(Save the 1) New Year’s Eve 1991, I was invited to go bowling with a small group of people who I hadn’t known for very long and didn’t know very well at all. We bowled and we drank, but I don’t remember much more. I don’t remember leaving the bowling alley, but I remember seeing headlights on our way somewhere.
I have no idea how I got into a hotel room. I only remember opening my eyes and knowing that someone was on top of me. It took me a minute to comprehend what was happening. I felt dazed. Once I realized the situation I was in, my mind was screaming for me to push him off, but my body wouldn’t do what I wanted it to. I had no strength. None. I was dead weight. I am certain I was drugged. I looked at my hands laying by my sides and kept saying to myself, “Lift your hands; push him off!!” I stared at my hands waiting for them to do what I was telling them to, but they never did and I passed back out.
After waking up naked, confused, cold and terrified, I found my way home. I didn’t leave my house much. That went on for weeks. I didn’t tell anyone what happened. I felt depressed and dirty, and I wasn’t getting out of bed very often. Then, about the time I was beginning to come out of the “fog” of the incident, I began getting sick — every morning.
I looked in the phone book and found a place that specializes in “crisis pregnancies.” I called and made an appointment. February 14, 1991 — Valentine’s Day. I pee’d in a cup and waited for the results that I already knew the answer to. The lady came to the waiting area and took me back into a room to give me my results where several counselors were waiting. They told me I was pregnant and had a video for me to watch. I watched. I watched the life cycle of the baby in my tummy. I learned about the heart developing. This baby already has a heartbeat. As I left the building, that’s what I couldn’t get out of my head: a heartbeat.
I drove away from there a very scared 18 year old and felt I had to tell someone. I chose my sister. When I arrived, she looked so beautiful in a red formal dress, busy blowing up balloons, preparing for her engagement party to her future husband. It was just me and her in the room. “I’m pregnant.” I wasn’t feeling the excitement, but she had enough for both of us and it gave me hope. She could feel my despair, but never wavered.
One by one, I told those close to me about the “incident” and about the pregnancy. I was blessed to have such a loving and supportive family. We’ve always been very close. I’m grateful I was surrounded by their love. It would carry me through the next eight months of pregnancy, and far beyond.
As I was going to sleep one night, I began praying to God. My Dad was a minister. My parents were missionaries when I was much younger and I had been raised in church my entire life. As I lay there, I told God my hurt and my fear. I told him that I choose life for this baby and we’re in His hands.
I opened my eyes the next morning and took a minute staring at the ceiling. During the night I had a vivid dream. I dreamt that I had a healthy, red-headed, beautiful baby girl. I thought to myself, “red-headed?”
On October 12, 1991, the contractions began. I called my brother who wasn’t very far away. After placing trash bags on all the seats, he let me in the car. Away we went. My mom soon arrived at the hospital with us. Now it was just me and her, and the Doctor in the room, and things were getting real.
Twelve hours had past and finally Kayla Ann was here. My mom held her briefly, counted her fingers and toes and then handed me my healthy, red-headed, beautiful baby girl — just like in my dream, only better.
“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5
Kayla Ann got married a few years ago. She asked me to walk her down the aisle. As we walked together, my mind was like a movie reel of memories. I captured those memories in a poem for her:
It’s a girl, I heard them say and the journey began that autumn day.
God decided that it’s you and me, by each other’s side we will always be.
One years old! You’re walking! Starting school, you won’t stop talking…
Caught another fish, made a dandelion wish. Honor rolls, field trips, laughter and tears,
Sweet sixteen…..now you’re grown….. I’d do it all over again.
Gorgeous eyes and confidence, you’ve persuaded hard hearts to buy into this.
My bond with you, nothing compares, they have no idea, they’ve never been there.
Don’t walk, Stomp your own path! Do your thing and never look back.
My heart explodes with gratitude that I was given this gift to be paired with you.
You are love, you are laughter, you are my Happy Ever After.
There was always a voice in my head telling me that I could have an abortion and it would fix everything. The truth is, choosing life fixed everything. I’m thankful every day that I didn’t buy into the lie. My daughter and the two incredible grandsons that she’s given me fixed everything. They have turned my sorrow into joy.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at Save the 1, and is reprinted here with permission.