Rayan's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq


Posted on Wed, 10/24/2007 - 06:50 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Rayan was crying and would not be consoled the whole time while the nurses cleaned him and changed his diapers. Quite surprisingly, his mother remained unperturbed and even cheerful. That's probably because she can see that her son is well as he has a beautiful pink glow on his face and limbs.

I found that one way to get Rayan smiling is to show him the pictures of him on camera, and smile he did!

After the doctor came to remove the tubes attached to Rayan, the boy was not allowed to eat for another hour or so. So Rayan's mother stroked her fretful child till he dozed off. Then right on the dot of 2 o'clock, clearance was given for Rayan to have food and what a great appetite he has - he finished his milk in a jiffy and a while later, his mother gave him a second helping!

After his hunger was satisfied, Rayan had time to smell the flowers... and literally so, as he sniffed the bright yellow bloom which Autumn gave to his mother and the other mothers. Rayan can probably be moved out of the intermediate ICU tomorrow.

A Mother's Touch

Posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 06:50 by Donna_Petrel
A mother's touch makes everything better for a sick child, and this was evidenced today when we walked into the ICU to check on Rayan. As Hank and I looked around the room to find his bed, we heard cries from a bed to the left, and as I looked closely, I realized it was Rayan. He had suddenly awakened and was very agitated and crying out for his mother. She came in quickly from the ''mothers' room'' just beside the ICU, and took Rayan's hand. Immediately he was soothed and quieted. As she sat beside him and stroked his hand, he fell back to sleep. Watching this interaction was endearing, as all of us have noticed the beautiful relationship between this mother and son.
Rayan is still on oxygen, and his mother pointed out that his oxygenation rate was 100%. He no longer has a blue pallor to his skin but has a healthy look instead.
The nurse said they had given him some medication because he was agitated, to help him sleep, and asked that we not disturb him too much. I put my camera away so the flash would not bother him, and asked to pray for him before I left.

Please join me in thanking God for all He has done for Rayan, and for the loving care of his dear mother. We look forward to seeing Rayan recovering and beginning to experience a fullness of life he's never had before.

Rayan Waking After Successful Surgery

Posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 06:50 by Lee_Liang_Chian

Rayan had a successful operation today, thanks be to GOD and the Wolfson medical team.

When Diyka ("mother of") Rayan was allowed into the ICU over an hour after he came out of the operating theatre, she was excited to see her little boy stir and open his eyes every now and then, as if wanting to be awake and know what's going on around him. His mother stroked Rayan's head tenderly and joyful tears smudged her happy face. However, we had to remind Diyka Rayan to allow Rayan to continue sleeping, so that he can be well rested.

The readings on the monitor overhead seems pretty good, especially his 100% oxygen saturation level, albeit with the aid of a oxygen tube attached to his nose.

Diyka Rayan wanted to sit by Rayan's bedside a little longer when I left the ICU. Tomorrow, she will probably be quite busy once we get her some film to be loaded into her camera!

May Have Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 06:50 by Donna_Petrel
Rayan was back at the Save A Child's Heart house when I visited today after being released from his bout with a stomach virus last week. I had a good visit with him and his mother this afternoon and enjoyed seeing Rayan's playful personality come out. He is quite a sweetheart, and got over his shyness to share some affection with me. Already I was planning to go back to see them tomorrow, but before I could get home to Jerusalem, I got a call saying that the doctors had asked for Rayan to head to the hospital for possible surgery in the morning. Please pray for his mother and for Rayan with this possibility before them. I'm sure she is both thankful and anxious, and needs the Lord's comfort more than ever. We will call early in the morning to find out if Rayan will indeed be able to go for his surgery tomorrow, and update you later in the day.

Fever and Stomach Virus

Posted on Wed, 10/17/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

Rayan was still in the hospital when we visited him yesterday, and was being treated for a fever and stomach virus. Thankfully he was resting peacefully as he recuperated. Although I could not leave the people I was with to take a photo, in the late afternoon I saw his mother take him out in the stroller, and it was good to know he was better and could get some fresh air and sunshine. The nurses report that he will not be able to have surgery for at least four or five days following this virus as his body will need time to be strong again. Let us pray together that this will be soon, so he can go forward with this opportunity for a new heart.

Rayan Hospitalized Due To Vomiting

Posted on Mon, 10/15/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel

We saw Rayan and his mother yesterday as soon as they arrived at the hospital for more pre-surgery testing, and Rayan's mother shared that he had been vomiting.

Within a few minutes he was sick again, and the nurses came to help her with him. It took a little time to stop the vomiting, and then Rayan was examined by the doctors. It was decided that he should be admitted for observation in case he developed other symptoms.

Today Rayan is still at the hospital and is doing fine.

Testing Scheduled for Sunday

Posted on Fri, 10/12/2007 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
We had the opportunity to visit Rayan and his mother at the Save A Child's Heart house today when we took the mothers of Tara and Karwan over to take a shower - there were problems with the shower provided to them at the hospital. Rayan's mother was feeling much happier about being here since the arrival of Soz and her mother on Wednesday night. Rayan was full of smiles as he played with the toys at the house provided for the children. For now we understand that Rayan is due to undergo tests at the hospital on Sunday, and we will update you as soon as we know more after that visit. Please pray for them as the surgery date is being determined. 

Rayan Preparing for Complicated Surgery

Posted on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 06:50 by Autumn_Ridley

The first time I saw Rayan was at the screening in Amman. The first thing that really stood out to me was the sad look on his face. After his arrival in Israel, on Thursday Rayan went in to Wolfson Medical Center for tests. He will return again on Sunday for more. As we were leaving the hospital I took the families to visit the aquarium at the hospital. Little did I know that Rayan loves fish. His face lit up and he began to smile and just stare at the fish. It was wonderful to see him happy and smiling.

The mother seems very concerned for her son and wants to know what she should expect. Right now we know that he will have surgery, but his surgery will be a complicated one, with a long recovery.

One More Step

Posted on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 06:50 by David_Hartman

It had been a whirlwind of a day. The Shevet Achim staff had traveled to the Jordan where they were met by three Israeli doctors. We were all to participate in the screening of 40 Iraqi children. The screening was to determine the severity of each child's heart defect(s). All had come with hope and some parents had now received the news that their child's condition was beyond what the doctors had the ability to correct. they would need to seek a higher source.

Others had been told that they would later be coming to Israel as the Israeli visas were obtained, as the surgery schedule permitted, and as the necessary funds are raised and made available. Only three small hurdles to overcome that will bring tremendous change to the futures of these little ones. Small hurdles, when many become involved financially, and pray.

These same three hurdles, seemingly elusive goals, had now been conquered for our little Rayan. The timing was such that he and his mother would be returning to Israel this very night along with the Shevet Achim staff and the three Israeli doctors. One of these doctors, Dr. Akiva Tamir, was the doctor that 10 months ago had given Rayan the approval to begin the process leading to what was about to happen this very night! A personal escort by the doctor himself! This must be one special baby with a great sense of timing!

As the doctors finalized the last child in the current screening process, the suitcases of Rayan and his mother were loaded into the awaiting van. It would be a mad dash to the Jordan/Israeli border to arrive there before it closed. The border was two hours away and we had two hours and 15 minutes to get there. We prayed that there would be no traffic snarls. That would be a miracle in itself to anyone that has driven in Amman, Jordan traffic! The doctors finished and we left the Red Crescent Hospital immediately. It had been a very emotionally draining day.

The roads between the hospital and the border crossing were not only extremely busy the first half hour through the city, but the rest are in very remote areas of the country and in need of much maintenance. As we drove through the city, the streets were filled with cars, yet the way seemed to open up every time it seemed we would be detained. There was great favor at the multiple military check points along the way. The long stretches of dark narrow roads through the country side, where often in times past, there were obstacles and the constant danger of livestock on the road, were seemingly cleared for our safe passage. The time went quickly and the border crossing was reached in exactly two hours.....with 10 minutes to spare! God had definitely been our guide to make this happen.

As we entered the Jordanian border crossing, the military security officials treated us with the utmost kindness and respect. Our passports were stamped and passage granted as fast as I can ever remember it happening. Now we were off to the Israeli side of the border. With our goal reached to be at the border before it closed, we were now finding ourselves more relaxed. Although the security was tight and thorough, we knew the hardest part of the crossing was over.

This was all quite the experience for Rayan and his mother though. It was easy to see their weariness as we progressed from stage to stage through the border crossing process. Being unable to speak English, Arabic, or Hebrew, and the mother 5 1/2 months pregnant, plus being so far from home, would bring stress enough. In addition, putting their trust in people who are total strangers, whom they only met one other time in their life, and then transferring from country to country, each farther from one's home, in the dark of night... We all wondered if we would be in anywhere near as good a shape at this point.  

After leaving the border, the Shevet staff headed southward on our two-hour journey to Jerusalem. The doctors departed with Rayan and his mother for Tel Aviv, two and a half hours away to the west, in an awaiting transport. Once there, the doctors would admit Rayan into the hospital after midnight. It would be a short night for them all. Baby Rayan and his mother's first day in Israel will bring with it many new experiences, each a step towards the new life Rayan is to receive in Israel. 

Please join us in prayer as Rayan and his mother begin going through this time that any of us hope and pray we never experience with one of our own children. Let us come alongside in this, their time of desperate need. Wouldn't you want someone to do this if it were you and your child?

Rayan Comes to Israel With Doctors

Posted on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 00:00 by David_Hartman

Two-year-old Rayan came to Israel in the wee hours of this morning, traveling with the Israel doctors coming back from their screening in Jordan. At the last minute it appeared that his trip might be cancelled, as Rayan's mother turned out to be very obviously pregnant, and doctors were concerned about possible complications (or childbirth) during her time in Israel. We were grateful after the doctors re-examined Rayan, conferred, and gave his mother the thumbs-up to come.

We'll update this page Thursday with news of his arrival at the hospital.