On a Hot, Muggy, East Texas Day in August 1984

Not all abortions come about due to an unwanted pregnancy. Some abortions become the best next action involving a much wanted pregnancy that takes a painful, unwanted turn…that’s what happened to me.

It’s a very hot, muggy day in August 1984. That might sound like an uncomfortable day that would cause someone to dread getting out in the heat to go to the doctor. Not for me. Not this day. I’m pregnant and feeling so blessed, so happy, so excited. I have an appointment with my doctor for my 12-week checkup where we’ll get to hear my baby’s heartbeat, and I’ll have an ultrasound, which is commonplace for this visit. Everything is wonderful, I feel good, my husband is happy about becoming a father, and I can hardly wait to see him after my appointment and tell him all about it.

I get to my appointment early and chat with everyone in the office. One of the great things about living in a small town is you know everyone and it’s very likely the nurse and office staff are all friends of yours from high school. That’s the case in my doctor’s office and it’s very comforting and joyful to be sharing my pregnancy experience with all of them.

I’m told to “come on back,” and get the exam gown on, the doctor will be with me in a minute. He comes in all excited about my pregnancy and we chat for a few seconds to catch up on what’s new. I’ve been his patient since I was in junior high. He tells me to lie back on the table so we can “take a listen to this sweet baby.” First he listens to my belly with his stethoscope. Looking back, I can see slight concern on his face, but at the time I was too elated to want to see anything scary. He says we’ll do the ultrasound now, and we do. The liquid is cold on my stomach, but I don’t mind. He spends a few minutes trying to get the heartbeat so I can hear it, but he can’t seem to find it. He says not to worry, sometimes it takes a while to find it. He keeps moving the handheld probe, called a transducer, over my abdomen for what seems like forever. I can now see concern, but he’s not saying anything. He finishes the ultrasound, and gently, caringly wipes the access liquid from my abdomen. He holds my hand and helps me to a sitting position and says to “sit tight,” he’ll be right back.

A few minutes later he returns to the exam room and pulls up a stool to sit close to me, and puts his hands on my knees as he does when he wants me to listen. The color has drained from his face as he looks into my eyes and says, “Here’s what’s happening. You have what is called a blighted ovum. We don’t know what causes it, but it means your body still thinks it’s pregnant, so your uterus is growing, the sac is there and filled with amniotic fluid…but there is no baby there. At one point, it did not attach to the uterus and your body resorbed it, possibly at the point when it was still a zygote. Your body shows no sign of miscarrying on its own, or it would have by now.”

After much discussion, and making sure I’m emotionally and physically ok, we decide that he’ll perform a Laminaria procedure today, and I’ll go home and rest over the weekend while my cervix slowly and painfully dilates to be ready for the D&C, or Dilatation and Curettage procedure to be done in the hospital early Monday morning. He explains to me it is the safest procedure to remove the rest of the tissue from inside the uterus, now that it has been determined there is no baby.

This was almost 40 years ago, and it never occurred to me that this procedure would be considered an abortion. I thought it was a miscarriage. There was no baby, so I miscarried, right? The truth came to me years later when I needed to see my medical files and the word “abortion” was checked. “Miscarriage” was not. I was curious so I asked my doctor about it. He said that the reason we had to do the D&C was, in fact, because my body WOULD NOT miscarry on it’s own so it was imperative for my health to rid the uterus of the tissue that was left in my body after the baby did not form. The medical term when this happens is “spontaneous abortion” and when other doctors see this, they know it means the body was having difficulty miscarrying the tissue on its own.

I share this story in light of the recent case of Roe v. Wade being overturned and how it is affecting women in the United States. To see the word “abortion” being used as a blanket term to be outlawed and prevent the procedure to be used after the baby is no longer alive, is frightening. If I had not been “allowed” (using the vernacular of a human who feels dismissed) to have this procedure, there is no telling how much longer my body would have continued to prepare for a baby that was not even there. My heart was broken, and I wanted to be as healthy as possible so I could be ready to hopefully get pregnant again and carry my baby to term. That is exactly what happened. Three months later I became pregnant and one year later, I gave birth to a healthy little boy and all is well. Would I have experienced the same happy outcome with the toxic tissue left behind and still occupying my uterus when I got pregnant? Thankfully, I’ll never know.

This is my story and I hope in some way, it helps bring clarity and support for women everywhere.

The Last $5.00

Hello there! I have a story to tell you. Yep, that’s right…another story. I hope you like this one.

I know a woman who woke up one morning, looked in her wallet and counted only nine dollars. It was all she had, a $5 bill and four $1 bills. Her bank account was empty, she had no credit cards, and she was getting dressed to meet a friend who was driving her to her bankruptcy hearing.

Ten months prior to this day, she’d made the decision to change her life in a big way, and to help someone she loves very much. She knew the risk, didn’t hesitate, just made the move filled with love, riding on blind faith. Shortly after making this move, a series of events unfolded and to some it might have appeared that she’d “lost everything.” In her eyes, there were miracles happening all around her. She was elated. Grateful.

Now back to the day she woke up with only $9 left…

She rode with her friend downtown to the courthouse for her hearing. There were several big buildings, and it took them three tries to find the correct one. All along the way, with each attempt to get to her hearing, she met wonderful people and stopped to smile and share stories. Her morning was beautiful and cheerful, in spite of her current perceived conditions.

Once she found the correct building, the right hearing room, and patiently waited her turn to confirm her paperwork was indeed factual and correct, things progressed swiftly. The Trustee informed her that she needed to go over to the other courthouse and confirm a small detail regarding her contact information. She thanked him and went to do just that.

Her friend said he would meet her in the car, he had some calls to make. She agreed, and proceeded along to the courthouse across the street. After taking care of her paperwork, the clerks (who were all very nice) told her if she wanted copies of her filing, she would need to pay for them. She knew from experience that having copies of such important transactions was in her best interest. She asked how much it would cost to attain the copies. The person helping her said, “With the amount of pages included, it will cost you $4.25 and we can’t give you change.” The woman said, “That’s ok, I have a $5 bill,” knowing that would leave her with only four $1 bills. When the person behind the desk made the copies and took them to her co-worker, she asked her to charge the woman $4.25. “How many pages did you copy for her?” asked the co-worker. The clerk told her how many. Her co-worker said, “It’s only four dollars, we round down.” The clerk said, “It doesn’t matter, she only has a five dollar bill and I told her we don’t give change.” The woman, hearing this, said, “Oh, it’s ok, I also have four $1 bills, so I can give you correct change.” It all worked out. She gladly gave them her four $1 bills, she received her copies, and left the courthouse with only one $5 bill left to her name.

The woman could not explain it, didn’t question any of it, just walked out feeling filled with grace and joy, smiling at everyone she met on the street as she went to cross the street where her friend was hopefully still waiting in the car to take her to work.

As she approached the corner, something made her cross the street, even though she hadn’t seen where her friend had parked the car because he’d moved it. When she got to the other side, there was a man standing there holding what appeared to be a large bag of clothes. He looked at her and said, “Excuse me. My wife and I are trying to raise enough money for a room to stay in tonight. We just need $12 and all I have is $7 so far. Could you help us?” The woman looked into his eyes and she was immediately filled with love and happiness. She said, “Wait…so all you need is $5?” He said, “Yes.”

She reached into her wallet and gave him her last $5 bill. The man beamed with gratitude. “Thank you,” he said. The woman said, “You are most welcome.” As the man turned to walk away, something stopped him. He looked at the woman, and she was smiling from ear to ear. She said, “I want you to know something. I just left bankruptcy court and that is my last $5. I’m sure I crossed the street because you are supposed to have it.” The man said, “What? Now I feel bad!” The woman laughed and said, “No, don’t feel bad, it’s a GOOD thing! The only reason I told you that is because I want you to know things are turning around for you right now! I truly believe that this $5 is yours…I was just holding it for you.” The man said, “Oh, I get it. If you give to me, someone will help you. It’s karma.” The woman said, “Well…I’m giving to you because you need $5 and I have $5. I’m happy to help you because others have helped me in the past and I know without a doubt that you and I are going to be fine, we are taken care of…and all is well.”

The man said, “My wife will be very grateful and excited to sleep in a warm, safe, dry space tonight,” and then he smiled a bright, knowing smile as though the tables had turned, and he was the lender, not the borrower.

I don’t know what happened in this man’s life after he met the woman on the street that day, but I do know the woman personally and her life has continued to unfold in ways she could not have imagined all on her own. She sees miracles happen each and every day, all around her on this amazing journey, and every minute holds endless possibilities of something absolutely wonderful for her…and for you. It’s all good.

Love always and in all ways…GoTerriGo!