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 Γ’β‚¬β€œ 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.” πŸ™‚

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.

39 thoughts on “Abigail Hope 1.4”

  1. I am so glad to hear that Melanie is doing well enough to be discharged, and I will definitely be praying that Abigail will soon be able to go home as well – along with praying for you as you wait for that time.

    I think I remember reading once that Steve left tapes of him reading for the younger children to listen to while they played (or maybe it was someone else who did this.) Might this be something that they would let you do for Abigail during the night? Maybe a tape of Melanie quietly singing or humming to play while Abigail is eating? I know it wouldn’t bring her to you at night, but it might help bring you to her.

    Again, thank you for your wonderful updates and information about how we can pray as the Lord brings you to mind.

    In Christ,

  2. Dear Family…How precious your little sweet girl is!! What an incredible gift from God! It certainly IS difficult leaving the hospital without your baby…I had to leave my first child Aaron and go back to him. I remember leaving the hospital in a wheelchair holding a big teddy bear. Someone came up to me and asked to see my baby and all I held was that silly bear!!! I thought it would break my heart. But you know what? If we didn’t have to live and grow through trials, we wouldn’t realize our blessings, would we? Just think of getting a little bit of WELL DESERVED REST Nathan and Melanie need!! I know that it is soooo hard to leave your angel but it won’t be for long! Just rest as much as possible at night…that precious little girl will be keeping you up at night before long….and you will love it all the more because of having to do without her for a time! Love, Beth B. in Indiana

  3. PRAISE THE LORD! What an incredible blessing and joy it is to see Miss Abigail and her beautiful Mama. We’ll be praying for the continued quick recovery of Mama and Baby and for continued strength for Daddy. God is good… ALL the time!

  4. Nathan & Melanie-

    Praying for you both. You will get through this !! With baby 8 he had some heart problems and we had to leave him for 8 days. Yes at first when we left I felt sick, but the Lord was good! As the hours went on I felt better and knew it was for the best. The rest was nice and when I had to return for feedings I was refreshed! Along came baby 9 she had to stay as well for breathing problems for 6 days. This time it was a little better, but still hard. Just remember it is for the best, when she can finally come home you want her to stay home!! Thats what got me throught it, the Lord kept putting that on my heart! I just trusted him with the babies, and knew he was watching over them. Have peace in knowing she will be home with you soon, take this time to get some good rest. You need your rest for nursing. And she will get it. Baby 9 would not nurse on the left for three weeks!! I kept on trying and did pump. Finally she got it and now she is good to go! Hang in there, God will get you to the other side and you will look back and see it wasn’t so bad! Praying for a restful night for you both.

  5. Sounds like the Lord’s hands are all around you right now. What a blessing your sweet Abigail is. We will continue to pray and are blessed by your family’s constant reliance on the Lord through all situations. It is a wonderful testimony and reminder or resting in our Lord’s arms. Praise the Lord for things progressing smoothly. We will continue to pray for your family, and the Lockwoods.

    The F. Family


  7. So glad to hear how well Abigail is doing. I’ll be praying for Abigail’s heart rate to stop dropping so frequently. My firstborn was in the NICU for 3 days (long story, but it wasn’t necessary), and you are definitely blessed to have had the nursing-friendly atmosphere. I only got to even try to nurse a time or two in several days, and it didn’t go very well because they fed him with formula and he was stuffed to the gills and had no motivation. But they were used to preemies that were of minimal weight and minimal strength, not 7 lb babies that were strong…. It was difficult the 1 1/2 days he was in the hospital and I was at home. I’ll be praying for the feeding issue. Looking forward to the day that she goes home with you!

  8. Nathan and Melanie–

    I have 5 daughters (9,8,6,3,1), and the oldest three and I have followed your blog closely in the past few weeks. It has been our pleasure to pray with you and celebrate Abigail’s birth with you. As we read your entry today, I just felt the need to encourage you both. Our 2nd daughter was born 3 weeks early, but had some health issues that required a 2 week stay in the NICU. I also felt the sadness of not being able to nurse my sweet newborn during the night. As difficult as that was, the Lord showed me the blessing of being able to sleep soundly through the night, thereby regaining my strength more quickly than I would have been able to normally. The lactation consultant was very helpful, and when it came time to bring our daughter home, she was an excellent nurser. And because I had had a number of full nights of sleep, I recovered more quickly than I did after my first child’s birth. Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord works things together for our good? We’ll be praying for the three of you. We look forward to the day when you’ll all be home together as a family!

  9. Sounds like things are going well (and normal for a preemie!). Speaking from experience, πŸ™‚ this NICU time will pass faster than you think and before you know it you’ll be home. Be extra supportive during this challenging time when Melanie will have to be pumping at times instead of feeding baby Abigail. Unless you have a very progressive NICU that uses other methods they will be giving Abigail a bottle when Melanie is not there. Tell Melanie not to be discouraged…once baby Abigail is home you can get her nursing full-time again with a bit of hard work and determination. [Four of my preemies came home completely bottle-fed and we had to work towards nursing. It takes time but it can be done! All my guys went on to nurse past the one year mark!]

    Nathan, both your girls are just beautiful! We will continue to pray for all of you. Get a bit of extra rest if you can!

  10. The Lord is SO Faithful and so Good to His Children.

    He WILL meet all your needs and remember the scripture–Matthew 21:22—“And all things, WHATSOEVER ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.”

    Believing with you for a quick recovery for both mommy and baby.

    Abigail Hope is soooo cute!!! You are truly blessed!!


  11. We are all praying for you, and I will be especially remembering Melanie in prayer, as I can sympathize somewhat with her situation. When Jeannie, our oldest (now 26!) was born, she developed jaundice and was required to stay in the hospital a week. My husband was a graduate student at the time, and the VERY basic insurance we had required that I go home after 3 days. We weren’t too far from the hospital (about 20 minutes), but that seemed SO far away from my baby. And to go home and face an empty crib — well, many tears were shed. The nurses seemed to always have given her something to eat about 30 minutes before I arrived to try to nurse her, and we usually couldn’t even wake her up to try to nurse. A very frustrating four days, as I recall! Once we got her home, she was used to the bottle, and it took much patience, prayer, and work to get her to nurse — but she did. And everything will work out for you with Abigail, too. The Lord is able and mighty, and He cares about every detail. Hold tightly to Jesus, and trust Him. I’ll be praying as He brings you to mind. Know that there are those who understand and have been through similar situations (though not exact in detail, I know). Our merciful Father’s blessings on you all. And thank you for the updates — various members of our family check the blog several times a day.

  12. I think about your family every day and am so glad that the Lord continues to be so gracious. I remember that feeling of leaving my premie (33wks) at the hospital while I went home. It was good to get some sleep, but it was awful leaving her behind and constantly calling the NICU to see how she was doing. She had high blilrubin and needed to stay 10 days. I pumped every 3-4 hours and brought my milk over to the hospital so that while I was not there, she could still get my milk.

    Continue to be encouraged in the Lord and His perfection. His will is always best, which I am sure you know and trust already.

  13. PRAYING!!! I am sure this is very hard for you both.

    I have been thinking of your family the past couple days and that verse in Peter about our faith being tried by fire, that it will be found to praise and honor and glory of Christ. I personally do not know anyone who has endured what you and Melanie have over the years; waiting for children, the sad loss of sweet Susannah Joy ( I love the names you choose), the trials with Melanie’s pregnancy, Abigail’s birth, and now this. Well, may I just say that your faith HAS brought great glory to God and will continue to. You are more of an encouragement and challenge to my own weak faith than you will ever know.

  14. You have been in our prayers. Your situation brings back many memories of our twin boys born, 10 years ago, 6 weeks premature. They were very healthy, as well, but just had to stay in the hospital to learn how to suck and breathe while eating. My mother was working next door to the hospital where they were staying in NICU. So I would get a ride into the hospital and stay there all day with them. During lunch time, I would go next door to my mom’s office and sleep on an exam table for an hour and go back and feed the boys. It was a very tiring time, but also very hard to leave them. Our nurses were so good about letting me call at all hours of the night to check on the boys from home. They are very patient people, don’t you think? So I will pray for strength as you recover. Melanie, you will need all your strength once Abigail is ready to come home with you, so rest now and God will take care of her in your absence. I know your struggle and wanted to send encouragement that you will get through this time. We look back and can’t believe our boys are 10 now. Enjoy all the learning along the way. πŸ™‚ She is a beautiful girl and your family is very blessed. We, too, have been praying for the Lockwood family. We just never know what challenges the Lord will give us to shape us and mold us into the people He created us to be.
    God bless and you are in our prayers,
    Dan & Pamela H. and family

  15. Dear Maxwell’s,
    God bless you today. I have been posting along the way and walked this way too…years before ever hearing the Maxwell name and your family’s great faith & works. My prayers follow you through out the day. Melanie, count it a blessing as you move about. I know it is tender and with all the demands, it seems tough to recover but I heard many a nurse say that the NICU moms are God’s witness to love overcoming all obstacles. Our family was exactly in your spot in 2000 and just keep pumping! Thank the Good Lord for that technology and it won’t be long. It won’t be long before you are in the serenity of your own home. What a precious girl you have. Imagine your parents fussing over you and savoring the scent of your sweet head with a burrowed kiss. Now imagine Our Lord marveling over your little holy family too! Oh joy! In Minneapolis

  16. First I want to say again what a cute baby girl! She is precious! I will keep praying and may the Lord continue to make His way plain before you. Keep looking to Him, He will carry you all through until the day you get to bring baby Abigail home. I know you will all be rejiocing and praising God on that day. Praying for you all, especially Melanie. I have not had a preemie, so I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to have to leave your baby. God be close to you!

  17. Just wanted to let you know you are in my prayers – and Abigail is a beautiful little girl. I am sure you may have already looked into this, but when my son was born he was in the NICU just for a few days and though they discharged me they “rented” us a room on the maternity floor for $25 a night, as long as they didn’t get completely full up. I know not every hospital is able to do this and they just did it for the parents with babies in the NICU so they could stay close, but it was nice to be able not to have to leave – I understand the heartache! Might be worth asking anyway! Praying for you all and quick healing for you Melanie and good growth for little Abigail so she can just come home soon!

  18. Leaving your baby in the nursery when you are discharged is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I will be praying for you Melanie. Just try & remember this is just a season & it will be over VERY soon. Keep expressing even during the night – which is very difficult when you don’t have your baby there. Abigail will have no problem bonding with you & by the time she is “full term” equivalent you will just remember these difficult days as a distant memory. God’s blessings to you.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing how the Lord is working and blessing in your family! I am continuing to pray!

    I am glad you took the CPR … never underestimate the importance of those! I had to use it on one of my children shortly after birth. So scary … but so happy I knew what to do!!

  20. Yeah! We’re so glad to hear such wonderful news. Our hearts are so blessed by the positive updates on sweet baby Abigail and Mommy Melanie. Keep up the great work and know that you are being bathed in prayer across the country. Praise Him for His healing and comforting touch.

    In Christ,

    Tim, Gwen, and Eli L.

  21. I’m happy to hear that Melanie is doing well. I pray that Abigail will soon be discharged as well. God bless your family!!

  22. Still praying! Psalm 27 still is one of my favorite chapters and an encouragement in tough times. Blessings to you three!

    Dora, Tom and children

  23. Too precious!!!!!!!!!!! Abigail is a little angel. I know Melanie misses Abigail at night but look at this as an opportunity for Melanie to get some much needed sleep and recovery. God is guiding this every step of the way!

  24. It’s hard to walk away from the hospital without that baby in your arms, but please take this opportunity to rest. Melanie needs the rest to recover from her surgery. Pumping isn’t fun, but it keeps her body ready for Abigail when she needs it!

    Hang in there, you three! Before you know it, you will be home and all this hospital stuff will be behind you. Thanks for the updates. We are praying for you all several times a day. Bless you!

  25. P.S. Who made that sweet little pink hat we keep seeing on Abigail’s head? Mommy, Grandmom, an Aunt?


    That was just a hat that the NICU had and let her wear.

  26. I’m continuing to pray for baby Abigail and for Melanie (and you too Nathan!). Our 4th child was in a very similar situation and regular “bradys” kept him in the NICU for 11 days. Those were exhausting days going back and forth feeding him and spending time with him (missing my other kids and feeling so torn just wanting him home) . . . BUT as so many others have said, it was such a blessing to get a little extra sleep at night!! One of the benefits of his stay in the NICU was that it forced us to have him on a feeding schedule (and we know your family likes those!! =). I SO understand the heartache of not being there, and the fear of interruption to nursing. That feeling of “we’re just finally getting it figured out and now we may be taking big steps backward” (in regard to nursing) is so real. Keep trusting that the One who designed such a creative, wonderful bond for moms and babies will be faithful to protect it. Abigail will do just fine! There IS a chance it will take a little more coaxing if she gets used to bottle feeding (since she doesn’t have to work as hard), but once she’s home–she won’t choose a bottle over the warmth and nurture and closeness of her mommy for long! You have some beautiful girls Nathan, thanks so much for sharing so many great pix with us! We’re praying for patience, peace, protection for all of you . . . and a great milk supply =)

  27. abigail is so beautiful. we’re keeping you in our prayers and praying thast abigail is home with you all soon.

    is melaine able to use a breast pump in the night, so that abigail can have breast milk through her feeding tube, at night at least? this way melaine’s milk keeps building up and abigail gets the nourishment she needs from breast milk.

    lots of prayers for you three.

  28. My twins were in the NICU for 3 weeks, and a very wise lactation consultant helped me work out a reasonable schedule for expressing milk when I was away from them. (All ended well as I ended up nursing both babies for over 2 years.) I missed them so much at night, but it did give me a brief reprieve in a way – a long hot bath in the evening, quiet time with my husband, much-needed rest – all of which helped me heal physically and get ready for bringing them home. Praying for all of you! God is good!

  29. She is so cute! πŸ™‚ She is not even my daughter and yet I can’t imagine leaving her in the NICU and going somewhere else. πŸ™ I’m sure that’s very difficult for your hearts.

    However, I just want to encourage you again — the Lord’s FAITHFUL leadership over your lives can be trusted. I agree with several other posters above — although your hearts break, this time can be a blessing. My friend, who just had twins recently — they were born 5 weeks early and were in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks. She had a c-section and was discharged a few days afterwards and went to their home 15 minutes away. She pumped and then the nurses were able to give her twins her own milk when she wasn’t there. That helped keep up her milk supply and helped the baby get the best nutrients. She continued to nurse after coming home — no problems. πŸ™‚

    BUT….in the beginning her heart ached and yet she looks back now and agrees that it was a blessing because she was able to get good sleep at night BEFORE they came home. It helped her body to rest, recover, and then when they did come home, she was more physically prepared to handle the demands of twins.

    Cyber hugs to you! And, many prayers are being sent before the Throne of our faithful Father who knows your every need and cares about all the aches of your heart. πŸ™‚

  30. Just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you all. I love the name. Thank you for the pictures and up-dates.

  31. I am so thankful to hear of Abigail’s safe delivery. Our first child, also a daughter, was induced and some issues presented themselves that kept us in the hospital a week. I was discharged after 3 days, but was allowed to “room” at the hospital until our daughter was discharged. I know what a trying, emotional roller coaster this experience is and I am praying for you all and the nursing staff too. Rest in the LORD.

  32. We are so happy for you all. Praying for Melanie, Abigail, and the family of the preemie.

    Our son was born 5 weeks early 15 years ago and now you can’t tell he had a rocky start. He came home to us after five days in the hospital. Pryaing that Abigail comes home soon!

  33. (((Nathan and Melanie)))

    I so understand what you are going through. Our ds was born at 31 weeks just over a year ago. It IS so hard to leave them in the NICU and go home without them. I still get emotional thinking about that time. But, you will get through it and God will carry you all during this time. It was at times like that I would remind myself to trust God. That He was able to orchestrate excellent care for my precious baby. And, He is able to do the same for yours.

    As previous posters have mentioned, you can rent a hospital grade pump to express milk while away from Abigail. Our son, Noah, was unable to nurse at first, so I did that every 3 hours for the duration of his stay, until I was able to nurse him. I was only able to nurse him once a day while in the NICU. It did not affect our nursing relationship or supply at all.

    I have talked to many parents of NICU grads, and realize how blessed our little man was/is. He had his share of problems, but they could have been much worse. I keep trying to remind myself how truly blessed we are.

    (((HUGS TO YOU ALL)))

  34. The first precious days and weeks are a tender time. He’ll carry you through them.

    About the nursing, I would advise Melanie to pump around these times at the hotel: 10 pm, 2 am, and 6 am to ensure the development of a strong milk supply. Abigail should be fed from an eye dropper, syringe, or through her NG tube during that time to avoid the confusion of introducing a bottle. Feeding can be a labor of love for a short while. Sometimes I think of it as baby’s first discipline.

  35. Dear Nathan, Melanie, and Abigail,

    I will also be praying for all of you. My experience with my premie was filled with mixed emotions. She was in for 23days. It was a time where I felt so close to our Lord. I prayed and sang to her daily while holding her little body against me with warm blankets surrounding us. I hope your NICU lets you “Kangaroo” Abigail. This is when you both snuggle skin to skin. It helps with growth, well being, and bonding with each other. It is encouraging to know that Abigail remembers to breathe when she has the brady episodes. Please be reassured she will be just fine during those moments. An Apnea monitor will be available for her to use at home if your doctors see that she needs one.

    God Bless you all as you enter this next journey of parenthood.


  36. Just wanted to let you know that we’re still praying for you! A close friend of mine that lost her son the day that you lost Susannah, just had her baby the day after you had Abigail, so in many ways, you’re very dear to my heart! Please don’t worry about all the “advice” you’re bound to be getting–sometimes it seems that as hard as you try to do as you feel the Lord leading you, someone else thinks that there’s something else you should be doing, or a better way to keep doing what you’re doing! I guess this is the first big lesson in being parents–hearing a small portion of very well-intentioned advice, then letting your hearts and Lord show you the correct path! You’re doing such a great job, and I only “see” a small part of it! Nothing could ever prepare you for being parents to special babies like Susannah and Abigail, and I admire you both. We’re expecting our 5th baby this September, and if the Lord sees fit for this little one to come a bit early, I have learned so much by your example and your faith, hope and trust in the Lord! You have both been such a blessing to me! Keep up the good work!

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