The work we do here at HOPE goes beyond the interaction in the room with our patients. Oftentimes, we follow up with our patients to check on them and to offer assistance. Our detractors like to paint “pro-lifers” as hateful extremists, but in reality, we are broken people seeking to love broken people. We just want our patients to know that they have someone here that cares for them and is available to talk, listen, or serve.
These follow ups are commonplace in the pregnancy center world. We truly care about our patients and desire to see their needs met and for them to know that someone is thinking about and praying for them. We understand the complexities and the issues many of them are facing and we want to offer encouragement. We do this regardless of what their decision might have been while they were in our building. We do not offer judgment. Instead, we offer love and kindness regardless of what circumstances they may find themselves in.
Today one of our nurses looked at her notes and saw, scribbled down in the bottom, “in 2wks on 8/30.” This was a simple note that she had left for herself reminding her to reach out to a patient that visited HOPE for an ultrasound two weeks ago.
HOPE’s staff nurse decided this morning that her follow up phone call should happen after lunch. She didn’t know what to expect from this phone call. The patient was very tearful at her last visit. She had not made up her mind on carrying to term just yet. This nurse knew that and didn’t want to come off as pushy. She simply wanted to take time to encourage and show this patient that she cared about her and that our staff was here if she needed anything.
Our nurse reached this patient by phone today. She reintroduced herself and asked how the patient was doing. The patient took her time in responding as there was a couple seconds of awkward pause. The patient then said, “It is really funny that you called me today.” She then went further explaining that she had a medical abortion scheduled for today.
This conversation is not uncommon. Many of our patients are struggling and truly feel that abortion is their only option. They are facing obstacles at every turn and believe this is just another one in their long line of struggles. Thankfully our staff is well equipped and prepared for these conversations. This nurse didn’t flinch and offered love.
This patient had made it further than most. She actually made it inside the walls of an abortion clinic to have an abortion. Most that make it that far will follow through with what they had planned. Our nurse knows that so she didn’t push. She waited for the patient to tell her story.
This is what our nurse heard on the other end of the line: “I couldn’t go through with it…I was prepared, but I couldn’t go through with it. I just left.” Those words bring so much joy to my heart. Do you understand what that means? A life was saved today. A life was spared.
Our nurse offered this patient encouragement and said that we were here for her no matter what. We are here to listen or provide services. The patient told of the stern discussion that followed at the abortion clinic when she said she couldn’t follow through with the abortion. This sternness usually makes these patients retreat, but this patient was not one to retreat.
She walked out, I’m sure, uneasy and unsettled not knowing what this might mean for her. She walked out not knowing what her next step might be. Her window for a medical abortion is closing fast, leaving only surgical options. She was in tears and confused of her next step. Did she make the right decision? Is she going to have a baby? Did she simply prolong the inevitable? Questions that tear at the heart were met with a follow up, and a person that cared. These questions were met with a kind voice on the other end of the line offering support.
We praise God for follow ups. We praise God for scribbled notes reminding us to reach out to a patient in need. We praise God for patients that walk out of abortion clinics!
posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center