Written by: Hannah Drinkall
Article source: www.liveaction.org
On a chilly Thursday night in February, I decided it was time to face it. I walked into CVS on my way home from work, picked out a ClearBlue box, and avoided making eye contact with the man at the cash register. Five minutes later, I was alone in my bathroom. My hands were shaking as I held two positive pregnancy tests in my hands. I scurried to my bedroom in the apartment, hoping my roommates wouldn’t come home just yet. I threw the sticks on my bed and looked out the window on the east side of New York City. I burst into tears. Twinkling, glistening lights from the buildings around me shone brightly through my window. I knew, looking out at the vastness of Manhattan, at that moment, I was becoming a mother. And for me, there was no way out without growing a belly, telling the world, and giving birth to a child – a baby girl – despite pressure to choose abortion.
I told my daughter’s father that night and will forever appreciate his loving response, even though we are not together. He is supportive. We gave our daughter his last name, and he truly loves her. After an evening of, “oh wows” and several hugs, we made an appointment at an OB on the Upper East Side for the following Monday. The reviews on her site were great, and she sounded reputable and respected.
Hannah’s ultrasound. Photo courtesy of Hannah Drinkall.
I arrived about five minutes earlier than my daughter’s father. I sat there, pondering the décor. When my daughter’s father showed up, he voiced what I had been thinking, “Is this an eye doctor’s office?” He put his arm around me awkwardly as we waited to be called back.
Before we even sat down, she had already made her assumptions. Two, seemingly privileged, unmarried Millennials who appear to be already consumed with their up and coming careers. Of course, they don’t want this. “So there are these lovely women a little further uptown who can handle everything if you are too far along for the pill. If we do the pill, I can give it to you here and you will just experience what I would say is a very heavy period … and you might get a little sick but it’s really no big deal,” she told us. “You know, don’t feel bad about anything. You ever hear about those Catholic school girls who lift their skirts one time and get pregnant?”
I stared at her in complete shock. What did she just say? (I had been to Catholic school for the past 17 years to boot.) I was terrified at this point and had yet to have the ultrasound. My daughter’s father and I explained to her that we weren’t interested in an abortion, but first things first, we wanted to find out if we were actually pregnant. She performed an internal ultrasound based on the facts I was giving her. She assumed I wasn’t too far along and so a regular ultrasound may not show everything we needed to see. As soon as the ultrasound began, she looked at the screen, which was turned her direction, and said three words I will never forget: “Oh … it’s big.”
Hannah and her newborn daughter. Photo courtesy of Hannah Drinkall.
When I heard this, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was immediately excited despite knowing that the odds were already stacked against me. I was scared because she made this pregnancy sound like a parasite. I was shocked because these were the words that were actually confirming my pregnancy. I was truly pregnant – with a baby. A child. A human was growing in my body. I asked to see the screen, and the doctor kept asking me if I was sure. Once she realized we both wanted to see, she turned it towards me. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.
The doctor snapped pictures and said in disbelief, “Oh my gosh it’s waving!” My daughter waved to me, and I waved back to the screen like a goof – tears flowing down my face. “You’re safe with me, baby,” I whispered. To this day, I believe God let my daughter give me that wave, giving me hope that all would be okay, already forming the intense bond we now have.
“So your mind’s made up?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Yes, it is.” I would continue my pregnancy constantly faced with doctors asking me if I was sure I wanted to follow through.
I had Hyperemesis Gravidarium the entire time I was pregnant. My daughter’s father was moving out of the city to attend law school, and while he was attentive and supportive, geographically it was bound to become difficult. My family and friends were shocked but excited. My apartment cost suddenly seemed wildly expensive. I was fired from my job for being pregnant and single (a hedge fund in SoHo). I moved into a convent to surround myself with people who were on the same page as me and supported me, and for peace during the depth of my pregnancy. My parents took a while to come around, but ultimately I moved back to my hometown to give birth and start my new life with my precious daughter. I have never felt closer to the Lord, and I know that my little girl has made my life incredibly better – including every life she touches.
Once my daughter was born, the whole thing didn’t seem so bizarre. It seemed like something I was always made to do – because as a woman, I was. I have never felt more beautiful, vulnerable, and empowered ever in my life. Giving birth was the most incredible moment in my life – and being pregnant was beautiful, too. I already loved this person with an unconditional love I couldn’t describe.
Thank you, Live Action for the work you do, and for taking an interest in my story. I am here to say – that while everything and anything can be against you, there is nothing more important than the new life inside you. There are beautiful, loving people ready to help.
I will spend the rest of my life reminding my daughter that she is willed, she is wanted, and she is loved.
Date published: 26/03/2020
Feature image: Hannah Drinkall facebook.
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