness to breathe. Because of this the doctors decided to re-intubate him again to help his left lung with the stent in the bronchus to function more effectively. We are hoping that this will help him until he gains more strength to breathe on his own.

The doctors are happy that the rest of his body is functioning well although it will still take time for his lungs to recover. An increase in his nasal gastric feeding with additives will also help him to gain more strength.

Please continue to pray for his mother along with his health during his recovery.


Posted on Mon, 08/31/2015 - 21:40 by Rebekah Yang
Today was our children’s post-surgery follow-up day. We spent the whole morning at the cardiology department in order to finish their echoes.
When all four of the kids (Yad, Barin, Radhwan, and Ahmed) had done their echoes, we got together outside around the hospital's playground to have our lunch break.
While we were having our lunch, I decided to go to the ICU to check out Baran’s condition. When I entered the ICU, I found out that our sweet little fighter had already opened his big eyes and even more: he was extubated this morning. 
Praise God that Baran's lung’s condition has improved quite a bit. Baran looking at his mum just likes a little lamb looking for the shepherd. What a remarkable and moving moment.
On this special moment, the song ”Oceans” by Hillsong came to my mind:
"I will call upon Your name; keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace; for I am Yours and You are mine."

Baran is Hanging On

Posted on Thu, 08/27/2015 - 20:29 by Maureen Grimshaw
Baran has been in the ICU for some time now with assisted breathing on a respirator. Since then, he developed a lung infection on the left side needing further antibiotics and was placed on a specialised respirator to protect the lung from collapsing again.
Once the danger of infection had passed, on Wednesday he was taken for a special procedure involving placement of a stent in the left bronchus.
The purpose for this delicate procedure was to provide a means that would keep the airway open until Baran becomes stronger and can breathe on his own. This has avoided a need for a tracheostomy (opening the trachea from the neck) thus far, which could be a long-term solution to his breathing difficulties. However, the doctor's are hopeful that Baran will be able to recover from this present respiratory crisis and breathe normally, since the heart is functioning well after his previous surgery.
Our hearts go out to for this tiny sweet child and his mother. Although he is still very small for his expected weight, he shows signs of being aware under all of these extensive treatments he has to go through. As you see in the accompanying photo, how he gives eye contact to his mother and is seen grasping her finger. These photos were taken recently when the sedations were reduced to give him some respite from his deep sleep. 
We continue to pray for Baran and his mother and encourage her that there is still hope for his recovery; although this will take time. 

Meeting of the Minds

Posted on Mon, 08/24/2015 - 21:22 by Austin Cords

When I entered the ICU with Baran’s mother, two things grabbed my attention: the loud pulsating of a ventilator hooked to Baran, and the emptiness of the room, other than a group of doctors and other medical professionals gathered around the foot of Baran’s bed. It is not often that one gets to see so many medical personel spending thirty minutes devoted to nothing other than the prescription of treatment, and this occassion for Baran. Over the course of weeks, I have seen other children come and go from the unit, yet Baran remains, nearly alone in the unit, without much variation in the condition of his health. I had the rare opportunity to listen in to this meeting of the minds because, remarkably, they were speaking in English.

The first item I heard them discussing was that they were satisfied with his oxygen remaining above 92 and currently at 98. However, despite this saturation, the left lung is collapsing down again, and the loud intrusive ventilator is what they are attempting to use to keep it open. Despite the vibrations and obtrusiveness of the machine, Baran appeared to be more relaxed and in less pain than with the previous ventilator. The next item on the agenda was in regards to his cardio system. He had low blood pressure previously, and the pressure readings they currently have still seemed to indicate and detrimental pressure issue, so much so that one of the medical team members questioned the reading's precision. In regards to this, the team wants to do a catheterization as soon as possible in order to further explore this enigma. Following this they, discussed fluid levels and intake. The cortisol level in Baran is maintaining a slight dearth but is almost in an acceptable range (currently around 58). There is a continued want by the doctors to increase his nutrition intake to improve his weight, but there is difficulty in balancing fluids, medicine, and supplement levels. At that point, he had no fever but later in the day he got a fever making the catheterization not possible for the time being.

It has been over three weeks since the initial heart surgery, and there is definite evidence of the need for intercession on his behalf. Baran’s mother is downtrodden. Though she is always happy for our visits, we see her essentially living at a hospital, looking on as her child lies in a feeble state. She is powerless to help him,  and it breaks my heart. We must pray in earnest. Much like the doctors wracking their brains together for the best solution, we should wrack our hearts together and call out to God for Baran’s healing.

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” -Luke 18:7-8