Arwin's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Celebrating Arwin's Life

Posted on Wed, 09/28/2016 - 17:52 by Jasmin Ludwig

Without saying goodbye there is no meet again.

The day of Arwin's farewell was filled with mixed emotions for everybody. It was a day to say "goodbye" but also to be joyful and celebrate. To celebrate that our beautiful, beloved, little Arwin was discharged and can return to his home in Kurdistan. Of course the theme of our party was Sesame Street - in particular Cookie Monster! What else? For everybody who does not know: our little Arwin was always crazy about the buscuits we eat with tea and so he got the nickname "Cookie Monster“ which even his dad uses now! 

We had the party at the Finnish school, our neighbors and friends just right across the road. When I came in, with Arwin in my arms, he started to kick and his face was full of joy and excitement and his brown eyes became even bigger at the sight of the Sesame Street decorations. That was the moment I realized: Everything was worth it! Every minute we spent time with him and his daddy, every minute I played with him so that he started laughing and giggling, even every painful needle, and all the hard days he went through. Everything was worth it because our trustworthy Lord worked everything out for this little boy's good.

And now he is smiling and has a new healthy and strong heart. That was also the moment I realized that it is not my first job to be sad that he will go, even if I love this little guy so much. It is my job to be happy with him and his daddy and that was what my heart attitude became the last days. But everybody looked at them with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other. They just became family to us and it is hard to see them go away. 

After dinner, we gathered in the chapel for a thankful time of worshipping together. Arwin and his father clapped along, and the Lord was glorified in our offering. 

After the worship, I had the honor to give the Shevet presents to them.

Of course I was, as usual, not able to hold my tears back. But I guess I was not the only one who struggled with that. Lots of toys and clothes for Arwin, even a Cookie Monster Shirt!

And some nice shirts and a beautiful watch for Arwin's dad as well. He was really happy about all the presents, especially about Arwin's cute clothes and his nice watch. After that I also gave my little special present to him: a box with lots of beautiful photos from little Arwin. I collected them during the weeks he was here.

Afterwards we watched Arwin's DVD (all the photos from their time in Israel in a slideshow) and everybody was really touched. It was an evening full of emotions. The thankfulness you can see in the eyes of the parents and the little faces of the babies, which look so healthy, rosy, and chubby after surgery are the best encouragement to move on.

Please keep our little, precious Arwin in your prayers. May his healing continue and may he be a strong man one day.

Thanks to our Father in heaven who had his protective hand always upon him.

All Clear! Arwin Can Go Home!

Posted on Mon, 09/26/2016 - 22:22 by Ruth Tisdall

Today was Arwin's final echo to establish if his heart was functioning as it should 3 weeks after surgery and he could be discharged to return to Kurdistan. There was a bit of a wait for the appointment but Arwin was very good sitting on his father's lap and we finally went in.

Arwin's dad prepared him for the scan, much to Arwin's disgust at being undressed which meant lots of crying. The doctor attached 3 cardiac electrodes to monitor his heart rhythm during the scan, which Arwin promptly tried to pull off! There were many attempts to calm him with cooing, silly noises, clapping and even the iphone with kids music, which worked for a short time. But once the scan started there was little that could be done to settle Arwin.

Interestingly, the only time Arwin stopped crying was when the doctor took a picture and audio recording of his heart. Arwin seemed to be quite mesmerised with the sound of his own heart beat. But the audio, only lasting the a few seconds, quickly ended and so started Arwin's crying. The scan lasted about 15 minutes once all pictures and recordings had been documented by the doctor. We were given the "all clear" much to our delight, especially Arwin's dad. The lights clicked back on and Arwin was redressed. Paperwork and medication was checked with final instructions and we were able to leave to get lunch. We left the hospital later that afternoon still waiting for the discharge papers but thrilled to be leaving the hospital for the final time!

We headed back to Jerusalem for Arwin's farewell party to celebrate his journey and God's blessing and provision over this time. 

Your Faithfulness Lasts Forever

Posted on Mon, 09/19/2016 - 22:14 by Eva Markewitz

Arwin had his echo today and the doctor was satisfied with the result. Probably he will just need one more echo before he gets discharged. Thank God little Arwin won't need another surgery in future! After listening to the great news, his father was so happy to see that his son will be completely healthy that he was in a good mood the rest of the day.


"For the Lord is good;his love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever" 

Psalm 100, 5

First Post-Op Echo

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 21:34 by Jacob Lillelund
Arwin is doing well and is in a good condition. His first echo after the surgery shows that everything is going as expected. 
For the next two mondays he is up for further testing. Moreover he had a stitch removed today.
He is a happy little kid and a pleasure to be around.

Happy to Be Home

Posted on Thu, 09/08/2016 - 23:41 by Sophie

Before the sunrise we went to the hospital with our three new families. I had the privilege to be with Arwin and Ainda, our children that have already had their surgeries. When I first saw Arwin and his father, they were eating breakfast. Just in time the nurse came and asked me to bring him to the echo room. It was a hard time for Arwin. He cried a lot, and nothing consoled him until the father picked him up. With the baby crying we heard the exciting news: he was discharged and we could take them back home.

From the surgery day until now, I saw that the father was so tired, but he was more thankful for Arwin's good progress. When he heard the good news - that Arwin's echo was good enough to go back to our Shevet base - he was really really happy! Thank God for his good recovery! 

So next Monday will be Arwin's follow-up echo. God willing he will go back to Kurdistan very soon! 

Better Every Day

Posted on Wed, 09/07/2016 - 22:50 by Eva Markewitz

When we entered the children's ward to visit Arwin and his father, Arwin was still asleep, snuggled down in his pillows. But soon he woke up and looked to us with his beautiful, big eyes. He seems to have gotten better every day since the surgery; I even saw him enjoying his dearly beloved biscuits.

I was very glad that I was allowed to hold precious Arwin for a few minutes, while he was playing with the new toy we brought him. Even if his hands are still so small, he wrapped me round his finger just by giving me a smile.

If he continues doing better, eats and sleeps well, then he will maybe be discharged the day after tomorrow! Please continue praying for Arwin and his family!

He is a brave little fighter indeed. May God bless him on his road to recovery!


Posted on Mon, 09/05/2016 - 18:27 by Alexa Bigl

Arwin was extubated this morning! While we are stoked for the good news, we were sad to see Arwin was crying and in a lot of pain. The nurses and doctors were working very hard to make Arwin more comfortable. He only seemed to calm down when he was drinking. His throat is really bothering him after the trauma from the breathing tube.

Finally, this afternoon the ICU team was able to get Arwin to stay calm and fall asleep by giving him high doses of pain and sedation medications. 

Arwin's pain was clearly causing his dad distress. He felt like he couldn't help Arwin and that was very hard for him. Luckily, our team could sit and try to comfort Arwin for some time while his dad got lunch and later when he went to pray. 

Soon after Arwin's dad came back from praying, Arwin was finally sleeping, and we said goodbye. We are praying for Arwin, that his pain decreases and he rests well today! We praise God for the complete repair of Arwin's heart and lift up his continued healing from this ordeal.

"Spas Bo Hxua" Thanks Be to God

Posted on Sun, 09/04/2016 - 23:54 by Jasmin Ludwig

Today we went to the hospital really early at 6 AM. There were two surgeries planned for today - the first one was little Arwin, the second one our little Ainda - both open-heart surgeries. We expected an exciting and also exhausting day to come; for the doctors even more so than for us.

As the traffic was a bit stuck we arrived at Wolfson about 7:30 and once we went into the hospital we needed to hurry up immediately because Arwin was already almost on the way to the operation room.

When we arrived, Rebekah went into the room and I joined them a little later. I was excited and really happy to see Arwin again. But, as I already expected, he was quite upset and crying - poor cutie! He recognized that something would happen and he seemed to be scared. It didn't help that he had to be held by people he didn't know. I felt so sorry for him and sometimes it is really challenging to see these little ones so upset and you don't have the opportunity to give them any comfort for the moment.

After that everything went really fast. Arwin was taken into the operation room and our time to wait began. As I was waiting, I prayed for him and for Ainda as well. Everything was just really emotional for me. During the waiting time I spent lots of time with Arwin's dad and Suhail and we showed many, many pictures to each other: family, friends, our hometowns, homecountries, our hobbies and so on. Suhail always translated in Arabic because I am not able to speak his native Kurdish and Arwin's dad just speaks a little English. It was really a fun time and we got to know each other much better. Arwin's dad was a little distracted because of our conversations which was maybe nice for him as well.

When we got the information that the surgery was finished we went to wait in front of the operation room. We waited quite a long time until Arwin came. Everybody was really happy when we got the news that the surgery went well and he is doing fine in the circumstances. Arwin's father was really relieved.

After that I had the chance to go into the ICU with Arwin's dad. He looked at Arwin and then he looked back at me and just said “Spas bo Hxua," which means "Thanks be to God,“ and you could see in his eyes how thankful he was. It really touched my heart. It was also really emotional for me to see little Arwin lying there with all these tubes. I love to play and joke with him so much and when I saw him - such a tiny body in such a large bed - he looked so fragile to me. I couldn't look away from him and even struggled to hold back tears. I thought to myself: If these are not even your children and you already feel so much love for them, and you suffer with them, how much more difficult and touching must it be for the parents then?

When we spoke to a doctor he told us that they will maybe take out the breathing tube already tomorrow. Praise God that everything went well and that Arwin is in good condition! Keep this precious, cute boy in your prayers. May God reveal himself through the complete healing of his little body.  

The Time Has Come

Posted on Fri, 09/02/2016 - 12:51 by Alexa Bigl

We learned Monday Arwin and Ainda were, at long last, on the surgical schedule for this coming Sunday, September 4th. There are often changes, however, so we were relieved when Wolfson called us Wednesday to confirm what time both children should be admitted today. Since Saturday is the Shabbat, we do Sunday surgery admissions on Fridays. Arwin's dad was very excited to learn about the schedule on Monday. When we confirmed we would leave early Friday morning for admission, he was very happy the schedule remained intact. 

Arwin kept his dad busy on our ride to the hospital, wanting to be fussy. But his dad did a great job of keeping him calm. In fact, Arwin's dad had double duty. We drove Shevet's small car to Wolfson, so Ainda's mom was in the front. Arwin's dad sat between Arwin and Ainda and did a great job of entertaining both babies on our almost hour long drive. He was tired by the time we got to Wolfson, but I applaude him for the excellent job he did! 

Once we were at the children's ward, Arwin had some topical medicine put on to numb the pain of the future IV insertion. He was really upset by the medicine, poor baby. He could clearly remember some bad memories from the hospital. It was a bummer to see him sad, but amazing how smart he is! Arwin was soon given a crib, and after he and I went for a walk all around the hospital, it was time for him to have a snack and for me to return to Jerusalem. 

Arwin is potentially slated to be Sunday's first surgery. The crew helping Arwin off and I all promised to be praying for him over the weekend; please join us in lifting him and his father to God. We will have a team at Wolfson early on Sunday, ready to support father as Arwin goes into his open-heart surgery!

I Want My Milk Bottle

Posted on Wed, 08/10/2016 - 21:13 by Rebekah Yang

UPDATE: Thursday, August 12th.
Arwin was discharged from the hospital and returned home to us in Jerusalem! He is doing very well. He loves watching the cats and dog we have around Shevet's center and loves to 'play' futball. Stay posted with the latest here, and please continue praying for Arwin and his wonderful father. 
This morning Brenda, Camila, and I left early towards Wolfson hospital for Arwin's catheterization. We arrived later than expected, and I was very anxious we were late. So, I rushed into the children's ward.
Later on I checked with nurse and found out Arwin was no longer scheduled for the first cath. So, sweet little Arwin began his long, hungry waiting period. The three of us tried our best to cheer Arwin up and used all sort of means to distract him. However, he just couldn't handle the suffering of hunger. All of us who stayed with him felt heartbroken because of his long, non-stop crying.
At one point, his father asked the hospital staff for help. Eventually, the doctor kindly offered a little bit of glucose.
At 1:35pm Arwin and his father were called to the pre-catheterization room to get ready for his cath. Ten minutes later, the medical team asked us to go outside to wait. The purpose of Arwin's catheterization was to get the pressure-reading the doctors need to prepare for his open-heart surgery. Therefore, within an hour the catheterization procedure has finished. The doctor who performed the cath says it was successful; praise God.
Around 3:30pm we went back to the children's ward again. We did not wait too long before Arwin woke up and began to cry for his milk bottle again. We asked the doctor to see if we give him milk.
Right after his father had permission to give him milk, within a few minutes Arwin completely emptied the bottle. However, he was still hungry. So, we got another half bottle for him. 
Before we headed back to Jerusalem, little Arwin was a finally content and calm. All of us joined hands to pray for our dear Arwin and his father.

Dear Heavenly Father, thanks so much for your healing hands to protect and heal Arwin. Please give both Arwin and his father a good night sleeping. In your holy name I pray, amen.