The Clinic

I do not know if it was fear, self-doubt or the cruel way in which my parents had spoken to me that made me snap, but an unrelenting spirit took over my mind and again and again it began to confess, “I cannot do this, I can’t have this baby!” I thought of my dance team. It was January, basketball season was beginning. I would have to quit.

“No!”

I couldn’t imagine quitting my favorite part of school. My Mother had found out the truth about my pregnancy shortly after I had, at a physical check-up. Life had been filled with panic since that day. My mom and step-father said I would choose what course to take about the pregnancy. I approached my mother at the computer in her office.

“I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to have an abortion.”

The conversation needed to be brief. I felt numb. The need to shelter my thoughts from the stress was instinctual; I was in survival mode. There was no way to make out a solution in my mind. I was fifteen, in the middle of my sophomore year and everything revolved around my friends. I didn’t really understand my body, or sex for that matter. It had been something all my peers were doing. I was longing to find acceptance and sex was a huge pressure for those of us in the most popular circles. Naively, I believed pregnancy would not happen to me. My mother handled everything from there and before I knew it, the morning of the appointment had arrived. When my mom saw I was dressed in jeans she asked me to pack a comfortable change of clothes, some sweatpants perhaps. I was indifferent to my mother’s advice. I could only operate like a machine. I couldn’t think about what I was about to do. “I can’t handle it, I can’t have this baby!” I told myself and angrily marched to the car.

The clinic was across the state line. An average office building in an office park. Once there, I noticed women in nurse uniforms waiting out front to escort girls in. My heart sank into my stomach and I began to panic. “Please don’t let there be protesters!” I thought. “I’ll pass out!” Fortunately, we were able to make our way inside without any event. There were single chairs in rows not secured into the floor and a receptionist sat behind a glass window. Other young ladies were coming and going through the process as I was. Still in the trance of determination to save my “normal” life and image, I tried to ignore them. My mother and I were quickly called back to a private office. A petite women looked up from a large ornate desk. She was thin, dressed in business attire with some type of ID badge clipped to her suit jacket. She stood to introduce herself when we entered, then sat down and began the discussion of payment. Again I found it impossible to engage. I wanted it to all be over with. Like a bad dream, I wanted out. My mom assured the women we were able to pay cash. Once more we waited briefly, this time to be placed into an examination room which resembled the kind you wait in at the E.R.. Each room was really only three walls of fabric ran on a track. I laid down on the exam table. Soon an ultra sound tech entered, pushing a monitor on wheels. The tech said little and made no eye contact. She touched a tool to my belly with a dab of cold lubricant on the end and began to stare intently into the screen. As I felt the mouse inch slowly across my abdomen, I kept my eyes locked on hers. As if on a cliff I waited, hoping for any kind of information.

“That’s my baby she’s looking at..”

A small voice rose up inside of me as a single tear fell down my face. “That’s my baby, right there!” I could not see what the ultrasound tech saw. I could not see the image of my unborn baby on the computer screen, but in that moment my heart ached for my child. She seemed to have seen everything she needed, and abruptly ended the ultrasound to excuse herself. Soon after a nurse returned with the tech. The two women began to inform us that the baby was 13 weeks along and I was already in the second trimester of my pregnancy. The nurse explained how a normal abortion would no longer be possible. I would have to endure a two-day procedure. Her words hung in the air. We sat there in a state of frozen horror until once again we were alone. My mother looked into my face to scan my thoughts. “I can’t handle this! I just want to be put to sleep so I don’t remember anything!” I blurted out what my mind wanted with emotion and began to sob.

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My mom was calm and still. “I know,” she said holding onto to me, “But that’s not an option, honey.” It was as if this was the moment she was waiting for. I had to face the reality of my circumstances. In a peaceful relieved way, my mom seemed to know I didn’t have it in me to abort the baby. This was the break in the insanity were I had a way out. From the moment I had begun the day, I had just wanted it to be over. Now it was. There was no way to proceed as planned. We decided to leave before making a final choice.

I didn’t understand all the terms the nurses had used, but I understood what she had described. I couldn’t do that. It was too terrible! The symptoms of pregnancy and the return to the safety of my own room were enough reasons to go to bed early that day. As I lay in my bed pondering the future, I felt the presence of God.

“Jennifer, will you have this baby?”

The Holy Spirit was direct and to the point.

“But Lord, there’s no father, I’m fifteen…. how can this work?”

“I Will Be There.”

The answer came quickly. It was so clear, so certain,  I didn’t want to argue or question this voice of wisdom. Without any further reasoning, I knew I couldn’t deny God. “Yes!” I answered in my heart. A slow peace rushed over me for the first time in a long time. My thoughts began to wonder at motherhood and having a baby. Just like that my mind was made. No one would change it. No one would control my choice, fate was sealed. I would face many obstacles from that moment. I would lose my friends, social status and almost everything I had know as normal. Yet I would never question my choice to become a mother versus having an abortion. With every disappointment and heartache I came across, I clung to the promise of God. I carried it in my heart. I believed that the God of the universe would be with me and my child. Someday, somehow, it would all be ok.

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