Recently, a 15-year-old arrived with her non-English speaking mom for an ultrasound. Alina*
was very quiet, pleasant, and easily maintained eye contact. Alina calmly stated that she wanted to have an abortion and explained that she “has many things she wants to do and raising a baby would change all that.” Both her parents and the father of the baby said they would support her, whatever she chose to do. Alina was left alone to make one of the biggest and possibly most devastating decisions of her life and she is still just a child herself. We briefly talked about adoption, but Alina stated that she would “never be able to go through with an adoption”.
My heart sank. Not knowing what to say next, I quietly prayed to myself.
I started the ultrasound, and we began to glimpse what was happening in her womb. Alina’s mom joined us, and Alina translated our conversation into her mom’s native dialect. A very tiny baby with a very tiny heartbeat flickering on the screen showed up. I carefully explained when the heart starts beating, what the size of this baby is equivalent to in size (a small raisin), and other fetal development facts. There was little reaction from Alina or her mom. Nothing. No emotional responses at all.
At that moment, it seemed like the images of her child and the information I shared had not made a difference. As we wrapped up the appointment, I gently asked if the ultrasound had influenced her stated plan to abort. Alina emphatically but pleasantly answered “No.” Another follow-up ultrasound was offered at a time when the father of the baby could also be present. She didn’t give me an answer but did allow me to close our time together in prayer. All I could think was, “Ok, God, it’s all you. I didn’t seem to make much of a difference.”
Time slowly passed. Phone calls were left unanswered and messages were not returned. The team continued to pray for God’s powerful intervention on behalf of this young mom and her unborn child. Finally, after several weeks, a phone call from one of our nurses was answered! Alina was thrilled to share that her parents had a change of heart, they were now embracing the pregnancy, and she was excited to continue the pregnancy and raise her child.
I was reminded of an important truth that day: we can never underestimate the impact that ultrasound has on a person, no matter how bleak the situation appears. God can work in all circumstances, and everyday hearts are being changed and lives are being saved.
By Carey Eberhart, RN, Nurse Director
*Name changed for privacy