Introducing Samuel

img_4192-2Joanna and I are humbled and blessed to introduce you to Samuel David Kniley. He was born at 2:22am this Tuesday morning, January 24th. Joanna was absolutely amazing through labor and delivery, and she kept her cool through two scares that almost led to emergency C-sections. In the end she was able to deliver without surgery and was incredible the whole time.

After Joanna and I got to meet Samuel briefly, he was moved to a side room where he was evaluated. I got to go with him and prop the door open so Joanna could watch. For about 10 minutes the doctors struggled to get Samuel to breathe, and they started to tell me it was time for us to hold him as he passed away.


But he didn’t! He started to breathe with assistance soon afterward, and his color improved dramatically. Minutes later Joanna and I got to hold him, as the neonatologists assisted his breathing, and almost all of the birth team stood around enjoying the moment with us. We were exhausted, but so blessed to actually get to hold our son – alive!



Samuel is now in the NICU, and he is stable. His prenatal diagnoses have largely been confirmed over the last 21 hours, and he’s breathing with assistance. One of his big concerns from prenatal appointments was an abdominal wall problem that would need surgery to correct, but it is basically non-existent now that we look it.


His greatest challenge has to do with his spinal cord. He has an open spinal cord defect, or spina bifida. Without surgical correction this will likely lead to an infection that would take his life within weeks, so we’ve scheduled the surgery for tomorrow. The operation itself is not significantly dangerous, but it’s very possible he’ll fail to regain breathing on his own after being on a ventilator during surgery. It’s not an insurmountable challenge, but it could mean Samuel is ventilator dependent for weeks, months, or the rest of his life.

Also, the spina bifida means he’s likely paralyzed from the waist down. This isn’t totally surprising, and it wasn’t likely he’d walk anyway, due to the underlying weakening effect of Trisomy 18. It is sad to know he may never walk, but we’re more focused on the spina bifida surgery coming up tomorrow.

Overall, we’re thankful for how the last 36 hours have gone. We’re exhausted – we’ve each slept about five hours total in the last two nights. But we’re very blessed by so much: Samuel is alive with us(!), Joanna didn’t need a C-section, Samuel is breathing mostly on his own, Daniel and our immediate family have all gotten to meet him, a free photography service has already taken family pictures for us, the medical staff has been over-the-top phenomenal, our plans have prepared us for every decision we’ve had to face, and so much more.

We’re going to rest for now and save our strength for tomorrow. The surgery and Samuel’s recovery are not trivial. The operation will take about two hours, and we won’t be able to be with him during it. Please pray that it will go well, that he’ll transition off the ventilator as soon as possible, and generally he’ll be healthy and strong.

Thank you so much for your love for us!

Bob, Joanna, Daniel, and Samuel


29 thoughts on “Introducing Samuel”

  1. Yay! Congratulations!
    Welcome, Samuel! God has good plans for you, young man. We bless you and are so happy that you’ve been born.
    We are praying for you all!!
    Much love,
    The Falcos

  2. Chris and I are continually praying for Samuel….He is the Lords! Mega grace to you all…with hearts and minds firmly fixed on the One who knows and sees it all.
    Chris and Cynthia

  3. Welcome precious Samuel! These pictures have me in tears as I praise God for all the ways in which He has answered so many prayers. Much love from the Kuo’s ❤️

  4. Oh wow …. Awesome event … Thanks so much for posting …. Baby Samuel is gorgeous !! We will continue to pray ….. Love u guys !!!!

  5. He is beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us! We are continuing to pray for both of your sweet boys, and for you two as well.❤️

  6. We are praying for you all.  So thankful he has arrived Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

  7. Praise the Lord! Believing with you that the surgery will go well and Samuel will breathe on his own as soon as possible! Praying for strength and peace to continue throughout!!!

  8. We are praying for you guys! Thank God for Samuel, God please guide the doctors and heal Samuel! We are standing with you all and keep lifting you before God!

  9. Praising God for the miracles so far and praying in Jesus name for more Lord! Praying for you both that Gods continued peace wells up in you like a bubbly spring of Gods love over flowing!

  10. Be assured of our prayers for Samuel and for you both! Hayden and Esther

    On Jan 24, 2017 11:20 PM, “Kniley Family Updates” wrote:

    > Bob posted: “Joanna and I are humbled and blessed to introduce you to > Samuel David Kniley. He was born at 2:22am this Monday morning, January > 24th. Joanna was absolutely amazing through labor and delivery, and she > kept her cool through two scares that almost led to em” >

  11. Bob, Johanna, Daniel & Samuel!! Our prayers are with you and we love you all so dearly!! Believing for the Lord’s hand to be extended with His divine healing power!!! Call us if we can do anything for you!!!! Much love, David & Marie

  12. I’m praying for you guys! My heart goes out to you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Love the pictures… he is such a cutie! Grateful for the answered prayers!! Praying he fares well with the surgery today, and will soon be off of the vent. Love you guys!

  13. Congratulations on the safe delivery of your son!! Welcome to the world, baby Samuel. ❤ We are so happy that you were all blessed in so many ways with his arrival story and we are praying hard for his surgery tomorrow and recuperation afterwards. God has His hand over Samuel. Lifting your family up with prayers and love.
    XOXO all the O'Loughlins

  14. Celebrating samuel’s live birth. Praying for mercy, grace, and peace that passes understanding. Love you all.

  15. I’ve been waiting and praying! God is good and does answer prayers. We will continue to pray that all goes well tomorrow and that he will be off the ventilator quickly and that you and your family have so many more precious moments to share!

  16. Praying for your wonderful son and family! God is faithful. Praying for miracles! Bonnie & Ted Saunders

  17. Yes! What a wonderful miracle. I was praying he would live! …and for wisdom for you for these difficult decisions. I pray the surgery goes smoothly and his recovery goes well. I also pray for the miracle of Samuel breathing on his own. We love you! May His presence be felt strongly and peace reign in your hearts.

  18. What an amazing story. We are so glad he is here. You will all continue to be in our prayers.

  19. Welcome, Samuel! Thank you God, for answered prayers and blessings through raindrops! Still praying with love, Jen and Jim

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