Bowen's heart had stopped beating, and by the time the Hammitts reached the hospital, doctors and nurses were frantically trying to save his life. After about forty minutes, Sarah and Matt were losing hope. "They took us into another room," says Matt, "and we thought for sure he was gone." Sarah recalls she began to wonder how it was going to feel to be a mother who had lost a child. "We were just waiting for them to call out the time [of death]," she remembers. "I kept looking at the clock and, 'ok, when are they going to say it? Just say it.'"
Fortunately, the medical staff was eventually able to revive Bowen. "We were so confused," recalls Matt. "We didn't understand that after that long that they could stabilize a child on life support. [But] we found out his heart was beating, his lungs were working."
Throughout their difficult ordeal, the Hammitts have been sharing their experiences on a website they call "Bowen's Heart." What started as a place to keep friends and family up to date on Bowen's health, soon began to attract thousands of visitors who regularly check in to share stories and offer encouragement to the Hammitts and to each other. "We started discovering so much and experiencing so much growth through all of this that we just wanted to share that with people and show that, in a really dark time of life, there is hope," explains Matt. "All the good that has come out of it has been pretty amazing."
Sarah Hammitt says the blog also serves as a place to give meaning to Bowen's life. "We're not guaranteed any amount of time," she says. "So we were immediately giving him a place and a purpose."
"We wanted his life to make a difference," adds Matt, "no matter how long or short it would be."
Bowen spent the first ten weeks of his life in the hospital. But finally – just in time for Thanksgiving – Bowen was well enough to go home to Perrysburg, Ohio. Dressed in a black and grey striped outfit and clutching a stuffed alligator, Bowen got a standing ovation from the nursing staff as his parents carried him out to the car. Matt held Sarah closely, comforting her as her eyes filled with tears.
When their silver SUV pulled into the driveway an hour later, Bowen's big sisters, Emmy and Claire, were waiting outside, each with a teddy bear to present to their brother for his homecoming.
"I am happy and I praise God that he is home," Sarah says. "I didn't know if it would happen. But I am scared, too, really scared."
Bowen's second surgery is scheduled for February.
Hear Matt's song for Bowen "All of Me," by clicking here