“For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart.” 1 Samuel 1:27
Sam was always going to be named Sam, even before we picked this verse to put on his birth announcement. My grandfather’s name was Samuel, and although I was close to all my grandparents, I identified most with my mother’s dad. He was hard working, stubborn, loved the ocean, and was generally a very laid back guy. When I found out we were pregnant with a baby boy, I told my husband that his name was Samuel, after my Grandpop, and that he would love the sea. I had visions of what he would look like and what he would do. He would be tall, like my husband, and have curly hair and blue eyes. He would play rugby and love animals. He would be amazing.
Sam had to be induced as he had stopped moving consistently. I ended up having an emergency C-section because his heart rate dropped dangerously low during labor and they were very worried about him. When they showed him to me over the curtain, I thought that he looked… different. He didn’t look like what I expected. No one said anything and no one else seemed to think anything was wrong, so I just chalked it up to him being covered in goop and just being born. They laid him on my chest and he stopped crying immediately. He was a snuggle bug right from the start.
Two days later we got the news that they thought he had Down syndrome. My husband and I were shocked, but in my mommy heart I knew that they were not wrong. He had a heart murmur and his hands and feet were still blue so they took him down to the NICU to be put on oxygen and it was there that they did the blood test and we got the diagnosis: Trisomy 21. At first, it seemed like a death sentence for our life, for the life we thought we were going to have. We grieved for Sam, too, because we had no idea what this meant for him and his future. How quickly we learned that our fears were unfounded. Sam is just like any other baby, only more. He has brought joy to so many people and has enhanced our life immeasurably. Through Instagram he has touched so many people’s lives and has changed perceptions. He is the only child with Down syndrome at his daycare and day after day we are told by the teachers that they are so grateful that Sam is there, that he makes everyone happy, and that he is such a joy and a blessing. Nothing that we didn’t already know, of course.
Our lives are a little hectic and we go to more doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions than maybe most people, but Sam truly is just like any other child and we made the decision right from the get go that we would not treat him differently than any other child. I think that is the best piece of advice that I can give. You can either choose to let it ruin and run your life and their life, or you can choose not to. You can choose to advocate for them and push them and let them experience everything just like you would if you had a typical baby. I promise, you will be okay. And they will be okay, too. You will experience a love you did not think was possible. You will celebrate even the smallest milestones. You will celebrate them, every day. Sam and people like Sam are gifts from Heaven. They are sent to remind us to slow down, and be happy, and be joyful in all things.
There was a time that I thought about changing Sam’s name. He was not “my Sam”. Not the Sam that I had pictured in my mind when I thought of our future. I very quickly realized that was the stupidest thing I had ever thought. Sam was Sam before I knew I was pregnant. Sam was always supposed to be Sam. God knit Sam together in my womb and knew him before anyone else. He gave Sam that extra chromosome. God did not put it there by accident. God knew all along that Sam would be Sam. There is no one else he is supposed to be. And Sam is just like my grandfather. He is super chill, he works so hard every day to do the things that come so easily to everyone else. And his favorite thing is the water. We probably watch “Moana” ten times a day. He loves the ocean, and we plan to take him to the South Pacific one day. And who knows, I may get my little rugby player after all.
So, don’t worry Mama. We are all here for you. You and your baby are going to be just fine, and don’t let anyone tell you anything else. You were meant for them, and they were meant for you. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are now part of The Lucky Few. Congratulations!