The war of words will be a bit quieter after this Tuesday when Americans choose this nation’s direction for the next four years. In the last analysis, people will vote according to their personal world view, believing and hoping that their electoral two cents will make a difference for the better.
I need to share my own story with you. This incident really occured as written and it has deeply and permanently shaped my own world view.
I walked into the nurses’ station just after 11:00 p.m. I was a “float” nurse, assigned where needed in our city’s second largest hospital. Paula (name changed), the older nurse in charge on this gynecological unit, told me to pass medications for all the patients except for the girl in room S60.
“She’s having a saline abortion.” Paula informed me as if that explained everything.
“I’m not familiar with that procedure,” I managed to croak as my stomach sank.
Paula explained: “The amniotic fluid is removed and replaced by saline. This kills the fetus and contractions are induced to expel the uterine contents. I don’t want to prolong her labor with narcotic medication, so that’s why I don’t want you to medicate her.”
I took a deep breath. Oh Paula, there is no way I could go into that room anyway.
As I answered call lights, passed medication, and made the usual nursing assessments, the cries from the girl in S60 struck like daggers into my heart. “Mommy! Mommy!” she screamed at intervals that grew closer and closer. How old is she, I wondered. I could feel death stalking the hospital unit, serenaded by the pitiful cries of a young girl. Then there was silence. Paula walked out of S60 carrying a white plastic bucket and entered the utility room.
Like a predator, I waited for Paula to leave the room and turn the corner. I entered and took the bucket down from the shelf. With a deep breath, I lifted the lid and looked in. There, lying on its side was a perfectly formed, ever so tiny infant with black hair. Little legs curled up as if he or she were only asleep. Tiny hands and fingers lay unmoving. My eyes filled with tears and it felt as if even the walls surrounding me vibrated against an unspeakable evil.
I returned the bucket to the shelf and went into the rest room and sobbed. After a while I gathered myself together and finished that busy shift.
I have never forgotten that night. The image of that dead infant, that little person with a life denied, sears my mind every time someone tries to give me a good reason why abortion should be legal.