Submitted by: Carolyn Klair, RDMS, Director of Client Services
Recently in a nurse interview, we were discussing that being a nurse at PDHC is truly a calling. Not for money, not for status, but truly a calling into serving women who are making a decision with life-or-death consequences.
Our nurses are incredible in the skillset of nursing, compassionate care and in limited OB ultrasound. Limited OB ultrasound is a limited scan that allows a nurse and the reading physician to determine whether a pregnancy is viable or not. It focuses on whether the pregnancy is inside the uterus, if there is a heartbeat, and how many weeks the baby is based on biometric measurements.
You or your loved one may have experienced a nurse doing your ultrasound in a limited capacity in the past if you ever had an IV inserted and the nurse found your vein using ultrasound. During pregnancy, doctors may request an ultrasound to determine if there is too much or too little amniotic fluid around a preborn baby or to verify the direction that a baby is turned. This ultrasound may have been scanned by a nurse trained in limited OB ultrasound.
At PDHC, our nurses go through hundreds of observation hours with both nurses and sonographers doing limited OB ultrasounds. Our nurses participate in an intensive didactic training and a clinical program where the nurses practice 50 -100 limited OB ultrasounds under direct supervision before they are considered to be reviewed and signed-off by a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credentialed in OBGyn and then an OBGyn medical doctor.
Training for PDHC nurses does not stop when the OBGyn physician says they are ready to scan independently. Each year, our nurses receive ongoing didactic and clinical training. Practical scanning reviews are given each year by a RDMS, as well. Because of their training and practical application in ultrasound, PDHC nurses often recognize when what they are seeing on ultrasound is not what they expect to see. In these critical situations, immediate medical attention is necessary to rule out a serious and potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.
During our time of continuing education in ultrasound, a nurse shared a case study where she suspected a pregnancy outside of the uterus. The nurse explained that after she did the client's ultrasound, she educated the client on both ectopic and miscarriage information and the importance for her to be evaluated immediately at the nearest emergency room. The PDHC nurse offered continuity of care with the healthcare professionals at the hospital and the client was evaluated. The client's diagnosis at the hospital was ectopic pregnancy and it was surgically removed. After the surgery, the client was sharing her story with one of the hospital staff. Our client told the staff member that she was first evaluated by PDHC. Upon mentioning that she went to PDHC, a nurse in the background interrupted and said that PDHC was not a real healthcare facility. The client voiced her disagreement because she felt PDHC was the reason she was able to tell her story with a positive outcome and that her nurse at PDHC offered excellent care for which she was very thankful.
Stories about lives saved and changed are stories we at PDHC are blessed to hear every day. Our exceptional nurses and staff offer compassionate and skilled care that cannot be denied and you can feel confident in recommending and supporting. Thank you for making it possible through remembering us in your prayers today!
Young, confused, scared, Ka'Nia came to PDHC to confirm her pregnancy and to discuss her options. Torn between what she felt would be best for her life, her baby and how her mom would react to the pregnancy, she was feeling truly undecided. She shared that the father of the baby was also very scared about the situation. Her pregnancy test was positive, and she was offered an ultrasound where everything began to change. Once our client saw her baby and heard the heartbeat, she began asking more questions about the baby and how to keep it healthy. The nurse shared resources and medical care that would meet her specific healthcare needs. Ka'Nia left equipped with all the options and resources necessary to make a truly informed decision. Most importantly, she left with the message that We (PDHC and God ) are here for her and truly care about her.
Although PDHC staff consistently reached out to her to see how she was doing, there was no response. Until, one day, Ka'Nia replied that things were going well for her and that she decided to keep her baby and he would be arriving soon.
Ka'Nia visited the center with her baby Izaiah and his very proud grandma to introduce her baby to Nurse Kara and Coordinator Sarah and to pick up a baby layette. During this appointment, our staff and volunteers have an opportunity to check to see how mom and baby are doing and make referrals to additional resources, introduce our parenting class program to earn diapers, wipes and clothing and to take time to hear the client's pregnancy journey and give the client the opportunity to share her story with each of you. Here is what the client shared:
" I decided to come here (to PDHC) to confirm my pregnancy and I do not regret (it). The staff here talked, prayed, and showed that they really cared. I was not sure about my decision, and they helped a lot!! They were (the) support I needed and also still a good friend. I am so glad that I chose this place. Thank you".
I came to PDHC after finding out I was pregnant and truly didn't believe it was possible. Karoline spent over an hour with me discussing the pregnancy and all of my concerns. Karoline allowed me to feel heard in my very difficult circumstances and in all that I have been through. Alyssa was thenurse who did my ultrasound, and she was very gentle and comforting throughouthe ultrasound. Karoline, Alyssa and others at PDHC, continued to follow-up with me aIl throughout my pregnancy offering as much support as possible. I am taking parenting classes too. With the support and encouragement of PDHC, I was able to bring my beautiful and healthy daughter into this world after several losses. I am very grateful for PDHC and don't feel alone because of them.
Last fall, I had the opportunity to meet with a client; we'll call her Julie. Julie came to PDHC after she had scheduled, rescheduled and cancelled two abortion appointments prior to coming to PDHC. She has experienced more in her young life than anyone should have to in a lifetime. From assaults, to rape, to sex trafficking, to drug and alcohol addictions, Julie was caught in a cyclical pattern of hurt and abuse. She had graduated from a half-way house earlier in the year and was sober for a short time until she met a man who abused her and used her to earn more money and drugs.
Julie relapsed after months of sobriety. When she discovered that she was pregnant with much courage and strength, she refrained from drug and alcohol abuse and she fled the toxic environment she was living in to stay with a family member.
When she arrived at PDHC, she was inquiring about the baby before she went through with an abortion. After her consultation and during her ultrasound, her baby measured over 20-weeks gestation! Julie was tearfully watching as her baby moved, kicked and jumped around on the ultrasound screen. She stated "I didn't know the baby was that big...It's really hard to think of aborting the baby after I saw how big and formed he was". As her nurse, we then discussed fetal development and what an abortion at this gestation would entail. The client left our center with a handful of resources, including counseling, sober-living encouragement, and doctor's referral for fetal development after exposure to drugs in utero.
Two weeks later, Julie contacted me through our hotline and explained that she had decided to keep the baby and had a doctor's appointment scheduled to begin prenatal care. She contacted her sober-living home and is back in therapy. She also signed up for our parenting classes to earn material aid and was very engaged in the program.
Recently, I had the opportunity to see Julie and her baby GIRL again, but this time, she was in her arms. Julie has remained sober and had an uncomplicated delivery of a healthy baby girl- Praise God! Her family and community have rallied around her to support her. After I provided her with help breastfeeding, Julie looked at me and said, "Alyssa it's so surreal being here...I can't believe I considered aborting her...but now I'm a mom and I can't imagine my life without her".
Julie has a deep love for her child and is seeking help and healing from her past traumas. She is still actively involved in our parenting education program and benefiting from other PDHC partnering community resources. God used this pregnancy in Julie's life to save her from the chains of abuse and addiction. What an amazing, brave and selfless thing she did to say YES to life for this child- and herself!
by Nurse Alyssa
A young woman, let’s call her Susie, was referred to us by a family member. After Susie’s abortion she experienced bouts of sleeplessness, crying, extreme anger, and had threatened suicide. Susie sought help from professional counselors but was unable to schedule an appointment in a timely manner. Her family member knew she needed immediate intervention and found our abortion recovery program online. Our Healing Services Team met and talked with both Susie and her family member to connect Susie with the PDHC Abortion Recovery (aR) Programs.
Susie said she had been happy about the pregnancy and shared the news with her family, friends, and co-workers. She was shocked when her boyfriend balked at the idea of having a child and insisted that she abort. She had never given a great deal of thought to having children, but assumed that if it happened, they would both be excited. Instead, her boyfriend stated he wasn’t interested in children but had other life goals. This led to escalating arguments. Susie was emotionally and economically dependent on the relationship and eventually gave in to the boyfriend’s wishes. She immediately regretted her decision.
After the abortion, Susie continued her relationship with the boyfriend, but the reality of what she had done and her misjudgment of him began to haunt her and led to the emotional state her family member was witnessing.
Susie understood that we who work in abortion recovery are also post-abortive. She opened up right away and, amid her tears and trembling, was eager to talk about her situation.
Our time together was a condensed example of each of the steps of the L.O.V.E. Approach, all in one session. I “L”istened as Susie talked about her feeling that she was getting worse--as she would still be pregnant and was fixated on her due date. The regret she felt, her anger at her boyfriend, and another significant loss—the death of a beloved family member, were all contributing to her emotional distress. She also felt triggered by the fact that several people in her life were pregnant.
As she talked about her desire to continue her education, it was a perfect time to talk about “O”pening “O”ptions in terms of her career and the relationship. For the first time, Susie concentrated on her hopes and dreams.
“V"ision and “V”alues became a natural part of the conversation. Susie expressed fear at the idea of starting over with a new relationship, but she knew that she and her boyfriend did not share the same priorities in life and that she now knew she wanted a family with children. She also recognized her abortion went against her core beliefs, beliefs the boyfriend did not share.
We extended her an invitation to attend a monthly drop-in aR Connection Meeting, and to join an abortion recovery healing group. Just knowing that we were here for her and that she would be in a group in a short period of time empowered Susie and gave her hope. She was also encouraged to journal about her relationship and her vision for her future. She was reminded that God loves her and forgives her.
About three weeks into our group, Susie announced that continuing the relationship with her boyfriend was not the best decision for her and that she was making decisions that were much healthier for her life.
Susie shared, “The support has been more helpful than I thought possible. I feel free and closer to God than ever before.” She went on further to write, “I will never be able to find the words to tell you how thankful I am for meeting you guys this year. You have restored my faith in God and in myself, something I never thought possible a few months ago. I am so appreciative of PDHC. I can’t wait to continue this healing journey.”
There is an exciting postscript to this story. A few weeks ago, Susie invited us to attend her baptism, where we met her family who referred her to us. We are happy to report that Susie is continuing on the pathway to healing and a free and transformed life in Christ.
An 18 yr old client walked into our Campus center after trying to go to Planned Parenthood next door for a pregnancy test. PDHC services were explained to her, and she decided to stay for an appointment. She had just been to the ER this week for other reasons and there they informed her that she was pregnant and referred her to Planned Parenthood. She expressed confusion and wondered if the hospital was trying to tell her to have an abortion? She was not planning to become pregnant as the father of her baby is her ex-boyfriend who she does not wish to be around, but she stated that she wants to keep her baby if she is pregnant. Before coming to PDHC, her ex-boyfriend had ordered an abortion pill online and tried to trick the client into taking it by telling her it was Tylenol for her headache. We were able to comfort the client and talk with her about her boyfriend trying to pressure her to have an abortion. She was given support and resources to give her courage in her decision and keep her safe and is receiving ongoing support from the staff of PDHC.
A client arrived today insistent about needing the abortion pill and although the hotline had clearly stated what our services are - she was angry and confused about why she could not get the abortion pill from us and turned to leave.
Attempting to engage her with a few questions, she told us she had already been to Planned Parenthood a month ago for an ultrasound which prompted a long conversation with her and revealed that she was, in fact, too far along to legally obtain the abortion pill.
When we asked if she knew what her options were-she said no. Again, we offered for her to stay for an ultrasound and consultation. She finally agreed.
Her initial intake revealed little about why she felt so strongly that abortion was her only option. The ultrasound showed an 11 week baby - fully formed and "bouncing" on the screen.
The nurse asked her if she wanted a boy or girl.
Her answer: I don't want a baby.
But when the nurse showed baby on the TV screen and showed her that she in fact already had a baby and then went on to describe her only abortion option- a surgical abortion - the client shuddered and then took out the abortion education information that we had handed her when she was threatening to walk out- and ripped it up and threw it on the floor!!!
The client said - I thought it was just eggs- there are arms and legs already??
I could never do that (abortion) and said "I think I want a girl".
The nurse reassured her that we would walk with her in this pregnancy and informed her of parenting classes and other community services to support her. She left with images of her child and pink booties in hand and allowed the nurse to pray over her and her child.
This is such a wonderful example of the power of ultrasound!
Taking place this month was the 50th annual March for Life event, held on Friday, January 20th in Washington D.C., and the first in a post-Roe America with the theme Next Steps: Marching into a Post-Roe America.
PDHC staff nurse Kathy was one of thousands who attended, and she shared her experience:
“My first March for Life was amazing.... the 50th anniversary and the first in our post-Roe world. So. Many. People. I loved the speakers at the rally beforehand – senators/congressmen, coaches, musicians, nuns, priests, pastors, student leaders, activists, medical professionals and even the actor who plays Jesus in the Chosen!
We heard from pioneers in the movement – not unlike our own Peggy Hartshorn- who have been in this fight all 50 years. It was truly inspiring to see all the young people – I am guessing that 2/3 of the people there were under 25- I loved it. It gave me so much hope that the value of life lives on in the future generation.
It was loud and yet peaceful, prayerful, and joyful, and inspirational. I was so proud to be a part of it. I was by myself and so I really chose to march and pray - feeling like I was representing PDHC and all of our clients and babies and families. It had been a rough week here on the "front line" - I had a client with an addiction who had been forced into an abortion , a client whose infant died and another whose father was killed by gun violence. It was a lot.
The tone of the March was certainly celebratory (overturning Roe v Wade) but also passionate about the work still to do - MAKING ABORTION UNTHINKABLE- changing hearts. And then there was a tone of mourning for the lives lost in the last 50 years.
I have concluded that the wonderful design of God for the body of believers/for the church and indeed for the pro-Life community at large is diverse for a reason. Each has an indispensable gift from God – they may not know what it is like to serve on the front line, but I don’t know what it is like to live out pro-life values on campus or at the pulpit. It is so good to know that we don’t have to function in gifts for which God has not equipped us. And I know also that I am still being equipped each day for this work. The body of Christ and the pro-life community is diverse, amazing, skilled, and passionate.
If you ever get the chance to go – it is inspiring,” she stated.
"PDHC has been very supportive to me throughout my pregnancy journey and for that I'm grateful. They supported me spiritually, physically, and emotionally. They taught me how to take care of my baby through their parenting classes. My journey has been a very beautiful one and I'm thankful to God to be a part of the PDHC family."
~PDHC Mom Kadiatu
Baby Boy John Ezra
Born August 24, 2022
Every client is unique. Exactly the way God made her. Her experiences, thoughts, feelings…they’re all unique to her. Our job, is to find the common thread between us and her. What is that one thing that connects us as we work to build trust? That one thing is often the most simple, we’re both human. The world around us is spinning but in these centers, in these rooms, we find peace. We find commonality. We find understanding. We both have had seasons of uncertainty. Of fear. Of panic. Yes, we’re both human. And we’re so thankful for that reminder. That at any given moment in our lives, we could be sitting where she is. In fact, some of us have. We sit in gratitude and thankfulness that we’re not there anymore. And thankful that the Lord has allowed us to partner in this work.
As we as an organization walk through a season that is new territory for all of us, we can’t help but feel the love of the Lord around us. The work we get to do each day, for these women, it’s special. Important. Holy. They let us into those secret places. And we honor their trust with our commitment to supporting them through it all.
So today, and everyday we remain thankful that they let us in. That they allow us to walk with them. That they invite us in to a small portion of their lives. And we are thankful.
Thankful for the woman who has struggled through infertility for years, only to find herself pregnant in a time of destitution for her family. We are thankful she has made repeated visits to us and allowed us to be a part of this time.
Thankful for the families that trust in us for their education as they work to learn how to build a healthy family.
Thankful for the women who come back to us after choosing abortion “just to talk”.
Thankful for every client that has the bravery to speak with our connections team, often in the middle of the night.
Thankful for all of you who continue to lift us up in prayer. For all of you who support us in all the ways that you do. In this time of uncertainty, we are so so thankful.
Submitted by Noelle, PDHC Director of Client Services