My sense of awe and wonderment was suddenly interrupted by a cold, hard realization. This was the same point in my pregnancy that I had once had an abortion. My awe and wonderment turned to shock and horror. I sat there trying to comprehend what I was seeing. Questions filled my head. How could this have happened? Why? This didn't make any sense. The counselor's words echoed in my mind. "…a clump of cells the size of a pencil point." What? A wave of emotions swirled like an angry storm within me but eventually left nothing but inconsolable grief.
I fought back tears as I told Bryonna of that day so long ago. I told her that her baby had a heartbeat and it's very own DNA that is a map of everything her baby would become. Cells are now in place that will become everything from skin to muscle to eyelashes!
We would spend many, many hours on the phone. It was not uncommon for us to spend the entire afternoon talking about her pregnancy, her family and friends, her childhood, my childhood and on and on. We had come to know each other in a very intimate way and yet we had never laid eyes upon one another. After several months of this telephone friendship I decide it was time to meet face to face.
Bryonna lived about an hour away. The drive gave me some time to reflect upon the last few months. It's so ironic and yet so beautiful that when you reach out to help someone else that you are also the beneficiary. In the thirty five years since my abortion nothing had gone so far to heal my heart as my friendship with this incredible lady. I had an emotionally vested interest in this special woman and her baby.
Pro Life Utah is helping raise money to help Bryonna with her medical expenses.
I pulled up in front of the apartment where Bryonna lives and waited for her to come down. After quite some time a young woman emerged walking slowly and cautiously with the assistance of a cane. My heart ached as I thought of how my own daughter was the same age as Bry. For the first time, I truly appreciated the physical challenges that she faced.
Bryonna's Cerebral Palsy could cause muscle spasms or cause her muscles to lock in one position. She also dealt with severe asthma and strabismus. Bryonna had always anticipated being in a wheel chair at some point but it seemed as though this pregnancy would bring that day much sooner than she had hoped.
Over a very long lunch, Bryonna told me more about herself. Her own mother had three abortions and had intended upon aborting her at five months gestation. Fortunately, Bryonna's grandmother had talked her mother out of that due to her advanced pregnancy. At three years old Bryonna would attempt to walk on her knees but could not stand. She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. While other children would run and play, Bryonna could only watch.
Bryonna would spend a brief time in foster care as a baby until she was placed in the care of her grandmother. She told me stories about her grandmother who had passed away a few years earlier. I immediately fell in love with the woman who must have been responsible for the loving heart I witnessed in Bryonna. Bry had described her as "the only person I could ever count on".
In her adolescent and teen years Bryonna would spend six long years in the foster care system while her grandmother was in a nursing facility. These were years that I imagine would turn most people's heart to stone. Tears filled my eyes as she told me of being called worthless and of no one even noticing when she ran away for several days.
Despite everything she had been through, Bryonna's smile literally lit up the room. I was mesmerized by the twinkle in her eye. Given all of the challenges that she had faced and all of those that lie ahead of her, Bryonna's spirit was unshaken.
This is a true story that is unfolding even as I write this. Even I do not know how the story ends. But we do know that Bryonna's medical bills are mounting and she has been unable to work. Please consider donating to this courageous young woman.