By Annie Jeschke, Office Administrator, Nova Pregnancy Help Center of Fairfax
“Ruby” came to the Fairfax center for a pregnancy test. She had only missed one period, and was in complete denial that she might be pregnant. At the pressing of her friends who had criticized her recent weight gain, she made an appointment.
She walked into the lobby with her eyes down and hands clasped tightly, refusing to make eye contact. After she filled out her paperwork, I took her back to a counseling room and offered her a seat on the brown, leather couch cheered up with brightly-colored pillows.
“So what brings you here today,” I asked. To my surprise, she opened her mouth and truth came pouring out. She told me of how she was all alone with no family around and not ready for a baby. Although her boyfriend desired to keep the baby, she did not.
I asked her what the deciding factor would be and she responded with a common response I both dread and hope for: “It depends on how far along I am. I know at 8 weeks it is not a life yet.” Many, bordering on all, women who come to our centers are in such a rush to abort because they believe it eventually does become a life in their womb, but is not one “yet”. They don’t know the heart has already started beating, the gender has been determined, and baby has her fingers and toes. When they learn this information, shock overcomes their faces. In the culture we live in, life is not taught as common knowledge, but rather as a topic up for debate.
When I presented this information to Ruby, her shock quickly hardened into determination. She had already decided not to keep this baby. However, one glint of hope still clung to my heart – she had brought up adoption on her own.
The adoption option is a rare choice among our centers. Most clients scoff at the idea, thinking they never could and never would abandon their children. They would rather end both of their suffering now, while they can’t clearly see what they’re doing. That is where ultrasound comes in as a crisis pregnancy center’s best line of rebuttal and encouragement to its clients. I knew this, and I scheduled Ruby’s ultrasound appointment for the next available.
A few days later, Ruby shuffled back into the lobby with her teeth clenched down on her lip. One of our nurses, Marni, prepped her for her procedure. I stood behind Ruby silently as a chaperone and watched the screen intently. I have seen so many ultrasounds performed; so, I generally know what I am looking at thanks to extensive education by our wonderful sonographers. I tried to locate her bladder…was it not filled? Why could I not see it? Marni continued to scan and I tried to make sense of what I was looking at. Was that her own heartbeat pulsating through some chord? It surely was not the flicker I am used to seeing of an 8 week heart. And then my mind organized the information my eyes were taking in. I was seeing a four-chambered beating heart of a baby…a really big baby. Marni moved her probe downward and measured a femur bone. Ruby had a 35-week-gestational-age baby in her womb. Marni translate the weeks into 8 months so Ruby could better understand. Marni paused and reached out to touch Ruby’s shoulder. “I know this is a shock,” Marni said. “It is going to be okay.” Marni stopped scanning so Ruby could let out a devastated whimper.
“I can’t even get on a plane, can I?” Ruby asked. Sadness welled up in my chest as I realized what she was really asking. She wanted to go home to be with her mother, but she could not. Whatever would come next, she would have to do it without her support and love.
Marni asked me to calculate probable day of conception using the pregnancy wheel she kept on her desk. I read out, “late August to early September.”
“I got pregnant last year?” Ruby cried.
“That is what this is telling me,” Marni affirmed.
Marni took more measurements for the doctor to see. Tears rolled into my eyes and my blood pressure rose. I was getting overwhelmed for her. I sorted through all of the things I could do or give her to help her; and I sorted through all the things I knew she would have to go through in just a few short weeks…if she did not go into labor early. I dabbed my eyes and could not imagine…if this is what I was feeling, what was she feeling?
Marni finished the ultrasound and I went back to my desk. A few moments later, Marni asked me to gather all of the adoption information we had. As I was collecting, our Director of Operations and an adoptive mother herself, Sandy, came to me. We agreed to ask the nurse if she thought it would be helpful for Ruby to hear the adoptive parents’ side. Marni had Sandy come into the exam room to share and I waited outside. After a long while, I said goodbye as Marni guided Ruby out of our center. She needed to go to the hospital to be evaluated. There was nothing more we could do that day but pray and try to talk through our shock with each other.
Ruby is going to be a mother very soon. We ask that you please pray that she be overwhelmed by support for her adoption decision, that she experiences the peace of our loving and provisional Father, and that she turns back to Him fully in this time to mark a change for the rest of her life. We ask that you please pray for this baby, for health in spite of no prenatal care, and for this baby to be welcomed by eager parents ready to raise their child up in the love of Christ.