Sunday, August 14, 2016

To Live

This was written after I read an article by a former abortion clinic nurse whose life was changed and healed. I share cautiously as my understanding of abortion procedure is limited and I don't have the heart to learn more details, nor the stomach for it. Certain assumptions are made and hopefully the message is clear if the knowledge of the writer is faulty.

   There was a pulling. First a slight tugging. Sort of a gentle, tentative, testing pulling. Then more firm pulling. 
She really didn't like it.
   The warm comfort, so familiar, was disrupted as the cold  hardness on her feet pulled...demanding and insistent. It became painful.
   She thrashed around looking for comfort, to escape. Then the cold and a bright light above her shone down as she reached frantically for the warm protection of her mother. Her tiny hands and arms moving without strength.
"This one looks great."
A tremendous pressure and slicing pain consumed her. Her heart cried out in fear and pain. She longed for Gloria.

   The little girl danced impatiently. Her mommy and daddy had gone to the hospital and she couldn't wait until they came home.
The sun shone brightly outside but she couldn't even play, there was too much to think about. She knew from her little friend, Kelly, that there were blankets and clothes and bows and even some not so fun things like crying and waiting for stinky diapers to get fixed but she was willing to put up with anything just to finally have her baby sister. 
No one had told her directly but she knew. Everyone knows that when Mommies get big round tummies and feel yucky and tired that there's a baby in there. Kelly's mom had acted just the same as her mommy and she was always putting her hand on her tummy. Gloria hadn't quite worked out how you got the baby out of there and Kelly didn't seem to know either, but it didn't really matter.
  She had prayed and prayed ever since she was little and had asked her mom and dad for one for her birthday but she never thought  she would really get one! They must be planning to surprise her, she thought. Daddy was always talking about how much things cost and he said babies were too expensive. She had heard them talking about how much her Academy would cost next year and Kelly had told her that they were always buying something for her baby so Gloria was surprised they had changed their mind.
   But Melanie had come to babysit her and she heard them give a number for a hospital stuck between "macaroni for dinner" and "Remember to brush her teeth, okay?"
Kelly said her mom went to the hospital to get her baby out but Gloria never expected it to be so soon, she thought it would take much longer to grow her baby and Kelly's mom had been much fatter.
She settled down by the window to wait and would not be coaxed away.

  She had said she would. She had to stick with it. There really was no other choice. When she thought of Gloria she wished there were some other way and dashed away a tear from her cheek with an impatient hand. This had to be.
   There was no use thinking about it anymore. Don't think about how tiny Gloria's hands and feet had been or of her pleading for a baby sister.
   They didn't even know if was a girl. The ultrasound tech had asked, hesitantly, for he knew their plans but still was so used to parents hugging and exchanging joyous looks over such news that he couldn't help but try. She had wavered and almost looked but Jack had been firm and decisive. 
"No. just check the organs and gestational age" and the appointment had moved on. Courtney wondered if she had spoken it might changed his mind somehow and again cursed herself for not saying something....the right thing.
   She steeled herself and pulled the conversation back, reliving his words. "we really can't afford another one. We're maxed, Courtney! Who gets pregnant on the pill? You almost died with Gloria and I'm not going through that again. It's not worth it ...and besides,the fetus will be used for research , just think of how many people will be benefitted. To us it would be just a burden but it could bless so many people." 
 So many thoughts had played through her mind as he spoke.
  That they had decided on one child was true, but she hadn't realized at the time how much joy she would feel with Gloria. The doctors had been very worried about her but her OB assured her that a second pregnancy had a low risk for the same complications. Placental abruption in labor is rare and unlikely to happen twice. Cesarean delivery would not likely be needed in subsequent pregnancies. At the time she had brushed his assurances off, for they were only having one, anyway . She had waited too long to have her tubes tied, her dislike of hospitals and doctors after her scare in the delivery room was marked and she still had nightmares. 
All of Jack's reason's were not insurrmountable  but the one thing she couldn't, wouldn't risk kept her in her chair in the waiting room. 
   His recovery had to be considered. He was finally stable and functioning. He had promised to be faithful to her, his meds seemed balanced and he was much more patient with Gloria . His PTSD seemed under control but she knew how little it took to set him off. He hadn't gotten out of control with his anger for months and was finally acting like the husband she knew he could be and she wasn't willing to sacrifice that stability for anything. If this baby was his idea or he were excited that would be different....
   If there was one thing childhood had taught her it was that parents should scrifice to stay together . Gloria needed a mom and a dad. She knew how it felt to be abandoned and she wouldn't let that happen to Gloria. 
 Her hand rested unconsciously on her stomach. She had struggled, even with Jack's ressurance that his friend would perform the procedure. He knew him from his time in the military and the man had offered to help him when he heard about their situation. Still, she felt far from comfortable with this man she had only met once. The memory came unbidden of Gloria , a look of peace and wonder chasing quickly through her eyes- quickly hidden so that Mommy wouldn't know she knew and her chubby little hand reaching tentatively for her stomach and then drawing back as she caught her mother's eye. It had broken Courtney's heart. The reason, the real reason she had waited so long was still there at home, waiting. The reason she had prayed to ..someone...for another way. 
   And she remembered her prayers as a little girl that God would bring her Daddy back. She had prayed for years and then she had finally decided that God must hate her because he never did. 
But Gloria had whispered so softly, so quietly, next to her Mommy asleep on the couch. She had put out her hand so carefully next to her rounded belly and the words, "Thank you, God" had crept from her mouth. 
Courtney coud hardly breathe, surely God couldn't deny her little girl. Surely a way would open for her to have a husband who loved her and Gloria could have a father and Jack would change his mind .... But she knew inside that he wouldn't change for she remembered what her hesitation had caused already. When he sensed her reluctance he had frightened her with the intensity of his anger. It had been a long time since she saw that look in his eye and she knew she didn't have the courage. It was Gloria's baby dream or her life of happiness, security and opportunity. Gloria ws just too young to understand  what was at stake here. She would understand better when she grew up, Courtney told herself. She was so young, only four, and she would forget. She had to. A deep breath and Jack's hand on her elbow renewed her resolve to keep her safety and security as she made it from the chair to the door that led beyond the waiting room. 
"You're 28 weeks?"
The nurse eyed her.
"That's right." A dark weight settled into her chest and she walked forward into the inevitable.

   Gloria listened to Melanie on the phone with her boyfriend. 
"Yeah, I'll be home in a few more hours. No, she's having a medical procedure done but she'll home tonight. Okay, see you then. Bye."
She wondered at the strange ways of adults. Why don't they just say what they mean?  Maybe they were just trying to keep the secret of her surprise. 

Quietly, with no notice from the busy world outside and a crowd of busy professionals just doing their job and hiding any sorrow they might have felt , Gloria's hope died on the table.  She never had any name spoken, though what name she was given by a little girl may still live inside her heart if not forgotten in the clouds of experience and emotion that comes with living. Her perfect beautiful light left her pain-filled tiny body. 
   It was divided, separated by professionals plying the tools of their trade in providing a perfect brain her, a liver there.. 
"Don't damage the wares, slice carefully  for with your soul you pay your way."

Don't hate me
  The doctor executioner
   The nurse holding tiny dead hope in pieces
   The deliveryman carefully, quickly juggling the expensive wares of death
  The mother, trapped in dark patterns, trading hope for endless regret, with deep eyes full of longing that find only visions of tiny feet and perfect hands she'll never hold.
The father running from his demons and responsibility ,inability and pain.
Don't hate me. Help me.

Forgive me for judging- 
the outsider looking in who thinks you don't care because only a monster would kill their child, not understanding that no one will judge more harshly than one's self.
Forgive me for thinking that if I walked your road I would have done better.

  Love me 
I am a person 
Protect me 
Give me a name
Give me a voice
For though someday I may move mountains, sing the songs of the heart, save a life or be the greatest love of someone's life, today all I can do is love you. 
Please love me.

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