Ultrasound technician Lauren Purtee was not having the best day at Pregnancy Center East in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this fall. She had done several scans, and some were more difficult than others. It was the last scan of the day in which the baby on the screen spoke for him or herself, indicating that all would be okay. The baby gave a literal thumbs-up just at the right time.
“That day was like a day that many pregnancy centers have,” Purtee said. “It was a rocky day. Right at the end of the day I got this shot … and it was one of those shots that just helps make a rough day better.”
Deborah Durbin is the marketing specialist at Pregnancy Center East. She told Pregnancy Help News that hard days are nothing new in pregnancy centers.
“Sometimes a client advocate will come and say she needs to talk for a minute,” Durbin said. “She maybe saw a scan in which the baby is not going to make it.”
This remains heavy on the hearts of the client advocate and the ultrasound technician for the remainder of their day.
Other times there may be a woman who walks out the door and tells the staff she plans to continue with her plans for abortion.
After several difficult moments like this, Purtee said, it makes her weary.
This last client was a follow-up appointment and anxious to see her baby.
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“Toward the end of the scan I try to show them parts of the baby, such as ‘this is the heart,’” said Durbin. “I can tell I am in the right field because I get so excited as I show them these things.”
“I had just hovered over the hand of the baby when it just popped up. It gave a thumbs up,” she said. “Everybody in the room was smiling and giggling.”
The mood was lifted for the staff at that very moment, Purtee said.
It had not only been a rocky day, it had also been a rocky few weeks.
Durbin began to list the many incidents the center had had to face since the overturning of Roe v. Wade this past summer. Pro-abortionists had disrupted some plans for a fundraising event for the center. Google removed the center from its businesses profile. The center received more than 50 fake Yelp reviews.
For some of the staff, it got personal.
“I lost lifelong friends,” Durbin said.
The staff relies on the memorable, special moments to get them through – including the tiny thumb on the screen.
“Our center has had attacks from abortion activists and the affirmation from an unborn client gave us a lift to keep up the fight,” she said.
This was not the first time an ultrasound image at Pregnancy Center East caught some attention.
A video from two years ago at the center showed a man, a father of a baby, in tears as he saw his baby on the screen. The man had just been released from prison and was so overwhelmed at what he saw.
“A lot happens in the ultrasound room,” Durbin said, “It’s uplifting.”
That video, used with his permission, received 100,000 views.
Purtee said the thumbs up felt like a sign from God that the center is doing the right things. “It’s like He was telling us it will be okay.”
Purtee has done as many as nine ultrasound scans a day. Most days she has an average of four.
Pregnancy Center East has been serving women for 40 years. They are located 15 minutes from the nearest Planned Parenthood. The staff of nine and 50 volunteers have seen countless women through their pregnancies by offering not only free ultrasounds, but also parenting classes and items for the baby.
LifeNews Note: Tabitha Goodling has been writing for media outlets for more than 20 years in her home state of Pennsylvania. She has served as a client services director at her local pregnancy center since 2018. She and her husband are raising four teenage daughters, which include a set of triplets. This column originally appeared at Pregnancy Help News.