Test of Faith?
In the summer of 1994 (before my senior year of high school) I met a man named Joe. I was waiting tables at Quincy’s Steak House near Furman and he worked there part-time. He was “older”, drove a Benz, always had money to burn and was single. All of the women there were after him so I though, “I’ll beat these dead-beats out and win him for myself.”
We went out around my 18th birthday. He seemed perfect. He owned his own home near Paris Mountain, and it was full of beautiful antiques. He said that he worked the part-time job to have cash on hand since he had all of his money in the stock market. I was afraid that he’d drop me since I was a “kid”, so I tried acting like an adult. By February 1995 I was pregnant. I was scared when I found out and asked him what I was going to do. I kept imagining myself receiving my diploma with a big ole pregnant belly. He looked at me as if I’d asked what color the sky was. A few days later he took me to the Greenville Women’s Clinic and I had an abortion at 14-weeks.
It was nerve racking. After checking in, they gave me a booklet to read on pregnancy and fetal development and a paper to sign saying that I had been given the materials. I signed it and threw the booklet away without even opening it up. I was scared and nervous and didn’t think that I could read anything at the moment. Next came blood work, an ultrasound that I wasn’t allowed to see, and payment for services. I then waited in a room full of other scared, young girls. When I went back, I was given an IV and was knocked out. I woke up a mere 30 minutes later and was sent along my merry way with a pack of birth control pills, a prescription, and a note saying that I had to come back in a couple of weeks for a re-check.
After that things changed. Joe became more controlling. He didn’t like the fact that my best friend was a guy even though he wanted to be a priest! How dare I talk to other males. He told me that if I went off to college that he’d dump me. Joe controlled everything that I did. I thought that he loved me and that it was for my own good, so I threw away all of the college materials and gave up on my education.
Things were always up and down with him. I never thought that I’d end up in an abusive relationship but ... I did. In 1997, I got pregnant AGAIN. I hid it this time hoping that he’d love THIS child. Once we got past that 16-week mark, which is as late as you can get an abortion in SC, I told him. He didn’t say anything. Weeks went by and he acted like nothing was going on. In August he planned a trip to see his two sisters in Atlanta, but when we got there he drove me straight to the Surgi Center. He told me that if I didn’t terminate the pregnancy that he’d run me over right then and there. I had a second abortion... this time at 26 weeks.
This one was horrific. The day was spent at the clinic. I had blood tests, yet another ultrasound, and the “obligatory counseling” during which we only talked about what kind of birth control options there were for me. After paying the two grand, I was given a Valium and told to wait. They later inserted laminera into my cervix to cause it to slowly dilate. That felt like they were driving needles through my cervix. A while later, I was sent into another room where I was told to lay on the bed and make a fist under the small of my back. The doctor located the child with an ultrasound (which I was told that I couldn’t see), inserted a needle through my belly, and “euthanized” the baby. He said that it would prevent a live birth.
I was then sent to a hotel across the street and told to come back at 5 a.m. the next morning. I woke up with major cramps and slight bleeding. We went to the clinic where I was given my IV and knocked out once again. The last view I have in my mind is being lifted onto another table and my legs being put up into the stirrups. I woke up in a recovery room with a nurse looking at my bleeding. I was told to get dressed, which I did. I got my birth control pills and was sent on my merry way. I slept and cried, cried and slept. I missed my baby although I couldn’t understand why. My milk came in and depression set in. I was crushed. I lived in a state of fear and depression for a long, long time. I kept up a happy front when around family and what few friends I was allowed to have.
Well, things always happen in threes, so the third pregnancy came along in September 1998. I kept this one hid as I planned an escape. Joe found out on Christmas Eve and beat me. I am shocked that I didn’t miscarry as that was his plan. He sent me to Charlotte, N.C. on January 22 to get yet another abortion. I drove myself. It was the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade when I got there. I was upset anyway, but the protesters outside made it worse. Once inside, I couldn’t do it. I was on the table and the doctor was right there just minutes away from doing the procedure. I got up, went home, and called a crisis pregnancy center.
Bethany Christian Services moved me in with a “Shepherding Family” in Myrtle Beach, S.C. while I finished the pregnancy. I told my father that Joe and I were having problems and that I was going to stay with friends for a while. As far as I know he had no idea about Elizabeth. I chose a couple and placed Elizabeth with them in an open adoption two days after her birth. She was born on June 11, 1999.
I took a nose dive afterwards. I wanted her back so badly that I could taste it. I became anti-adoption and fervently pro-choice. I would rather see babies murdered than plucked from their scared mothers and sold into the infant adoption market.
I met Andy in Dec. 2000. I had received a packet from Elizabeth’s adoptive parents the previous day. I was upset and went out with some friends to Connelly’s Irish Pub after work. Elizabeth came up and I spilled the beans about her and her adoption to all of the people sitting at our table. Andy came over, gave me a hug and from then on he was my shoulder to cry on.
After we started dating he told me that he was adopted ... sort of. His biological dad left his mom when he was a baby. His mom remarried a few years later and his step-father adopted both Andy and his older sister, Melissa. He was struggling with the fact that his biological dad had never contacted him. He doesn’t think that his father cares about him and that hurts him.
I sought out a counselor and started seeing her twice a week. I eventually got over most of the issues with Joe and the loss of Elizabeth, although I still have moments of sadness over it. I’ve also had medical problems since the abortions. I had to have part of my cervix removed on Sept. 11, 2001. I was in the doctor’s office when news of the attacks hit the news stations. After a review of my family history and my medical history, the doctors think that the abortions caused the damage to the cervix. Those problems weakened the cervix, thus causing pre-term labor issues while I was pregnant with Bella.
I’ve become pro-life because I have witnessed first-hand the horrors of both early and late abortions. I thank God that I didn’t catch any kind of disease, and for my husband who knows about my past and still loves me. He comforts me when I need it and understands why I am the way that I am. He assures me that we all make mistakes and that God forgives them, but I wonder how can He forgive me when I can’t forgive myself? I just hope that one day I can make a difference in someone else’s life and play a part in saving both their SOUL and their BABY.