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!

Abigail Hope 1.2

Let me start by thanking each of you who have prayed, loved, and left comments for us. We have not gotten all the comments read yet, but we’re working on it. I’ve told this baby that she has many, many people around that world that love her.

Second, she has a name – Abigail Hope Maxwell. Abigail, meaning “father’s joy, women of beauty and discretion” – it brings tears to my eyes as I type this. She has brought and will bring joy to my heart. The “beauty and discretion” part comes from the description of Abigail in 1 Samuel. We chose “Hope” for her middle name as her time in the womb was a time of hope for us, at the beginning as we looked forward to meeting her, and towards the end as we sought to maintain hope for how things would turn out. This child did bring us hope!

We’ve had a girl’s name picked out for some time. I liked it, but when Abigail was born, I didn’t sense a peace about our original name. So, we waited and prayed. I told God that I would use whatever name He directed in. Names are important to God, and I wanted His will in this. At one point a day or two ago, the name “Abigail” came to mind. I thought it was nice, but didn’t think much of it. But, it kept coming back and coming back. I shared with Melanie last night that I wondered if God was directing in this and asked her to think/pray about it. This morning, when I woke up the name was still on my mind and it was like I was thinking of her as Abigail. However, being rather dense, I wanted to be sure it was God’s leading. Scripture says that the heart is evil and wicked, I know mine is from experience. I desired total confidence in knowing that this was God’s leading and not my invention. After reading George Muller’s biography, one thing he would do when he sensed God’s leading was ask for and wait for a definitive sign. A sign that he would see and his heart would confirm was of God. I walked down the hall this morning around 9:00 and prayed that God would confirm His direction in a clear way – a way that even I wouldn’t miss. As I walked over to the NICU I wondered how God would show me, I couldn’t think of a way for Him to do it.

I sat down in Abigail’s room, and opened to where my “Read through the Bible in a Year” plan (minus the 18 or so days I’m behind…) told me to read. I was a chapter or two past the David and Goliath story in 1 Samuel when I started. Within a chapter or two I was reading about David and Abigail, and sitting there looking at Scripture with tears in my eyes. I knew as soon as I started that section it was God’s clear, definitive direction. Melanie confirmed that her heart liked the name and thought we should go with it.

So, all that to say – Abigail Hope.


I share the above paragraphs because it is so encouraging for me to see God leading. He has directed each step of the way, even the c/section birth. It’s not been an easy path, but He has lead, and we are grateful for that.

Abigail decided to stick her foot outside the womb Saturday night which prompted the c/section. Due to the rushed nature of the c/section, and Melanie’s desire to be awake, Melanie had a very, very hard time with it. It was one of the worst experiences of her life. However, she was a trooper, survived and is recovering well.

Abigail is proving to be a very good nurser. We are grateful! I didn’t even know you needed to pray about things like that. However, she is doing a great job with it. The NICU has Melanie feeding her every three hours, so Melanie isn’t getting a huge amount of recovery rest, but that can’t be helped. Again, Melanie is being a trooper and working hard to take care of her baby. We’re pleased that Abigail will have the structure and benefits of the schedule when she gets home.

Abigail needs to show that she can gain weight and not trip any of the alarms for awhile to go home. So far, she has done great. The weight gain should start before too much longer and her health appears to be solid – no alarms so far. No ventilator, no IVs, she’s in a regular crib and out of the incubator! Just a cute little baby girl with a small NG tube (for nutrients if needed) and sweet little face. We’re getting to “parent” her by doing diaper changes and taking temperature.

I think that brings you pretty well up to date. Again, thank you for praying and loving Abigail. We’re thrilled to have her as a part of the family.



Big yawn. “I’m sleepy :-).”

BabyMax1.1 Little Miss Max

It is late Sunday evening, roughly 24 hours after our little girl was born. We haven’t had much sleep, but we’ve had quite the day! First things first, Baby is doing great. I’ll keep referring to her as Baby as we haven’t settled on a name. I’m frequently impressed in Scripture with the significance God puts on names. I haven’t sensed his definitive leading on this child’s name so it’s still a matter of prayer.

Baby arrived at 34 and half weeks – shocking us by showing up as a girl (and weighing 6 pounds 4 ounces). We had wanted to be surprised but felt it was a little boy; we were very wrong. While not our desire, she was delivered by a semi-urgent c/section. Both Melanie and Baby came through it great. Due to her gestational age when she arrived, she will be in care of the NICU for a little while longer. We don’t know whether that means one week, two, or maybe more. However, even though she’s in the NICU, she’s strong, healthy, and alert! She has no IV’s connected, just a small feeding tube to help her with some nutrients while she’s learning to nurse.

I’ll try and post a more lengthy update in a day or two – Lord willing with a name!

Thank you for your prayer support. There were some challenging times during her birth, but God carried us through. We had desired God’s clear leading, and it was clear. Why He chose this route I don’t know, but there was no mistaking it!


Little Miss Maxwell soon after birth with her daddy.


Sweet Miss Maxwell

Mommy and baby.


The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.