Beautiful baby: I believe the fetus has the right to keep living

By Name Withheld,
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It was around February this year when I first started feeling strange. I felt nauseous and tired all the time. I couldn’t keep up with the other girls at cheerleading practice. I was always hungry. I was extremely depressed. But despite all these warning signs, I still didn’t suspect it. This type of thing didn’t happen to girls like me. I was too smart. I was different. After all, we did use a condom. It simply couldn’t happen. I was only 16.

I walked around in denial for 14 weeks. I smiled when I had to. I huffed and puffed my way through cheerleading practice. Nobody knew, but I had to tell somebody my concerns. Somebody who was not my father or my stepmother. Somebody my age who I could trust… my best friend Mary.

When I told her that I thought I was pregnant, it broke her heart. The very next day she marched me straight into the nurse’s office and together we told the nurse that I suspected I was pregnant. The nurse referred me to a nearby clinic for a pregnancy test.

My test was positive

Later on that day, I went to the clinic and took the test. It was like Judgment Day waiting for the results in that huge, cold room all by myself. The doctor’s voice was soft and sincere when she told me, but as the word "positive" rolled off her lips, I couldn’t help but cry. When I told her how old I was, I think I saw a tear in her eye too.

She explained my options. I could have the baby, give it up for adoption or have an abortion. Abortion seemed like the only solution. If I had the baby, everyone would look down on me, I would shame my family name, my father would be very upset, I couldn’t stay in school, etc…. I knew I couldn’t have this baby. Adoption? No. I was adopted, and every day of my life I wonder why my biological mother didn’t want me. I wonder who she is and if somewhere out there I’ve got a brother or sister. I wonder if she wonders about me or if she even cares. Adoption was out of the question so the only thing left was abortion. Up until then, I was pro-life. I thought only irresponsible people had abortions, and it was just morally wrong. But being in the situation, it seemed less like a choice and more like the only thing left to do.

When I told the doctor my final decision, she said that since I was past 12 weeks, I would need a two-day procedure called "D&C," dilation and curretage. A D&C is a minor surgical operation where the cervix is enlarged and an instrument is inserted into the uterus to loosen and remove the lining of the uterus. The procedure sounded scary enough, and so did the price-$600 to $700. There was no way on earth I could come up with that much money by the following week, but she gave me a list of phone numbers and addresses where I could get Medi-Cal, a form of government aid that would pay for the procedure.

The paperwork took weeks

The clinic referred me to a county office where I applied for Medi-Cal the next day. I filled out lots of papers, and we waited for my name to be called. Then they asked for my social security card and birth certificate, but I had no idea where to find them. Two days later, I was back with the social security card but no birth certificate. I hoped they would let it slide. No luck. "There’s nothing we can do until we have it."

For the next three weeks, I went on a wild search for that one piece of paper that determined whether I could have the abortion. When no one was home, I tore up the house looking for it. I was getting really sick by then, mentally and physically. I was starting to show too. Big time. Overalls and sweatshirts became my daily attire. Since this was winter, nobody thought twice about my style of dress, but I felt like my secret was written all over my face. On Tuesday of the third week, Mary reminded me that when we registered for school, we had to give them a copy of our birth certificates, so I went to the counseling office and asked the lady if the school kept them. She said they kept some and threw others away, but she would check for me and I could come back at nutrition. This was my only hope. As soon as the bell rang, I ran straight to her office and she handed me my birth certificate. I cried tears of joy.

The next day, I went to the Medi-Cal provider, and I got approved! When I got back to school, I explained the situation to my coach. To my surprise, she was very understanding. I scheduled my appointment at the clinic for the next day, Thursday. At 8:30 a.m., the scariest time of my life would begin. I didn’t sleep at all that night.

As soon as I got there next morning, the doctor gave me more bad news. Since I was 17 weeks pregnant, they could no longer perform a two-day procedure. I needed a three-day procedure called "D&E," dilation and evacuation. I had to reschedule my appointment for the following week. I felt terrible. I wanted this to be over with. I started to think that I might as well go ahead and give birth, but I knew that could never happen. So I waited one more week.

The procedure finally began

When I returned to the clinic next week, I had an ultrasound. As my doctor looked at the ultrasound image, I saw in her glasses what had been growing inside me for 18 and a half weeks… twins. I knew there was no way on earth I could take care of two babies.

So that day I started the abortion process. Once it was done, I walked back to school physically okay, but mentally tormented. All I thought about was my babies. They were a part of me. That night I talked to them, sang to them and let them know just how sorry I was. I spent all night crying over them and wishing I could turn back time.

I was in a little pain the next day. At any given time I could miscarry, among other health risks. The doctors gave me a paper with instructions and an emergency number on it and a prescription for some powerful painkillers. That night, when the pain became unbearable, I whipped out the prescription drugs, took them and prayed for the best. The pain left.

Although I was out of physical pain, that night was murder on my heart. It occurred to me that I was down to my last 12 hours of being a mommy. I rubbed my tummy and as I did, I had two prayers in mind… that God let my babies forgive me for what I was about to do, and that they tell my deceased adoptive mother hello and that I love her. I think my prayer was answered because I slept easy that night.

I said goodbye to my children-forever

When I got to the clinic, I was immediately called into the doctor’s office. She gave me a hospital gown and some little slippers to wear, then sat me in the recovery room with three other ladies who were going to have abortions too. That was the best thing they could have done for me because those ladies made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

The nurse led me into a big room and I lay down on the table. As the anesthesiologist gave me the injection that would erase the next 10 minutes from my memory, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and said goodbye to my children-forever.

I woke up cold and shivering uncontrollably on a stretcher, with a team of doctors huddled around me. My first impulse was fear, but they assured me that the operation was successful and I’d be able to go home in a half hour. They gave me several medications including some birth control pills to be taken daily, some documents with post-operative instructions on them and some crackers and water. I went to the bathroom to change my clothes, and as I looked into the mirror, I felt like it wasn’t me in the reflection. Everything I’d done was something that I would never have thought I’d do. I looked at my stomach. It was still big, but empty-just like my heart. It was over.

When I got back to school, I went to my coach and told her it was done. She sent me straight to the nurse’s office, where I slept for the rest of the school day. When the bell rang, I woke up and saw the most beautiful face-Mary’s. She held my hand and guided me out of the nurse’s office and to my school bus. I made it home alright.

I had to tell my father

I had done it with only a few people knowing. But rather than feeling victorious, I felt defeated. I had to tell my father, because I couldn’t bear him not knowing who I really was. He’d go around telling people I was the perfect daughter, and deep inside I knew the truth.

I didn’t know how to tell him directly, so I made him ask me what was going on. I took some of the pills the doctor had given me and spilled them out onto my bed. When he walked by my room, I began putting them back into the bottle so he would notice and ask me where I got them. That’s exactly what he did and I was a little afraid, but relieved to tell him everything. He was very hurt. He cried a lot. I expected him to yell at me and at first he did, but I think he realized that I wasn’t a baby anymore and that yelling would solve nothing.

He told my stepmother and she made two things clear to me I had never thought about before. For one, if I had just told them in the beginning, they would have been there for me and it wouldn’t have been as hard as I made it. Secondly, I could have died at any time during this abortion because it was so dangerous. By the grace of God I’m still alive to tell this story. For the first time, I made amends with her. Even though she’s not my mother, she’s as close as I’m gonna get in this lifetime.

I wanted to share my story

It’s an uphill battle trying to love myself again, but I’m thankful for this experience because I’ve learned a lot about faith and love. I grew up. I’m not grown but I grew up. The boyfriend who I loved so much is probably somewhere in jail right now. I don’t know for sure… I dumped him months ago. He was on the wrong track when I first met him anyhow. And as for those birth control pills? I refuse to take them. I know in my heart that I’m holding off on sex until marriage-something I should have done in the first place.

It’s strange how I went through so much trouble to keep this whole thing a secret from those around me, but now I’ve gone and written this article for everyone to see. I’m doing it because somewhere out there is a girl who’s alone, scared and doesn’t know what to do. If you are that girl, just hold on. You’re not as alone as you think. Whatever you decide, you will make it through this. If you know that girl, hold her hand and support her. Mary held my hand through the whole thing and she’s still holding it today. I couldn’t be more grateful.