BOWEN ABEL ENOCH
May 6th, 2019 // The day we found out we lost Bo.
As Nathaniel and I drove to our anatomy scan appointment, I told him I was really anxious this time around. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I had purposely not posted a bump photo announcing his name (Bowen Abel) at 20 weeks as I had with our other two boys. I was preparing my heart for something — but I never thought we would lose him.
The moment the sonogram began we knew something was terribly wrong. My heart beat painfully fast, my stomach fell. We didn’t see the flicker of his heart, we didn’t see any movement at all. Our nurse tech ran to get our doctor, and she looked again before delivering the news we never dreamt we would hear. “I’m so sorry, but his heart is no longer beating.”
It didn’t feel real. They swept us to a room and gave us some time. As our world crashed in, amidst sobbing and tears, I heard God whisper. “Enoch.” I frantically pulled up Hebrews 11:5, a verse I had just read a few weeks prior. It reads "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him” for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God." I read this verse to Nathaniel and we knew that God had given us this verse for our boy. There in the doctor's office we decided to change his name to Bowen Enoch.
The nurse who had done the ultrasound helped me walk out the back entrance while Nathaniel pulled up the car. She hugged me. Held me so tight. Holding me up so I wouldn’t collapse on the ground. Crying with me and telling me it would be alright. I don’t know her name, but I am so thankful for her.
From the car we called family and let them know that we had lost Bo. We came home to food, and gifts. We had not purchased anything for him yet, most of his needs would be covered by big brothers’ things. We had nothing to call his. But family brought us a beautiful blanket, a bear, and a gorgeous arrow necklace for me. Our parents and siblings held us and prayed over us, and began working on funeral arrangements for us.
Early the next morning we went to the hospital to deliver Bowen. Our dear friend Ira Hill beat us to the hospital, giving his day to take photos for us. Maddy Sons stood by my side all day as well, providing tender care as my nurse and friend. Both of them stayed with us for 17+ hours away from their families and newborn babies. We can never thank them enough.
My body slowly responded to the medication — it knew the time was not right to deliver my baby. The doctor was not sure how long our boy had been gone, so I was terrified that he would be badly deteriorated. All through the night before and the day of laboring with him I was so afraid he would not be whole. Afraid that the birth would be too hard on his fragile little body. The Lord answered the prayers of my heart so beautifully. Not only was he whole, he was born more whole than most babies. Bowen was born en caul at 12:30am on May 8th, our Granny’s 100th birthday. An en caul birth (when the baby is born fully inside the amniotic sac) is rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births. He was protected during the delivery, and his delicate, tiny body was whole. I was so relieved.
Our medical team was beyond amazing. My dear friend Maddy, our wonderful OB Dr. Williamson, and many other awesome nurses — Bonnie, Hillary, and more whose names I wish I remembered. We are so thankful for all of them. They all devoted so much time and care to us. All of them deeply grieved for us, not one of them scoffing at our mourning. They took turns alongside our family to admire his little features and to hold our hands. As we were discharged from the hospital after spending that night with Bo, the charge nurse came to hold our boy as we had to leave him behind. It is to this day one of the most comforting yet haunting moments. Again, I don’t know her name, but we are so grateful!
When we arrived home after Bo was born, we were reading the chapter we felt God gave us, and once again were blown away. The verse just above the verse about Enoch is about Abel. Hebrews 11:4 reads "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks." There is no other time in my life in which I have so clearly heard God's voice. We proudly announced to our family that his full name is Bowen Abel Enoch Perea. We cling to those names given by Jesus. Our boy was taken, but his testimony pleased God. Our son is dead, but he still speaks as long as we share his story. Hallelujah.
I’m not sure when this happened — that week was quite a blur. At some point as we were talking about losing Bo, our oldest son Aiden, 3 years old at the time, said “It’s okay, nothing is lost.” And he’s right. We have not truly lost our baby, he is in Love’s arms waiting in peace and paradise for us. Thank you Jesus that death is not the end and that the cross has the final word. We now have one more treasure waiting for us in heaven. One more reason to hope for eternity. One more reason praise God for His goodness. Because even in our deepest darkest sorrows we have a hope "incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven" (1 Peter 1:4).
Losing Bo will never be easy... but we know for certain that we will see God bring more beauty from these ashes. One of those beauties is this new adventure we find ourselves on... pursuing music as Bowen Abel!
We had always dreamed of writing music together and for whatever reason never felt like the timing was right. After losing Bo God made it clear that this is what we were waiting for... a perfect opportunity to both respond in faith and to keep Bo's story with us at all times through our music. Our first EP, Still Speaks, is a direct response to losing Bo and the season of sorrow that followed. But we take great comfort in knowing as long as we keep singing, our God is glorified and Bowen Abel still speaks through us! We now have the great honor of chasing our dreams under our precious boy's name, Bowen Abel.
- Nathaniel + Bethany / / Bowen Abel