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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Monday, August 18, 2003 ::

I got this email from Patte and am reprinting it with permission. When you read it, you will understand why the SICLE cell does not get weekly updates from her. We tried, but there was just no way.

Patte is a "sidewalk counselor" at the abortion clinic where I lost my child at 15 weeks due to HG. She was there the day I destroyed my child. SEVEN YEARS later she is still there trying to help women, children and families.

Patte is her own person, and sometimes she is met at the clinic by a group of other abortion opposers who have their own ideas about how to approach women, what to do, what to do and say. I've seen them in action, and I have to say I don't agree with some of their approaches. However, I'm not doing ANYTHING but sitting here at home on my big comfy butt distributing my "pearls of wisdom" regarding something I'm not personally willing to do.

Once I told Patte: "You guys should do this, this and this... and totally cut this, this and that out completely, because people just think it's nuts." To which she replied, "Sounds reasonable. Be sure to let us know how it goes at your local abortion clinic so we can make changes based on what did and didn't work for you." Touche. She was absolutely right of course.

So as you read her email try and remember that if you have a gripe about the way they are doing things, they are always willing for you to try it your way at your local clinic and report back to them. As for me and my big mouth, I'm just grateful I get to sit here on my tuffet and reap the priviledges of her hard work.

Here's the email with identifying information changed to protect the people involved:

"I don't have a spare minute . . .
*This the week that my husband's school begins again
*and my boy starts college.
*With Betsy,
*Markie (another young lady I am helping who is 20 weeks pregnant and in serious crisis!),
*Belinda (a friend whose baby suffered brain death in the hospital just two days after birth),
*regular ministry (I desperately need to assemble dozens more ministry packets),
*finding housing in Dublin for our son who is heading off to college there,
*a meeting with the FDLE to prepare for on Thursday, and
*my sister (the one who placed her son, my nephew, for adoption) coming to visit from Boston . . .
I am in a whirlwind.

Anyway, as you requested, here is the email update I sent out. You can have it for your blog. Remember THIS IS ONLY ONE DAY OF MINISTRY. I HAVE HAD TWO OTHER DAYS OF MINISTRY THAT I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO WRITE UPDATES ON! Every single ministry day (since I've been back) we've helped convince at least one mom not to abort.)
Saturday, 16 August, 2003

When I arrived on the sidewalk outside Orlando's most notorious abortion
clinic it was still dark. It was 6:30 am and I could barely make out the
shadowy figures of three people on the sidewalk. I was glad to see that
it was Bud, my missionary companion of many years. He was standing with
Theresa and her mother, who had driven over 1 and a half hours to get to Orlando
Women's Center before daylight. Theresa and her mom were casual and friendly.
Theresa explained that she'd ended her baby's life over 3 weeks before and
was only there for a "check-up". I pressed our ministry packet into her
hands anyway, explaining how incredible the tiny life in the womb is. I
also gave her the special pamphlet that I wrote . . . the gospel for
women who kill and we talked for a good ten minutes. About life, about
adoption, about the horror of abortion.

It wasn't long before one car after another pulled up to the abortion
clinic. Women and men piled out of their vehicles. Bud and I tried our
best to reach everyone with our offer of help, but there were just too

I was very frustrated not to be able to communicate with a Haitian woman
in her native Creole. (I have been begging my Haitian friends to come to
the clinic with me.) She was more than willing to listen, but I couldn't
make myself understood, so I mostly pointed to the photos of the
developing babies.

Bud and I were very encouraged and thankful to see our dear prayer
warriors assemble across the street from the clinic at 7am. John, Shelly
and Mary began to pray the rosary. Mary got down on her knees.

Bob & Cindy were happy to stop and speak with me, but Cindy only
spoke Spanish. (I have been begging my hispanic friends to join me too!) I took out my prompt card and read to Cindy:
*Tango algo para ti . . . I have something for you. ( I handed
Cindy our spanish ministry packet.)
*Es muy importante . . . It's very important.
*Puedo ayudarla! . . . We can help you!
*Este es un sitio de muerte . . . This is a place of death.

Bob explained to me that they were married and had come for a
pregnancy test. They weren't sure what they would do if it turned out
Cindy was pregnant. Sadly, no crisis pregnancy center is open at 7am
and they didn't want to wait til True Life Choice opened at 9:30am so
they went inside.

Dozens more poured into the clinic. Most refused to take our material.
Things went from bad to worse.

Bud and I approached an SUV jammed with five people, two men and three
women. As they parked, I gave them an information packet and offered to
be a help for the woman who was aborting. One of the men shouted at us,
"I wish I had a gun!"

Before long there were at least 15 men and women sitting on the stoop of
the abortion clinic hurling taunts and profanities at Bud and I. We had
three lit cigarettes thrown at us. The crowd began exchanging stories,
telling jokes, mocking us. At one point the man who'd said that he wished
he had a gun pointed to the poster that I display on my Jeep. It's a
disturbing image of a real baby aborted at 10 weeks gestation. Referring
to the aborted baby, he said something that I will never forget:

"I'd like to eat that motherfucker!"

Although we've heard comments like this before, we never get used to it.
For a moment there was a hush in the crowd. Then he said:

"Well... I'm hungry!"

A stifled chuckle followed, then everyone was laughing. As I
rushed to get my video camera (I have begged to have someone come and film
our ministry times) I asked him: "Would you be willing to repeat what you
just said on video?" When I came back and turned my camera towards him,
everyone was up in arms. "You can't film us without our permission!"
"There are minors here!" "If you put that camera on me I'll beat the
living shit out of you!" The man who'd made the comment about the
aborted baby ran into the clinic to get the police officer/security
guard. I was suprised. I really thought he WANTED the
attention a video camera would give him.

A pretty young girl said: "Why don't you go somewhere and protect real
people? My aunt was gunned down on the street!" When I said: "Now YOU can
do something to prevent an innocent person from being murdered," her
mother had to hold the pretty girl back. The pretty girl screamed,

"I WANT to kill this baby . . .
I have a right to kill my baby!"

I explained to the laughing, mocking crowd (a carnival atmosphere is very
common outside the clinic) how different the scene would be when the
abortion was done. All of the aborted women would be bleeding and weak
before the slow crawl to their cars. Theresa, who had said she was only
there for a check up, took her cue from the angry crowd and said:

"I don't care, I'll be all fucked up by then anyway."

She laughed and then went on to say:

"Hey, if these babies are going to heaven anyway, why not just help them
along the way?!!!"

The young girl spoke up again:

"Don't you see that you are just
wasting your time? Nobody is listening to you. You are not changing
anybody's mind. You are just making a fool of yourself."

That's when it happened. Doug and Mindy pulled up in front of the
clinic. Bud spoke with them and was very concerned and came to get me. I
looked into Doug's frightened eyes as he said:

"She is so sick. She can't take it anymore. I don't know what to do. The doctors
have not been helping her."

Poor Mindy was bent over in the back seat, vomiting into
a plastic tub. Her face was covered with perspiration. Mindy didn't
take a breath without moaning in pain. When her eyes met mine, I saw
desperation. I said: "Mindy, have the doctors told you that you have
hyperemisis gravidarum?" A look of recognition came to her lovely but contorted
face. She nodded: "YES!" As Doug ran a cool, moist cloth down his precious
wife's arms he explained that Mindy had been suffering like this for
the entire 16 weeks of her pregnancy. She vomited 24-hours a day and had
been hospitalized for dehydration and malnutrition several times already.
Doug introduced me to his young son, who suffers from a syndrome that keeps
him from speaking.

"Our little boy, he needs us. He requires a lot of care. My wife can hardly
lift her head. How can she care for our son? I know that abortion is
awful, but I love my wife and I can't stand to see her suffer."

I looked Mindy in the face and assured her that I understood how sick she was.
"I'm so sorry that you are suffering the way you are. Hyperemesis is a
horrible disease of pregnancy. I have a dear friend who suffered like
you. She explained to me what a nightmare it is to have this disease. You
are miserable and you can't stand it any more." Mindy looked like a
frightened animal. She stared at me in desperation:

"Yes, yes! I can't take this . . . I can't take it. Please, I MUST go through with the

She began to moan and beg Doug to take her inside the clinic.
She lay out flat on the back seat of the van. Over and over she moaned
and begged, clutching her abdomen. It was so hard to watch, and I felt so
helpless. Although Doug didn't want her to have an abortion, I understood
why he had brought her to that place.

I wanted to help Mindy. I wanted to make her pain go away, but I
couldn't. I stretched out my hand and laid it on her outstretched legs.
"Oh please, Lord . . . I am begging You to reach out and touch Mindy.
Help her, Lord, I pray! Soothe her pain and ease her nausea and vomiting.
Give her rest, we pray, O Lord Jesus!" I could feel Mindy's body begin
to relax. The moaning stopped. She began to rest. I was then able to
explain some of the ways that we could provide help for her. I promised
Mindy that Sanctuary Ministries would put together a caring team of
people to help at home. Someone to clean the house, look after their son,
someone to prepare a few meals for Doug and their son, someone to wash and
brush her hair, someone to CARE.

A phone call to a high risk OB specialist at a local hospital, my friend
who suffered from hyperemisis gravidarum (HG) and to Life Savers
ministry to get started on a care team and we were on our way. Doug and
Mindy left the abortion clinic, headed to the ER at the advice of our
good OB. My HG friend was able to talk to Doug by phone and assured him that
in taking Mindy away from the abortion clinic, he had done the right thing.
My friend told him: "Hyperemesis ends, but abortion never does."

Doug kept saying over and over again how grateful he was that we were
there at the clinic when they pulled up. He senses that God is the One
who has orchestrated our meeting. Doug is rejoicing. He keeps saying:
"God saved our child at the eleventh hour!"

Now the labor of love begins. Hyperemesis is a grim reality for some
unfortunate pregnant women. It is debilitating, devastating and
relentless and it only ends when the woman is no longer pregnant. (My HG friend
has compared the hellish pain and sickness of HG as: "Chemo on crack.")
The temptation to abort will continue to be a problem. Mindy's mother
is working on a visa to come over from their native country, but it may
take some time. This family needs our compassion and "hands-on", "Good
Samaritan" love for our neighbor NOW! Mindy and Doug live in ***
but Mindy is going to be needing special care at *** on a
regular basis throughout her pregnancy. In fact, she is probably being
admitted for bedrest and IV med and fluid as I type this to you.

Would you be willing to visit Mindy at ***?

Men: Would you be
willing to be a friend to her dear husband Doug?

Men and Women: Would you
be willing to spend a day with their precious son?

What began as a morning of ugliness ended in beauty. It's true that
Orlando Women's Center is

"un sitio de muerte",

a place of death - but it's also true that the
Lord comes with us to make 1103 Lucerne Terrace a place of LIFE and HOPE!
Jesus makes a way where there is no way, He lights the darkness . . . and
it is nothing short of a miracle.

From the Heart,
Patte Smith"

:: ashli 2:00 PM # ::

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