When her baby turned blue
At almost 40 weeks, with her husband Yair at her side, Simchah Dadon Tiram gave birth to her first child at Assuta Ashdod. It was a regular birth, and she happily held her new baby girl immediately afterward. But within seconds, it was clear that something was terribly wrong.
Simchah watched her precious baby turn blue as the nurses whisked her daughter away for suctioning. The staff initially thought the baby had swallowed meconium, and they quickly resuscitated her. But following the initial treatment, after five long hours of testing, the medical staff finally discovered the real issue.
They diagnosed baby Talya Rachel with a diaphragmatic hernia, a severe birth defect preventing the diaphragm from closing completely. As a result, in-utero, Talya Rachel’s abdominal organs moved into her chest cavity, impairing her lung development. Without fully developed lungs, newborn Talya Rachel could not breathe on her own.
Within two days, Dr. Wadim Kafler, director of the pediatric surgery unit at Assuta Ashdod, performed surgery to rebuild Talya Rachel’s abdominal cavity, restore her organs to their rightful places and close up the hole in her diaphragm. She remained unconscious and on a ventilator for three weeks.
Simchah stood by, terrified.
“All her organs naturally wanted to return to where they were meant to be, on top of the lungs. She was having a hard time getting oxygen and was in terrible danger,” commented Simchah. But post-surgery, as Talya Rachel’s body became more accustomed to its new internal order, she became stronger.
With at least ten doctors and countless other medical staff involved in Talya Rachel’s diagnosis and recovery process, Simchah and Yair never felt alone.
“The staff was amazing. My husband and I didn’t know any medical terms. We asked them a million questions, but they listened patiently and always encouraged us. They were with us every step of the way from early morning until late at night. We were one team, working together to help our baby.”
Still, there were many challenges as Talya Rachel recovered from surgery.
“When they transitioned her from internal oxygenation to external, it was terrifying. Thank God, she eventually started to breathe with the external ventilator. But there were so many medications, x-rays and machines. After what seemed like an eternity, her physical support was downgraded to a much simpler set-up,” explained Simchah.
But even after transferring to external oxygen, Talya Rachel continued to have difficulty breathing and found nursing challenging. The staff worked hard to keep Yair and Simchah’s spirits high and encouraged them to go home to sleep. A nurse would often stand in as Talya Rachel’s “mother” so Simchah could get much-needed rest.
When Simchah, Yair and baby Talya Rachel finally left the hospital for good following 47 days for the first hospitalization and another 11 days for the second hospitalization, the staff showered them with love.
“They gave us pictures and presents. I thanked God so much for this child who is such a gift and for the staff here, who have been with us 100% every step of the way.”