In that moment, all she could do was scream.
In that moment, when the little blue letters in the tiny clear window came into view, when the word "pregnant" materialized and her heart sank into her stomach, Dixie considered her present situation: No home. No husband. No job. No future.
Where do you turn when you don’t know if the father is that abusive boyfriend you recently escaped or just the latest guy? Who can you count on when every one of them is just as addicted and unprepared as you? What do you do when you’re neck-deep in self-destruction, when you’ve taken every drug you could get your hands on, when you’re terrified to even consider the possible birth defects?
If you’re a 19-year-old girl from northeast Texas, in that moment, the first thing you do is scream:
"Get this thing out of me right now!"
Dixie’s decision was made the moment she saw the test result. A visit to the pro-life Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) in Rockwall, Texas, was just a formality — a forgone waste of time.
"My mother brought me," Dixie says. "I remember telling her that I wasn’t going to have the baby. She lost it. She cried and pleaded with me."
Dixie came to the PRC in September 2008. That’s where she met a nurse named Leigh Ann.
"She first gave me a test to confirm I was pregnant," Dixie says. "She then spoke with me for hours. I told her why I’d made up my mind to have an abortion. I was terrified to have the baby because of all the drugs I had done."
Dixie’s life to this point was a buffet of bad decisions topped with an extra helping of misadventure. She told Leigh Ann about the abusive boyfriend and that she wasn’t even sure he was the father. No matter, she added, since none of the possible candidates was inclined to help take care of the baby.
"I remember Dixie’s tears streaming down her face," Leigh Ann says. "She felt defeated in life, ill-prepared for motherhood and like a failure on so many fronts." As their conversation ended, Leigh Ann offered to perform a sonogram. Dixie was shaking as together they watched the image appear.
"There was no mistaking what I was looking at," Dixie says. "The thing I remember the most was the heartbeat. I will never forget that sound."
Two years earlier, in the fall of 2006, the Pregnancy Resource Center received a grant for a new ultrasound machine through Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound Program. Leigh Ann has performed hundreds of sonograms with that Option Ultrasound machine. She says there are times — when the women stare at the child growing inside them, when they hear the first pulsating sounds of life — that she can almost see a client bond with her baby.
But that wasn’t the case with Dixie. Leigh Ann says she couldn’t get a read on the pretty young woman with hazel eyes and long brown hair. In fact, Dixie about bolted from the room as soon as her exam was over.
You see, Dixie’s appointment for an abortion was still set for 8 a.m. the next day. But when her alarm went off, all she can remember is rolling back over and telling herself, Don’t you dare get out of bed.
"And that’s where I lay," she says. "All day. Crying nonstop. Because I knew I couldn’t go through with it."
Dixie stopped using drugs the day she took the first pregnancy test. It wasn’t easy, but with help from the PRC, she found a job, an apartment and faith in God. Her daughter Desi was born in April 2009, and she is — in Dixie’s words — "wonderful and perfect." Today Dixie is a college graduate and a happily married mother of three.
In the last 10 years, Focus on the Family estimates that more than 300,000 women like Dixie have changed their minds about abortion as a result of the Option Ultrasound Program. Leigh Ann says about 80 percent of the PRC’s at-risk clients change their minds after a sonogram.
"Pregnancy centers simply could not be as effective without an ultrasound machine," she says. "Option Ultrasound changes lives."
"I know without a doubt," Dixie adds, "that my little girl wouldn’t be here without the sonogram I received that day."
300,000 women like Dixie have changed their minds about abortion as a result of the Option Ultrasound Program. This Focus on the Family program provides grants for ultrasound machines and professional sonography training to life-affirming clinics across the U.S. Learn more at Heartlink.org/OUPdirectors.cfm.
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This article appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2014 Focus on the Family. ThrivingFamily.com.