Halat's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Tears of Joy

Posted on Mon, 05/01/2017 - 20:24 by Debbie Sturm

Today we went to the hospital to visit several children. Halat is in the Secondary ICU and as we entered the hospital, her mother was feeding her. She recognized me but was very quiet. Her mother was concerned because Halat has not started talking since her surgery. Simone and I started to sing songs Halat knows from her time at Shevet Achim. Halat started to smile and she even tried to clap her hands.

After a few minutes she started to say a few words. She said the words very quiet but at least she tried to say a few things. Her mother started to shed tears of joy. It was awesome to see her so joyful. Afterwards we continued singing songs together. Please keep Halat and her mother in your prayers. May the mother remain patient and Halat will hopefully talk again as much as she talked before the surgery.

Breathing on Her Own

Posted on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 23:37 by Rebekah Yang

I arrived in the ICU just before two o'clock this afternoon and saw Halat was already extubated - praise God! Later on, I learned that she was extubated last Friday and has been breathing on her own perfectly since.

However, there's one problem which is troubling Halat's mum at moment. Halat did not speak a word nor did she cry after her extubation. Because the ICU staff were quite busy while I was there, I couldn't find an opportunity to ask any doctors there this.
At 5pm, I accompanied Halat's mum to help Halat be transferred to the Secondary ICU. Just before I left, I met Dr. Houri and talked to him regarding Halat's non-speaking situation. I learned that they don't know what causes Halat speechlessness, but they have noticed and already consulting a neurologist for opinions. Hopefully, within one or two days, the neurologist will able to find out what is happening for Halat.
Once again we thank you for standing with us in prayer for Halat's condition. May Yeshua's peace continue to help her mum and strengthen her while she's taking care of Halat in the Secondary ICU.

Intubated Again

Posted on Thu, 04/27/2017 - 21:51 by Rebekah Yang

This morning when I was rushing around with many things to arrange, I saw Halat's mum at the children's ward, surprisingly. I greeted her with kisses and asked how is Halat's condition in the ICU. She looked very distressed but still tried to give a smile as she told me Halat was not good since last night. So, I quickly went with her to the ICU and tried to get an update on Halat. I was very sad to see Halat was again intubated and also her limbs were tightly bound by ties to prevent her pulling her tube out. Poor little Halat was fighting and wanted to be free from them.

I got an opportunity to ask one of the main ICU doctors to explain what happened to Halat. I learned Halat had breathing problem last night and they found out her left lung was not functioning well. Therefore, they had to get her re-intubated and on the ventilation machine again. However, he thinks it's just the matter of time for her lungs to work and recovery from this big surgery. I took a few minutes to explain to Mama Halat. She seemed to understand and started to talk to Halat beside her little ear and singing her favorite song which Halat loves, Hallelu Et Adonai. What a wonderful picture of this mother's faith. Yes, please join with me praying and singing. 

Thanks to God!

Posted on Thu, 04/27/2017 - 00:05 by Eva Markewitz

Halat was extubated today! Her face is still swollen and she was more asleep than awake, but the doctor told me that she is doing well! Her mother gave me a great hug when she saw me and with bright eyes she said several times "Spas bo Xhua," which means "thanks to God!" I was so glad to see my little friend Halat with open eyes. She even recognized me with a smile and waved me off as I left throgh the door in the afternoon. I thank God for Halat's precious life! Please keep her in your prayers.

Closing Halat's Chest

Posted on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 01:34 by Debbie Sturm

Today I was able to visit Halat in the ICU. When I arrived, I met her mother with two other mothers of Floryan and Sara in front of the ICU. They were talking and waiting for Halat and Sara to have their chests closed. Halat's mother was thankful but also a bit anxious. We spent some time together and she visited the families in the children's ward as well.

After lunch, the doctors told her that they closed Halat's chest successfully. Her mother shed tears of joy. But she still had to wait in front of the ICU until it was cleared for her to enter. She became more and more anxious as she had to wait for a while until she could finally see here daughter. But then she was really glad when she did. It was great to see how Halat's skin color has changed after the surgery to a healthy, oxygenated pink color. Please keep her in your prayers.


First Day Post-Op

Posted on Mon, 04/24/2017 - 21:54 by Alexa Bigl

After yesterday's extremely long and intense surgery, Halat's body simply rested today. She remained intubated and sedated with an open chest. Her blood pressure was still a bit low, but she was stable throughout the night and today.

We are praying for the possibility of her chest being closed tomorrow. Her mom, while tired, was strong today and even had many moments of joy. She is back with us at our Jaffa house tonight, may the Lord give her a special dose of rest.

Halat's cute face was visible just around the tubes, tape, and wires. But the skin I could see was a beautiful pink! The nurses and doctors are closely monitoring her minute by minute, and we are so thankful for their diligence.
Halat certainly needs the Lord's continued touch for healing and we ask you join us in prayer for this; may His name be glorified through Halat! 

God is Mighty

Posted on Sun, 04/23/2017 - 23:45 by Rebekah Yang

Early in the morning, Eva and I walked to Wolfson hospital for Halat's surgery day. On our way, both of us prayed as we walked. As we saw the sun slowly rising up to bring the light all over the sky, I thought: It will be a great day ahead of Halat as it is her big surgery day.

Halat was wheeled to the pre-operating room around 7:15am. Our precious little Halat, her mother, Eva and I had some fun and a lovely time together. Right after 8am, her mother was in tears to wave goodbye to Halat.
At first, Halat's mum was a bit nervous and did not want to drink nor eat anything. Instead she preferred to sit in a corner and talk on the phone. After some time, Aveen's father joined us and started to joke with Mama Halat.
I am so thankful that we have such a good family at Shevet. Aveen's father contributes so much to our community of love and caring for one another. He has become one of our main translators and supporters in various ways.
At lunch time, Aveen's father brought both Mama Halat and Mama Sara to the cafeteria for a nice lunch there. He also gave them general orientation for the whole hospital environment. Afterwards, we spent hours and hours in the basement outside of the operating theater to wait and pray with Mama Halat.
Just before 5pm, the cardiologist, Dr. Sagi, came out of the OR and said to us that the main surgery was finished. However, Halat's lungs were still not functioning well and she was in a very critical condition. So the surgeons decided to leave her chest open (which allows for quicker access in case of emergency) and also they're about to decide whether Halat should put on the ECMO machine or not (the ECMO machine does the job of the heart and lungs, by putting oxygen into the blood, and pumping it back through the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest). When the ECMO machine is used, we know it is a serious situation. 
It was shocking news for me to hear from him. After that I was anxiously wondering how to communicate with a desperate Mama so that she understands this complicated medical treatment? I decided to ask our other Shevet nurses to pray with me and to ask that God would give me wisdom to communicate with Mama Halat. A lot of tears were shed and we could only depend on our merciful God, truly. The OR door kept opening and closing within this difficult time:
But no one who came or left explained to us any more information. I could only hold Mama Halat's hands and keep saying that our God knows everything, He is great and mighty. As we say in Kurdish: "Hude mension, Hude asani," (which means God is mighty and He knows everything).
It was almost 6:30pm, when the OR door was again opened and we saw the whole surgical team come out. The team included almost every doctor we know: Drs. Sasson, Hagi, and Yuyo, along with the rest of the medical staff.
Praise God, He heard our crying and begging for Halat's life. He used this great team to save our sweet Halat's life.
Dr. Sasson very kindly explained to us why the surgery took so long. He said that it was started at 10am, which is later than usual, and it was a very complicated surgery - so it would of course take longer than others. 
Due to her critical condition, they left Halat's chest open and put an ECMO nearby for any emergency. However, the good news is that they consider her surgery to be successful! They did repaired her two great arteries plus did a full repair of her VSD.
Halat's pink fingernails indicated healthy blood flow
Although Halat's condition is critical, she is stable now. Up to this point, I was no longer able  to hold my tears. It was like a joyful fountain was flowing through me.
Mama Halat, Eva, Ruth, and I were all hugs, kisses, and praises to God.
Yes, our God is indeed great and mighty. And most of all He knows!

Halat Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Fri, 04/21/2017 - 21:54 by Ruth Zellweger

This morning we sent off our precious Halat and her mother with prayer and a song of praise, as Halat was being admitted for her upcoming surgery on Sunday. Halat's mother had been eagerly awaiting this day and seemed prepared. Halat was her usual self - smiley and full of life.

When we arrived at the hospital, she had a joyful reunion with Aveen and her father, who have become good friends during these past weeks. 

The only time that Halat was not happy was when the IV cannula was inserted. But soon after she smiled again. 

We are thankful that Halat's surgery day is approaching, and that our heavenly Father has been sustaining her until now. We trust Him for the surgery. May He be glorified through Halat's life. 


Feeling Better

Posted on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 21:47 by Co-authored
On arrival at the hospital this morning we found Halat happy and feeling better, which we were both delighted to see. As the day progressed we waited together with her mother for some test results to confirm that she was well enough to come home again. In the afternoon we finally got the confirmation that everything was well and that we could go. So with Halat in a stroller we had a pleasant walk together in the sunshine, through the park and along the street back to our Jaffa home.
We are so thankful for the prayers of the Shevet family and the Lord answering those very prayers!
Written by: Carol Clifford and Miriam Svensson

Surgery Delayed for After Pesach

Posted on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 01:54 by Camila Buitrago
Yesterday night, our small, beautiful, Halat had a high fever. So this morning we took her to the hospital to be checked. 
Halat was on the schedule for surgery this week, however the doctors made the decision to wait until after Pesach because Halat is sick. We spent time in the hospital with Halat and her mother, as they need to spend tonight in the hospital. It's better to be sure that Halat is safe and her temperature is normal. With heart defects, minor ailments can become serious very quickly.
Halat is a sweet and happy toddler! Before we said "goodbye,"  she was jumping on the bed and singing a song. Halat also was saying to her mother something about going home!
The delayed surgery is a little be sad for Halat's mother and again we are asking for your support and your prayers.