Introducing Samuel Thomas Amani!

I am now slightly more rested than I was early this morning when I first posted about our little one, so I feel ready to share the details of the last two and a half days. (Has it really only been that long already? Amazing!)

Things first began on Tuesday night (May 22) when I crawled into bed at about 10pm and I began to feel small contractions. They didn’t really catch my attention, though, since I had been feeling Braxton Hicks contractions (a sort of fake contraction) for about 15 weeks. A few of them did wake me during the night, though. On Wednesday morning I decided to go about my regular schedule and see what happened. While shopping at Target for a few last items for my hospital bag, I had to stop multiple times to lean on my cart and let a contraction pass. In the afternoon, Ella & I went to Becky’s to watch Malena & Maira while Becky went to the dentist. At that time, the contractions continued to strengthen and were only about 4 minutes apart. Let me tell you, it was not comfortable having the three little girls crawling all over me while the contractions hit. But it kept me somewhat distracted! After Becky got home, I paged Pete out of surgery, telling him things were getting more intense. I drove the 10 minutes to the hospital (perhaps I should not have been driving at that point, but I wasn’t completely convinced I was in labor) and let Pete drive me home. The beauty of being married to a doctor is that he was able to check my progress while we were home. Much to my relief, he confirmed that I surely was in labor and had made it to about 5cm. Yay! We took our time gathering the last things for the hospital and headed in.

Sam's Story

After a brief stop at the store to pick up a plant (so nice to have in the room during labor) and a magazine (to fill the time during labor before the actual delivery), we arrived at the hospital at 7pm. I was definitely needing to breathe through the contractions at that point and even got to ride in a wheelchair to the OB floor. I dropped off the cupcakes I had made that afternoon for the nurses and settled into my room. I have to tell you that from the very moment I got to the room, I asked if an order could be put in for an epidural. I’ve never felt that I’m a mama who needs to go without meds, and I was worried we would miss the window if we didn’t get going on it. Shortly after that, Pete checked me again and I was between 7 and 8cm. Things were moving fast! Before 9pm…and before I was given an epidural…I hit the complete 10cm and my window for meds was closed. I have to honestly say that I wasn’t excited when I was told I would have to deliver without meds. It scared me, and I really wondered if I would be able to handle the pain. With Ella, I never made it past 6cm and, therefore, never got to push at all. The opportunity for a VBAC had come, and that did make me happy. I wanted to have the experience of pushing and breathing and being coached by Pete. I wanted to have a chance to push a baby into the world the way women have been doing it for years and years and years.

And push I did. For 2 1/2 hours I pushed. Without meds. That was a lot of work! I really focused on putting all of my energy into the pushing, not yelling or crying or cursing out my husband, as I’ve heard can easily happen. Instead, I felt incredibly close to Pete through the whole experience. He was an amazing coach. When I was discouraged, he looked right into my eyes and reassured me. I found a lot of strength in that. I also found myself talking to Jesus between contractions and pushing. I know He was giving me a great deal of strength. Everything looked like it was going well until we reached the 2 1/2 hour mark. Then our little one started to show signs of dropping oxygen levels and my cervix began to swell a great deal, to the point that it looked like it may actually be closing again. Pete & I jointly made the decision to do a c-section for the protection of the baby. I was taken down the elevator on a bed, groaning the entire way as super strong contractions ripped through me.

Though I ended up in another c-section, the entire experience was far different than when I had Ella. This time I completely dilated, pushed for a long time, tried many different positions, and really gave it everything I had. I got to experience everything I wanted to with child birth. It was time to get our baby out while he or she was still doing okay. So that’s what we did.

My mom made it to the hospital just in time to join us in the OR for the section. Pete stood next to me the entire time, looking over the sheet for the moment our little one would enter the world. I felt great peace in those moments before the birth. I was able to pray for the doctors in the room before the section began (most of whom I knew from the residency) and hummed one of my favorite camp songs about seeking Jesus’ face. Everything was perfect as I excitedly awaited the announcement of our little one’s arrival. And then it came! Pete proclaimed, “It’s a boy!” and we were both ecstatic as images of my dear Pete with his long-awaited son filled my head. I announced to all present that our son’s name would be Samuel Thomas Amani Olsen as I held back tears of joy. And then I realized how quiet the room was.

The doctors – our friends – huddled around our Samuel on the warming table while I heard only a small, weak, peep of a cry. It was a tiny sound. Though I felt peace, not concern, I asked one of the doctors to take a small step to the side so I could get my first glimpse of our little one. And that’s when I saw the first sign. His body wasn’t clenched like Ella had been when she was born. Sam’s arms were floppy. I asked Pete to bring him closer so I could see him. I longed for the first real view of my son. When Pete held him close, Samuel opened his eyes and looked right at me. And it was in that tiny instant that I knew it in my heart. Was it my mama instinct? Was it the fact that I had been carrying this beautiful little boy inside me for so many months prior to this moment of introduction? I don’t know, but it was instantly clear to me. Our little Samuel has Down syndrome.

Sam's Story 2

I was wheeled into the recovery room while Pete and my mom and the other doctors took Sam up to the NICU to give him a complete exam. I don’t know how much time passed before Pete and my doctor, Maria, came through the door, quiet and serious. My thoughts were confirmed in that moment. In an instant, many things changed. But in that same instant, many things were peacefully confirmed within me. God is good. God has a plan. God created our little Samuel, and we were chosen to be his parents. What an honor.

The last 2 1/2 days have been the beginning of journey down what a doctor recognized yesterday as our “new normal.” Samuel remains in the NICU while he works through the transition from the warm, safe place of my womb to the outside world. His oxygen levels have needed the most time to adjust. He was most comfortable in a warm incubator without much handling the first 24 hours. We haven’t been able to have him in our room. We haven’t changed any of his diapers. And I just got the all-clear to try nursing him. So far he’s been getting my pumped milk through a feeding tube in his nose. Each little step he’s made forward, we’ve celebrated. Late last night, Pete sat with me as I held him on my chest. His sweet little eyes looked up at me a few times, completely melting every ounce of my heart. Pete held him for a little while, too, and Samuel eventually fell asleep cuddled with his daddy. It was so hard to leave him in the NICU to return to our room. There will soon come a time when we won’t have to leave him for a single moment. We’re praying that the time comes very, very soon.

Sam's Story 3

I’m now packing and getting ready to head home…without my sweet little boy. First we’ll try nursing, though. Pete & I will both be back very often to rock Sammy and I’ll nurse him. Miss Ella is excited to see him, too. We tried having her visit him in the NICU two days ago, but it was all a bit too much for her. We’re praying Samuel will be discharged on Monday or Tuesday, though we have to keep a very open hand about that in case anything unexpected pops up.

Please pray with us for our little Samuel. Pray that his oxygen levels will get to a good place so he can breathe all on his own. Pray that he will quickly adapt to nursing. Pray that he’ll get to be home with us in the next few days. And please pray for Pete and I as we learn what this new beginning will entail and how all of this will draw us forward. Thank you!!


24 Responses to Introducing Samuel Thomas Amani!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Samuel is blessed to have you two as parents! What a sweet boy!! Congratulations Pete and Angela!!

    The Lagers 🙂

  2. angela says:

    He is beautiful and so, so loved. You bring tears to my eyes to hear your story- a beautiful birth story. I will continue to pray he gets to join your family at home soon. Hugs!

  3. Sammy is such a beautiful baby boy!!! He has amazing parents!!! I wish you the best of luck and prayers are with you all!!! Take care 🙂

  4. Brenda Gatlin says:

    What a perfect addition he is to the best family a boy could have. You will be wonderful parents for him and God trusts you deeply with this very special bundle of joy! We love you guys and can’t wait to meet Samuel!

  5. Sally Bowser says:

    We are thinking of you
    with so much love.
    Lifting you up today and always. sallybx

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful little boy. And a beautiful birth story, Angela. Love, Lauralyn Kliewer

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pete & Angela,
    I was reading your birth story, and when I read “Our little Samuel has Downs,” my heart sunk. But then I realized who this amazing little boy’s parents are. You guys! Samuel couldn’t have been blessed with better people to call mom and dad! You two are the most strong, resilient, caring people I have ever met! I will pray continuously that this new way of life for you is an easy transition, and that little Samuel will be home in your arms as soon as possible. He is absolutely beautiful and I wish for your beautiful family nothing but the best!! Always remember, God will not give you what he does not think you can handle! Congratulations and much love!
    Tara Miller

  8. Casey LaCore says:

    Angela and Pete, Thank you for the lovely blog post and sharing your story. Congratulations on your sweet little boy. Blessings to you as you parent this precious little boy and your sweet daughter. Casey

  9. Kristi VanTassel says:

    What a beautiful blessing! Samuel is absolutely precious and a part of such an incredible family! Thank you for sharing this remarkable story. I cannot wait to meet the newest member of VineyardKids. Praying for your recovery, as well as your new son’s health and journey home.

  10. Pete and Angela,

    Congratulations on your newest addition! How wonderful to finally be able to meet him and how exciting to get to know him! I will pray for his quick transition to home…to the most loving big sister and the best parents a child could ask for.

  11. Stephanie says:

    He’s beautiful! Your journey has been amazing! I pray for your little guy to make progress so he can join you at home. Gods strength.

    Stephanie Bragstad

  12. Nichole Heinen says:

    What an amazing story. He is absolutely perfect. He is so lucky to have such amazing parents. God bless and I will be praying for you all.

  13. Nic Hanson says:

    Such a sweet story! I have a sister with downs and she is awesome and has been one of the most amazing blessings in my life. I will be praying for guys and cannot we meet the little guy!!

  14. Barrellita says:

    Simply amazing. And beautiful…

  15. Congratulations to all FOUR of you! Can you believe you’re a family of four now! We are praying for a quick stay in the NICU and beautiful bonding time over the next weeks. Love you guys!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story! Congrats to you and Pete! Samuel is beautiful and God has him! Blessings, Katja and fam

  17. lukeandkris says:

    Much love to you all! You are amazing-thank you for sharing. Kindness, Kristin

  18. brynmj says:

    I loved your story. I keep rereading it with tears, so proud of your family for the way you view life and the miracle in front of you. I am praying for you all, and that you will be able to take Sam home soon.

  19. Anonymous says:


    Congrats. on your newest addition. He is beautiful. You are one of the strongest people I know and I love how you view life. Many Blessings,


    Christina Krol

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hi. This summerer the 8. Of july I gave birth to our first child,- a beatiful girl with Downs Syndrome. I had ultrasound i week twelwe, but it did not show. And I am very happy for that.
    The birth went well, and she cryed loud and streched her legs, arms and her body strongly when she came. Happiness!!!! We called our familys and told them about this healthy girl we was blessed with.
    At the frist good look I had at her I said to my boyfriend that I think it looks like she has Downs! And we just laugh a littelbit, because every newborn looks a little strange, and the doctors had said nothing. But in my mind I had this feeling….. After an hour or two a nurse said: when I look at her, I see something that can remind me of…… She did not have to finish the line. I said that I can altso see it…..
    It was a huge shock for my boyfriend, he totally fell down. Everything had seemed so perfect. We cryed together and felt that we failed somehow.
    We stayed at the hospital for some days, they checked her heart and make sure she would take my breast.
    Our familys needed to be called again, and it was hard to “disapoint” them with the news.
    We were given good help at the hospital, and after a few days and after family had visit us there, we just became so happy! We had become parentes to this perfect little girl. Perfect, beatiful and healthy.
    It Is only 60 children born with Downs Syndrome in Norway each year. And we are one of them. We are in some way choosen by her:) we are so proud of her, love her so much and could not ask for enything more perfect.
    So that is my (short)story about becomming mom for my fantastic girl Ane.
    Best wishes and hugs from us in Oslo. Stine:)

  21. Lauren says:

    This is beautiful, brought tears to my eyes. God has certainly blessed you with his love and grace.

  22. […] wanted to show everyone that I could do it in my original time-frame, despite the unexpectedness of Sam’s diagnosis. I was a power mom and I was going to do it. But God had something different for […]

  23. Lauren says:

    Angela, I’ve been following you on Instagram for awhile, and have loved keeping up with Sam. Today I finally headed to your blog (which I love) and read this story. I didn’t realize our little boys were just about a month apart! And, the stories are different, but our emotional responses as Mamas are quite similar.

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