Yara's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Goodbye, Friends!

Posted on Fri, 10/21/2016 - 17:26 by Eva Markewitz

On Wednesday evening we had the farewell party for two of our beloved children. It was a wonderful evening spent with sweet Yara and her mother and beautiful Hawnaz and her father.

They came together one and a half months ago. I still can remember the first time I saw Yara and her mum, I immediately fell in love with the big dark eyes and the long lashes of that baby. She was a little bit shy at the beginning, but with time she opened up to us.

I had the chance to get to know Yara's mom both as a loving mother and also as a friend. One time, after lunch, she invited me for tea and we had nice talks about our families, our home countries, and about things we like. We also discovered our common passion for languages. I will never forget how she taught me some Kurdish. Patiently, she repeated the words until I pronounced them correctly. In return for that, I taught her some German and actually, she was a pretty good student. We had lots of fun sharing new words and expressions. I was impressed by the few words she already knew in German and by her motivation to learn more and more.

Yara's mom also always blessed our community in translating for the other families from English to Kurdish. With her kind spirit she and her little miss sunshine, Yara, have been a great blessing for us.

The farewell party was a thorough success. The decoration (Hello Kitty for Yara and Mickey Mouse for Hawnaz) was amazing, the food delicious, and in the community of all of us, including the families and the Finnish people, you could see lots of smiling faces. We had a reason to celebrate indeed; Yara and Hawnaz can go home again, both with healed hearts! Yara doesn’t even need to take medications anymore.

After dinner we had a time of worship and sharing wishes and blessings for the two families. It was a time full of emotions, on the one hand the sadness of saying goodbye, but on the other hand also the joy of seeing a healthy Yara going home. After that, they got some presents: clothes for Yara, some toys, a blanket and lots of different cute stuff. One could read the thankfulness for all Shevet has done for her beloved daughter in the eyes of Yara’s mother. She invited us all to come visit her back home in Kurdistan, her door always will be opened for us.

Today, they spent a last, blessed day in Jerusalem. Finally, they left for the airport tonight and will be at home hopefully by tomorrow!

The Lord has done such a great work in the life of precious Yara, I know she will become a beautiful and strong woman! Please continue praying for Yara and her mother as they will be a living example of the goodness of the Lord. 

Beautiful, Like Her Mom

Posted on Tue, 10/18/2016 - 18:54 by Alexa Bigl

Yara received her final echo today! Her heart looks superb. The doctors were excited to tell Yara and her mom, "It's time to go home!" 

The echocardiogram technician happily chatted away to Yara, telling her how beautiful she is. There is no mistake Yara is her mother's daughter, they look so much alike! 

We will have a farewell party for Yara and her mom tomorrow, and they will fly out Thursday evening. 

One Echo Left

Posted on Mon, 10/10/2016 - 21:20 by Brenda Hofer
We made good time to the hospital this morning. We walked into a somewhat hectic echo department just after an emergency situation with one of our Gaza kids, Zina. To God's glorious praise, Zina was stabilized after being rushed to the ICU by the quick thinking Wolfson doctors and staff. 
We, on the other hand, waited for around a half an hour in the department then decided to go to lunch since the doctors were going to lunch. We made it back and had Yara's echo shortly afterwards. Yara didn't seem to mind the tech putting stickers on her body to monitor her heart rate and rubbing her chest with the EKG instrument. The exam with the tech was over fairly quickly. A few minutes later Dr. Alona came in with positive attitude regarding Yara's exam. Dr. Alona examined Yara herself saying she had one more echo next week to go just to make sure she was healthy enough to go back home.
We next made our way to the x-ray department to have a picture taken of Yara's hips to verify if everything is okay. Yara's mom was anxious to know the results! I told her the doctor would have to look at the reading of it and tell us. She seemed to understand better that the techs couldn't read it to her. At the end of the day the mom was still anxious about the x-ray results. We reassured her twice that we would let her know as soon as we could from the doctors. Overall, it was a good day. Please join me in prayer for this precious little girl and her mother to have peace in all circumstances and to know their Heavenly Father has them in His capable hands.

Yara's Echo Day

Posted on Thu, 10/06/2016 - 11:31 by Rebakah Yang

It was a big day for all of our kids and families in Jerusalem. Suhail and I brought Yara and her mum, Ainda and her mum, and also Hawnaz and her dad for post-surgery echo check-ups in Wolfson hospital.

We had to wait outside the echo room for almost an hour. Despite the long waiting time, Yara and her mum both seemed quite happy to look around and explore anything interesting while they're waiting.

After the echo had been performed, the doctor was happy to announce that Yara's heart is doing very well and stopped one of the medicines for Yara. She will need to go back on the coming Monday for another echo follow-up. On top of that good news, we also found out Yara's chest wound (which previously was red and raised looking) now had improved a lot. At the moment she only needs to change her dressing once a day.

We were told maybe Yara will have an x-ray for her leg, so we spent some time waiting in the children's ward. In the end, the head nurse told us to go back to Jerusalem first and wait for her information later. On our way back, Yara was sitting in the baby seat and enjoying her mother's mobile playing baby Kurdish songs.

Thank you, Lord for this cute and cheerful baby, Yara. Hallelujah!

Post-Surgery Care for Yara

Posted on Sun, 10/02/2016 - 21:47 by Ruth Tisdall

Last Friday morning, as part of the routine nurse checks, I saw the dressing on Yara's chest was lifting slightly. Looking more closely, I saw the very bottom of the wound was not healing properly and was slightly red. Further investigation showed a raised temperature. The wound was cleaned and covered with gauze to keep it from getting rubbed and infected. Her mother was very worried but I assured her that it was nothing to be worried about and this can happen with wounds after surgery. She may need a new stitch but it was not a big problem. The mother was happy with the outcome yet still worried, as mothers do. She is a very caring mother who gives all her time, attention and energy to making sure Yara is ok. 

Today we informed the hospital of our concern for Yara's wound, and paid them a quick visit at lunchtime to have it looked at by the doctor. Being the eve of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year), the ward was quiet instead of the usual mid-week hustle and bustle, so we were seen quickly. Initially the nurse looked at the bottom part of Yara's chest and did the same as we had on Friday- cleaned it and dressed with gauze. She assured us it was not infected and did not need a stitch, which the mother was delighted about.

The doctor left, but on further inspection the nurse found that the rest of the dressing had caused a reaction on the skin and it was all very red and uncomfortable for Yara. She gave us hydrocortisone cream to apply to it and reassured her mother that it was fine. After a few days of this cream all reactions should be gone. We thank God that it was not a big complication and easy to treat. We left the hospital with a happy Yara and mother, as well as Hawnaz who had been discharged that day.

Delighted Mom, Happy Girl

Posted on Thu, 09/29/2016 - 22:30 by Ruth Tisdall

Today we took Yara for an echo to check how her heart was doing post surgery. The journey to Tel Aviv was easy with little congestion and there was no wait for the echo upon arrival. Yara was quite settled being carried around in her mother's arms, but there was much protest from her about being undressed in the echo room.

She was soothed with music and stayed calm throughout. We were told everything looked good and she was doing really well. Yara's mum was told by the doctor both holes in Yara's heart were closed during the surgery and the scan looked good.

There was a small suture at the bottom of the wound which was removed today too. The steri-strips over the main wound would fall off over time. The mother was delighted and and very thankful for the health of her little girl, looking forward to soon returning home to the family. All her medication will continue for the time being and she will have another echo next week.

Her mother was previously concerned there may be a problem with Yara's legs so she will have an x-ray, but due to the holidays coming up this will happen next week. Yara is doing amazingly well, praise God, and she is a happy little girl. We continue to pray for her speedy recovery and hope she be able to return to her family in the next few weeks all being well.

Pure Faith

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2016 - 21:56 by Deborah Burke

"If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"

Romans 8:31

The hand of God is surely upon little Yara.

Today was post-surgery echo day and Yara's mother was so positive that the news would be good that she was packed and ready for discharge before we went for the echo. That's faith.

It has been delightful to observe the discipline of regular prayer that Yara's mother sincerely engages in. It's not often demonstrable but usually quiet. What a wonderful gift she gives to her beloved daughter, to pray humbly and sincerely for her life, and with a steadfast belief that she is being heard.

Her sincere thanks to God on receipt of the positive news was and is truly humbling. As well, she always asks for questions of confirmation about every news. Today was no different and her demonstrated joy and delight made me want to get up and dance with them.

Sweet little Yara was cleared to return to Jerusalem today. With her calmly excited (if that's possible) mother, she cruised through the day with very little crying, her smile radiantly exuding joy and contentment. With God's hand on this little girl, it is hoped that she is not so far from returning home to her loving family. God is so good.

Sleeping Beauty

Posted on Thu, 09/22/2016 - 20:50 by Jasmin Ludwig

As I was in the hospital today Yara seemed to do very well. Surprisingly, she is already in the pediatric ward and just skipped the second ICU. Thanks to God! That is super fast! She is recovering really well and already smiling. And there is nothing cuter than her smiling face with her little nose and big brown eyes! I sat a lot next to her bed today and tried to help her to fall asleep. She loves when someone jerks a little on her bed. From time-to-time she was whimpering a little bit because it was quite loud in the room as one of our Gaza babies was crying a lot. But most part of the time she was just sleeping. And even while she was sleeping, I loved to observe her because she is so cute and beautiful. 

Let’s pray for her recovery and be thankful for God's mercy he revealed to us in healing her little body so quickly. 

Answered Prayers

Posted on Wed, 09/21/2016 - 22:38 by Virginia Pavy
We came to Wolfson hospital eager to find out Yara's progress after surgery. I made it to the ICU where I found Yara with her eyes wide open and very aware of what was happening around her. She had been extubaded mid-morning and nurses were constantly checking her vitals and administering medications. They also removed the central line on her neck. I could see great fear gripping her when the nurses would come by her. Yara's mom was constantly by her side and holding her hand. Yara was comforted by her mother's soft lullabies and gentle touch.
I asked one of the nurses about Yara's condition and said she is doing well and is in stable condition. Yara's mom couldn't wait to share with me the news from the doctor. The surgery had gone really well and the large hole in the center of her heart was completely closed. A few minutes later, I saw the doctor was carefully reviewing Yara's echo images. After a while she turned our way and said Yara's echo is very good. Great joy and thanksgiving was emanating from this grateful mother. With a big smile on her face she said "yesterday was a happy day, but today is more happy day."  I lifted up my hands toward heaven and thanked the Lord for the great news. 
Join us in giving thanks to our God for answering so many prayers for this mother and child.

Tears on Surgery Day

Posted on Tue, 09/20/2016 - 22:52 by Deborah Burke

Often when we witness other's tears it makes us uncomfortable unless it is very clear what is behind them.

I wanted to weep for little Yara today as she started fasting at 2am and was eventually called to surgery at 2pm. Her beautiful brown eyes with those lovely long eyelashes watched every cup of water and every mouthful of food put into someone else's mouth. The pacifier must have seemed very boring and the clown, balloons and bubbles were only a minor distraction. Sleep was a relief for an hour and, as one of the nurses said, I hope they come for her now.

Her mother, however, was initially all bubbles. As the hours ticked by, the bubbles popped and she looked a little jaded and impatient. When the wardsman came for Yara, the brave woman I saw yesterday became flustered despite being told the drill on a number of occasions.

Praise God, everything went smoothly when we reached the operating theatre area. The staff were helpful and sensitive to the needs of the mother. After the goodbyes, Yara was surreptitiously whisked away and her mother's tears came pouring out.

She was quick to say that they were tears of joy because she has been waiting for this day since Yara was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect at the age of 4 months. She is now 7 months. These were happy tears. I suspect tinged with a mother's anxiety as she is separated from her baby.

After waiting for 3 and a half hours that were filled with coffee, walking around, trying to charge the phone to keep Yara's father in Kurdistan informed as he sweated on news about his baby girl, Yara suddenly appeared from around the corner heading towards the intensive care unit looking like a tiny little doll on the huge bed. We jumped up and I fired questions at the doctor...is that Yara? Did the surgery go well? Was the repair complete? All positive answers from a team bemused by the energy.

Sobbing this time from Yara's mother which drew a "don't cry" from another mother. Why shouldn't we cry? Crying releases endorphins and helps with relaxation. These tears were ones of disbelief and relief, that this truly was a happy day. We read Jeremiah 29:11 together - God's promise of hope and a future. He truly turned this family's mourning (of a diagnosis) into dancing (Psalm 30:11).

We left Yara late this evening with the hope of continuing stability with the view to extubation tomorrow and a move to the secondary intensive care unit. Oh Happy Day!