Sara's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Smiling Sara

Posted on Wed, 05/17/2017 - 23:31 by Eva Markewitz
As Simone and I entered the room of precious little Sara, she was being fed some milk with a small bottle. What a positive surprise! Her mother was very happy about that progress. She was talking tenderly to her daughter who was lying on her lap. Sara had a good day today, and I saw her smiling a lot, looking around with her big brown eyes.
She seemed to not like the nipple and the milk from the hospital, but then Simone went back to our house and brought Sara her own milk bottle, which she was used to. But even though she was drinking better afterwards, it was not enough. The nurse told us that they probably need to put her back on the feeding tube. The mom was very discouraged, because they day started so good and now it is still not enough milk her daughter is drinking.
Please lift up little Sara in your prayers, she really needs to gain weight in order to get new strength to recover.

Another Trial

Posted on Mon, 05/15/2017 - 18:09 by Alexa Bigl

I was so excited to see Sara in the children's ward this morning! I saw her mom at first and thought she was perhaps visiting someone she had come to know at the hospital in the ward. I asked her how Sara was and her mom looked over at the crib and told me to come see Sara. I looked over and realized it was Sara there in the crib! She was awake and happily looking around, grasping at her toy turtle. 

Unfortunately, this joyful sight was not the whole story. Today, Dr. Alona told Sara's mom Sara can not drink from a bottle for a while. Whenever she was eating, her heart rate was becoming very rapid. Especially since the doctors do not yet understand the cause of the increased rate, it's dangerous. So, Sara will only be fed by her NG tube for the time being. Sadly, the medical team does not know how long this will be the case. Maybe just a couple of days, but it could also be a very long time before it is safe for Sara to eat/drink again. Sara's mom was discouraged this morning, understandably so. We will be lifting up Sara and her mom in special prayer tonight, tomorrow, and in the coming days. Please join us in interceding for this little girl. The Lord is Healer and Father, He is God and we are reminded to entrust Sara into His hands, once again. 

I Only Have Eyes for You

Posted on Sun, 05/14/2017 - 19:08 by Alexa Bigl

Little Miss Sara is improving day by day. She is now off all supplemental oxygen! She is eating well and getting bigger. I was looking at her today, amazed you can see she has grown over this past week. Sara is obsessed with her mother and only wants to look at her, smiling back often at the face she knows. 

Yesterday, a blood test and culture was taken. Everything looks good with the blood test, but the culture results were not in. The team is worried Sara may have an infection in her lungs, potentially a virus. Sara has some noticeable crackles when she is breathing. We hope there are soon answers for the cause of the disturbances in Sara's breathing, and we pray for a solution. 
Sara is grasping objects with her tiny hands and is growing more and more beautiful each time I go to visit her. Her mother, while tired after five weeks in the hospital, continues to care for Sara with sweet and gentle attention. Thank you for joining us in praying for this family. The Lord is doing big things in and through Sara's healing; let's lift His Name on high! 

"Super Good" Sara

Posted on Sun, 05/07/2017 - 21:34 by Rebekah Yang

Our precious little fighter Sara was extubated Friday night and has been breathing on her own since! The ICU doctor made a comment saying she is not just good, but actually she is "super good" now. This was the best news and indeed encouraged us so much. Sara's mum was overwhelmed to see how big of an improvement her beloved daughter has made. Hallelujah!

Debbie and I had the privilege to witness an ICU nurse pick up Sara and deliver her into her mum's arms this afternoon. I saw Sara's mum was in tears, but with a rejoicing heart to hold her little princess for a while. It was such a lovely and amazing moment that I did not have any words to express but lifting up my hands to praise our Messiah.
Please continue to pray for Sara and her mum as they're still on their long journey of fighting for Sara's life inside the ICU. All of your prayers will be greatly needed in order to support both mum and daughter. 

Step Out in Faith

Posted on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 21:54 by Alexa Bigl

Baby Sara remains intubated in Wolfson's ICU. The ventilator settings are fluctuating, but overall trending towards less and less. This means Sara is doing more and more of the work of breathing. This morning when I was sitting in with Sara and her mom, the doctors came around to the bedside to look in on Sara. They talked about her situation a bit. Her heart looks really good. And her lungs also look good. Why her previous extubation did not succeed is still unknown. The doctors and nurses will continue to monitor the oxygen and other gas levels in her blood the rest of today, tonight, and tomorrow. If they look good as they continue to decrease the ventilator machine settings, Sara may be extubated again soon. We are praying for the perfect timing. And when the doctors do choose to take the tube out, we are praying hard sweet Sara can maintain breathing on her own. 

Sara's mom had a good day. She enjoyed an extended lunch with Dima's mom at the hospital cafeteria. She has been helping Dima's mom with translation, since Sara's mom knows English, Kurdish, and Arabic, and the two mothers have become close friends. She also kindly offered us to join her in an afternoon snack of juice and cake in the children's ward as she took a break from being in the ICU at Sara's bedside. Our prayers are being answered and the Lord is filling this beautiful mother with so much strength!

All praises to the Lord as we step out in faith calling upon His name for Sara's full healing. 

Results and Healing

Posted on Mon, 05/01/2017 - 17:56 by Alexa Bigl

Sara had her fluoroscopy exam this morning. This continuous x-ray beam test allowed the doctors to determine how well Sara's diaphragm is functioning. This muscle, the diaphragm, is very important in our breathing. Since Sara was struggling so much to maintain her breathing yesterday, the doctors wanted to ensure there was not any paralysis with this vital muscle. Thank You, Lord, the muscle is functioning very well. There is no paralysis. In fact, everything with little Sara's body looks really good. All the exams and tests show she is improving day by day. The ICU doctor today told me their plan is to, once again, slowly wean Sara from the ventilator until she can try for extubation again. 

While it's difficult not understanding why Sara's recovery is slower than expected and her unexplained complication yesterday with the failed extubation, we are so thankful for the good news the ICU doctors told us today. They are seeing she is continuing to progress in her recovery. Please do continue to lift up baby Sara and her mother in your prayers. Sara's mother is frustrated the doctors cannot explain why Sara needed to be reintubated yesterday evening. She is tired from the many, many days at the hospital. Let's lift up this little family to the Lord. May they have strength and comfort from Him. And may Sara soon be successfully breathing on her own!

God's Faithfulness to Sara

Posted on Sun, 04/30/2017 - 22:39 by Virginia Birss

Today was a very difficult, up and down, day for baby Sara and her mom. Please uphold them both in your prayers. Sara's condition is very critical as she clings to life through the mercy of God. Her mother is emotionally and physically exhausted, but clings to God and petitions His mercy.

When I arrived today Sara had just recently been extubated. Her mom greeted me outside the ICU with a big smile and hugs, but quickly that smile turned to tears and deep concern as we entered the ICU and watched Sara struggle to breathe on her own.

She had only been extubated for one hour and it was very obvious that she was in great distress. The doctors did a rapid consult, performed an ultrasound test for her lungs, found fluid around her left lung, and her her diaphragm not working adequately on the left side. The doctors put a chest tube into her left lung space and then re-intubated her to help with her breathing. Meanwhile, over that almost two hour period Sara's body temperature plunged dangerously low and so the the doctors wrapped her and placed a warming air flow system next to her, to get her body temperature up to normal. By the time we saw her again, her vital signs looked more normal.

Tomorrow a fluoroscopy test will be done to try to ascertain why Sara's left lung and diaphragm are not functioning well. If needed a minor surgery may be done to help restore the strength and function of her diaphragm so that she can in time breathe on her own unassisted by a machine.

Sara's mom struggles to understand what is happening to her baby and at times despairs of hope. She is very emotionally distraught and the ups and downs are very difficult for her. We cried together and prayed together, as I tried to explain to her in her somewhat limited English what is happening and what to possibly expect tomorrow.

She was thankful for my presence, reassuring arms, prayers, and a shoulder to cry on. She told me that I am like a mom to her and confided in me that today is her birthday, and May 4 will be Sara's 3 month "birthday." Before I came today, I thought I should bring her a gift, and I did. How thankful I was that I had listened to God's voice and brought both herself and baby Sara some gifts. She was delighted, and the gifts for Sara seemed to renew her hope that her baby would survive to wear them.

After I found out about their birthdays, I bought them a birthday balloon from the hospital floral shop, and a bagel (no birthday cake available), and left these at Sara's bedside, while her mom was temporarily out of the room. I'm sure the presence of that balloon will be a reminder of God's love and faithfulness to her, in His continuing to answer her prayers with one miracle after another. Baby Sara truly is a miracle of survival, but please do continue to pray for her as she remains critically ill. And please remember to pray for her mom as well, as she is finding it very hard to continue to hope and not despair in this very challenging battle for Sara's life. Our God is an awesome God and we look to Him daily for our strength and daily miracles, big and small. Thank you for praying and caring.

Re-intubated and Praying for a Miracle

Posted on Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:30 by Rebekah Yang

Out of sensitivity to Sara, we won't show photos at this time

Last night, after some time spent weaning off the ventilation, Sara was again short of breath. So the ICU doctor decided to re-intubate her since her oxygen levels were so low again. The main ICU doctor mentioned that she they are still trying to determine the cause. Our precious Sara's mum looked very tired but continued to stay by Sara's bedside to watch over her.

Please lift your hands in prayer over Sara's life. May our Messiah's healing hands touch little Sara and give us another miracle. In Yeshua's name I pray, amen.

Sara's Prognosis

Posted on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 01:19 by Debbie Sturm

From left to right: Sara's mom, Floryan's mom, Halat's mom, and Debbie

Today I went to visit Sara. Her mother was waiting in front of the ICI for Sara's chest to be closed. She was talking to the other mothers and told me that she is fine because Sara is stable. Her English is really good and we were able to talk a bit and she translated for me as I also wanted to speak with the mothers of Floryan and Halat.

After some time of waiting, she went for lunch with the mothers and afterwards she was finally able to enter the ICU. When I met her there later, she was sad and a bit upset. Although Sara is stable at the moment and her chest is closed, the doctors told Sara's mother that they have to wait two days to see whether Sara's condition will remain stable. They also said she probably will need another surgery in a few months. Of course, her mother is worried. Please keep them in your prayers. May God comfort the mother and touch little Sara.

Calling out for God's Mercy

Posted on Sun, 04/23/2017 - 23:41 by Virginia Birss

Sara did well for the first two days after surgery, but then she started having sporadic low oxygen levels.

The last 24 hours have been very critical for our sweet baby Sara. Yesterday evening, Sara was rushed to the operating room for emergency surgery due to severely low oxygen levels. The cardiac surgeon was not sure if she would survive this second surgery to put in a shunt to help her blood flow. The situation was not looking good.

We all joined together in prayer at our Jaffa base, pleading with God for Sara's life and committing her into His loving care. Sara's mom was supported by Ruth as they waited outside the surgery room at the hospital. It was a very difficult night, but this morning at the Jaffa house, we woke up to the wonderful news that Sara had made it through this second surgery! Another miracle from our loving Father!

She is now stable on a ventilator, has a good oxygen saturation level, and is sleeping peacefully. Her mom, together with the doctors and nurses at Wolfson hospital are diligently watching over her. But even more so, our Heavenly Father holds her tight in His secure hands. This morning I could not help but wonder in awe at God's goodness and love as I looked at dear Sara. His mercies truly are new every morning!

It's been very special walking alongside Sara's mom these last few days. As we've called out together for God's mercy on dear Sara and shed tears together, a friendship has formed. Something that is very profound and deep. While Sara is in this time of sedated sleep so that her heart can heal itself, her mom came to our Jaffa family home for a rest. Together we walked down to the beach. It is the first time that Sara's mom has seen the Mediterranean Sea.

It was a profoundly moving experience for her to see and hear the power of the waves and at the same time feel a touch of God - the Creator of the waves. His presence in that moment restored her soul. Just as David wrote in Psalm 23:3: "He restores my soul." She said, "I feel energized." Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and love to both Sara and her mom.

Please continue to pray for Sara's complete healing. These next few days are still very critical. May Sara and her mom rest in the shalom of God. Thank you for praying and caring.