She is pleasant and professional and says she needs to confirm my driver's license number before she can release my medical records, and the ultrasound picture I have requested. Brooke, from Planned Parenthood, explains that she can't really compare my signature since my last name has changed since marriage.
Of course, no problem, one moment please.
I quietly, quickly walk downstairs into the loud children's music, sound waves crashing over my sensitive heart, grab my wallet and read off the numbers as I re-ascend the steps.
It feels so surreal.
I am talking to a real person, from a real abortion clinic, and they have a real record proving that I was really there once upon a time... the me with a different name.
She confirms my identity. "Ok great... now I want to warn you... it may not be a great picture. They used microfilm back then so it will probably look like the negative of a film picture, it may not be very clear."
I swallow hard at the dry in my mouth. "I understand. I know it may not be a great picture, but if it's a picture of my baby, any picture, I still would like to have it."
I know my request is not a typical one. How many women call seven years after their abortion to ask to see the ultrasound picture of the child they loved less than self? To see the body from the last moments of wholeness?
When I had first spoken to a receptionist and asked this, my heart was pumping blood into head so light I could barely hear her response of silence followed by a confused ".... hold, please."
I was put on hold several times. You want what? I could hear the unspoken WHY?
Because, that picture is the only black and white evidence of the child who has so wrecked my heart with love for him/her... for the unborn... for my children... for the lonely, wounded, lost, labeled, those being led away to slaughter of body and soul... for the pierced, bloody hands of Him who took death away from me after I had invited it in.
Yes, I request it as soon as possible, please.
Brooke continues in her kind tone "well, would you like to have it mailed to you, or would you like to come in and pick it up?"
I could throw up. I don't remember the way back there. That small building that took several hundred dollars and my first child. I don't remember the date, or people's faces, or thinking much at all.
I do remember not being able to swallow the pain medication, and the not being able to have the stronger meds that would knock me out during the surgery because I had gone alone, and needed to be able to drive home. The nurses urging me to try again, offering concerned suggestions, but I simply could not swallow any experience-numbing pill down.
I do remember feeling the tugging, tearing, cramping... womb clinging tight to all that was meant to be held. The life being sucked out of me, gone in a few aching moments. I remember the silent bleeding.
Could I bear walking back into the place that dismembered my sweet child as a choice wisely made, a problem solved?
No, I stand still, clinging white-knuckled to Him who gave me a sound mind, hope and a future, please just mail it to me.
"Okay, it will probably be sent out on Monday..."
Monday, the day my loved ones celebrate my birth. The day 26 years ago my parents named me "dedicated to the LORD".
I haven't always been.
I will grieve for my child my whole life.
I KNOW and accept that I am forgiven, but that does not remove the scarring consequences of sin.
But He, the One who is redeeming my days, He love-whispers confirmation of my true identity.
I wear it on my wedding band, name forever changed and sealed by covenant vows of The Faithful One.
He gave me His Name. Unashamed banner of His love over me naming me His bride, uniting me with Life.
How can I not now be dedicated to the LORD?
How can I not scratch out gratitude for all so undeserved?
I weep thanks...
#209 baby girl standing slightly pigeon-toed, leg rolls sweetly stacking over soft knees
#210 the way baby loves to dance to music
#211 steam ribbons curling
#212 peace lily that thrives in spite of my inconsistent watering
#213 baby-sized wooden rocking chair, sweet gift from a sweet friend
#214 Alexa saying "Wok! Wok! Wok!" as she rocks back and forth, grinning with her little chiclet teeth
#215 girl-drawn chalk worlds, colorful imagination
#216 glass windows
#217 white rose valentine from my oldest little sister
#218 Michelle making Selah's day, week, with little valentine's day gifts
#219 warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies and cold milk
#220 husband and daughter snuggled, captivated, reading Farmer Boy
#221 moments of being aware the LORD is with me... that He wants to talk with me... that He loves me...
#222 free post-valentine's day helium filled balloons, days of child-joy
#223 Husband skipping soccer because he wanted to spend time with his girls
#224 a day of smooth, joyful homeschooling and house cleaning
#225 Little Girl so excited about having steamed kale with dinner, asking for seconds
#226 Baby Girl spitting out kale and her facial expression of "why are you trying to feed me this??"
#227 Selah humming The Blue Danube Waltz
#228 car windows smeared smokey by little hands
#229 budding trees
#230 conversations where one can speak freely about difficult things and still feel loved
#231 Husband who is supportive of what I feel God wants me to do with my time, energy, resources
#232 soft howling wind, being able to hear what I can not see
#234 clouds come down mid-afternoon, rolling white wonder in daylight
#235 a hand-scrawled note from a dear friend, states away but heart-close "...I am praying for you... the deepness and wideness of our God's love, that He came to be a tiny baby. You are loved, Elise, and FORGIVEN. Peace be with you, sweet friend."
And also with you.
Want to count undeserved, wildest grace with me? Maybe slip over here to see what this is all about?...