Sonya's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

God's Good Work

Posted on Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:37 by Eva Markewitz

Last night we could celebrate the long-awaited farewell of our beloved Sonya! Her stay in Israel has been full of emotional moments, unexpected changes and long stays at the hospital, as well as sunny days, beautiful smiles, new friends, and a beautiful last evening with all of our Shevet community.

After we ate a delicate meal cooked by one of our mothers, we shared some words, laughters and gifts with her. We had a merry worship time and our little Sonya was right in the middle of it, sitting on the lap of her mother. We finished the evening watching the dvd, which showed many pictures of her and her steps to a new heart. Last but not least we had a time of prayer to bless Sonya and her mother.

This morning they flew back to Kurdistan. We received news that on her way back they visited the family of Ramin, a child who also was here at Shevet just a few weeks ago. It was very nice to see the relationship, these families build to each other are lasting even when they are already back home.

I can remember, when Sonya arrived here, she and her mother immediately found their way in our hearts. Sonya with her happiness and calm spirit and her joyful mother, who also became an important part of our Shevet community. Sonya was comfortable with almost everyone (she especially loved the guys) and made it easy to babysit her. And her mother just was a huge blessing in many ways. Although she was pregnant, she helped us a lot – for example in cooking delicious meals or cleaning up the kitchen. Almost always she seemed to spread out cheerfulness.

She even gave me some lessons in how to make the Kurdish rice, helped me learning new words and how to count in Kurdish. The barrier of the language was no hindrance to build relationship with this little family.

Sonya’s way to a new heart was marked with many hospital stays, due to the fact she got a fever before and after surgery for several times. Her surgery was canceled one time and on the actual surgery day it was unsure until the last minute if they do the procedure or cancel it again, because Sonya got a temperature. But from the beginning until the end the Lord was holding his mighty hand above her little heart. She got the surgery, her heart was repaired and she recovered well. Also, her mother went through two assessments in Jerusalem for her unborn child. The doctors just confirmed a healthy pregnancy - her baby is in a good condition and so far there have not been any complications.

Now, 4 weeks after her operation Sonya and her mother were able to return home to see again all her family and friends. Thanks to God for all his good works in Sonya’s and her mothers life! We’ll miss them!

We Got the Word

Posted on Mon, 01/30/2017 - 18:35 by Alexa Bigl

It's official: Sonya can go home to Kurdistan! The technician and doctor took their time ensuring everything looked good with Sonya's heart as they performed the echo. Sonya is just now 4 weeks after her surgery, which is just enough time for the doctors to comfortably send her home. 

They then finished sorting what medications she will need and for how long. Sonya's mom was overjoyed to hear the word coming from the doctors that she and her daughter could return home. Sonya's mother's pregnancy is continuing to progress, so we are so grateful for the Lord's providential timing in this family's return.  
Tonight we will celebrate the good news with a joyous party! We will continue to pray for Sonya and her loving mother as they re-enter their lives back home. Sonya and her mom have spent this afternoon packing their bags and excitedly talking about the friends and family they will soon see. Praise God Sonya and her mom have joined our family these past weeks, and thanks to Him Sonya now has a healed heart!

Back in the Community

Posted on Tue, 01/24/2017 - 04:21 by Eva Markewitz
As I entered in Sonya's room, her mother greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug. She already knew that Sonya will be discharged in the next few hours.
While she was packing her stuff, I watched little Sonya. She looked so much better than before, the fever disapeared, her cheeks were a bit rosy and she was babbling happily.

Before we actually went home, we had to wait a bit for our other families to be finished with their echoes. So we shared some nice lunch sitting on the bed. Sonya's mum was very happy to come home to Jaffa again and especially enjoying the beloved Kurdish food.
And this evening was like a perfect welcome for them: Naz's mother cooked for us a delicious Kurdish dish and after the community meal we entered in a time of worship and prayer. Sonya and her mum joined us and it was very nice to see them being again a part of our community here in Jaffa.
Please continue praying for Sonya and the completely healing of her heart! We thank God that he is holding his mighty hand over the precious life of little Sonya.

Sonya Admitted

Posted on Thu, 01/19/2017 - 05:33 by Rebekah Yang

This morning right after Mama Sonya left for her pregnancy check-up in Jerusalem, Sonya became very emotional and irritable with nonstop crying. It took us quite a while to calm her down. This happened several times before her mum returned.

Later after dinner, Sonya was even more distressed. After checking her body temperature we found that she had a fever of 38* Celsius (100* F). So we got together to pray for her and her mum and then Mattias and I rushed to take them to the hospital.
After the on-duty doctor gave her an IV cannula and took her blood sample, they also took a chest X-ray in order to discover what's wrong with her. The doctor decided to admit Sonya for observation until tomorrow  when they would have all the blood tests and x-ray results.
Before we left the hospital, Mattias prayed for both Sonya and her mum to have a peaceful and restful night at the hospital. Please join us in lifting them up in prayer. We truly appreciate your prayers of support. 

First Follow-Up

Posted on Mon, 01/16/2017 - 22:15 by Ruth Zellweger

Precious Sonya had her first follow up at Wolfson hospital today. Her heart looks good and the doctors invited her back next Monday. 

Over the past days our community has already seen quite some progress with her. She started eating solid food and also seems to have more body tension. Praise God for the beautiful work that He is doing in Sonya's life.

Back to the Jaffa Community

Posted on Thu, 01/12/2017 - 21:08 by Rebekah Yang

This morning while I was in children's ward, the medical staff asked me to bring Sonya for her echo before she can go back to our Jaffa community.

After the echo, the doctor was pleased with her echo results. While she was having her echo follow-up, Mum mentioned to Dr. Tamir that the Kurdistan doctor thought she had a kidney problem, so Dr. Tamir suggested arranging a kidney ultrasound later when she comes for an echo next Monday.
Praise God, yes, our cute Sonya is coming back to the Shevet house today!
Please lift her and her mum up in your prayers. May our God's healing hands continue to work in her new heart so that Sonya can recover well and soon be ready to go home.

Steady Improvement

Posted on Mon, 01/09/2017 - 18:22 by Ruth Zellweger

After having been monitored in the ICU over the weekend, little Sonya was transferred yesterday evening to the children's ward, where she is continuing her recovery. Her mother is very relieved over the progress Sonya is making. She is also able to share the bed with Sonya in the ward, which gives her more rest during the night. Even though it must not have been easy for her to watch both Yaser and Karina leaving the hospital today for our Jaffa home, she was still rejoicing with them.

We are so thankful for Sonya's life and all the progress in her recovery. May we soon be able to send off mother and daughter to their home in Kurdistan.

A Shabbat Blessing

Posted on Sat, 01/07/2017 - 17:55 by Ruth Zellweger

What a beautiful surprise when I entered the ICU this afternoon to visit Sonya and her mother. I was expecting a worried mother beside her intubated daughter. Instead, a beaming woman welcomed me, and the little girl in the big hospital bed looked quite awake and extubated. 

Our Shevet community is so thankful how our heavenly Father has answered our prayers on behalf of Sonya and her mother. To Him be praise and honor that she is doing so much better, and that her mother is of good cheer. 

As we enter into the Shabbat, we are blessed knowing that in His perfect time He makes all things beautiful. 

First Day Post-Op

Posted on Wed, 01/04/2017 - 21:00 by Alexa Bigl

Sonya continues to be in a medication-induced sleep as her little body recovers from yesterday's big operation. The doctors are titrating her medications as necessary and the cardiac support medicines are slowly being decreased, praise God.

Sonya is still on the special oscillating ventilator mentioned in her last blog. This ventilator, along with a special gas called nitric oxide, are some special interventions Sonya needs right now. The oscillating ventilator is a very gentle way for Sonya's lungs to receive oxygen, with many tiny puffs of air per minute. The special gas dilates Sonya's pulmonary arteries in order to reduce pulmonary hypertension. Today, Sonya was started on an oral medication that will allow her to be weaned off the nitric oxide.

The doctors are happy with Sonya's progression, but still have some concerns. It seems likely Sonya has a viral respiratory infection. So, she will need time and sympomatic support for this.

Today, Sonya's mom was very tired and emotional, but had meaninful time sitting at Sonya's bedside. Addtionally, we all shared a lovely lunch together. As we chatted about the food and what was good and what wasn't, Sonya's mom relaxed a lot and was smiling. Later, Sonya's mom was able to nap in the children's ward. She has chosen to spend tonight at the hospital. We pray these coming days see continued progress for Sonya and that the Lord will strengthen and comfort her mom. 

A Day to Remember

Posted on Tue, 01/03/2017 - 22:04 by Ruth Zellweger

When I stepped out of the house this morning, I was blessed by a beautiful sunrise. As on previous surgery days, I took this as a sign that at the end of the day we would praise God for His grace and mercy. Little did I know then that the patience of Sonya's mother and my own would today be put to test more than usual. 

Sonya's mother welcomed me with the news that Sonya had a fever and would very likely not have her surgery today. We took some time to pray and ask God for guidance for the doctors and medical team. Sonya's mother visibly calmed down, and was almost her old self when all the nurses entered during shift change. Most of them were very sorry that Sonya had a fever, and also quite sure that the surgery would be canceled. While we waited for the doctor's decision, Sonya's mother rested a little bit, and I walked around with Sonya. After a while the cardiologists entered the ward and had quite a discussion regarding Sonya's surgery. In the end, one of the cardiologists told me that they had contacted the surgeon and the final decision was to take Sonya in for surgery. The mother was very happy when she heard that news. 

Soon after, we went down to the operation department, and had about half an hour of waiting. Different doctors and nurses came in to check consent forms and other information. Sonya's mother held her daughter closely during that time and enjoyed every precious minute she still had with her.

But then the time of separation finally came and Sonya was wheeled away. Her mother was emotional, but strong. We went back to the ward where she rested a little bit.

The next hours she spent waiting with Eva and the other families currently at the hospital. It was nice knowing that she had good company and support.

She watched baby Ramin while his father got lunch for them. Around 3:30 pm I saw her restlessly pacing the hosptial hallways, still waiting for her daughter to show up. Dr. Tamir was in the ward and I asked him if he knew anything about Sonya's surgery. He told me that the heart repair went very well, but afterwards her blood pressure was unstable and her oxygen saturation low. However, they had stabilized her. I asked him when she would come up, and his reply was that her surgery was already finished around 1pm and that she had been in the ICU for the past hours. I ran back to the hallway to share the good news with Sonya's mother. She was shaking, but felt strong enough to see her beloved daughter.

Together we entered the ICU, and watching her approaching Sonya's bedside was so touching. The first thing she did was praise God for saving Sonya's life. And then she caressed the face of her little daughter, and looked under the sheet to see her hands and feet. What a day! But definitely a day to remember. 

Sonya will be monitored closely in the ICU for the next couple of days. While most children are extubated the next day, the doctors will probably wait longer, as she still has the support of a special respirator. However, she is in a stable condition, and her mother was able to come to our Jaffa home for the night. We hope that she can rest well before returning to the hospital in the morning. Please pray with us for smooth and quick recovery for Sonya, as well as for peace and rest for her mother. 

"LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you." 

Psalm 84:12