Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the Horizon

There seem to be some things on my horizon, but still just out of reach. Among these developments are a job offer and a house. The latter we've been working on for 1.5 years.

But today's post is about the former.

I have been working (doing my clinical hours) for the past year at an imaging center that does MOSTLY pelvic ultrasounds, exactly the type of ultrasound I wanted to specialize in when I began my training. They do Ob exams, too, as well as abdominal, thyroid, etc. etc. For the past several months my mentor has been hinting that he wanted to hire me, and even asked me for my resume last month. In talking with him further over the past week, he is not sure if he'll have a position for me right away, but wants to do everything he can to make one for me by the Fall.

While I was at the AAFCP Annual Meeting this year, I was discussing my job opportunity with a fellow Practitioner friend (one I don't see often). I told her how excited I was to be doing what I loved to do, but that on occasion my job is truly difficult - for example, when a woman comes in planning to abort her child.

At this, the woman said, "Do they do the abortions there??" "No, absolutely not, we are an imaging center." "So why do they come in for the ultrasound?" she pressed. "To ascertain how far along they are so their Dr knows which 'kind' of abortion is needed, I presume."
"You can't work there, it will break your spirit," was her solid reply.

She was adament. She added that I would be in a position where I was actually aiding in the abortion process by working there, and I wouldn't be able to live with myself. She had very strong opinions on the matter.

I listened. I pondered. But being a Choleric (Art Bennett spoke to us about The 4 Temperaments, and I am SO Choleric!), I, too, had very strong opinions, and I was not about to change them.

My feelings on the matter are as follows:

By working at this imaging center, I have the OPPORTUNITY to be a tool for the Holy Spirit. In my working with the pregnant woman, showing her the heartbeat of her precious child, the head, the arm buds, the leg buds, and the wiggling of the living offspring inside of her... I may be able to change some hearts. It has already happened once, just by my "being" there.

A 40-something year old woman came in and the Dr's office called to give us a head's up that she had cancelled her abortion procedure twice already, but was still on the fence about terminating. So, instead of subjecting me to the situation, my supervisor performed the scan while I watched. Afterwards, he asked me to leave the room. What I found out later was that he was relaying to her the information about her pregnancy (how far along she was measuring, and if she had an abortion, what kind she would have, etc.) but then told her "I asked my student to leave because she is dealing with some infertility issues. This conversation would be hard for her." (I heard him say that through the wall.)
The patient left and avoided all eye contact with me on her way out.

Four weeks later, she was back for her 12-week Nuchal Translucency scan.

And two days ago, I performed her fetal screening at 20 weeks and told her she was having a little girl :)

I'm not saying it was what my supervisor said about my infertility that made this woman think twice. But it may very well have been.

And even if I cannot change 99.9% of the woman's hearts who come in for a pre-abortion scan, I still believe that my presence will be best in a place like that than it would be in, say, a Pregnancy Crisis Center (where I would ONLY be doing Ob scans, AND the patient population is VASTLY different). Our patients would NOT go to a Crisis Pregnancy Center, because, as many of you Pro Lifers already may suspect, our clientele are among the upper-middle class, married, caucasian, older women with at least one child already. Contrary to popular abortion-supporting propaganda, not all abortions are among the young, unwed, black, economically unstable. In fact, in all the time I've been working in ultrasound, I've seen exactly ONE woman fitting that description who PLANNED to have an abortion; but when I scanned her, I instead found that she had miscarried and had multiple gigantic fibroids invading her pelvis and uterus. How she ever got pregnant to begin with is beyond me, but it was surely a miracle.

Back to my opinions on this.

So, I feel that my work will have even greater potential for saving lives, because this group of women I am working with are not going to be "reached" any other way. Their Drs are in private Drs offices, not abortion clinics, so they literally walk in and out with no one ever knowing what they were doing. Hence, they will not be exposed to any sidewalk counselors or posters or banners asking them to choose life.

At the same time, I do know that when I do not change someone's mind (because there is only so much I CAN say to them while I'm in there, I obviously cannot preach to them) I feel absolutely horrible afterwards. So I see my friend's point about it killing my spirit.

Can I get your opinions on this?** Do you think that I should not (or stronger still, CANNOT) accept a job somewhere that provides Drs with the information they need to perform an abortion? Or do you think that my presence in a place like this may be just what God had in mind?

**Some final pieces of information on this matter: Just last week, I scanned a woman whose heart I don't think budged on the issue, but I prayed SO HARD for her afterwards, asking the Blessed Mother to accept my offering of my own cycle for this woman's child's life. (In other words, to accept my sacrifice of a failed cycle, this cycle, in order for this child to live.) So, at the very least I can offer prayers for these women when no one else can (simply because they do not know who they are and what they are about to do). And additionally, please keep in mind that I do scans like this once every 1-2 months if even that frequently. Though my supervisor has said there have been more of them in the past year or so than he remembers seeing in previous years. (Gee, I wonder why.)

Honest opinions appreciated!!


Sew said...

I still don't understand why the doctor who is "doing" the abortion couldn't do the ultrasound in his office...Or is that too taboo for an abortionist....

I'm torn...I will have to see someone else's thought out view...

But what I don't understand is why aren't these women seeing legit obgyns. I mean with equipment? Makes no sense to me?

How do you know if your doctor performs abortions or not?

I in no way think you are aiding into the abortion, but rather I can hear you now "Oh look at that heartbeat"....etc...etc...

That is a beautiful story and you will NEVER know how many hearts you change...I think you are living in the world and being a tool...I just don't see how you are aiding and would like to see other views that disagree with you being there....

You need to not forget to text me when these ladies come in...Woman!

What is up with the word verification lady! I swear! You are killing me!!!!

mrsblondies said...

I would say that if you can handle those times where someone is coming in for an ultrasound planning an abortion (and only you can answer this), you could be a great witness for the pro-life cause. Like you said, these women aren't going to be going to an abortion clinic or a crisis pregnancy center, so they need someone who can reach them where they are. It's sad that those women aren't considering the possibility of adoption if they truly don't feel capable of raising another child at this time.

I don't think that being involved in the ultrasound of a woman who is planning an abortion would be immoral, especially since you would be trying to promote her keeping the pregnancy. The information from the ultrasound would be just as important if she keeps the pregnancy.

Like you said, you are praying for women who are not going to be reached anyone other way.

I'll be praying for you.

Sissy said...

I think God places us in situations that help us grow. Maybe this is one of them. I have my own job issues right now, and I am fighting against so many lies being said about me. People I thought I trusted have suddenly become people with fangs, so to speak. I am praying that this is happening because God wants to lead me out of there. Maybe I wouldn't have had the courage to leave on my own.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Sew, many Obs and Gyns (and other specialties) don't have their own ultrasound machine. They are mad expensive ;) Doesn't make them not legit in the least. And that's why there are imaging centers! Most of the Gyns that I've seen who DO have their own are either hospital-affiliated Drs or IVF Drs. (And the Dr performing most of these abortions is a Gyn, not an Ob.)

PS... did you call me a tool?? Hahahaha!

Second Chances said...

As I understand it, ultrasounds in and of themselves are hugely recommended by pro-life groups BECAUSE of their life saving potential. Many birthmoms who are at a crossroads will choose life because of the ultrasound images. And I don't think this just applies to the low-income, black, young, single unwed mom population. To have someone like you there to not only point out their babies' development but also to pray for them is simply a perfect fit, I think. You are in no way encouraging or participating in that woman's decision to abort. Quite the opposite!

That's just my opinion. I could definitely see your struggle, but you are on the front lines and have an ability to help them choose life.

What about protestors at abortion clinics? They know that many of the women walk right past them and have an abortion minutes later. They aren't aiding in an abortion. They are providing a last chance for the woman to choose life. I think your situation is similar.

I hope this makes sense and I will keep you in prayer as you discern.

Second Chances said...

You don't have to make a recommendation for them, do you? Like which clinic to go to or how quickly they should go? That might be a different story.

Cathy said...

I agree with the others - I can't see why it would be wrong to work there.
You are simply performing your job and passing on the information you receive.

Like the others said, you are there to WITNESS for life.
I can't imagine a better place to be.

Very cool about the woman with the 20 week ultrasound, too.

Angela said...

I agree with everyone else that it could be a powerful witness to a woman who is considering aborting her child to have a christian performing the scan and subtly pointing out (or not so subtly!) that this is a real live human growing inside her. My only question and I ask this from personal experience (as far as having to go to an imaging center where the u/s tech would hardly speak to me...even though I asked her a ton of questions when we were pregnant with Mary Grace and knew that she would not make it) is: Is there a limit as to what you can say? Are there certain things you will not be allowed to say to a patient? I just don't know what the "rules" are. I remember saying to my u/s tech: "wow, you must have a really hard job somedays" and I was being completely sincere....this was after she told us that MG no longer had a heartbeat....and the tech just sat there and stared at us. Said completely nothing. I just didn't know if maybe they weren't allowed to say anything, or if she was just an insensitive lady?

Sew said...

Yes, you tell that doctor who is performing the abortion that it is a live baby! ;)

I just have NEVER been to an ob that didn't have an ultrsound. I didn't even know they didn't exist....

Why do I think it is odd that you just called me Sew? hahahaha Really Big brother is on, I must go sit on the couch! hahaha

My wordverification for your information is nerstiz....NERD you are a NERD for having word verfication!

Anonymous said...

I think that someone is going to be doing that u/s, so why shouldn't it be someone who could steer those women in the right direction?
I don't think it's the same as "aiding and abetting" at all, but only you know whether or not it's too hard for you to treat the women who don't change their minds.
And that story about your supervisor and the women who changed her mind about an abortion just gave me chills. Maybe seeing someone else struggling for the chance to have what she was thinking about throwing away was exactly what she needed right at that moment.
Sarah (
(blogger is being wonky, so I had to post this anonymously)

Second Chances said...

My OB doesn't have an u/s machine either. I have to go to an imaging center.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Answering some questions, no I would not be recommending to them where to go for the abortion, or how soon to go, etc. Actually as u/s techs we are prohibited from suggesting abortion to patients in any way, shape, or form.
Second, our imaging center is pretty cool- my supervisor has been there for 33 years, and has a rapport with the radiologist so that he and his employees CAN speak with patients candidly about what we see. (This goes for ALL types of u/s.) So, I can indeed talk to my patients, BUT, I certainly cannot sit there and tell them that their baby can feel pain, and that they would be committing murder, etc. I have to be professional while relaying the facts.
And Sew (haha), Obs for the most part may have an u/s machine on premise (though the one I'm planning to go to does not, has small private office where he's the only one practicing). But Gyns often do not. And not all Drs are trained sonologists. Did your NaPro Drs do their own u/s series?

LifeHopes said...

I think you are right where you need to be, and you know it deep down in your heart, too.

An ultrasound is the window to the womb. It puts a face on that baby that the word "abortion" cannot.

Once a woman walks into an abortion clinic, even if only for an ultrasound, chances are she will go ahead with the abortion because they are professionals at getting her money. Often times, even though they tell her she can change her mind at any time, they make her pay for the abortion procedure up front (before the ultrasound) so she will think to herself,"well I've already paid for it, I might as well go ahead and get it now."

$400 is a LOT of money to some of these young women and is enough to seal the deal once the money is paid.

It is better they get their ultrasounds somewhere else, without the pressure of the abortion. And to think that TCIE or someone like her would be the one doing it, well that is even better. TCIE can really humanize that baby with very little words necessary...

Karey said...

I don't know exactly what advice to give because I see both sides. On one hand, you are in a position to not only pray for these women and babies but to perhaps even somehow change their minds by whatever you are able to subtly say (I imagine something as simple as happily telling them what they're seeing could possibly impress upon them that's it's actually a baby).

But, on the other hand, I see how it could break your spirit. And, while it's very noble and selfless of you to not think of yourself in this situation, you've definitely done your share of offering things up for others. At some point perhaps you need to protect yourself.

As for whether I think it's wrong to work there because they are giving doctors information to aid in an abortion, I guess I agree with your point about being a conduit for the Holy Spirit while there. Plus, I've heard that some PPs do u/s but totally downplay it to the woman. I've even heard that some women have shown sidewalk counselors their u/s photo that shows nothing but black (because, of course, it's not a human baby or anything!), when in reality it should have shown a cute little baby by that point. My point is that at least at an imaging center like yours, they'd get the truth and it would be presented in a much better light than at some other places.

Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

I think you and everyone else here has said it beautifully. Ultrasounds are opportunitites for life as the Mother sees her unborn child. And I, too, can hear you saying, "Oh here's the heartbeat..." and such in such a loving manner.

God will put you where He wants you- adn give you the Grace when you need it- not before.

big sky said...

I agree with AYWH. As long as your spirit it strong, stay where you are at- it sounds to me like you already saved a life (when you heard your mentor talk about you through the wall). How beautiful.

Danya said...

I volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy clinic that does US on abortion minded clients. I have seen amazing conversions in the US room. It is a sacred moment to be there when a parent first sees their child. The US techs I work with will say "there's the baby" and other types of language that humanize the "embryo", it's so subtle and yet so powerful. I agree with the others that you should stay and take every opportunity you can to fight for LIFE! Amen sister!

[email protected] said...

I agree with everyone. It seems like you are the "last line of defense" in this battle for one life, and I am so grateful you are there. The baby you saved is very grateful you were there. :)

I remember once I volunteered to be a "model" for a training for a 3-D u/s machine. The GE rep was training the folks (docs and techs) who bought the machines. I was the "pregnant belly" to scan and teach on. So, for one hour, I got to here this GE rep talk and also the doctors and techs.... It was amazing that they all used the term "baby" when speaking of what they were seeing ("here's the baby's arm", etc.). So, it would seem to me that you can use casual and common language like that, right? "Here's the baby's heartbeat" or even better "Here's your baby's heartbeat", etc. Maybe I am wrong and you can't say that, but if you can, then wow, you really do have a shot at humanizing the baby.

The fact that you will SHOW them the scan where the PP and clinics turn the screen away from the woman, is huge. You are a hero in my book. I will tell you that forever, because I am a coward and you are brave and good. I am in awe of your courage.

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

AYWH said my thoughts exactly. You are in an AMAZING position to help these women understand that there is life intheir wombs. But you should ONLY stay in that position if you can handle it and it will not break your spirit. You are so selfless-I have so much to learn.

And I read hubby the story about the 40 year old woman. We're both just amazed. Praise God!!

Nick and Kristi said...

I think it would def be hard to scan a women who is wanting an abortion when you yourself would do anything to have a child....we all would....but on the flip side of not having to do them all that often...and if you feel you can handle it....I guess think of your worst day dealing with IF then say could I scan a women who is wanting to abort her baby and if the answer is yes then go for it....I feel in life outside of work we all see women or hear of women having children who in our minds should not be but we manage to deal with the thought and move on so I guess you could do the same at work:)

[email protected] said...

Did I word that right? I said "one life" in the sense of "each life"... every baby at risk is blessed to have you as the last line of defense.

A Cheerleader said...

I feel strongly enough about this to de-lurk.

I feel you should stay in your current job, otherwise these women may never encounter any moment of grace to save their baby and themselves. It won't be easy on you but it would be the right thing to do.

Once they go to Planned Parenthood etc they are in a death factory production line that will not allow them the slightest waver. Most private ObGy practices are the same, the customer is right after all and so many abortions are among wealthy mothers protecting a lifestyle. If pro-life practictioners are locked away from the mainstream our voices are not heard or ever encountered.

One of my favourite priests was an atheist who overheard a conversation between a Catholic and an atheist in a nightclub in Egypt. The Catholic didn't win over the person they were talking too but they'll never know that the man at the next table was moved enough to want to find out more, and ended up a Jesuit! You may not always know how God is using you for His purpose. I think your 'save' proves you should be there.

Take care of yourself,


Little JoAnn said...

You do have an opportunity to be a witness here. I once tried to save the life of a grand child that my co-worker planned to abort. I called the Sisters of Life to get advice from them. In essence, they told me say "all that is on my heart" so you "do not regret it later." It was scary because it involved my professional role and there are boundaries that one is suppose to keep at work, especially if one is a supervisor. For the life of that child, I made the decision to cross those boundaries. I told my employee I knew somebody who would be willing to adopt her child. I even gave her home phone number out to the Sisters of Life who later called her at home. Looking back, I don't regret doing all that I could do and saying everything that came to my heart. Now, with hindsight, I see that I would totally regret it if I hadn't spoken up. (She later died of a heart attack only a year and a half later).

I am sorry, but I would not be able to "remain professional" if I knew I had a person right next to me that was only days from aborting her child. I do think its amazing that you can be the last line of defense, but I also think you should be able to tell the woman, "I will adopt your child for you" and whatever stirrings come into your heart. In other words, in no way should you be muzzled by your job/role.

The Sisters of Life told me, when we step out in faith to defend life, blessings get ushered in. Wouldn't you know it but I conceived Baby Ann exactly one year after I had this incident with my employee.

... said...

Nothing to add other than I would not see you as aiding an abortion by working at the place as you described it. My *only* hesitation would be on your own personal comfort level on those (seemingly rare) occassions when this occurs.

Yes, gyns typically do not have u/s machines. My previous doctor was gyn only, not ob and he didn't have one. I figured if I couldn't get pregnant, I shouldn't have to wait on a doctor who was delayed to deliver babies so I went to a Gyn only dr. ;)

micasgirl said...

Go on, my friend, be a tool! :)

I think your experiences there so far make it clear it's the place you should be. You can do a lot of good, not only changing a few hearts in the process, but that's the small, small minority of the work you'd be doing. Weigh that with the vast variety of other procedures you'd be involved in.

Good luck! On the house, too! Keep me posted on FB.

Praying for Hope said...

I don't know what I'd do in your situation. In the end, you know your own heart best. You can be an indirect help to these women. I realize you can't casually bring up the fact during the scan that you're dealing with infertility, but you can pray for them to see another side. The question is: can you get through the thought of what they're planning time and time again. Maybe. We're all stronger than we think we are. How many times have you proved that?

Little JoAnn said...

Hi TCIE, I am going to post the number for the Sisters of Life. They are just super duper when it comes to giving insight into advocating a pro-life position in the workplace. When I was in this position, they brought up so many angles that I hadn't thought about before. Well, here's their number:

Sisters of Life
159 Skymeadow Drive
Stamford, CT 06903-3400
(203) 329-1492

When I was doing my intervention, I worked with Sister Mary Loretta. Again, they offer insight that is very complex and clear and wise.

The culture of death has taught us all to be submissive and polite in the face of abortion.

Awaiting a Child of God:) said...

You have had great responses. In my opinion, I am a huge believer that God puts us where He wants us. You could be the decision changer in these peoples lives. As long as you deep down in your heart believe that what you are doing is right and you believe this is where God wants you, I think you are in the right place. God works in funny ways and I often believe that He knows where people like you are needed most.

I just want you to know that I really respect you and look up to you for what you did. Giving up this month of your cycle to our Lord in order to wish a life for an unborn is admirable. God bless you!

Faith makes things possible said...

My very first thought is exactly in line with yours- You can be used as an instrument for the Holy Spirit in hopefully helping these women choose life. I commend you for having the strength to want to do that, I can only imagine how hard it would be, but also how rewarding it can be...the reward of seeing that woman and her baby girl growing! Who knows, you may be the only person that they see that actually prays that they choose life...

Sew said...

I never had an ultrasound series because labwork and charts pointed to hormonal/luteal phase issues after surgery. ;)

That's interesting to know....I actually don't even know where an imaging center is around here. :) hahahaha The first I heard of it was when you started working there...


If you can talk that candidly then talk away and stay! God will take care of your spirit as you do His work! The bonus plus you can get paid for it! Really, it's a win win situation! ;)

Sew said...

It took me 3 times to post that comment lady!!!!!!

E said...

I think that this dilemna is simliar to being an FCP and teaching an unmarried g-active woman. You really have the power of the Holy Spirit to work within you. Prayers for decernment!
E :)
PS Have beent thinking of you and am so glad we got to see each other, I miss you!!!