It was November of 2002 when I found myself pregnant. I was just 19 years old and had only been dating my now husband, Anthony, for a few months. I knew what the risks of having unprotected sex were, but I was young and naïve. I felt invincible. However, I felt anything but that thinking I might be pregnant. I remember feeling so embarrassed going to the small pharmacy down the street from my college house where I went every month to pay our phone bill. I went home and took the test while trying not to freak out while I waited. It was positive. Holy crap. I was shocked and scared. I had no clue how to handle the situation. I buried the test and the box in the trash so no one could find it. Nobody could find out.
I told Anthony and we talked about what we should do.
Anthony was just as unsure as I was. He already had a daughter who was a
preemie and he was scared that would happen again. He didn't think he could
handle that. We weren't worried about telling his parents because they had
gotten news like that before. The real fear was in telling my parents. We
figured that they would not handle this well. We felt like our only choice was
to have an abortion. I told my best friend, Rachel. She was the only other
person that knew at the time. She said she would support me with whatever I
wanted to do, but I really wish she would've tried to talk me out of it. It's
not her fault though. She really was a great friend through it all.
I called a clinic in Columbus just to get some information because I was so
unsure. I was so nervous on the phone but the lady acted like it was no big
deal and she set me up an appointment. The so-called consultation appointment
came and I got blood drawn and had an ultrasound. I wasn't allowed to see the
ultrasound screen and they had the screen turned away from me. We were briefly
told of our options but nothing was really explained to us. They did not go
over fetal development with me or explain what would happen in the abortion
procedure. Had any of those things been done I would have walked out of that
clinic and never looked back.
There have been many times I have wished I would have looked things up. It never
crossed my mind at the time to do so. I guess I just trusted the clinic to tell
me what I needed to know, but I know now more than ever that you can't always
trust what people tell you. In a fragile state of mind I believed them when
they said that my baby was really nothing at that point. I was just going
through the motions every day trying to pretend like this wasn't happening to
me. I tried my best to ignore it all. At times I tried justifying it all. My
mind entertained thoughts that seem so crazy to me now.
The clinic set up an appointment for me on December 19, 2002. While I may have forgotten other dates during that time, this is one that is forever etched into my mind. On that day Anthony and I told everyone we were going to Columbus to go shopping and to visit a friend of his. I got my sister to work the first half of a shift for me at the place we worked and when we got back I was to take over the last half of the shift. I don't remember the drive down but I remember pulling up to the clinic. It was a dreary and rainy day.
We drove by several times because we were unsure if it was the right place. There were no signs marking it as the clinic. When we finally decided it was the place we parked and went inside. There weren't any protesters out, perhaps because it was such a lousy day. There are many times that I have wished that there would've been. Maybe they could've talked some sense into me and made me see what I was doing. All that was yelling at us that day was the wind.
We went inside and the waiting room already had quite a few people in it. I tried not to look at them. I went to the window and the lady checked me in. I handed her the $350 cash that I took my from savings to pay for the abortion. It still makes my stomach sick to think that I paid someone to kill my child, but that's exactly what I did. I was almost 12 weeks along. We had a seat and waited. When I was called back they told Anthony approximately how long it would be and he decided to leave and come back later.
They took me back and drew some blood and got another ultrasound. They still didn't let me see the screen. I wanted to so badly. I wish I would've had the nerve to ask or just look myself. After the ultrasound I was taken to a room and put on a table with my feet in some stirrups. There was a nurse and an assistant in the room getting things ready. I didn't really look around the room but stared mostly at the ceiling. They made small talk with me and I tried to appear that everything was ok. In my mind I was wondering what they thought of me coming here and getting an abortion. I was wondering how they could work there every day. The last thing I remember in that room is talking to the nurse beside me.
When I woke up I was in the recovery room sitting back in a big chair. I wasn't sure how I had gotten there or what had happened to me. I don't like to remember that room. The cries were haunting. Everyone was crying, some were grabbing their stomachs. I think some of them were in a lot of pain and perhaps for some the emotional pain was more than the physical. I felt nothing. I felt cold and numb. There was no pain. I went back to sleep.
The next time I woke I believe I was offered some crackers and a 7Up. I was taken to the bathroom where a nurse said I had to have my bleeding checked. She said it looked ok and I was packed up and ushered out and told to follow up with my primary care physician. Anthony was in the waiting room and he took me and we walked out of the clinic. Again, I made no eye contact with any of the people in the room but I could feel their eyes on me and I wanted to run. I remember being so shocked at the number of people who were there that day. I didn't know how to describe it until years later. It was like an assembly line.
Anthony drove us back home and I slept the entire way. Once we got back I took over the work shift for my sister and lied about our time in Columbus. I never followed up with my doctor. I couldn't risk anybody finding out what I had done. I'm not sure what I would've done if something had gone wrong. I tried to pretend that it didn't happen. I went into denial and it stayed that way
for 5 years until I gave birth to my daughter. My abortion began to haunt me and
I was slipping to a place where I didn't recognize myself. I struggled every
day with regret, guilt, shame, and grief even though I had asked God for forgiveness and I knew He had forgiven me. I still had to put on a front for everyone
who didn't know. It got to the point to where I was barely able to keep myself
together. I remember the day when I finally recognized that I needed help or I
would soon drown. The whole day I was on the verge of tears with a constant
lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach. It felt like heavy weights on my
heart and in my head. By the end of the day I was exhausted. I didn't know how
much more I could take.
That night as I went to bed I finally reached out to God and I cried for His help. I pleaded with God to take it all away from me-the feelings and heaviness that was upon me-because I didn't want them anymore. I promised God that I would get help whether He helped me or not because I could not bear this any longer. I prayed with all of my heart. I woke up the next day feeling completely different. The heaviness was gone from my heart and my mind. I felt truly happy for the first time in months. That very day I called my local women's center to seek counseling. It certainly wasn't easy to make the call.
I did a 10 week Bible study called Forgiven & Set Free. The study furthered my healing and brought me closer to God. We had a memorial service for Jordan in which I shared my poem that I wrote. I allowed the center to keep my poem to share with moms who were thinking of abortion. In just the first week they had it a mom who had read it decided against abortion for her baby. After my counseling was over I was asked by the Director of the center, if I would be willing to give my testimony at their fundraising banquet they hold every year in October. Speaking publicly about my abortion was a big step but I felt that it was what God wanted me to do so I agreed to do it. I am so glad that I did it. That same month we visited the National Memorial for the Unborn. We held a memorial service for Jordan and placed his plaque on the wall there. It is a beautiful place.
I have always felt like an outcast in my grief with Jordan because society says it was my choice so I should be ok with it. Let me tell you now-I am NOT ok with it. I will grieve my baby because I love him just as much as I love my other children.
I promised Jordan that I would be his voice and I have every intention of doing so, which is why my local women's center is a place I support and donate to regularly. I believe in what they are doing. I want them to help women the way that I wish I had been helped. Looking back, I am amazed at what God has done with this area of my life. He's taken this horrible tragedy and He is using it for good.
It Is Well With My Soul
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