Amy never expected that what began as a simple fever would end in a hospital bed with a choice lying before her that would shape the rest of her life.
How did you find out that you were pregnant?
I was working that day. But I didn’t feel well, so I went to the doctor, and he gave me some antibiotics. But the next day the fever was worse. I can remember being in the ER and the doctor coming in to tell me I had a kidney stone and needed an operation. But there was a problem: they couldn’t operate because I was six weeks pregnant.
How did you react to the news?
I was scared and confused. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Looking back, there was always a part of me that wanted my son, even if it meant that I had to fight for him. But they told me that something could go wrong with the baby because of the surgery and that I had to have an abortion. I felt so many mixed emotions. It was like I was stuck between “should I or shouldn’t I?”
How did you make your decision?
I kept flip-flopping back and forth. The man I was with came to the hospital, but he left the decision up to me. There was so much pressure from the doctors, and I was afraid. I felt so depressed; I really didn’t care about myself, but I didn’t want anything to be wrong with the baby. It felt like I had no choice. I hesitated so long that the doctor called me from his home to ask: “Are you sure you are going to do it? I don’t want to come in if you are going to change your mind again.”
What happened next?
I remember lying in the hospital bed. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t breathe. I kept hearing someone call my name in hallway: “Amy, Amy.” I will never forget that voice. Somehow I got up and walked to the nurses’ station. I was surprised to see a priest standing there, and I asked him: “Did you call me?” He said “No, I didn’t call you.” I told him my name. He said: “You’re the next patient on my list. I was just on my way to visit you.” Then he looked at me and said: “Is something troubling you? You seem so anxious.” I said, “They are telling me that I have to have an abortion, and I don’t know what to do.” The priest asked if he could pray with me. He laid his hand on my forehead. Then he said, “What do you feel in your heart?” He asked me if I would like to talk to a Sister who would help me sort through my feelings. So I agreed, and he called her up right there in the hospital room.
How did your conversation with the Sister help you make up your mind?
I thought I was doing something wrong by wanting to keep the baby. I’ll never forget my conversation with Sr. Lucy. I felt like there was someone who understood me, who wasn’t saying: “How dare you have this baby!” I finally had the freedom to act on what I already knew in my heart.
Where do you think the voice came from that you heard calling your name?
I couldn’t have named it then, but now I would say that that it was the Holy Spirit’s voice, guiding me. I never saw that priest again; I didn’t know his name. But I will never forget the sound of that voice calling my name.
Where did you hear the voice of the Enemy in the midst of your decision?
I know the devil was trying to make me afraid. I heard him speaking through the doctors. I kept remembering stories I had heard about birth defects and children with disabilities. But I’ll never forget the doctor’s face when I refused to sign the papers authorizing the abortion. While I was still on the phone with Sister, he walked into the room pushing a wheelchair. He said: “Are we ready to go?” When I told him that I wasn’t going to do it, he was so mad. He turned beet red, like a tomato, and he yelled at me: “Do you understand what you are putting your body through? Your child is going to be retarded! We won’t be held responsible.” I said. “You know what? Goodbye!” and he left fuming. I could hear the Sisters cheering on the phone. After I gave birth and my son was healthy, I went to see that doctor again. I brought my son on purpose. He just stayed quiet.
After you made your decision, were you ever tempted to change your mind?
After the surgery was successful, I felt a lot of peace, especially when I first felt the baby move and kick. But when I was two months pregnant, the baby’s father left. I felt totally betrayed and alone. That’s when all the doubts starting coming back. I found myself having to make the decision over and over again. I was attacked with all these fears: “Your kid’s not going to have a father. You’re going to be all alone.”
How did you get through it?
I had my fears, but I also had faith. I think it was God giving me strength, giving me hope. I always felt like Anthony was mine; he was my child, and we were going to be all right. I had support from my friends and from the Sisters. Some of my coworkers threw me a baby shower, and my neighbors helped me out a lot.
How do you think you came to have such a strong faith?
I don’t really know. At that time I didn’t really know the Lord. But I think that phone call at the hospital was really the beginning. It awakened a curiosity in me about God. After that when I was walking through the city I used to stop in to visit Churches and just look around. It was years later that I really had an encounter with God, and I knew that He was with me.
Looking back on your decision, what difference do you think it has made in your life?
I feel like it was the best decision I ever made. Anthony is a character, a real jokester. He’s in fifth grade now. Having Anthony taught me how to fight to be a mother. If I hadn’t listened to that voice in my hospital bed, I don’t know where I would be now. I’ve been through much worse since then, but I have learned that there is a major difference between going through things with God and without Him. There are times when my spirit is down, but I just go back and see the hand of God in my life, and I am grateful for those moments. Sometimes I ask God, “Are you still around? Do you still love me?” He takes me back and says: “Remember this? Remember that?” God is love, and He doesn’t go back on His love. We do; we forget, but He doesn’t.
Amy is now married with a family. She is a beautiful witness of the Christian faith to other women who have come to her in similar circumstances. She has blessed our lives in a million ways.
Originally published in our Fall 2015 issue of Imprint.