A Bridge to David
Author: Lucy Baby Name: David Jordan Birth Date: July 19, 1979 Abortion Date: February 17, 1979
This is my story.
Raised in a rural area of Maryland in the 1960’s and 70’s, I grew up a sheltered child, shielded from the ways of the world. When I went off to college nearly 1400 miles away in the late 1970’s, I was still that same sheltered, naïve, inexperienced teenager who knew practically nothing about life. In fact, I knew so little about the ways of the world that I didn’t even realize that I was 17 weeks along in a pregnancy of which I knew nothing about. Call it stupid, call it naïve, call it ‘how-could-anyone-be-that-dumb,’ or whatever you want to call it, but I had no idea that I was pregnant at any point during these four months. Of course, I knew about the concept of sex but I was naïve in the actual practice of it…it never even entered my head that with my first sexual encounter that it could, or would, happen to me…that I would conceive and carry a child within my womb.
The day it dawned on me that I might even be (pregnant), I was scared. In fact, I was more than scared – I was frightened out of my wits. I was 19 years old. Frightened. Alone. Trapped. Confused. And didn’t know where to turn. As it turns out, I turned down the wrong road – one that I thought was the easy one. But it wasn’t until years later that I found out that it was, really, a road of deception, and the hardest one of all to go down.
I didn’t know what to do or where to start. So one of my college friends told me about a place called Planned Parenthood; she said that they could help, and that I could get a free pregnancy test. I jotted down the address that I had found from the local phone book, walked the few miles it took to get to the place then told the lady behind the desk my plight. She gave me the test; my worst fears were realized within just a few short moments when the test came up positive. ‘But,’ she said, ‘not to worry because she was there to help me.’ She told me of a place located a few hours away ‘that would help me “get rid of my problem,” and that I’d better hurry up because I was pushing past the time that I could get it done, and that it really was for the best,’ she told me, ‘because the fetus was probably “already retarded or deformed” and I certainly didn’t want to have that, now would I?’ (I was still taking birth control pills at the time, hence the woman’s comment about my baby being deformed or retarded. I don’t even know if what she said is even really true.)
My initial thoughts at that point were: “How can I tell my parents? My Dad’s going to kill me. My Mom’s going to be so mad. What’s everybody going to think? How am I going to finish school? I don’t want to do this [go down to that clinic in Wichita], but if I do, then my ‘problem’ will be over with, and it’ll all be over.” But funny thing is (even though I’m not laughing), the ‘problem’ wasn’t over with…it was really only just beginning.
After my abortion, I was ushered into an altogether separate room from where the abortion itself had actually taken place. The “recovery” room (wow, what an oxymoron) was no more than a large, stark, white-painted room located at the back of the building. There, I was surprised to see a bunch of other females of varying ages – some in their teens and some who looked to be in their mid 40’s – lying motionless on skinny cots, struggling to take in what all had just happened to them. A few were even crying in their juice cups. Like them, I, too, was told to lie on a skinny cot, where it was now my turn to sob in my plastic cup.
But I didn’t cry. Not then, anyway. I think I was too numb and too dumb to know exactly what I had done. It wasn’t until some years later, when I saw what my baby really, actually looked like at 17 weeks in the womb (fully formed head, face, torso, arms and legs) that I shed my first real tears.
I do, still – even to this very day – vividly remember this one final panorama from the “recovery” room – just like it was still yesterday…I think the memory is permanently seared into my brain. Just like a herd of cattle, all the other women were, like me, unceremoniously lined up atop miniature-esque, white-sheeted gurneys in the overcrowded room –– the women’s vacant, empty stares fixated on a certain nothingness on the ceiling immediately above them, their expressionless faces overcome by the total unnatural shock to their systems. It was just like an awful scene from some bad, psychedelic, horror movie, except in this case, it was truly real.
And the abortion itself was, in actuality, something that if-I-had-known-exactly-what-they-were-going-to-do-I-never-would-have-done-it-kind-of-thing. After waiting for a time in the waiting room (where I truly thought about bolting but sat there, stupidly, like a good little girl), I was taken to a small, austere room, and for some reason, wondered if it had been recently cleaned (it’s funny, the thoughts that randomly enter your head in a given situation), and was then told to hop up on the examination table. The nurse who accompanied me said that she would be right back; shortly thereafter, both the nurse and the doctor entered the room together.
The doctor’s name was Dr. George Tiller, the one who was shot and killed in the spring of 2009. While the nurse held my hand, Dr. Tiller plunged an apparatus high up into my uterus, and then I heard this awful noise, like a vacuum cleaner, and felt this horrible, terrific pain. Through my writhing, the nurse told me that it would all be over with in a few minutes. And after he was finished, I saw Dr. Tiller turn to his right then throw something away in the plastic-lined garbage pail behind him. At the time, I had no conception (no pun intended) of what those trashed contents looked like. Now, however, I know that what he threw away was the broken body of my child: my baby’s head, torso, arms, legs, fingers and feet were literally torn into a tiny, mangled, hundred pieces.
And now, I stand here today, nearly 33 years later, knowing beyond knowing, that I made the BIGGEST MISTAKE of my life. Yet, even as of this morning, I sat on my bed crying uncontrollably – my chest heaving with heavy sobs, the clenching spasms of my vacant, empty abdomen aching a near-torrent flood of unrelenting sorrow for the one I let go. I know now, that I have missed out. And my husband missed out. And our other three adult children missed out. But more importantly, my child, who would now be a grown man if I had allowed him to live, would have, in all likelihood, been married with children of his own.
And I have also found in the years that have gone by that how a person feels when she is young is not necessarily how she will feel when she is older, and has, for all intents and purposes, matured somewhat. I know now that when I found out that I was pregnant, it wasn’t all about me. It was about an altogether other person: the one who was forming and growing within my womb. I can bet that if my baby had been given a vote about whether he would have liked to have lived or died, I can assure you that he would have voted for life, and the right to live. Because, I know now, that it wasn’t my right to make that decision…about whether he lived or died. No more than it was my mother’s right to make that decision about me. For we shouldn’t have that kind of power. No one should. Because the gift of life is a gift from God.
The fact is, a woman’s body was meant for life and for the nurturing of that life. It was never meant for death. The death of one’s child is anathema to a mother. The stark emptiness and anguished pain that I feel about my aborted child I liken to how a mother feels when she sees a stranger approach her [own flesh and blood] son or daughter, and then she witnesses, firsthand, that stranger shooting, or stabbing or bludgeoning her beloved child right in front of her very eyes. That is the real pain and heartache of a mother who loses her child – even in the case of losing that child through abortion.
You know, it’s not really about a woman’s particular situation or circumstance or what she has going on in her life at the time she gets pregnant. The funny thing is, there is never a really “good” time to get pregnant. But reality is, is that women do become pregnant, every single day. And whether they know it or not or whether they decide to keep the baby or not, in that instant, their life changes, and changes forever. Because no matter what a woman’s decision, she will forever know that she IS a MOTHER. Nothing will ever change that, or erase that fact. Not even death.
The following is something I wrote not too long ago about my personal experience with my abortion. Maybe others will figure out before it’s too late, what I found out too late. It’s called “ME._ _ _ _ _A BRIDGE TO DAVID.
ME._____A BRIDGE TO DAVID
PICTURE OF ME IN MY EARLY 30’S.
That was me.
PICTURE OF ME IN MY EARLY 20’S.
No, that was me.
PICTURE OF ME IN MY LATE TEENS.
That was me.
Fresh-faced, rosy cheeked, bright-eyed.
Up-turned, smiling lips, crinkled eyes against my taut skin.
But was that me?
That façade behind the façade?
The mask that never gave up?
Rushing headlong into open arms, one after another?
Never schooled on the ways of life.
A confused little girl.
Not knowing which way to turn.
So I turned to that which was facing me.
They were everywhere.
All with their arms stretched out.
All the same.
I was innocent.
Yet not innocent.
I did not know.
But I knew.
Something inside told me that it was wrong.
But I went the way of everyone.
Innocence of my youth.
Virtue gone astray.
Still steeped in an abyss of loneliness, all the same.
And so I hid.
Hid behind the pain.
Interred within my upturned smile.
Blanketed from my righteous, beloved father.
Veiled from my faithful, admired mother.
And now, three.
The greatest one was three.
Put out of sight that which plagued my mind.
I thought I could bury it.
In the rubble heap.
Far away from the recesses of my brain.
I thought it would all go away.
“My ‘problem’ would be over,” I lied to myself.
It will all go away.
And then I’ll be free.
Free to be me.
But the load that I carried
Weighed down in the years of my upturned face
Emptied that day
The ruse gone without a trace.
For me had finally caught up with me.
I heard it first in my newborn’s cry.
At the sound of pitter-patter feet.
Shadow’s past of what was past,
Of what could have been…
But I denied.
A life lost,
Yet to mourn.
I pushed it down some more.
Went on my way, did I
And tried to hide the lie.
But a lie never dies.
For it’s a weed, you see,
Taking root down deep.
Taking root down deep.
Tentacles cracking the surface,
Of something dark,
The tiny holes they tear
Through the heart of pain
Shattered now, broken in two
That was Me.
Drenched now in a life of
A life it was.
A life it is.
A life he was.
A life she is.
The greatest gift
One could ever know.
A Gift of Love
I threw away that day
For I was blind.
I could not see,
What was right there in front of me…
For what it’s truly worth.
The Gift of Life.
That Gift of Love.
A beautiful treasure,
All tenderly wrapped
Gently tied with cords of pleasure,
…His life all mapped.
Ah, but now awake.
He blinks…then sucks her thumb…
And wriggles his perfect nose.
Tired now, she yawns.
He was there, concealed.
Happily snuggled warm in my womb.
Waiting…just waiting…to be revealed,
All for me!
But because I had neither compass nor map
Tossed my precious gift aside
And left him there
On the gurney to die.
For my womb,
Only meant for life,
And life alone,
Became my unborn child’s
Very own Deathbed tomb.
Was waiting there for me
With open arms
For me to see.
To be loved and taught,
To be sat upon my knee.
Him – my son – upon my lap,
Up and down he squealed,
Oh, so happily…
But I regarded him not worthy enough
And thought of him…
My Beautiful, Precious, Unmatched Gift
As nothing more than non-human stuff.
For you see,
It was all about
Everything covered will be uncovered.
That which is hidden will be revealed.
(From the book of Revelation)