I grew up the oldest of four in a loving family in the midwest. My father is a retired MD, my mother was an RN,. I grew up feeling loved, regularly attending the Presbyterian Church, collecting pets and plants. Loved living things and the outdoors. Fascinated with science. Became an RN myself, and started my career in the ICU. Later I was a traveling nurse, so I could see some of the world. Settled for a time in Florida, had a boyfriend. That friendship ended badly, and I decided to get a fresh start in Colorado, where one of my best friends from nursing school lived. At that time, there were many nurses, but not many jobs. I saw an ad for a "Women's Reproductive Health Clinic." It was a day position, four days a week. Day jobs are not always easy to find for nurses, and that sounded good to me. I quickly discovered it was an abortion clinic. I did not have strong feelings about abortion at that time…my parents are quite liberal politically, and had supported Planned Parenthood with their time and money. I always felt abortion was not something I could ever do myself….but if someone else wanted/needed to…well, that was her right. So, in the clinic environment of friendly, warm, supportive female employees (with the exception of the often prickly physician) I pushed down any negative feelings I had about the "procedures" and learned how to be an abortion clinic nurse. I learned how to prepare women for procedures, set out sterile instruments, turn on suction machines. And of course, I had to always be sure the little cloth drape was around the glass bottle that held the "products of conception" after the suction abortion. Another unfortunate staff member had the job of examining those bottles' contents, to be sure all the parts were there and nothing was retained in the patient's uterus. A macabre jigsaw puzzle if you will. Gradually, I learned how to assist with "late cases" which at that time were pregnancies from weeks 16-24. These were much more involved, requiring ultrasound, two days of laminaria, and removal of amniotic fluid to be replaced by concentrated urea. Then…after a few hours, the RN would listen for heart tones. We had to be certain the "heart tones" had stopped before the procedure was "completed". I never witnessed "partial birth" abortion while I was employed there for two years. It became more and more difficult to ignore my feelings when we had particularly egregious situations, such as the young, wealthy married couples expecting twins who, after careful research, determined twins would not fit their lifestyle. So they aborted their 17 week old babies. And the woman who was having abortion #5…birth control was too much bother for her. I still didn't feel strongly against abortion, but decided to move on to other employment. Interestingly, I ended up being a nurse in a Level 3 ICU Nursery, where premature babies are cared for. I loved it there. But I am not sure the irony had hit me yet, or maybe my denial system was still to strong. Somehow along the way, I would occasionally listen to Dr. James Dobson on Christian radio. Oh, how he irritated me when he talked about the sacredness of unborn life, all life! How aggravating that was to hear! He just didn't understand! He was a man, after all! Still…I even accompanied my sister in law, and a good friend, when they had abortions, because it was "the wrong time" for them. But gradually, our great God was turning my heart. He was melting the ice that kept me from feeling the pain and reality of abortion. I had gotten married to a wonderful man, and we had our first daughter. And not long after, I realized how indescribably precious parenthood was. It was a new, scary feeling, to discover…I was one of THEM! The Pro Life people! How strange to have your identity change. I realized that none of the arguments "for abortion" that I used to believe in had any merit at all. I felt very sad for my friends back at the clinic, who still lived in blindness.
I will be forever sorry for my participation in the abortion business. I know I am forgiven by Jesus, but the sad burden will forever be on my heart, and I am not sorry about that. I deserve to "feel" that, I do not believe "guilt" is necessarily a bad thing…and it helps motivate me to work towards a world where unborn life is treasured, and no one considers abortion to be a viable option."
Up until a few years ago, I did not have a clear image of what the sanctity of life issue was all about. But God, as a part of His purpose for my life, began to reveal it to me. What I thought was an unraveling of everything I had ever hoped or dreamed of, was soon to become a character lesson of a lifetime.
I was a Woman's Heath Nurse Practitioner, a wife and mother of two kids in college. Heavily involved in ministry at church, I knew my husband had become distant. That led to a separation and ultimate end of our 23 year marriage. During my separation, I was led to a job at Planned Parenthood in Denton. I guess itw as naive on my part, but I figured if I wasn't working in the actual clinic that did the abortions, maybe it was an acceptable place to work.
It was there that my eyes were opened to the atrocities and the realities of abortion for the first time. It happened one day when a young woman came in 20 weeks pregnant and bleeding. I examined her, listened with the monitor for the baby's heartbeat, and realized it wasn't beating. I sent her to the ER where they found that the baby had died. A few days later, Planned Parenthood's supervising Nurse Practitioner came to my office inquiring why I had used a fetal heart Doppler to allow my patient to hear her baby's heartbeat. When I said it was part of the routine prenatal exam, she said, "not at Planned Parenthood, it isn't! We do not allow the patients to hear the heartbeats of their baby because it may sway their decision." When I commented that it was probably good in this instance because the patient got to the ER where she needed to be, she questioned why I did not send her to Dallas for an abortion. I said, "You would have done a sonogram and told her that her baby was dead." She said, "No we wouldn't have. By the time we do the sonogram, she has already signed consent for the abortion. We don't tell them if it is dead or alive, twins or triplets." It was at that point that I knew I could not longer be a party to this type of travesty.
I was so shaken, I went across the street to a pregnancy resource center and told them who I was and what had happened. It was as if they already knew me. They said they thought there was a "plant" next door at Planned Parenthood because of all the girls that had been referred there over the last few months. It was then, as they prayed and cried with me, that I began to see how, in spite of myself, God was using me for His purposes.
Not too long after that, I was working in the iinner city of Dallas, with primarily Hispanic women. I was doing their exams and giving birth control as I had always done. Until one day, a patient asked me if her IUD was causing abortions. As I explained the way it worked, my eyes were opened to the fact that conception was taking place, but the device was causing the baby to abort before it could implant on the uterus. At about the same time, God convicted me of the fact that the "morning after pill" also caused abortion. I prayed and decided to stand for what I felt was right, and was fired from my job.
Several weeks later, I was in a state of despair. I had no job, no insurance and I felt like God had abandoned me. What was my purpose? Just as I was at my lowest, I was awakened early in the morning. It was as if God was speaking audibly to me. All I could think was "save the babies." I called a local pregnancy center that day and spoke to the director. It just so happened their nurse manager was ill and was not sure if she would return. I started volunteering the next week, was trained to do sonograms and hired as the nurse manager three months later.
We don't always have the full picture. We see just a little portion of the plan God has for our lives, and it is easy to be discouraged when you're the one walking throught the fire. But, I'm alive and well today and here to testify of the provision, grace and mercy that I was shown at a time when I was hopeless. God sent His ministering angels to keep me safe from myself. I had become my own worst enemy. Now, every day I can't wait to go to work and see who God will place in my path this day. As I watch the women and see the look on their faces as they witness the miracle of a little living, breathing, human being squirming on the sonogram, it makes me see a little bit more of His purpose for my life. They hear the heartbeat, see the fingers, the toes and the humanity of their baby. They begin to bond and most decide to choose life. It makes me ever so grateful that God gave me a second chance…a second chance to "choose life."
Our friend, Pam, has a store on Etsy. She has graciously offered to donate 20% of all profits she makes in her store to our ministry, And Then There Were None, for the months of November and December. She has even made a special ATTWN bracelet! Please check out her store and purchase something if you are able. Remember, Christmas is just around the corner!!