Sidra's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Sidra Leaves Hospital Joyfully

Posted on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 01:00 by Maddison_Verdecia

Sidra was discharged from the hospital today and is safe in Jerusalem! She has made a great recovery following her open-heart surgery (pictured here with Deya's visiting mom), and is back to her normal smiley self.

Today was a joyous day and I could feel the relief as I entered the ward filled with the Iraqi kids and parents that would be coming "home" to Jerusalem tonight. They were all smiles and laughter.

After loading everyone into the van, they arrived back in Jerusalem tired but seemingly content. We plan to have a welcome home party tomorrow night with food, desserts and dancing! God is good!

Sidra Out of ICU, Planning Her Escape

Posted on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 01:00 by Mary_Dailey

We were surprised today to see Sidra brought into the room in the children's ward beside Hindereen, and she looked so good. She was extubated, out of the ICU, and back to her sweet, precious self, smiling at everyone and holding a toy up and playing with it. She was eating . He mother brought a small container of yogurt in and she couldn't get enough of it. She was so cute. She was trying to get the bracelet with the tube in it off of her hand and almost succeeded. It looked like she was thinking, "if I get this thing off I'll be out of here."

All I can keep thinking of is how well she looks and how cute she is with her little smile. I have a feeling she won't be in there for long and her mom seems so much happier too. Thank you for being a part of giving this precious baby an opportunity for living a happy, healthy life. Who knows what this child will grow up to be. May God bless you all

Sidra Well Enough to Squirm and Flail

Posted on Thu, 07/23/2009 - 01:00 by Emily_Brooks

As I walked into the intermediate ICU, I found Sidra in the bed alongside Akram. Sidras mother looked up at me and nodded her head in greeting as I walked up to her. Sidra was crying and seemed very bothered. She was flailing her arms and legs and trying to squirm around to her side. Her mother was finally able to calm her by giving her a bottle with a little bit of water to drink.

I offered to hold the bottle and Sidras mother immediately handed it to me and then stepped out of the ICU to go change her clothes. She has been by Sidras side continuously with few breaks during the day! She came back a little while later and seemed a bit more refreshed. By the time I left, Sidra had calmed down noticeably!

Please continue to pray for Sidra as she recovers.

Sidra Taken to Surgery

Posted on Wed, 07/22/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Sidra's mom was sitting beside Sidra's bed this morning as her little daughter slept before surgery. She was quiet and pensive, her eyes occasionally filling with tears as we sat together. After a short time Sidra woke up, rolled over, and smiled, not realizing anything was different about today. Her mom picked her up and held her, caressing and kissing her as her emotions began to build. It was not long before the operating room staff came to bring Sidra downstairs, and they allowed her mother to carry her there. Still Sidra was content and curious, as always. When we arrived in the pre-op room Um (mother of) Sidra was able to sit and cuddle her daughter till the moment she left for the operating room, although she became more emotional as the minutes ticked by. Sidra began to fuss just a little, undoubtedly beginning to feel hungry, but we were able to distract her with some toys in the room. We had only a short wait until one of the nurses came and carried Sidra away to the operating room before eight o'clock, leaving her mom in tears for a few minutes. But it didn't take long for her to regain her composure, and we went together upstairs to wait for Sidra's return.

Sidra's surgery was relatively simple: the closure of three holes between the chambers of her heart. This surgery doesn't take as long as many other types of open heart surgery, and we were told to expect her upstairs between twelve and one o'clock. At twelve-thirty-ish Dr. Sasson, the surgeon, came by and told us that the surgery was good, and everything was ok. It took a while longer for the closure of the chest, and recovery room, and Sidra came upstairs about two o'clock and went straight to the ICU (pictured above). Her mother had been fasting during the surgery, but I convinced her it would be good to eat something while we waited for the ICU staff to settle her in there. After we shared a sandwich and returned to the ICU, we were able to go in almost immediately.

Sidra looks very tiny on the gurney in the ICU. Her mom stood gazing at her for a few minutes, seemingly letting the reality set in that Sidra is doing very well. Since Akram is in a bed near Sidra's in the ICU, Akram's mother will be a huge help, because she is able to translate and assist Um Sidra should she need something. Please pray for this sweet baby and mom as the recovery progresses. We're hoping to see another supernaturally fast recovery, and thank God that it has already begun.

Blowing Bubbles on Surgery's Eve

Posted on Tue, 07/21/2009 - 07:53 by Donna_Petrel

Little Sidra was admitted today for her long-awaited surgery in the morning. She was a delight to have around as she played with every one and everything in reach during the afternoon -- the only exception being the time she had to undergo the misery of the bloodwork and insertion of the IV line. Her mother seemed to be calm enough, and I am sure having the other Iraqi parents there with her is a comfort. I am confident that the mothers of Akram and Mohammed and grandmother of Hindereen will be good support for her tomorrow during Sidra's surgery, and we'll be there too. Please join us in prayer for a perfect surgery with God's help for this adorable little girl. Pray that her young mother will feel the comfort of God through His presence with us too as her little one undergoes this life-saving surgery.

Sidra Joyfully Waits for Surgery

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 01:00 by Hannah_Walsh

Sidra spent the night at Wolfson Medical Center. Both Sidra and her mother were in good spirits and despite the fact that Sidra is teething, she was her normal smiley self. Sidra enjoyed eating chocolate and by the amount on her face it was a new and pleasurable experience for her.

Both Hindereen and Sidra are sharing the same hospital room. This is nice for Hidereens grandmother and Sidras motherto be together because they have gotten to know each other whilst staying in the Shevet house in Jerusalem. Sidra yielded her surgery date Wednesday to Hindereen, whose need is more urgent. Please continue to pray for this precious child and her mother during this critical time.

Sidra To Surgery Wednesday

Posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 01:00 by Denise_Ellis

Sidra was admitted into the hospital today. She had to contend with more pricking and poking but she is a trooper who comes out smiling. Her surgery is scheduled for Wednesday so she has two nights to spend in the hospital prior to surgery. Please pray for rest for Sidra and her mother as nights can be very long.

Alex adds:
Sidra was breathing with some difficulty on her way to the hospital.
Her mother accepted it as a part of everyday life and found herself
quietly looking out the window during the 50 minute journey from
Jerusalem to Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv. Once she was settled in
Wolfson the tests begin. Every child allows themselves to be pricked
once without complaining but they are typically ready the second time
they see the needle draw near. This indeed was the case as the nurses
came close to draw blood. Sidra's brief cry spoke to the toughness I
see in this little child. We left Sidra's mother sitting quietly by
her child and preparing herself for the coming emotional challenges.

Sidra Survived PPD Test

Posted on Thu, 06/18/2009 - 01:00 by Jonathan Miles

Sidra cleared another hurdle today en route to her heart surgery, as she successfully navigated the PPD test for tuberculosis. It cost a few tears, as the Iraqi children are seasoned enough to know that a needle prick may be coming when someone in white grabs their arm. But our hope is that these children, like all of us, will look back one day and see that all the suffering was worthwhile.

A Treasure To Everyone

Posted on Mon, 06/15/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong
We have spent the last two days taking Sidra and the three other Iraqis who crossed with her through a battery of tests and examinations at Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Physical exams, X-rays, blood work, EKG, and echocardiograms are some of the tests that they have undergone in order to receive this life saving treatment. What are normally simple exams have taken considerably longer than usual due to the severity and complicated nature of these children's problems. An echocardiogram which normally takes 15 minutes has taken an hour, and the simple procedure of drawing blood has taken numerous pokes with the needle in order to find the atrophied, hair-thin veins.

The mothers and children, though visibly tired, have proven very resilient in the stress
of these last few grueling days. They are so eager and desperate to help their children that they are willing to go through a great deal.

Sidra has been a treasure to everyone who has gotten a chance to exchange smiles with her. While she has cried and made a fuss like any child would during all these procedures, her usual disposition is simply bursting with joy. She gives a tremendous smile to anyone looking her way, and has already drawn a crowd or two of endeared passersby. (Watch the video clip below to get a glimpse of Sidra's laugh.)

Sidra's echocardiogram took the longest by far due to a medication complication. In the time it took to do Sidra's echo, the other three Iraqis had been seen for theirs consecutively in the next room.

After reviewing the blood work, the doctor determined Sidra was very dehydrated and would need to be admitted to receive glucose IVs overnight. In the morning, Sidra will receive more testing and should be back with us once again in Jerusalem tomorrow. There is no word yet about an exact surgery date.

Making A New Friend In Jerusalem

Posted on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 01:00 by Justin_Strong

We brought Sidra to Jerusalem today, after a long journey from Jordan. At the border there is an automatic door which divides the security portion of the border from the waiting area which prevents one side seeing to the other. But when the automatic door opened for a crossing tour group, I
was able to catch a glimpse of the Iraqi families having their passports checked. I know how stressful crossing the border can be, so I smiled and waved to them to let them know I was there, and to reassure them that everything would be okay. They saw me just as the automatic door was closing again and, recognizing me from the Jordan screening, smiled and waved back. About 20 minutes later they emerged from the security terminal, excited to make it through, but understandably very tired. I greeted them and offered them some snacks since they had certainly been in the border well before lunch time. Minutes later, I secured everyone and everything in our van and, after a few pictures, a few crying babies, some seat shuffling, and some seat belt mishaps, we were on our way to Jerusalem.

We arrived about two hours later and the new families were greeted by all the volunteers and other Iraqi patients who prepared a special Kurdish meal for them. Though Sidra was fussy on the ride to Jerusalem, she was very happy to meet Mohammed (pictured at the top).