Hani's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Hani's Chest is Closed

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2016 - 21:41 by Ruth Zellweger

Precious Hani has been monitored closely these past days in the ICU at Wolfson hospital. And today the doctors felt confident about closing her chest. After a few delays this morning, the surgeons performed the procedure right after lunch in the ICU.

In the meantime, Hani's grandmother had  been patiently waiting for Hani to get better. Once in a while, she had been in the ICU to see her little granddaughter, but most of the time she had been with our other families, supporting and encouraging them with her sweet presence and prayers. Her love is so deep and sincere, not only for Hani, but also for the other children in the ward, no matter if they are from Kurdistan, Gaza, or Africa. She has become a mother to many, and I love how all the families relate to and interact with each other. 

After the closure of Hani's chest, we both went inside the ICU to see her. Hani looked so fragile in that big bed. The first thing that her grandmother did was praying. She understands that we cannot take healing for granted. It is a gift from God. By His grace, Hani came one step closer today. We continue to lift her up in our prayers.

One Day at a Time

Posted on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 17:26 by Ruth Zellweger

Each day that we have is a gift from God. I do not always remember that or reflect on it, but whenever we have a child coming out of heart surgery in unstable condition, it reminds me of how precious and fragile life is. 

Little Hani had a beautiful heart repair yesterday, but afterwards she became unstable due to pulmonary hypertensive crisis (moments of stress during which the pulmonary pressure increases drastically, resulting in an overload of pressure on the right heart ventricle and drop in cardiac output). Her blood pressure dropped drastically and she had to be supported by strong medications. Also, the surgeons decided to leave her chest open in order to be able to intervene quickly if necessary. 

I found Hani's grandmother today at the children's ward. She seemed to be doing well, but told me that she doesn't understand what is going on with Hani. So together we went to the ICU, where Dr. Hani gave us an update on Hani's condition. Hani is stable now, but the doctors prefer to give her a few more days before they want to close her chest. She is closely monitored by the ICU staff. We stood for a while besides Hani's bed and entrusted her in the hands of the greatest of all physicians, our heavenly Father. Then we joined our other families in the children's ward. 

I am so blessed to witness the sweet relationships all of our families have built among themselves, as they travel together and share life together. They are supporting each other in every way possible. Yara's mother looked out for the grandmother last night to make sure she would have a bed to sleep, and Hawnaz's father called Hani's parents, so that the grandmother could speak to them. 

When I left the hospital, I was thanking God for how He takes care of things in our lives, big and small. He doesn't forget anyone. Praise God!

Thanks to Our Wonderful Maker

Posted on Thu, 09/22/2016 - 20:40 by Sophie

Early this morning Ruth and I went to Wolfson Medical Center to meet our gorgeous baby girl, Hani, and her grandmother. When we got there, they were both awake. We had some precious time to be with them. Thank God for this precious life, and thank God for the coming surgery. Thank God for the privilege to be with them.

Outside the OR we had some time holding hands together to lift Hani up in our Heavenly Father's hands! It wasn't very long before Hani was taken into the OR for surgery, so we went outside to wait for our beloved one.

The waiting time always feels too slow, but for the good process we must patiently wait. The grandmother knew exactly what's going on, and just patiently sat by my side. Thank God for the time to bind our hearts together. Just like Jesus said to his disciples, "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice!" (John 16:22). That is exactly the grandmother's reaction: tears of gratitude! Let's give God all the praise!

Hani's heart was beautifully repaired of the VSD and mitral valve. Afterward, Dr. Alona did the echo in the OR and told us Hani became instable so the surgeons decided to leave her chest open. Thank God now Hani is stable and they hope to close her chest tomorrow. Thanks to our Wonderful Maker because He gave Hani a new heart! He will keep healing this precious girl as well!

Admitted for Surgery on Thursday

Posted on Tue, 09/20/2016 - 21:59 by Camila Buitrago

Today was an important day. At 8:45am we began our journey to the hospital for Hani's admission, with her grandmother, Ziyad, Ziyad's mother, and Sophie. During the journey, Hani's grandmother cried in anticipation of this new step in the process, yet we know that God will give her strength in the same way He has done with other parents.

At the hospital, we met up with members of our Jaffa community - Deborah and Olivier. When it came time to put on her pajamas and make a small test to measure her temperature and pressure, Hani was scared but also very brave. Before the blood test, clowns came to the hospital and they had balloons for Hani.

But when the test started Hani cried for a long time because the doctor had a difficult to find the vein. But finally she did. After the blood test, Hani fell asleep.

Hani's grandmother was sad to see her granddaughter crying for a long time, however we know this is part of the process. After an hour of sleep Hani woke again. She drank some tea and played for a while.

We walked around in the hospital corridors and we could see other babies. With God's help, on Thursday doctors will perform Hani's surgery, and we will be praying that everything goes well for this beautiful princess.

Unexpected Good News

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 22:31 by Rebekah Yang

Today was the second visit for Hani and her grandmather to Wolfson hospital within the last two days. Yesterday we thought we were brinigng her for a blood test but instead she had urine test done. Althought it was a long day for both of them, it seemed to be a good day. And this morning again we thought we were bringing Hani and her grandmather for an echo check-up, but on our way I got a text message saying that Hani did not need an echo today but needed to be measured for blood pressure instead.

Despite all these physical exams, Hani and her grandmather looked quite happy and enjoyed their journey all the way to Tel-Aviv. I saw grandmather was happy to chat with the other  Kurdish families such as Ainda's mum, Yara's mum or even Arwin's father as well.

Thanks to our Lord for this unexpected good news for Hani that she did not need to have another echo today. More importantly thanks to God that both of them have been so peaceful and happy to receive today's examination. With thankful hearts we ask you to lift both Hani and her granmather in your prayers. May every day of their lives in Jerusalem be filled with peace and joy. Amen!

Back in Jerusalem

Posted on Fri, 09/09/2016 - 21:48 by Ruth Zellweger

After an unventful night under observation by the medical staff at Wolfson hospital, Hani was allowed to return to Jerusalem this afternoon. I found her in good spirits. Her lovely grandmother was very thankful for the wonderful care they received at the hospital and made sure that we stopped at the nurses station to say goodbye. 

After we arrived in Jerusalem, we called Hani's family to share with them the good news that they are out of the hospital. The entire family (her parents and siblings) were gathered around the phone to see their beloved Hani and their mother / grandmother. It was sweet to see the love and bond they all seem to have. 

Hani needs to return to the hospital on Monday for a bloodtest and possibly echo. Until then we hope that her condition will improve day by day, so that she will be ready when the day of surgery comes. May God cover her and her grandmother with His love and peace in the coming days and weeks. 

Good Medical Care

Posted on Fri, 09/09/2016 - 00:00 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Hani had her first assessments today at Wolfson hospital. We left Jerusalem at 6:30 this morning. On the way to the hospital, Hani soon fell asleep. While she had been very calm and quiet the entire time before, she started screaming loudly as soon as the assessments started shortly after our arrival. It was hard to calm her down. 

After the vital signs were taken, Hani got a little break, and she and her grandmother enjoyed breakfast. On she went for blood test, physical examination, x-ray and PPD-test. Before she was called in for the echocardiogram, Hani received some sedation (medication to put her to sleep), so that the doctors could do a proper examination of her heart and get a clearer picture of the anatomy. 

At the end of the echo, Dr. Alona announced that Hani would be admitted for observation overnight, due to her rapid and labored breathing, as well as the start of some new heart medications. I told her grandmother, thankful that the doctors value each life entrusted to them and give them the best medical care possible. 

Hani is in need of heart surgery in the near future, and we pray for God's continued mercy and peace on her and her grandmother.

Sacrificial Love

Posted on Tue, 09/06/2016 - 20:51 by Ruth Zellweger

Early this morning, two cars left a village in Kurdistan, northern Iraq towards the International airport of the capital city. The reason was precious Hani, diagnosed several months ago with a hole between the two ventricles of her heart, as well as high pressure in her pulmonary arteries. She had to come quickly for surgical treatment, however, for several weeks we were not able to locate the family. But our heavenly Father is good and goes after His lost sheep. We found the family and after some phonecalls the family agreed to send Hani to Israel.  Two weeks ago we applied for her visa and it was approved quickly.

Sophie and I have the privilege of traveling with our new arrivals, and we met the family at the airport. Hani is coming to Israel with her grandmother, and so her parents had to say goodbye at the airport. I could tell that it wasn't easy for them, especially not for her young mother. She held her daughter for the last precious minutes, enjoying the closeness of her baby. When it was time to proceed to the check in, both mother and daughter started crying, experiencing the pain of separation. I could only imagine how hard it must be for the mother to stay behind, but the love for her daughter is strong.

Hani's grandmother is a sweet older lady, who flew today for the first time.

Even though she didn't really know how things work at the airport, she radiates trust and calmness, and cares for her little granddaughter diligently. 

We are looking forward to spending more time with the two of them in the coming days and week. After a late arrival in Jerusalem this evening, they will have some time to rest and settle in tomorrow. On Thursday morning, Hani will go to Wolfson hospital for her first assessments. 

Thank you for joining us in praying for little Hani, as she continues her journey to a healed heart.