Mohammed's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

A Tearful Goodbye

Posted on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 23:06 by Coby van Wijhe
Tuesday evening we had Mohammed's farewell party. The apartment was nicely decorated by the volunteers and the Kurdish moms had been cooking the whole afternoon. They made a very nice meal and together with the Iraqi bread, which was bought by two volunteers, it was just great! As dessert we had some nice German sweets from Elwira. After the meal we did some singing and worship to the Lord.
One of our kids Daru was all into it and joined us with all the movements of the butterfly song. Mohammed's dad was so happy and smiling all the time. We tried to say a few words about his time of being with us, but he had so much to share about his appreciation that we hardly were able to speak, only listen! What a blessing. He felt so much at home and our volunteer Jim was his buddy and so precious to him. We all were invited to visit him in Kurdistan.
Mohammed was doing fine and had many hands who wanted to hold him. Lindsay made a lovely CD with pictures of their time in Israël. While watching it, Mohammed's dad was touched and tears came to his eyes. 
The following night (Tuesday evening) we sent them off to the airport with Suhail and Alexa escorting them. We all came outside and after all the hugs and goodbyes, they left.
At the airport Alexa and Suhail supported them through the check-in and then he left on his own with Mohammed after waving farewell.
While Alexa and Suhail were driving back, they got a message that there were some problems at the immigration and they took him aside for questioning. But thanks to our Lord a little while later they received a call that it was all clear and he was ready for boarding. Mohammed was doing fine and slept most of the time. We pray that the seeds of God's Kingdom which have been planted while he was with us will flourish.

Mohammed Going Home

Posted on Mon, 01/15/2018 - 21:14 by Coby van Wijhe
Monday is our echo day, and Mohammed was on the schedule. It was already his second echo after surgery, so there was some expectation that this might be the last one. Dad even mentioned that he needed go home anyway because of financial problems. No work, means no money. But thanks to God, Mohammed got permission to go home!
His heart is doing well and there is no need to stay any longer. Dad was so happy and kissed and cuddled his son for some time.
It has been great to see how Dad is such a loving and caring father. When they arrived, Dad felt so incapable of looking after his son, since this was not his natural role back home. The Kurdish moms had to help him frequently. On our way to the hospital, Mohammed needed a diaper change and he asked Nazgol's mom to change the diaper. But knowing that his is capable, I said to him, "No you do it and I will stay with you." So he did and was proud of it! We had a good laugh together. His wife will get a different husband back, because he has grown in this area of caretaking - which of course in an expression of love from any parent.
Tonight we will have Mohammed's farewell party and tomorrow he will fly home. May God continue to bless this family. We will miss them.

Good News

Posted on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 23:39 by Jim Baldwin

Little Mohammed and his dad received good news today regarding his recovery from his recent surgery. Echo results from his exam at Wolfson show Mohammed is healing up nicely. If his echo next Monday is "perfect" then the little guy and his dad could he heading home very soon.

For now, Mohammed's medicine has been cut back and he grows stronger each day. This encouraged his dad that it won't be long before Mohammed will be reunited with mother and two year-old sister. Keep praying for this precious little life and his father.

Mohammed Back at Shevet

Posted on Wed, 01/03/2018 - 21:38 by Joanne Jackson

Maxine and I walked by foot to the hospital to collect Mohammed and his Dad and bring them back to Shevet Achim to rest and recover more.

When we arrived at the children’s ward, we found Mohammed in a room with two other families - he was in the middle. Dad was holding him and the nurse was doing different bits and pieces (dressings etc). Dad had very little sleep and was very tired. Maxine left for ten minutes or so to see other children, and the medical staff was not quite ready to release him, so I got the privilege of putting him into his clothes and helping the nurse stick some tape over his arm. Mohammed was crying during this whole time.

Once dressed, Dad went and got himself what I imagine would have been a much overdue coffee, and some water for me. So I got to sit in the chair holding and feeding little one. He stopped crying, and I had the privilege of praying for him, and talking to him. He started to fall asleep and relax which was lovely to see.

Maxine came back, we packed everything up and the three of us walked back to Shevet Achim. Mohammed slept all the way home in Maxine’s arms. We even noticed a little smile as he slept.

Everyone was pleased to see him and wanted a cuddle (who wouldn’t!). One of the other Mums then bathed him and fed him, and I assume now that Mohammed is fast asleep.

Bye Bye, ICU!

Posted on Tue, 01/02/2018 - 22:08 by Sophia Vogt

Thank God, little Mohammed is in a regular room now. When we arrived, he was sleeping, but after a while he woke up yawning and stretching his arms and legs. I stood by his bed while his father was smoking outside for a minute.

Suddenly Mohammed started to cry and the number indicating his HR (heart rate) on the monitor climbed higher and higher and it was beeping all the time. Luckily his father came and was caring so lovingly for him. It was great to see father and son together like this.

And when Jesse held him he slowly calmed down, and his HR came down as well. Mohammed fell asleep soon. Happy end! Please keep praying for sweet boy.

Mohammed Still in ICU

Posted on Mon, 12/25/2017 - 19:03 by Jesse Tilman

Little Mohammed is still in ICU at the hospital and that means his father has some freedom as his son gets round the clock care. 

We popped in to see Mohammed briefly today while taking care of other children. His father had said he had opened his eyes. When I saw him, I could see his eyes opened slightly, but it looked like he was still intubated and heavily drugged, with his eyes open more from medicinal inebriation than his own volition.
A doctor nearby said he would be extubated tomorrow. Thank God for this little life!


Posted on Sun, 12/24/2017 - 17:38 by Andrew Peck

Mohammed went in for surgery at about 7:30 this morning.  Before he was taken by the nurses, Mohammed’s father shared a tender and emotional moment with his son.

After watching Mohammed until the very last possible second as the hospital staff took him to prepare for surgery, Mohammed’s dad decided to come back to Shevet to get a shower, shave, and a little bit of rest while he waited for the operation to finish.  After lunch, we returned to the hospital with the father, and he was there waiting as Mohammad was brought from surgery to the ICU.  We were told that the surgery had been a success, and after a brief wait, Mohammed’s father was able to see his son resting peacefully in the ICU.

Because Mohammed is so young, they had to reduce his body temperature during surgery to restrict his blood flow and prevent loss.  When we saw him in the ICU, Mohammed was still sedated and had been placed in a small, inflated bag that controls air flow and will bring his body temperature back up to normal levels at a safe rate.  We were told that he will remain intubated and sedated through the night, and if all is well in the morning they will extubate him tomorrow.  

Thank you, Lord, for a successful surgery! Please keep Mohammed in your prayers during his recovery. 


Mohammed Admitted

Posted on Fri, 12/22/2017 - 23:56 by Alexa Bigl

After just a few days back with us at our Shevet house, tiny baby Mohammed is back at Wolfson. The hospital called us today informing us the team had arranged for Mohammed's surgery to take place on Sunday. So, he needed to be admitted today. When I went over to tell Mohammed's dad, he was surprised and very excited about the news. Like all the families, Mohammed's dad frequently asks when his child's surgery will be but we had not known every time he asked. And then we were able to go and tell him to finish his lunch and get his bags packed because we were going right away. He was a joyful father as he rushed around getting ready. 

Upon arrival to the hospital, Mohammed did a good job with his admission process and was soon set up in a little crib. The children's ward remembered how difficult getting Mohammed's blood draw was last week and so had planned ahead for a specialized doctor to come this evening to get a line inserted. Mohammed's dad was grateful to hear this and was happy to have the initial setup up of admission completed very quickly. 

I said goodbye to father and son after a few precious minutes cradling Mohammed and he was falling asleep for his afternoon nap. Thank you for joining us in praying for a restful Shabbat for the little family as they hang out at Wolfson and for God's hand to be upon baby Mohammed as his surgery day is right around the corner. 


Stable Enough

Posted on Wed, 12/20/2017 - 02:54 by Elwira Kromer

Today I got the message that I can pick up Mohammed from the hospital. He still has a significant lack of oxygen, but his general condition is stable enough that he can stay here in the Shevet house until he will get his surgery. He has an eye infection that is being treated with eye drops. Otherwise he does not have to take medication at the moment.

Mohammed cried a lot at first, but after arriving he slept and is cared for by the other mothers. Hopefully, he will soon get an appointment for his heart surgery. Please be praying for this sweet baby.

Miracle Mohammed

Posted on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 21:37 by Jesse Tilman

Sleepy Mohammed was a dream to hold today. Suhail took his father to get their delayed luggage from the airport and I got to watch over the little tyke. 

He slept most of the time, only waking up briefly to whine for some milk. With that supplied, he would drink away till nodding off again mid-bottle. I held him most the time in the chair next to the bed as he doesn't have any connected intravenous lines yet. After a little while, Mira's grandmother came by to say hi and stopped to hold Mohammed while I had a sandwich. 
Multiple people came by with gifts for Hanukkah. The sufganyot donuts are delicious! Mohammed's father asked about the surgery and when it will be. I showed him how to connect with the hospital Wi-Fi. We connected on Viber. Soon he'll have an Israeli simcard to make calls here. A nurse had come by to check Mohammed's vital signs and was pleased. 
Thank you, God, that this emergency baby could make it here in time! We look forward to the healing of his heart and a healthy future for him. 
Did you miss the miracle of his journey to Israel? Here's an excerpt from yesterday's Shevet's Sunday Letter. Jonathan Miles wrote:
"Yonatan, a miracle happened!"

Those were the first words I heard when Israel's ministry of the interior called late Thursday afternoon, the second day of Hanukkah--especially poignant because the Hanukkah dreidel is inscribed with the first letters of the Hebrew words meaning "a great miracle happened (t)here."
What was the miracle? As I wrote you last week, a newborn baby Mohammed in Kurdistan with transposed great arteries had to reach Israel within the week to give him a chance for a normal heart and life. We sent in his emergency visa application Sunday morning; at 3:17 on Thursday afternoon, just before leaving for the weekend, the interior ministry clerk wrote "it grieves me, but it doesn't look to me like we'll be able get security permission before the end of the day." 

Minutes later came the phone call--and the clerk sounded more excited than I was! It's good to see the Israeli border guardians taking these children to their hearts."
Let us all be thanking God for his miraculous intervention in the lives of baby Mohammed and his father.