Abigail Hope 1.6

I think I’m a little overdue on an update. We are grateful that Abigail is doing well. She continues to have some brady’s (you can google on “bradycardia preemie” for more details). The number has fallen to 6-8 but she needs 2-3 to go home. We are adjusting to this new dymanic of life. Melanie is at the hospital from 7:45 am until 12:30 am – not an easy schedule for someone trying to recover. However, she is resting between feedings and doing pretty well. I’m proud of her.

Days here can get long, especially when I start to think, that in my opinion, there’s little reason for this level of care. Again, that is my impatient opinion and contrary to God’s leading so far. He is in control and directing our steps. I’ve prayed that He would make His way very clear, and so far He has. Our path here at the NICU, this time, has been very easy compared to many parents with children here. We were reminded of that multiple times over the past few days, whether it was the emergency transports (babies needing even more specialized help than they can provide here), seeing a parent and nurse crying earlier today, visiting with a mom whose baby had relapsed and was back under more significant care…  Our time with Abigail here has been blessedly easy and without trauma and complication. I know things can change.

It is amazing being part of the hospital. It’s a melting pot for society. I was coming back from a run one morning a couple weeks ago and a homeless guy was asking the parking lot attendant where the emergency room was. I’ve seen the sweetest looking children calling men who looked like gang members “Daddy.” The staff has spoken of treating the Hall family here – they founded, among other things, Hallmark Cards. I look around the cafeteria and every person there, who are not staff, have a story to tell. And most probably have a hurting or sad heart. Melanie and I desire to be a light here, to connect with people, to encourage and speak of our Lord Jesus. It’s an overwhelming opportunity, for some “folks” (my dad has another term he prefers…) from the hills of Kansas.

Specific prayer requests:
-That Melanie and I will be a light
-That Abigail will grow past the bradycardia issues
-The Melanie will recover
-That our confidence will remain in our Lord.



Our sweet Abigail!


Abigail has a special “glow” about her (Joseph and John’s name for the special lights: Mr. Rubin). Praise the Lord that Abigail no longer needs the bilirubin lights! 🙂


Melanie with Abigail.


A Happy Family


Abigail Hope 1.5

It’s about 10:40 pm, Melanie and Abigail are sleeping. Abigail eats in about 20 minutes so she is acting a bit restless even though she’s not awake. She is still having some of the heart-rate dips. I haven’t asked how many as I haven’t really wanted to know. But, they are still there. We’re continuing to pray that her weight gain begins and that the heart-rate dips (brady cardiac) will cease. She continues to self-correct, in other words, her heart rate picks up on it’s own, usually after only a few seconds.

Melanie is very, very drained. But, she is being a trooper and is committed to doing all she can for Abigail. At this point, that involves pretty much just feeding her. My Mom is helping us so between her and I, we are handling things like getting Abigail in and out of her crib, diaper changes, taking the temperature, and other things. Melanie’s recovery is challenged by the muscle atrophy she experienced due to 7+ weeks of bedrest.

Thank you for the comments you’ve left. Through the guidance of the lactation consultants here and regular processes here at the NICU, we are doing alot of what has been suggested. Abigail receives her feedings overnight when we’re gone via her feeding tube. It drops the food straight into her stomach. Ideal? No, but better than a bottle, so we’re grateful for that option. We’d love to have the “tube” off her sweet face, but it’s serving a purpose right now.

Even though we’d wanted to have Abigail home by now, we are grateful for how well she’s doing. Things could be much worse. We continue to look forward to when I get to strap the car-seat into the car and she’s sitting in it. It’s hard for me to see Melanie under such strain, but that can’t be helped right now. God is the one directing our steps and we have confidence that His way is best.

Again, thank you for the prayer support. This child’s life has been bathed in prayer!


“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,
do not cease to pray for you…”

Hard to leave at night…
“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit…”

Abigail Hope 1.4

I wanted to give everyone an update on Melanie and Abigail. First, Abigail is doing very well. She continues to be good at nursing for which we are very grateful. We’d started to look forward to taking her home, but she’s had a number of episodes where her heart rate drops below a certain threshold. It comes back up within seconds, so the staff has told us it’s nothing to be concerned about. But, it will keep us from taking her home. They want to see five or less on a daily basis, and she’s been averaging 10 or so the past two days. This is common in preemies and something she will outgrow we’re told – might take a day, might take a week. We’re grateful that she “self-corrects” because a child that needs stimulation (ie a touch of the cheek, pat…) has to stay in the NICU for one week without an episode like that. It was very hard at first for me to accept this, but getting a few hours sleep last night makes it more bearable. In fact, I’d written a blog update late last night when I was pretty down but elected to “try again” now that my attitude has improved. I guess even adults can struggle with having a “bad attitude.” 🙂

Melanie is good, hurting and recovering, but good. She’s gotten a little bit of sleep over the past 8 hours, and that has perked her up. We did our infant CPR training last night so that is out of the way. Those videos are a bit scary . . .

We’re discharged from the hospital today. Part of my challenge yesterday was figuring out how Melanie could continue the feedings when we’re in a nearby hotel. Short story is, at least at night, she can’t. This was very hard for me after seeing my wife pull herself out of bed way too soon after a c-section in order to feed and work with her baby. Now, she won’t have the privilege of doing that overnight, and Abigail won’t have the benefit of that mommy/baby time. However, it can’t be helped. God is in control, and we’ve seen Him direct in definitive, tangible ways. We’re trusting that He is continuing to do this. Melanie’s spirits are good. She will work with the lactation consultant today to determine the best way to handle living offsite. We’re praying through all the details we can think of.

If Abigail can outgrow this brady cardiac issue then that, at least at this point, is the remaining item keeping us from taking her home. She does have a “car-seat” test, but that shouldn’t be an issue. I have to keep reminding myself that she is still a preemie, and came 5+ weeks before she should have. She’s a strong, sweet child, and we are grateful that what little health issues she has are minor and not of concern to the NICU staff.

We continue to be grateful for your prayer support. I’ll summarize them below:

  • Melanie’s strength/recovery
  • Melanie’s heart as we move to a hotel
  • Abigail’s growing out of the brady cardiac issues
  • Abigail’s health in general, that nothing new would pop up

Lastly, I saw a blog comment where someone noted praying for the family with the “sick preemie” I had mentioned in a previous post. How kind – I have been as well. They transferred that child to another hospital that was better able to handle the congenital birth defect he/she had. So, I haven’t seen them since that afternoon.

Also, I would request prayer for a sweet missionary family we know. We have grown to love the Lockwoods over the past few years, and they are going through a challenging time right now. They would benefit from your prayer support as Daniel is facing some possibly serious health issues.

Nathan, Melanie and Abigail

Sweet sleep.

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Abigail Hope 1.3

A short update for everyone. Two prayer requests, first for Melanie. As many of you know (and I’m learning), newborn feedings take a long time. (I’m also learning about newborn messy diapers, wow! :), but I digress.) When you do this every three hours, you get very little sleep in between. Melanie is already “over-doing,” but I’m concerned she’ll really, really, overdo. So, please pray for her.

Second, naturally is Abigail. She is doing well. She’s a sweet baby girl. She didn’t nurse quite as well today; I think because her formula supplements, to guard against dehydration, are a little high. Please pray that her nursing will stay good and that Melanie’s body cooperates and works well. No major health issues/crisis from last night or today – PTL!

As I left the NICU a few moments ago, they were working on a sick newborn. The dad, in his mid-20s, was standing there watching his baby being worked on . . .  it was pretty overwhelming. I’ve been there, done that. It brought back so many memories but also such gratefulness that we are not retracing those steps with Abigail. Guarding against fear is a challenge, but God is giving grace day by day.

Melanie’s mom is with us and doing a great job of helping out. We are grateful for her time investment in us and little Abigail.


Abigail and Daddy: Abigail is now in her crib!