Havi's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

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The Father's Hands

Posted on Fri, 05/04/2018 - 22:32 by Alena D'Olimpio

It is with a heavy heart that I begin to write this. Last night we had a farewell gathering for Havi's parents and today we sent them off with our traditional Shevet tissue wave as the van drives away to the airport. Saying goodbye is never easy because the Kurdish families become like your own family. It is especially hard knowing that Havi's parents go home to face a new stage of healing and with much work ahead of them. Grief is relentless. It can come suddenly with tears of sorrow or a prolonged groaning too deep for words. But even in the midst of loss can come glimpses of beauty; like last night when we had a time of sharing about Havi and his parents we recalled the precious moments we had with them all.

And Lindsay gave Havi's mother their gift, which included a picture collage of Havi. Her breath became short as she pulled the frame out of the gift bag and her eyes met images of her son. Tears began to fall as she held the pictures close and kissed them. "Havi" she whispered, and I was reminded of how she would say his name when she sat by his bedside. When we were sharing she said, "Havi is in good hands now." Havi was fiercely loved by his parents. They fought for him, the staff at Sheba fought for him, we fought for him. But at the end of it all, it is a relief to say just what his mum said. He is in good hands now. Havi in the Father's hands. 

After a day spent in Jerusalem with a few Shevet staff and a night of commemorating their son, Havi's parents left this afternoon for the airport. They are precious in the eyes of God, and they are precious to us. We will hold them in our hearts and never forget the joy that was knowing Havi. Thank you God for Havi's life and may You be with Havi's parents in his death. 

Perhaps the LORD Will Deliver Him

Posted on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 00:49 by Jesse Tilman

It is with some reluctance that I begin to write about Havi. Not because he is not recovered yet, but because he is not recovering. The last few days his semi-conscious presence has lessened and hope for his healing looks slim. He has only had a reaction to pain stimulation. After many prayers of faith on his behalf, it is hard to see him yet getting worse.

Havi's poor body has swollen again due to kidney failure and now to a point beyond what I've seen before. It's hard to look at him and hard to stand next to him powerless to help. His mother comes and lovingly strokes his arms and feet and says his name to him. It's some little comfort at least to spend time with the parents.
That's right, the father was able to come late last night! After no small amount of work, the door was opened for him to travel here. You can imagine the comfort as he walked in to see his wife at the hospital. When I met him, he was very thankful for the top-notch care he is seeing given his son. Now both parents are able to go through this together, whatever the outcome. 
Yes, we still do see hope for Havi. Several community members have been led to pray in faith for him. I felt in my own heart a surge in faith that he would recover. I felt confident enough to ask our coworker Archie if he would like to go on one of the visits last week to especially pray over Havi. We went and prayed as Havi's mom listened. It felt right. 
Now we wait on God. It's in His hands where it has always been. As Andrew reminded us tonight at dinner, Havi's life has been in His hands from day one and God can save him at any point He wants. It matters not how low the situation looks to us. Havi's body is his handiwork from conception and He knows it better than anyone. 
Because you formed my inward parts. You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works and that my soul knows right well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, curiously worked in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance and in your book they were all written,
​even the days that were formed, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139)
So we look to our Maker at this time, as our wisdom, knowledge, skill, and expectations are reaching their limits. We know that sometimes it's just at times like this, when human effort can go no further and God gets the glory, that He chooses to act.
Thank You God for this time of faith building. Thank You for Havi's father getting to come. Thank You for Your good hand in this. Thank you for the peace Havi's mom displays day to day. Thank you for the tender loving care You've provided to this family.
And thank you for the future life you have in store for them, with Havi in body or in spirit.
They say, “Commit yourself to the LORD; perhaps the LORD will deliver him, 
perhaps he will cause him to escape, since he delights in him.” 
Yet, you are the one who took me from the womb, and kept me safe on my mother’s breasts.
I was dependent on you from birth; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. (Psalm 22)

Please Pray

Posted on Tue, 04/24/2018 - 17:44 by Anna Seppa
Today I visited Havi and his mom in the ICU at Sheba hospital. I met them for the first time but had heard bits of their story beforehand.  It was so sad to see Havi's mom beside him trying to show him a video that he loved. The video had a green bear in it, almost similar to the one we gave him today. Havi is only reacting to pain at the moment. Part of the skull has been removed to lower the brain pressure. He is suffering from acute kidney injury because of lack of circulation and oxygen to the kidneys. Havi's face is swollen, because there is no urine extraction at the moment. They are trying to do peritoneal dialysis but it is uncertain how it will work. The heart is now able to maintain a reasonable blood pressure with the help of inotropic medication. It is basically the only good news for his mom at this time.  It's impossible to know the outcome and we can only leave this child and his family into God's loving hands in our prayers.
I was able to spend some time with Havi's mom who spoke a bit of English. We showed each other some family pictures. It was lovely to see a bit of smile in her face in the midst of these hard times. Please be praying for Havi as he overcomes these obstacles. 

Hindered Recovery

Posted on Sun, 04/22/2018 - 13:48 by Johanna Ebert

Poor little Havi, we all hoped that he was on his way to recovering, as he was almost weaned off the ECMO machine which does much of the work of the heart. But on Friday morning we received the news that Havi had a hemorrhage in his brain, and they took him in the surgery room to drain the blood. Because the ECMO machine requires blood thinner to do its job, he had to be taken off it to try to stop the bleeding. Noelle and I drove immediately to the hospital to support Havi's mum, she couldn’t stop crying and feared the worst. But a little hope arose as the doctor said Havi's heart was working without the ECMO. So we waited and prayed for Havi and the doctor who operated on him. At around 1 o’clock he was back at his ICU room, now with an open skull to reduce the pressure. The blood pressure was still very low and he wasn’t in a good condition, but still alive. Praise the Lord!

Over the afternoon different people visited Havi‘s mum and gave her strength in this most difficult situation. Maxine stayed with her overnight, as understandably she was physically and emotionally fatigued from the many days of uncertainty. Knowing that Maxine would look after Havi, she relaxed enough to get some sleep. The next day the heart was working well and the blood pressure was better, but he had still problems with his kidneys. Daryan‘s mum, who is a good friend of Havi‘s mum spent the day with her. We are so thankful for the good relationships between the mums, that they can talk in their own language makes it much easier for them.

At the moment his heart and blood pressure are still doing well, and we’re waiting and praying for a full recovery. That God will give strength to Havi‘s little body, that he can heal without any negative effect for his future. He is able to do this miracle and we trust Him! We want also include in our prayers Havi‘s mum, the family (we hope his Dad can come to Israel) and all the doctors and nurses who are included in this case.

Optimistic for the Future

Posted on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 23:39 by Co-authored
Noelle Chung writes: 
Havi went through a difficult time during the weekend. His heart, with the rearranged structures after the surgery, did not function well enough to pump blood to the whole body. So, Havi has been using the ECMO machine which temporarily takes over the roles of the heart and the lungs.
His heart function is slowly being recovered, as today’s echo results showed. The doctor is optimistic about the future courses. He started a medicine which helps the heart muscles, and will check via echo tomorrow to see if Havi can wean off the ECMO machine. 
Robyn Stuart continues: 
Today at little Havi’s hospital room we found his Mum sitting devotedly at his side. She was glad to see Noelle and I when we arrived. She updated us in a mix of Arabic and English sentences. We were happy to see she was emotionally strong enough to relay the details. She was glad to come outside of the ICU for lunch with us and we joined some other mums as well. After lunch we sat with her again in Havi’s room where we relaxingly chatted about family and passed on many well wishes from members of our Shevet community. At the end of our visit we felt Havi’s mum was well informed about his treatment and what the medical staff were anticipating the next hours would look like. She seemed settled and content. Please continue to cover Mum in prayer as she journeys with little Havi in his healing process.

Surgery Day

Posted on Thu, 04/12/2018 - 23:01 by Noelle Chung
Today is Havi’s surgery day. The preparation began around 7:30 in the morning. After explanation about the anesthesia, doctors and nurses brought Havi into the operation room. Despite fasting and unfamiliar situations, Havi did not cry much. However, Havi’s mum cried as Havi went into the surgery room. 
 The surgery finished earlier than we expected. The doctor said that all the procedures were done successfully, and there was no problem during the surgery. The chest is not fully closed yet, waiting a couple of days for the structures will settle down without pushing each other.
Havi’s mum exulted by the good news of the successful surgery, and called family members to tell the news. On the other hand, she was very worried about Havi’s open chest, concerning if it was because something went wrong. Then the professor came and explained  the reason and reassured her that there was nothing to worry about. A relative of her was also with her, and she strengthened and encouraged Havi’s mum. We are so grateful for her love and help.
Havi is in ICU now, sedated. We are praying for lovely Havi, that he will recover soon and regain healthy life.

Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Wed, 04/11/2018 - 21:06 by Johanna Ebert

Suhail, Esther and I accompanied Havi and his mum to the hospital. He is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. His mum was very nervous, she had still many questions. Fortunately we could speak with the surgeon, who was very kind and explained a lot to her. After this conversation she was reassured and gave her permission for the surgery. It was followed by a long waiting time for a free bed, the hospital is actually very full and they needed to discharge children first. We made the best of it and organized a picnic in the middle of the playground area.

It was quite fun! Around 4 o’clock we got a room for him in another ward, only for one night. Please pray for the surgery for sweet little Havi and for strength to Havi‘s lovely mum! 

Back at Shevet

Posted on Thu, 04/05/2018 - 21:25 by Johanna Ebert

Havi‘s oxygen could be stabilized over night and he was able to come home with us. The mum was very glad, she said the one baby in her room was crying the whole night.

Havi was happy, as well. He laughed and played during the waiting time at the hospital and at the trip back to Jaffa.

Only as the nurse removed the IV he cried short. On Sunday the doctor want decide what’s the next step is for him. Let’s pray that our heavenly father give the doctor wisdom and the right decision!

Testing Day

Posted on Wed, 04/04/2018 - 18:45 by Robyn Stuart

This morning we ventured off early with little Havi and his Mum to Sheba hospital.

During the journey Havi was generously giving smiles to everyone as usual even though he had fasted through the night. We were promptly seen by the staff and Havi had his echocardiogram.

Unfortunately the doctor could not gain enough detail so he ordered a CT scan to be done. Havi had to be sedated for this procedure. We had an exciting journey via the streets to another building to use an available machine, presumably because of the holidays.

During Havi's recovery period back at the heart centre his oxygen saturation levels dropped too low for him to be allowed home. His Mum at this point became a little anxious but we reassured her that it was best to have Havi stay so he could be monitored through the night.

We look forward to seeing them back at the house and pray that God will direct the doctors as they make their decisions on how to heal Harvi's heart. 

First Hospital Visit

Posted on Tue, 03/27/2018 - 22:13 by Joannah Quesenberry
"I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children." Isaiah 49:25
Today, Havi and his mother had their first doctor's appointment. While waiting for the nurse to call them, I was able to get better acquainted with the little guy. He quickly spotted and then claimed my name-tag, which I was happy to lend him in exchange for a few smiles. When the time came for his ECG and ultrasound, he handled it like a champ, only fussing for a few moments out of the whole procedure. The results of the tests won't be available until tomorrow, but I think even Havi would agree that the visit was a very pleasant one!