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Invisible Wounds

Audrey’s wounds were still visible from the car wreck she was in on Sunday. However, the invisible wounds were the ones that brought her into the clinic today. Audrey’s history of abusive relationships continued in her current partner. “He called me baby mama #5. I don’t want to be that.” Our team was quickly able to tell Audrey that she did not have to own this label and her partner did not define her self-worth. Audrey’s previous 3 abortions were justified in her mind as the ultimate act of protection for her children from the type of men she has always been with. Audrey’s emotion when she talked about the inner battle that still waged war in her mind was evident. Her needs were real as the team went over all of her options. She cried when we talked about WIC and her ability to get food…as she herself hadn’t eaten well in a while. However, while Audrey met in the ultrasound room with one of our medical staff she became upbeat and spoke no word of abortion. She asked that we wait to start the ultrasound until her boyfriend was present, so we did. As he entered the room her entire demeanor and the air in the room suddenly changed. Audrey left the clinic stoic and quiet.

A week later, Audrey appeared at our receptionist window. Still undecided on her pregnancy, she was leaning towards taking the abortion pill. Audrey was hesitant at first to talk about her thoughts because she didn’t want to be judged or be “talked out of it.” Our team assured Audrey that our intentions were to provide her with education and we were here for her no matter what she decided. Audrey slowly began to open up, asking questions about the abortion pill and possible complications. When the nurse asked Audrey what had brought her in today she said she was having unusual symptoms and didn’t know where else to go. As Audrey discussed her symptoms, the nurse realized that she needed to be screened for STIs. The nurse discussed STI testing options that day, as well as the ability to have her return for a consultation with an OB doctor later in the week. At first, Audrey was skeptical about the services, then agreed to testing, as well as having another ultrasound done.

By the end of the appointment, Audrey had received abortion information, a second ultrasound, STI screening, treatment for a bacterial infection and had an appointment scheduled to see the volunteer OB doctor later in the week. Audrey left undecided, but with more tools and information to consider.

To have the ability to offer Audrey STI testing was just one more way our team could meet her needs and show her that we really do care about her. In that moment, Audrey was not as concerned about the pregnancy as much as she was concerned about her symptoms. Our team was able to provide Audrey with the resources she needed to make healthy choices, not only for herself but for her baby as well.

“I see daily how our ability to offer STI testing to our ABM clients is a tangible way we can show them we know what the risks are with the procedure they are considering and we care about them.” – Client Services Director

 With providing STI services, our clinic is able to provide needed medical care and show our clients that we are truly concerned about their health and well-being. And in the midst of these services, our team had another opportunity to provide medically accurate information, and perform a second ultrasound on an abortion-minded client.

Although Audrey’s journey is still ongoing, we are so thankful for the opportunity to pour into Audrey’s life at this difficult time.