Abigail Hope 1.10 – Update

Abigail Hope celebrated her three week birthday on Sunday. Two weeks from today is her due date. Time is passing already.

Melanie and I are enjoying being parents. We recently received a note from someone who said, “Enjoy this time, the days are long and the years short.” Melanie can relate to the long days part. We’re not quite into the smooth sailing when it comes to feedings, sleep, and “mom’s” energy level. Melanie is also dealing with some post-partum issues, both physical and emotional, that have proven to be challenging. However, we’re working through things. It’s been a learning process for me as I seek to support and encourage her, and our families have continued to be a great blessing. I should probably add, this is not designed to be a “negative” paragraph, but rather honest. Neither Melanie nor I want our posts to be the “glamor shots” kind, but rather real and from the heart. This is just where we’re at.

All things considered, we feel very blessed to have Abigail at home. God lead us through quite a few years of waiting. We thought we’d be in this parenting phase with Susannah, but God had other plans. I frequently look at Abigail in wonder at God’s blessing. She’s such a sweet, precious little bundle. Even when she cries she’s cute, fragile, and innocent. It’s a privilege to walk up to her when she’s fussing, pick her up, and feel her relax and quiet down – wow! To those waiting and longing to experience the same thing, I know how that feels. I can’t tell you to “Just hang on, I know God will bless…” But I can tell you that what you wait for you treasure that much more.





27 thoughts on “Abigail Hope 1.10 – Update”

  1. She is just so beautiful! We have a 4 month old daughter, Sara, who is #7. We had a rough 2 months teaching her how to nurse and nurse well. You would think that after having 7 babies, things would just fall into place easily. I don’t know why, but they don’t. Many nights I just sat in the rocker crying out to the Lord. Finally Sara and I got things working and she is now a great nurser and a grat baby overall. Thank you Lord!

    Thank you for being so transparent in your struggles. May God bless you and your family.

  2. Thank you for the new pictures. Abigail is absolutely precious. The first picture (with her and Mama) made me say “Baby Maxwell.” I’m sure she has “I look like my mommy moments” but I’ve personally loved having my daughter look like Daddy!

    I appreciate your honesty about how Melanie is doing. I’ve often wondered and it’s helpful to know how to continue to pray. I remember when we had our second daughter after our first went to Heaven (something I’ve mentioned here before) I would sometimes feel guilty for enjoying DD#2. It was unfounded, but it was a passing emotion. You two (and your families) have so much to process even now and I pray that God will continue to give you strength and endurance to continue to honor Him even as you have.

    P.S. I just took another peek at the pictures before I hit “submit” and on second thought, I think Miss Abigail has Mama’s eyes, but the rest is Daddy… either way, she is absolutely adorable and such a blessing to behold!

  3. Hello,

    I rejoice with your family as you are enjoying these precious moments with your little girl. May God Bless your family and future generations!

    I have always loved your beautifully taken pictures and wondered if you are only using natural lighting or the help of a flash? I love taking outdoor photography, but haven’t quite mastered getting the “natural look” inside. I would appreciate any helpful advice from someone much farther down the road than me in the skills and knowledge of photography.

    Thanks so much! God bless your family as you continue to seek after His will for your lives.

    For His Glory,

    Miss Abbi

  4. She is truly a precious gift. It is a miracle to see how faithful God is. I have 4 children, the 4th is our reversal and the one thing I have learned is that God provides us as mom’s and dad’s with just enough energy and strength to get through that day. He promises to meet our needs for that day and to not worry about tomorrow, for it will take care of itself. Relish yourselves in today, enjoy each small moment, and she will fall into a routine/schedule, and this moment will be gone. Thank you for being “real” in your post, transparency is what God calls us to be so that we may encourage others. God bless you on this wonderful journey God is taking you on.

  5. Here’s a cyber hug to Melanie: {{{Melanie}}}

    Thank you for your honesty. We will know how to specifically pray for you. I know it does not help you feel better now to know that it won’t always be this hard, but perhaps it will give you hope to just keep taking one day at a time. Adjusting to a new baby is always a tough road to walk, even though it is filled to overflowing with joy and love!

    Remember you’ve been through a lot in the past several months, and particularly in the last several weeks. There is a lot of stress on your body. Rest, rest, rest as much as you possibly can. Even when you don’t feel like you “need” to. And rest in God’s love most of all. You will get through this. Please take that as a hope that the tough part isn’t permanent.

    Christ’s love from a mom of 3 here and 3 in heaven……..

    Jill J

  6. Nathan and Melanie,

    What sweet, sweet photos!!! Thank you for sharing how you all are doing. We pray for you!

    Melanie, Hang in there. Our newest (5th) is 10 weeks old, and I clearly remember an evening several weeks back where I just sobbed right at during our family dinner at the table. Then we all cried together, and determined to just kept plugging away at finding our “new” routine. And this is all with a full-term normal delivery!! We finally are able to predict our schedule again, sleep a little more, and have more smiles than crying from our little guy! It will come. My husband reminded me often when things weren’t going well in my eyes to lower my expectations. I listened to him, and it made what would have been hard days turn into days of just enjoying one another instead of worrying about everything else.

    My daughter in just now holding baby and singing Psalm 118:1 to him. I thought it would be good to share (although hearing her singing it would be better!) “Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.” PRAISE GOD! Thank you for being “real” (we know you are!) -and we will continue to rejoice with you and pray for you!! πŸ™‚

    Stephanie for us all

  7. Dear Nathan and Melanie,
    We definitley will be praying for your family. We can relate to waiting and longing for little ones. We have been married for 4 years and still pray for the pitter patter of little feet. But waiting, something that has become a common theme in our life, sure does make things seem even better. My husband and I spent our first year of marriage apart, due to immigration laws. But anyway, we are always thinking of you. And we will be praying for your grandad, Abigail, and of course you and Melanie. God Bless.

  8. Melanie,
    I have a four-and-a-half year old daughter, Naomi, and a fourteen-month old daughter, Rachel, who are the joys of my life. But I wanted to share with you my story of how I felt after Naomi was born. After Naomi was born (and she was a full-term, healthy baby, no NICU, no C-section), I was so overwhelmed, exhausted, and just sad. I felt like I would never have any time to myself again. I would be busy all day long, yet would never get to that huge pile of dishes in the sink, etc. I was struggling with nursing, and one day I got a coupon in the mail for some baby formula. I remember vividly breaking into tears in the living room couch in front of my husband and my mom, feeling like the formula company was trying in some way to sabotage my nursing. I would cry at the drop of the hat!

    Luckily that time passed for me in a matter of weeks, and we figured out the nursing thing. Support from my husband helped, so did the local breastfeeding support center at our hospital. I just wanted to share that story with you. The first weeks are the hardest. You probably have already figured that out! But they pass,they really do. Abigail is beautiful, and she is so blessed to have a family that loves God and covers her in prayers.

    I’ll be praying for you!

  9. Melanie — it is okay to feel overwhlemed. And it’s okay to let your family help you. Walk away for a few hours and take a nap — you are not the only one who can give your child comfort. Really.

    Thanks, Nathan, for exposing your life to all of us. We empathize and are praying for you. Thank goodness Melanie has your mom by her side to help her emotionally. When that baby is so new, and mom is still recovering, it’s just the best thing to be able to commiserate with another mom who has been there.

    Bless you, Maxwells. Hang in there Melanie, and please everyone help to give Melanie some rest!

    In Him

  10. Thank you for your honesty. I experienced post-partum depression 12 years ago. With the careful help of my physician, it subsided. Melanie has been through a tremendous physical endurance test these last few months. Allow yourself time to relax and rest when possible. I’ll pray for you as your body heals. It is refreshing to hear Christians express their challenges in life with such openess and honesty. Too often, people expect Christians to have a perfect, flawless lives. We know that is not true, and more importantly, the Lord knows this and He wants to comfort you and lift you up. Enjoy your beautiful little girl and cherish every minute with her! Most of all take care of each other and lay your faith in the Lord!

  11. She is so beautiful! My heart aches when I look at her as I long to add more to my own family. I am thrilled that God has blessed you with such sweetness and purity. It changes your world, doesn’t it?

    Prayers are on the way for continued health for Abigail as well as for mom and dad prayers. God bless you.

  12. Dear Melanie and Nathan,

    I will be praying for your grandad as he heals from his condition. All praises to God for continuing healing for all of your family members!!!

    The issues you are dealing with will not be easy yet your faith in our Lord will strengthen you in ways you will never imagine!!!!! Your out pouring of love for our heavenly father will help you find “peace that passes understanding”. This is a time for healing, learning, and experiencing life at it’s fullest. You both are experiencing new life by watching Abigail grow each day.

    Melanie, I too have gone through major post-partum issues along with high blood pressure long after the baby was born. I will pray for strength for you as you endure the emotional highs and lows that comes along with being a new mom. God is there sheltering you from your storms. Allow Him enough room to get you through the rough times whether they be in the morning, afternoon, or in the middle of the night. I kept reminding myself to say, “this too shall pass”.

    God bless you all!

  13. abigail is so precious. who takes these beautiful photos of you all?

    i will hold melaine in prayer. thank you for sharing your story and giving specific areas for prayer. sharing your own story so openly is a real ministry for so many going through the same thing. bless you.

  14. Dear Melanie and Nathan,

    Thank you for sharing about your post-partum ‘blues’. Of course, sleep deprivation can be a big factor in this. In addition, it may be helpful to do some research about some common nutritional deficiencies in moms with these symptoms such as omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), magnesium, and B vitamins. I remember my nutritionist telling me that he has prescribed high quality fish oil to moms with PDD symptoms and that it really helps. Sometimes our bodies need a little help getting the hormones balanced again after giving birth. I hope this helps.

    BTW, your little gift from the Lord is absolutely adorable!

    May God bless you and give you peace during this time.

    Kirsten in WA

  15. Dear Melanie and Nathan,

    I know you recieve lots of advice but what one told me after my second…when I was trying to getting the nursing thing down and dealing with the lack of sleep.

    Was…..What Jacob does today he didn’t do yesterday and chances are he may not do that tomorrow. I held on tight to these words when we were going threw the longer days.

    The most important thing I was told was this is just a season and it will pass. πŸ™

    All I can say is try to enjoy every moment because its true the days are long at times but the years go by so quickly.

    My oldest is four and my youngest is 14mos.

    God bless you three.

    My prayers are with you, your family and also Grandad.

  16. It is so good to get updates and to know what to pray for! Abigail Hope is adorable! After having five babies, we have learned that the first few months after having a baby is hectic. We have our schedule and try to go by it but we have also learned to loosen up, do what we can & not fret b/c it won’t all get done and to ENJOY the craziness. Our children do grow up so fast. Rest when you can and love on each other. Everything else can wait!


  17. Here’s some info I’ve learned along the way which might help you. The emotional difficulty after birth is called “Baby Blues” and can last several weeks. It’s normal and most women experience it to some degree. It is characterized by being very emotional and often is accompanied by bouts of crying. Feeling overwhelmed is also normal, It isn’t the same thing as post-partum depression. If the emotional symptoms persist beyond the first month or so, seek professional help. If it comes to that, then your obstetrician is usually a good starting point, and they deal with this all the time. The key is to treat it early and not let it worsen.

    At this point you’re very much still in the “normal” range though. I know it helped me very much to know that baby blues was normal. Just knowing that relieved a lot of my anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask the OB if you become worried.

    P.S. Recovering from a c-section is also very hard, as it is major surgery and has twice the blood loss of a regular birth. Plus coming off of bedrest, I’m sure her physical and emotional well being have both suffered. I’m glad to see you are such a supportive and understanding husband to her. I highly recommend you arrange a lot of help for the next month or two, and try to arrange time just for Melanie. Good luck and I hope she feels better soon.

    P.S. Caring for a preemie is much harder than caring for a newborn, and it takes that much more out of the mother, which is all the more reason to arrange help. I’ve had three 34 week preemies and one full term, and boy was that full term baby a breeze in comparison. Also, becoming a mother for the first time is overwhelming as you suddenly have to care for a newborn 24 hours a day. Could your family help out for a few hours once or twice a day so Melanie could nap?

  18. I so appreciate your honesty and ‘realness’! It causes me to respect you even more! And, I think the reality of who Jesus is shines even brighter during difficult moment like this because our humanness is so ‘in our face’ that we can do nothing else but look beyond ourselves to someone greater. I love it that our weaknesses and humanness doesn’t surprise Him either! He still loves and chooses us! He loves being strong on our behalf! πŸ™‚

    Yes, the days are long and the years are short. With our boys now 10 and 13, I can hardly believe it, because we had a ROUGH time after our first child’s birth. It was a very difficult season….physically and emotionally. I wondered when I’d ever feel like ‘me’ again and when life would seem ‘normal’. It does come, truly it does, and in the days ahead you will look back at how quickly this time will go by, but right now I know it doesn’t seem like that.

    You have been through so much the last several years, and especially the last 2, but even before that in just WANTING children. Give yourselves much, much grace. There’s so much healing God is yet doing in your hearts from Susannah and so many hormonal changes and emotions for Melanie now with Abigail……not to mention, lack of sleep and your life totally changing with the addition of a newborn……..and all you’ve been through in just the last few months. You’ve been through so much, and I’m not at all suprised that it’s a bit ‘rough’ at times now. So, give yourselves much grace to just ‘be’ right now and not feel guilty that you’re less that ‘thrilled’ with all the changes at times. It’s ‘normal’. πŸ™‚

    I am praying for much grace for you, and for the Lord to minister to you in those places of your heart that only He can. I’m also praying for much grace as you transition to parenthood and for the lack of sleep and not always knowing what to do and just all the little changes that you never really think about until you have a newborn! πŸ™‚

    And, as someone else posted: REST, REST, REST….even when you don’t feel like it and lower your expectations for awhile. πŸ™‚

  19. Hello Nathan and Melanie,
    I have been following your blog for a little while now. Congratulations on the birth of beautiful Abigail! I understand the demands on your body, Melanie. I delivered my twins by C-section at 29 weeks. I promise all of that post partum stuff will get better. Although the road was bumpy and EXHAUSTING, we were also grateful to God for our babies. Nathan, you are so loving and supportive. What a wonderful, large family you have to lean on. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You are inspiring to me and I will continue to pray for you all.
    Blessings from Arkansas,

  20. Wow! I did not even know that you were expecting again! I don’t think I have checked your blog since…well, I don’t know when! :-O Mom just hollered across the room to me, “Hey! Nathan and Melanie had another baby!” I’m like, “WHAT??? OH MY GOODNESS!!!” and I flew to your blog as quickly as possible. πŸ™‚
    Abigail Hope is adorable! God is good!

    Psalm 127:4-5
    As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

  21. Please continue to be honest in what ever trials you are facing and the emotions that are going along with them. It helps others more if they can see that they are not alone in their struggles. Phony people are really not helpful, only discouraging. I appreciate your honesty.

  22. Just received the Mom and Dad’s Corner for June and was very happy to read of little Abigail’s birth. She was born on my son’s birthday- a very good day! Years ago (24 I think), your family and mine attended the same church in Clearwater, Florida.
    God Bless you!!

  23. Dear Nathan & Melanie,
    I am the mom of 5, all preemies. I had a very difficult time emotionally with our 3rd, who was 7 weeks early. She did fine, like your Abigail, and had few problems, but I still struggled and wondered what was wrong with me, why I felt so down when our daughter was doing so well.
    Thanks to a lovely woman at our local library, who mailed me several good books on premature birth, I discovered that feeling depressed, even when your baby is fine, is not abnormal for moms of a preemie. The premise is that you are still going through a grieving process, even when your baby is doing well. You grieve the loss of “normal”. This is a very simplified version of what I read, but the Lord really used the information to help me. I realize that what I felt was normal, and it too would pass with time. Just knowing that there was a reason for why I felt the way I did really helped!
    Praise God for the blessing of Abigail!
    God Bless your family,

  24. She is so beautiful and we rejoice with you all!! Also glad your grandfather is better too.

  25. Hi Nathan and Melanie,

    I just read your update after being away for a few weeks. I commend you for your honesty and openness.

    I am one follower of Christ who learned the hard lesson after the birth of my fourth precious child that as believers we are not immune to emotional struggles, in my case post-partum depression that completely took the wind out of my sails and rendered this once competent, confident, full-of-faith woman literally immobilised and floundering in despair. Thanks be to God, though, He brought me through that very difficult season (that I felt so certain at the time would never end) and taught me so much in the process – which is so often the wonderful fruit of adversity – something you are no strangers to, I know.

    All this to encourage you that if you are facing post-partum depression instead of the usual baby-blues, that it is common, even amongst Christian women, because we live in a fallen world and are by no means immune to either physical or emotional struggles. It does often require medical intervention though and well-meaning “hang in there’s” may be more frustrating than anything, especially as Christian women who are already dealing with the guilt of feeling hopeless when we know we have so much to hope for. For me the symptoms were extreme weepiness, a numbing despair and sense of hopelessness, an utter lack of joy in life and an unreasonable, panicked preoccupation with my baby’s well-being/sleep/feeding etc.

    It was a season in my life but I am in a wonderful, joyful, peaceful place now and delight in my family and God’s goodness and faithfulness. And I have a lot more compassion for those who are struggling with these things because I have been there.

    May you know the Lord’s faithfulness and strength as you walk the journey He has set before you.

  26. I appreciate your candor in sharing the reality of the ups & downs of new babies and the adjustments that come with them.

    I have had six babies. My recovery has ranged from smooth & seamless to emotional – including post-partum depression with two of them. I had a doctor share with me before baby #4 that often the fluctuation of progesterone with the change of hormones can offset the balance. With the last two children, I used some cream either on my legs or arms every day until my body was ready and noticed that it made quite the difference (my husband noticed the help that it brought as well : ) ). As my body recovered, I went off of it. I was able to see that sometimes I would have to use it a few days & not every day.

    God’s richest blessings on you – may you have overflowing joy in the journey!!!!!

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