I think I literally pinched myself. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Allie was standing in front of me—her eyes were bloodshot and her hands were shaking. She was pregnant.
How did I feel? I felt proud. I was definitely afraid, but there was also an overwhelming sense of pride. I was a dad. I was flooded with images of future milestones—first word, first day of school, graduation, marriage.
I snapped out of my daydream with the sharp sound of a cry. Allie’s one-year-old had woken up and was squirming in his car seat.
Ben was my boy, too. I came into the picture when Allie was pregnant. I love him and he loves me, but I wasn’t his dad. He had his own dad who he spent weekends with and who would be there for all of those first moments. I’ll always love Ben and treat him like my own, but this new baby was my flesh and blood and I couldn’t believe the feeling of pride that came with that.
Then I looked back in her eyes. They reflected something different. Instead of pride, I saw pure panic. She broke down crying in my arms telling me that she couldn’t do it. What did she mean, she “couldn’t do it?”
Abortion. For Allie, that was the only way. And I could understand why. She’s already a mom. She knows the difficulties—the late nights, early mornings, the constant diaper changes. I’d been with her since before Ben was born, but she always felt somewhat alone having been left by Ben’s birth father. I assured her she wouldn’t be alone.
We were both so young–I had just turned 20 and didn’t have a steady job. But I was willing to work hard for this. In fact, this made working hard finally worth it.
Either way, we figured we might as well go confirm the pregnancy was even viable. We visited First Option Care where we heard we could get a free ultrasound and pregnancy test. As soon as we walked in, I felt comforted. Everyone I talked to congratulated me for being a dad and Allie was treated with love and compassion.
She was brought back to the back room to confirm her pregnancy and I stayed up front reading pamphlets. I learned that my baby already had a heartbeat and that the center we were at provided free classes where you could actually earn money to put towards baby items.
Allie came out from the back with the counselor and told me we had another appointment two weeks later to get an ultrasound. This made me hopeful, but Allie was still set on abortion.
Those two weeks seemed to creep along. I couldn’t wait for that ultrasound appointment. I just knew Allie would change her mind. I couldn’t wait for us to both be excited about this baby. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone I was a dad!
The appointment finally came. Allie laid back on the table and the nurse got ready to perform the ultrasound. As soon as they put the probe on Allie’s stomach, we could clearly see the baby and its heartbeat. I was in awe.
The more the nurse pointed out on the screen, the more engaged Allie became. She started asking questions and touching her stomach. She smiled when the nurse pointed out the baby’s strong heartbeat.
When the ultrasound was over, the nurse asked Allie what she was thinking. She looked at me and said, “I want to keep it!” The look in her eyes was one of pride, just like mine had been ever since that pregnancy test.
That moment in the Stork Bus made us a family of four. It was the best moment of my life so far, though I know that finally holding our little girl in just a few months will easily take first place.
*name changed for patient confidentiality
The following story comes from First Option Care in Thomasville, GA.