The Grand Adventure
Two weeks after my 22nd birthday, I packed every item I owned into the back of my Nissan Versa and made the 16 hr drive from Dallas, TX to Steamboat Springs. I had no plans, no goals, and no ambition. My life in Dallas felt stagnant, and I craved a change. An adventure.
My first weeks in Steamboat were a celebration of my youth, which was all I felt I had at the time. Alcohol, new friends, boys, and pot were the components of my late nights. One of these nights in particular led to a risky one night stand with a man who was practically a stranger. I tried to fix my mistake by taking the morning after pill the next day. I put the situation in the back of my mind and continued down my path of self destruction.
A few weeks went by and I began to feel strange. What I thought was altitude sickness was not subsiding. My roommate suggested I take a pregnancy test. I half-heartedly agreed, thinking there was no way I could be pregnant. I thought I was dreaming when two pink lines showed up almost immediately on the test. I will never forget the wave of sheer panic that followed the shock. Minutes later, I was in my car, racing to an abortion provider.
As I waited in the office for the results of the confirmation pregnancy test, I prayed that this was all somehow a mistake. The look on the doctor’s face when she walked in wiped away any trace of hope I had for that. I cried and asked the doctor what I should do. She told me she didn’t know. I asked her what she would do in my situation. She told me she couldn’t answer that. She went over the process for an abortion with me, and I asked her if I could have one that day. She told me the clinic only did abortions on Wednesday, and since it was Thursday, I would have to wait another week. I don’t remember what happened next, but I know I walked out of the clinic with an appointment for the following Wednesday.
I went home and cried in my bed. I called my friends back home and I cried some more. I didn’t stop crying for three days. I never wanted to be in this situation. I swore I would never terminate a pregnancy, but I felt as if I had no choice. I was single, working a minimum wage job, and living 1000 miles away from the only home I had ever known. I had no one to talk to face to face about my dilemma, so I searched the internet. I read stories from women who had had abortions and cried about the fate I felt I couldn’t escape. I was dreading Wednesday.
I Realized I Had Help, and That Changed Everything
Later in the week, a friend I had made in town mentioned Selah, then called the Steamboat Pregnancy Resource Center to me. Just hearing the name gave me a sense of peace. Resource. Something I felt I had absolutely none of. I walked in without an appointment and the staff greeted me warmly. I explained my situation to the advocate; I told her I was pregnant from a one night stand and had no family in town. She comforted me as I went through a box of tissues. She helped me calculate what my due date would be for the pregnancy I was carrying and explained the development of a 6-week old unborn baby looked like. For the first time, I started to think about the person I was carrying inside of me.
I went home that night, questioning the plans I had for an abortion. I knew there was another soul growing inside of me. But I still felt overwhelmed with fear about going through with the pregnancy.
The next morning, I went back to Selah. At my request, the staff had arranged for two women to speak with me. I wanted to hear what it was like for women who had been in my shoes at one point in their lives and had chosen different paths. One to carry the pregnancy and one to terminate. They told me about how their choices affected their lives and how they felt while making them. As I listened to one of the women who spoke of her life as a single mom and how enriched and purposeful her life was and still is, I began to feel like I could do it too. That morning, it became clear to me that I would not be alone in my journey, and right then and there, I mustered up the courage to keep my baby.
The next day, Selah took me to my first ultrasound, and from the moment I heard my son’s heartbeat, I was completely in love. I kept the pictures of that little bean growing inside of me in my dresser drawer and pulled them out 30 times a day to gaze at them. They were the most beautiful images I had ever seen.
Selah gave me so much. They gave me counseling and baby supplies. They paid my phone bill so that I could stay in touch with my mom and friends back home. They gave me support. They gave me courage. They gave me love. Selah stopped me from walking away from the most incredible gift that God has ever given me. My beautiful son, L.
The gifts keep coming, though. My son has given me a purpose in life, and he has shown me what it is to love. I now love my family, my friends, and even complete strangers with a completely different magnitude. My heart grows more and more each day because of my little ray of sunshine. I look at him and cannot imagine the world without his unique personality. He’s a natural comedian and he doesn’t even know it. One morning I made him scrambled eggs for breakfast. He took a bite and said “Mmmm! These are not disgusting!”
Even though we’ve had challenges, I can’t imagine my world without him.