5 Years Ago

Susannah was born. Today would have been her 5th birthday.

Nathan and Melanie desired children since they were married. Year after year went by, and no pregnancy. Imagine their delight when, on Melanie’s birthday (early September) in 2006, they found out she was expecting. They were on a little trip, enjoying God’s creation in the mountains of Colorado. Melanie went through a difficult pregnancy, with bed rest part way through and other issues. But, as time went on, it was apparent Baby Max (a nickname, we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl) was coming sooner rather than later. At the hospital, all throughout labor, Baby Max was carefully monitored, and everything appeared fine. Sweet Susannah was born in the evening, with a team from the NICU on hand to help. Yet, something was wrong. She wasn’t moving nor could she even open her eyes. Totally still.


At first, there was hope. Surely she would start to move, but as the hours ticked by, and doctor after doctor, came through, it was apparent she was only going to be with us for a short time. Finally, on Saturday, Susannah slipped peacefully from her Mommy’s arms straight to the arms of Jesus. It broke all of our hearts. Many, many tears were shed. During that time of grief, this section from Job was especially meaningful: “… the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Amen.

It is so true. We are so blessed, and the reality is, Susannah just went home to be with Jesus a little ahead of the rest of us. It is a sure thing that each one of us will die. That is a non-optional part of life. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) I plead with those of you who are reading this who do not know the Lord as your Savior. Please don’t put off giving your life to Him. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) And, then, this verse from 1 Peter 2:7: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.”

Nathan and Melanie, amidst their intense grief — their empty arms, their empty nursery, and their quiet house, all signs of what they were missing — bore it well, and allowed the trial to be used in their lives in a precious way. Fourteen months later, Susannah’s sister, Abigail, was born.

We know many of you have lost babies, and some very recently. Our hearts grieve with you. Life is precious. Life is also short. May we not take even one day for granted.

Susannah was beautiful with dark, curly hair. When Bethany was a baby, several of us thought that they would have looked very similar. Psalms 139:14: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Please click the link (picture) below to be taken to Susannah’s slideshow of her short time here on earth. We’d love to re-record the music at some point, but for now, we will leave you with what was originally done.

Thank you for your prayer support for Nathan and Melanie during her difficult pregnancy, the days we had with Susannah, and then for them as they grieved their loss. Thank you for continuing to pray for them with the newest one on the way. Things are going relatively well at the moment. Melanie had a day of contractions about 10 days ago, but they are very thankful that they subsided. She is now almost 28 weeks.


Susannah Joy's Slideshow and Lullaby
Susannah Joy's Slideshow and Lullaby

“For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

–Revelation 7:17

30 thoughts on “5 Years Ago”

  1. How well I remember Susannah and the time she spent with her loving family. Bless you all, and Melanie, Nathan, Abby, Bethany, indeed, every Maxwell are in my prayers–

    Karen N.

  2. This brings back many memories… Sad memories. My sister lost her baby Anna at about 16 weeks along last November.
    It hits pretty close to home for many. But our Lord is so good and gracious.

  3. how sad! how is Melanie doing?? and i know that is, my aunt lost her first and second baby, they still dont have any children, and my parents have lost three children as well.
    but God knows what he is doing, and we must trust in him!!

    hope all is well with you guys and with Melanie and Anna Marie!!

    Im a Clild of God, im His!!!
    Melanie is doing well. Thank you.

  4. Such a touching and moving post Sarah…simply beautiful. I love that verse from Job too. How thankful I am that He provides His children with comfort and strength through His Word for all the trials life brings us.

    I will be keeping Melanie and this precious little one in my prayers! May the Lord bring them both safely through this pregnancy and give Melanie all the strength she needs. πŸ™‚

    God bless!
    ~Miss Rachel~

  5. I remember that time very well and I cried right along with your family as you struggled through those days (and I cried, too, reading today’s post — hard to believe it has been 5 years). So many of us prayed for your family at that difficult time and it was beyond generous that you shared your grief with us. Bless you all and sweet Susannah Joy who is running and giggling and smiling and healthy in Heaven just waiting for her family when the time comes. Praying for you all today as you refresh those tender memories.

  6. I remember when Nathan and Melanie were married, not long after I found your website. I grieved for them through the infertility and through Susannah’s death. Then, I rejoiced at seeing God’s mighty hand bring forth Abigail and Bethany, neither of which “should” have been able to happen from man’s perspective. Nathan and Melanie have been a wonderful testimony to the Lord all throughout, and I’ve used their story to encourage others.

    I’m continuing to pray for both Maxwell babies on the way. I’m almost 29 weeks with #7, so due in just about the same time frame.

  7. I remember this ‘season’ of your lives very well. Daily I looked for updates to pray for sweet Susannah and your family, and my heart broke for you as you walked through the grief. I cannot imagine. However, from a distance, I have also watched with joy as you’ve risen from the ashes of pain and allowed Jesus to forge in you something even deeper. I honor and respect you all for that. I have so enjoyed seeing Abigail and Bethany and am really excited about the newest Maxwell! Will continue to pray for Melanie and the sweet, precious baby on the way! πŸ™‚

  8. Very hard to watch. My baby boy would be almost 4 now.
    May the God of all comfort continue to comfort you and He has us.
    Steve for all

  9. I am so sorry to hear about their loss. We went through somewhere around two dozen losses before we found out I had a blood clotting disorder that prevented them from “sticking”. We had our first “sticky” baby in Feb. 2010 and hoping for another one in the fall. Many prayers and blessings to them as they wait to be reunited with their angel baby.
    Two dozen….. Many opportunities to rest and trust. Amen.

  10. God bless your family! It’s hard to believe that it was 5 years ago. It was about that time that I found your blog and your families ministry. I was online looking for encouragement after a miscarriage and looking for some help with the depression that followed. God used all of you in my life and how I prayed and grieved with Nathan and Melanie. I remember being so amazed that you were willing to share your grief. So thank you for being there even though we don’t know each other and letting me have a glimpse of your lives as you surrendered your precious baby! God bless you with peace today!
    Love and Prayers, Janet
    It is a beautiful thing how God comforts so we (you included) can now comfort others. “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

  11. Five years. I remember praying for Nathan and Melanie during the pregnancy and afterwards praying for Susannah Joy. Today Susannah Joy is whole and happy in Heaven, right where she will be waiting for each member of her family to someday join her. For Susannah it is but a heartbeat in time until she is reunited with you all. It is much harder on those of us left here as we grieve.

    It has been such a joy to meet and know Abigail and Bethany, watching them grow these past years. I can only imagine the joy they bring to Nathan and Melanie each and every moment of every day.

    Mr. Phil and I wanted and planned to have a family together. We prayed to be blessed with a pregnancy. God had other plans for us, and it is with God’s plan we travel. While we were not to have children of our own I can say that Mr. Phil stepped up to the plate of parenthood with my boys and is the best he can be for them, and they both love and respect him so much for all he has done for me and for them. We look forward to grandchildren someday, in fact, I can’t wait πŸ™‚

    Keeping Nathan and Melaine is daily prayers and looking forward to new Baby Max. Daily prayers too for Christopher and Anna Marie and their new baby. This is an exciting Spring in the Maxwell homes and our prayers will be with you all.

    Blessings, Mrs. Mari

  12. So sad and painful. I’m so thankful God blessed them with Abby and Bethany and the new little one. I haven’t lost a little one myself, but I’ve seen the crushing pain and anguish that comes from it.

    We have friends who lost their first baby when she was 5 months pregnant with the baby! That was a huge blow. They have since been blessed with a baby boy and another one on the way, though they lost another baby girl first.

    We have two special ladies in our lives who have recently miscarried for the first time. Our cousin and her husband had their first baby last year, and he was so not supposed to be here!

    Continuing to pray for the expecting Maxwell couples and their babies!
    God bless! Rebecca K.

  13. Praying for you all, I can’t believe it’s been 5 years!! lots of tears were shed here. But mixed with rejoicing too. I remember the song “safe in the arms of Jesus” by Fanny Crosby going thru my mind at the time. I still cant bring myself to watach the video clip again. Otherwise ill cry!!! Lots of Love,

  14. Lovely video. Is that your family singing? They have a very distinct choral sound.
    Joseph, John, Anna and Jesse were playing instruments and singing.

  15. I said a prayer for your family. I’m sure there’s a special place in Heaven for little angels like Susannah. You will see her again someday.

  16. Wow! I cannot believe that it has been 5 years. The video is a wonderful tribute to the Lord in remembrance of Susannah. We are definitely praying for Nathan’s family as they await the arrival of the newest blessing – will add to our church’s weekly prayer list as well.

  17. What a beautiful baby Susannah was. I can only imagine the ache all of you felt but especially her parents. I am glad you continue to remember her, and thank you for sharing her photos. When I wasn’t quite 3 my sister Margaret died at the age of 2 1/2 months, she had a neural tube defect. There are no photos. And my parents never spoke of her again, which wasn’t that unusual then. I think talking about her and having her memory be real to her siblings will be much healthier than the silence about my sister that I grew up with. I know today had to be difficult for all of you.

    Very sad about your sister. It’s amazing how fresh tears can be with each remembrance, but each year still is good. Not remembering might ease the pain, but it has been good for us.

  18. Susannah was just beautiful! I know it’s hard for her parents and family that miss her – but life is just wonderful for Susannah – to get to be with Jesus who takes care of her better than anyone on earth could, and she is whole, perfect, and full of joy. Our Lilly died this past December. She had a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. Her immune system was always very weak. Doctors said she wouldn’t live at all. But she lived 17 wonderful months. All to God’s glory. It is amazing the impact and blessings a baby can have on so many lives. Just like I’m sure Susannah did. May the Lord bless Nathan and Melanie with many, healthy children.
    Thank you for your ministry – it has greatly helped my family.
    Lisa, bless you all. 17 incredible months and Lilly was indeed beautiful which matched the love and adoration showed her by her family. A testimony to God’s love, mercy and grace.

  19. Five years ago… that I wouldn’t have thought. I hadn’t found this website too long before that. In fact, I was on this web site daily pouring through the mom’s and dad’s corner’s drawing insight. We have four children and 5 years ago, we were struggling dealing with 4 children under 6 years of age. Someone told me about your website and my life was changed for the better. My heart broke the day I came on here and saw that urgent prayer request going posted at the very top of the screen. I know I joined my prayer with many many people on that day. I’ll be sure to say an extra prayer for Melanie today. God is good and I pray she feels Him close to her in a very special way today.

  20. I cannot seem to find the words this morning, but just know that we love you all!

    In Christ,


  21. I came to the blog late, just in the last year, and I read through the archives. Even though it happened so long ago, my heart broke for Nathan and Melanie. Susannah was such a gift and so beautiful, and their strength and faith was so incandescent. Later I read a Mom’s Corner and Teri’s heart spoke with such raw emotion and honesty about her feelings, and her faith, during that awful time.

    Just recently one of the deacons at our church lost his 3-year-old granddaughter to a sudden illness. During the funeral he said, “When Mariel was sick, we asked God for a miracle–and instead in His wisdom He gave us an angel to guard us forever.” I thought of Nathan and Melanie and Susannah at that moment. People I’ve never met whose tragedy has strengthened my own faith, just by reading about their experiences.

    My prayers are with them for the health of this new little one.


  22. Such a heart-wrenching time that must have been. Thankful for the new little one growing within Melanie now and praying for a safe delivery without complication. Was it ever established what condition little Susannah had that caused her to be born without movement or brain activity? Can’t imagine how hard that must have been, but may the Father be praised for carrying your family through that dark hour….blessings!
    Nothing official.

  23. Goodness, has it really been five years? I started lurking on your blog as a reader around that time and seeing the slideshow when it was originally posted, and shedding tears for Melanie and Nathan. It’s been wonderful to see their house begin to be filled with their beautiful daughters and the wee one still to come, but Susannah’s memory will obviously always remain and be a blessing. May the rest of her pregnancy be easy and uncomplicated. How is Anna Marie doing?
    Anna Maria is doing great. Smooth sailing.

  24. My mother still speaks of the baby she lost in first trimester 46 years ago. She believes it was a boy b/c of the birth order of our family. Sometimes I think about the brother (?) I will meet in heaven. It tooknher a long time to realize how much that loss impacted her; but I am so glad she has talked about it with us. Someday we will meet him in glory and all be reunited. May God bless Melanie and Nathan.

  25. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years…I do remember when they went through that time with precious Susannah and my heart ached for them. But God is so very good and gracious, and I am thrilled they’ve been blessed with Abigail and Bethany, and the new baby on the way. Keeping their family (and Anna Maria and Christopher too!) close in prayer. Hugs and Love, Patti M.

  26. Thank you, Maxwell Family, thank you! What a blessing to my family that you share your lives with us… I admit to struggling with self-pity, and starting to slip into depression after our recent loss, but this post “woke” me up. Please tell Nathan and Melanie for me that their sweet Susannah is still being used by the Lord to bring comfort and healing, and to increase trust in His perfect will. Truly, God IS good (Tobias)! You are all often in my prayers.

  27. Thank you for sharing your hearts, Maxwell family. Sharing tears of grief, along with tears of joy at the assured hope of seeing your Susannah Joy in heaven someday.

  28. I am not able to visit your blog every day but I just happen to today. As it was mentioned, you know many of your readears share the grief of lost precious babies. Many may not think it is the same, but, it was nine years ago to today that my husband and I lost our daughter and fifth child to be. I was almost six months expecting, with all going well and she just stopped moving. Three days later, April 3rd, she was delivered stillborn, with no explanation of her death. We named her Hannah Grace and buried her April 6th(one day before what was to be my maternal grandmas birthday) by my maternal grandmother. The Lord took her home in November of 1997. We still have no explanation of her death. We simply believe God does not make mistakes and trust he had his reasons. Since then, he has blessed us with two more healthy children and we praise the Lord for the six blessings we now have. May God bless Nathan and Melanie as they joyfully raise and continue to welcome their little blessings from Heaven.
    Amen and amen.

  29. I am late in reading and posting. My heart aches for Melanie and your son. Tonight I am praying for bereaved parents, and I will add them to my list. I’m so happy that they have been blessed with Abigail and with another sweet blessing on the way! This post hit home with me as well. Almost two years ago, our oldest (Ethan Joshua, 7) died in an accident. While the grief is consuming at times, I do believe all things can be used for His glory. I rest assured Ethan is much happier and safer with Jesus. My perspective towards eternity with Jesus has been changed forever. My love of the things of this world has lessened, and my love of Jesus has multiplied. Also, my husband now attends church and Sunday school with us. Many have turned their hearts towards Jesus because of our tragedy. Again, it’s for HIS glory! Take care. πŸ™‚
    We are very sorry to hear about your loss with Ethan. I think it would be so difficult after having a child that long.

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