“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
In the Spring of 1974, I was in my final year of nursing school. I had just begun my student rotation in obstetrical nursing and was assigned to the Labor and Delivery department at a large county hospital in Houston, Texas. The pace was fast and the adrenalin in the air was almost tangible. One of the experienced nurses asked me if I had ever seen a live birth to which I timidly replied no. She instructed me to follow her and briskly led me to a delivery room where a teenage girl was about to give birth. Within what seemed just a matter of seconds, the girl’s screams of pain turned into joyful laughter and tears of relief. For the first time, I had just witnessed the birth of another human being making its way into a chaotic world with a robust cry announcing his arrival. At that moment I felt like time stood still as I encountered one of the most beautiful experiences I had ever lived through. I was so in awe that I did not even realize there were tears trickling down my cheeks. But at that moment, I knew one thing for sure. This was the reason I had decided to become a nurse. I knew without a doubt that OB nursing was the field I had to pursue.
My nursing career lasted for 38 years before I retired in September 2011. I was blessed to fulfill my dream and the greater majority of those years were spent working as an OB nurse. I lost count of how many births I had the privilege of being a part of but I will say that I never tired of watching these miracles.
As much as I loved the many years of working in the hospitals, the last position I took in nursing was, for me, the icing on the cake of my career. In the Spring of 2008, I accepted the position of Nurse Manager and was asked to lead the conversion of a Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) into a Pregnancy Medical Clinic (PMC). Basically what this meant was that our facility would be able to offer early obstetric ultrasounds to our pregnant clients. This was a huge step for our center. The task of conversion was monumental and there was many a day when I felt so ill-equipped to lead the team of nurses, other staff members, and volunteers to see this project through. But every time I questioned God on my capability, all I would hear from him were two words: “Trust Me!” So day after day we prayed harder and pressed in deeper. All the while we kept one goal in mind and that was the countless number of unborn lives that would be saved through the process of ultrasound.
Part of the medical conversion process required sending the nurses for ultrasound training. Seriously Lord? I was now a fifty-plus-year-old grandmother and He wanted me to go back to the classroom! But that is just what I did and miraculously I became certified along with my other nurses to be able to perform ultrasounds.
The entire conversion process took almost two years. How I wish I had time to share the countless ways that God faithfully showed up big every time we wanted to give up. The enemy came at us in every direction and every way possible to stop the conversion. He was relentless but we did not give up. Finally, the dedication day of our new PMC came and we were ready to serve our clients in a better way. A way that would save so many unborn babies lives and I was about to find out just how true that was.
A couple of days after the center’s grand opening a young girl of 15 years old walked into our clinic. She quickly informed me that she knew she was pregnant and she needed an ultrasound that day. She told me that she had no choice but to terminate her pregnancy. Being a faith-based nonprofit center, she also knew our clinic was not a place where she could get an abortion but she needed to know how far along she was to determine how much an abortion would cost her. My heart broke for this young girl and the decision she was making. I talked with her and asked her a few questions in the hope of gaining some trust from her. I made it clear to her that it was not my intent to try to talk her out of her decision, but that my job was to make sure she was making an educated decision with all the facts. I told her that I would be glad to perform the ultrasound that same day. After filling out the necessary paperwork, I led her to the ultrasound room. I told her I would give her a few minutes to prepare and I would be back to perform the ultrasound. As I closed the door to the room I immediately began to pray for the life of her baby. I then went to my phone and sent out a prayer alert to the PMC’s prayer team informing them I had a walk-in client that was abortion-minded.
When I reentered the ultrasound room, I could tell the girl was quite nervous. I reassured her that the ultrasound would not take but a few minutes and the most uncomfortable part was having cold gel applied to her belly. During our chat just minutes earlier she told me that her friends had told her that she was not really carrying a baby but rather a “blob of cells” and so it was ok to have an abortion. As if to reassure herself of that statement, she made mention of it again as I begin to apply the gel to her abdomen. I smiled at her and simply said, “Well let’s see what we find here.”
Part of my prayer before starting the ultrasound was that this baby would be big enough for her to not only hear the heartbeat but to see the evidence of a little person growing inside her womb. She was staring at the TV screen when all of a sudden she gasped! I watched her for a few seconds as she lay on the table mesmerized by what she was witnessing. What I had prayed for had come into full view on the screen. Then very slowly she spoke these words: “Oh my God! That’s a BABY!! Look! He’s moving!” And move indeed he did. My measurements indicated that this girl was 14 weeks into her pregnancy and that precious baby put on quite a show. I explained that the baby was not big enough just yet to actually determine the gender. However, she kept saying “him” or “he” as if somehow she already knew her baby was a boy! He moved and flipped and changed positions multiple times. At one point he actually looked right at us. That precious baby did everything but wave hello. The first part of my prayer was answered and I asked her what she thought of what she was seeing. With her eyes still focused on the screen, tears began to roll down her cheeks. Then she looked at me and said: “That’s not just a baby…that’s MY baby!” I took her hand, smiled, and nodded yes in agreement. I swallowed hard to keep from having a crying episode of my own from sheer joy at her words. The TRUTH had just triumphed over the lie!
At that moment I knew that all the months of hard work, all the tears, and the trials of converting our center into a medical clinic were worth it! As it turned out, this young girl decided to have her baby. That was the answer to the other part of my prayer! A girl who just 30 minutes before was set on having an abortion, had chosen LIFE over death because she now knew the truth. The deception she had heard from the words of her friends no longer had power over her. She would carry her child, a beautiful boy, to term and give him a chance to live the life he had been destined to live. She not only chose the gift of life for her child but in the end, she chose the gift of adoption for a barren woman who had shed many a tear and prayed many a prayer for God to fulfill her desires for a child to love.
This was the first of many more babies who were saved over the months and years to come. Though I have been retired and gone from the PMC for eight years now, the work at this clinic, as well as many others like it, continues daily. Unfortunately not every unborn child is saved. However, the praiseworthy news is that more women are choosing life each day because of the work of many PMC clinics. Prayer, dedication and the tool of ultrasound are the things that dispel the lie and allow the truth to bring freedom. I will always be grateful for the awesome privilege I was given to play a role in an endeavor to honor life in its earliest stage. To God be the glory!
PS: If you were inspired by this story, click here to read another sweet personal testimony about my time at the PMC. I beleive it will encourage your heart and make you smile.
NOTE: All photos used for this blog post are courtesy free photos from unsplash.com. The girl holding the baby ultrasound photos was not my client, nor to the best of my knowledge, was she ever a client of the PMC where I was employed.
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