I became pregnant when I was seventeen years old. Because I had always had weird cycles, I didn't realize it until I was close to three months along. My mother was disappointed but very supportive and told me that whatever I wanted to do, she'd support me.
Of course, the first and best option seemed to be abortion. I was just about to graduate high school and thought I had so much to lose.
So, I made the initial appointment at the Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk. I lived about twenty-five miles from there and the drive seemed so, so long! I remember walking into the waiting room and being immediately depressed. You could smell the fear and despair in that place. I wanted to run as soon as I got there! But I really felt it was my only option so I stayed.
When my name was called, they wouldn't let my sister go back with me and that almost made me run again. I didn't, though.
They did a medical history, all the preliminaries and then the doctor came to do ultrasound. He chatted all through it and sort of reminded me of my dentist. A few minutes into it, he went silent. He turned the ultrasound screen around and pointed. Two heartbeats! At seventeen, I was pregnant with twins. I got dressed and left and never went back. He showed me their tiny hearts beating and that was the end of the matter. Those two tiny hearts are now huge with love and busy with life. They are the same age today as I was when I walked into that clinic. They are planning for prom, working at Dairy Queen, winning awards for marching band, being promoted in ROTC, trying to decide between the military and nursing school and helping me plan for an outreach ministry to women caught in prostitution. They've given me immeasurably more than that phantom degree I was so afraid of losing. That degree may have given me money and prestige but these daughters gave me LIFE and JOY.
I have never lost the feeling of terror that comes when I think that if that doctor hadn't turned the ultrasound screen around, they wouldn't be here. I later drove my sister to that same clinic, thinking I was being "supportive". I'm so sorry that I supported her in this way.
Whoever you are, if you are considering abortion, know that I have been where you are today and I love you. Know that I know that unexpected pregnancy turns your life upside down. Know that I know how difficult it is to raise children when you don't have much money and are alone. Know also, though, that you can do it. You can overcome any obstacle. You can make a way for life, for yourself and for your precious unborn child. And I ask you, please, take a look at an ultrasound before you make your final decision.