On October 29th, 2022, Cara hadn’t felt our baby move all day and became very concerned. That evening I stayed home with the girls while Cara headed to the midwife clinic to check on our baby. Our midwife used multiple dopplers and machines attempting to find baby’s heartbeat. Each method returned with negative results. Cara immediately called me and told me she was going to head home so we could go to the hospital for an ultrasound. I called my parents and they both dropped what they were doing and rushed over to our house to be with our girls. Cara arrived and we left for St. Joesph Hospital in Tacoma for an ultrasound.
As we entered the doors of the hospital with heavy hearts and minds we remained hopeful that the ultrasound would give us the results we were wanting and desiring. Cara laid on the bed as the doctor entered the room to search for life in our baby. None was found. They brought in a second doctor to confirm the findings. Again, no life. The doctors stepped out of the room and we prayed and believed God would do a miracle in our baby. We called the doctor back in to check one more time. Again, no life. There was no heartbeat. Our hearts also felt like they stopped at that moment. Seeing no life in our baby at 37 weeks… there are no words to express the anguish.
It’s not something we’ve wanted to know in each pregnancy, but the doctor asked if we’d like to find out the gender of our baby. We decided we’d like to see the gender and get ready to anticipate our baby boy or girl. The doctor searched for a definitive answer, but she couldn’t find any. The gender would remain a surprise until the moment of birth, just as we had wanted it from the beginning.
We were then left with the decision to induce Cara that evening and prepare for delivery or go home and take time to process. We chose to go home to be with our girls and our families for a day before returning to the hospital to deliver our baby. As difficult as that day was we believe we made the right choice.
We woke up that morning at home and we were reminded of the morning Jesus woke up knowing He would be nailed to a cross. The night before He asked His Father to take this cup from Him so He wouldn’t have to experience the pain and suffering that He was about endure. But there was no other way and He still went through with it. That morning we knew what was ahead of us, and there was no other way around it. We didn’t want to have to do this, we wanted to see our baby come out breathing with life in their lungs. The entire day we were overwhelmed with a feeling of impending loss, knowing the fate of our child. Through it all we kept believing for a miracle. We prayed God would breathe life back into our baby.
We shared the news with our baby girls (Kalea, 22 months & Isla, 11 months). Although both girls are very young to fully understand this, Kalea has a special gift of empathy and recognizing when people need comfort. As we cried on the floor while telling her that she wouldn’t get to meet her baby sibling she put her arms around us both and wiped away our tears with her sweet little hands. This was a special moment that we will cherish forever.
We were also surrounded and covered in prayer, words of comfort and words of encouragement from our family and dear friends. These words and prayers helped prepare our hearts and minds for what we were about to face.
That evening (Oct. 30th) at 7pm we returned to the hospital. Whether we were ready or not it was time to deliver our baby. Even with COVID restrictions we were able to have our midwife Heather and Cara’s sister Jenole be with us in the delivery room. It was such a blessing to have them there to support and comfort us.
The hospital room was soaked in the presence of God and there was an unexplainable peace and grace that covered us and the medical staff. We had many cries and many laughs as we waited for Cara to go into labor. Around 4am Cara began to go into active labor and we were ready to meet our baby.
At 6:38am on Oct. 31, our baby BOY, Luca Makoa Bowen was born!
Luca means “bringer of light” and Makoa (Hawaiian) means “the brave one.”
The moment he was born and laid on our chests Cara and I were filled with conflicting feelings of pain and joy. We got to meet our son, but he didn’t get to meet us that morning. Holding his lifeless body against ours was a difficult reality to process, hoping he would take his first breath and let out a cry, a sign of life. There was no miracle of resurrection.
As we held Luca, and each other, we cried and thanked the Lord for his grace and mercy through our pain and suffering. We know that His will is perfect and that He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
It was a painful, yet beautiful and special day that we got to spend with our son Luca. We got to hold him, sing over him and cherish our perfect and innocent little boy. We knew this moment would soon end and we’d have to say goodbye for now, but we didn’t ever want to let go.
That time eventually came and it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. We laid Luca down, said goodbye, and left that hospital room without our baby boy. We went home empty handed and broken hearted.
The drive home was full of tears and heartache. It felt like we were abandoning our son because we left him behind. We kept reminding each other that was just his body and that his real self, his soul, is now in heaven.
Days later I received what I believe was a vision from God that was meant for comfort and strength for the days ahead. The image is of my hand stretched out to Luca laying in that hospital room as we left. Each minute, hour and day that passes we get further and further from him in that moment and in this life. Yet, my other hand is stretched out toward heaven knowing that each moment that passes we also get closer and closer to him in the life to come.
Luca is now resting in His Father’s arms for all of eternity. One day we will go home and be with God and with our son Luca. On that day there will be no more pain or suffering and God will wipe away every tear.
As tragic and difficult as this week has been for us and our family we are not angry at God. We know God is still good. He is with us even when we don’t feel or see Him. We trust in His faithfulness. His will is perfect and greater than our own will and greater than our own desires. We may not understand why this happened, but we trust that He is good and we don’t need all the answers. God’s word reminds us that we don’t grieve like those with no hope because our hope is in Jesus Christ and in the future hope of heaven.
We pray that Luca’s story and our faith, even in the darkest moments, will be a bridge that leads many people to the truth and salvation of Jesus Christ. The truth is that Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life and then died on a cross as the final sacrifice for all of mankind to be set free from sin and death. To prove He is the way, the truth and the life, and the one true God, He defeated death by being resurrected from the grave and ascending into heaven where He still is today. Those who put their trust in Him and turn from their sin will be saved and receive eternal life, spending eternity in heaven with God. I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else when I die than in the arms of our Father in heaven.
Our prayer is that you would be encouraged and filled with the hope of Jesus and put your faith in Him as you read our story. This world and this life is full of pain, sorrow, evil and sin. Jesus overcame this world and He promises to give peace and eternal life to those who believe in Him.
We love you and appreciate all of your prayers and words of comfort for us and our family.
The Bowens (Justin, Cara, Kalea, and Isla)