The building looked more like a prison than the state hospital. The week before I had gone to the Planned Parenthood across the street from campus for a pregnancy test. They told me not to worry, it was okay, they would take care of me. They never said the word “abortion,” but we all knew what we were talking about.
“Go to the state hospital one week from today and we’ll take care of everything.”
They were offering a no-strings-attached, no-questions-asked, get-outof-jail-free card. I should have felt relieved, even hopeful, but I didn’t. I felt worried and anxious.
I had a talk with my boyfriend. He was convinced we couldn’t have this baby. We needed to finish school. We were going to be important research doctors, and there would be time for a family later—after college and medical school. Just not now.
I begged him to reconsider, but I was also very afraid of him and was soon shut down by his anger. I was certain that if I didn’t go through with the abortion I would lose him.
Of course, I had my own reasons for not wanting to go through with the pregnancy, too. For instance, I didn’t know how I could tell my dad that I was pregnant. I thought he would kill me—literally kill me—and my boyfriend, too.
Over the next week I kept thinking of crazy ways to get out of having the abortion. I thought about disappearing for a while and having the baby and giving him up for adoption. No one would even have to know. I thought about disappearing, having the baby, keeping the baby, and coming up with some crazy story about a friend having a baby and wanting me to adopt her baby because she died in childbirth. Crazy, I know, but I was nineteen and desperate.
As the week went on, I couldn’t stop thinking of how to get around my “problem.” I convinced myself that something would happen to stop me, to make me change course, to pull me away from the trajectory I was on. But a week after that visit to Planned Parenthood, I found myself pulling up to the hospital, boyfriend in tow.
There were no protestors, no one warning of God’s judgment, no one pleading for my baby. And I probably wouldn’t have listened if there were. It all seemed surreal at the time, like I was on a conveyor belt and couldn’t make myself step off. Everything was a blur: waiting room, paperwork, nurses, more paperwork. It wasn’t until they led me to the gurney that would take me to the operating room that I woke from the fog. I started panicking.
“Wait, wait, I thought we were going to talk about this. I thought there would be counseling. There wasn’t any counseling. I’m not sure about this.” I could hardly breathe. Even as I write this, my heart is racing.
“You’ve already decided. All the paperwork is signed. It’s too late,” the nurse said in a firm but not unkind voice as she pushed me down onto the gurney.
Those words—“It’s too late”—echoed in my head as the nurse bound my wrists to the metal rails. There were two or three nurses gathered around me by this time, and one was explaining that they were restraining me for my own safety. I was obviously not stable, they said.
Then they put a mask over my face and wheeled me down the hall toward the operating room. I was still trying to explain to them that there had been no counseling, no opportunity to talk about options. My mind felt heavy, like I was being dragged under water, and then everything went black.
When I awoke I was confused and disoriented. I didn’t remember where I was. I heard voices.
“Farther along than we thought . . .”
“We need blood, stat . . .”
“We’re losing her . . .”
The voices sounded far away, and I thought, hoped, that I was dreaming.
Slowly, the fog lifted, and I remembered where I was. I opened my eyes and struggled to sit up, but discovered I was still restrained. What I saw horrified me. In a metal pan on a tray next to my gurney I saw parts of my baby. Was that a hand? A foot? Eyes? Why hadn’t anyone told me this is what it would be like?
I screamed and screamed. I cried. I twisted and fought.
But the doctors were quick to put the mask on me again, and I slipped back into darkness. In those last moments, fighting to stay awake, I prayed that God would kill me, too. I didn’t want to wake up ever again. At that moment I knew—really knew—exactly what I had done. I was a mother and by my own selfish, evil hand, I had my own baby ripped into pieces. I was responsible for the murder of my own precious baby.
What kind of mother does that?
It will be twenty-two years ago this March that I chose to murder my baby. God didn’t grant my death wish, but He did use my wickedness that day to show me my need for a Savior. Over time, he turned my heart to repentance for this and many other sins.
But repentance and faith and forgiveness and healing didn’t come right away. For years after my abortion I resisted turning to God, and I struggled with depression and guilt. I felt guilty when I started a family and had healthy babies. I felt guilty when a friend struggled to have children. I felt guilty when I looked into the eyes of my kids and caught a glimpse of what their brother or sister may have looked like.
I missed my baby. I still do. Maybe that seems odd. Maybe you’re thinking, “But you never met your baby—how can you miss someone you’ve never met?” That’s one of the great and beautiful mysteries about how God created mothers. We were created to know our babies and bond with them long before we ever set eyes on them. I dealt with my guilt by judging the parenting of others. I tried to atone for my sins by being an over-achieving “supermom.” I tried and tried and tried. I kept silent for over thirteen years, letting the pain and guilt fester inside of me. I was haunted by the words I heard and the sights I saw in the killing room that day. I couldn’t let it go.
At one point, I decided I needed to know exactly what had happened that day. So I sent for my medical records. What I found astounded me.
My baby hadn’t been 11 weeks like I had thought. My baby was 17 weeks old. No one had taken the time to do an ultrasound. The doctors had proceeded as if my baby was much smaller than he really was, which, in the end, almost cost me my life that day. I was very close to getting what I had prayed for.
As I read the report tears streamed down my face. “Fetal foot measures 2.4 cm, the hand measures 2.0 cm in length, there could possibly be residual spine left in the uterus.”
It seemed so cold and sterile. I wanted to scream that these weren’t body parts. This was my baby! But that is the great lie of abortion, isn’t it? It’s just an operation—a normal, everyday occurrence. Everyone is doing it. Come on in, we’ll take care of everything.