Super Bowl Sunday 1992 changed my life forever. After a long day at work, I joined a Super Bowl party already in progress. I started out drinking beer, moved onto consuming flaming Spanish coffees (in the plural) and returned to drinking beer when we ran out of supplies. Some of my last memories of that night are right after the beer run. Mixing hard liquor and beer always resulted in me blacking out, but that didn’t slow me down.
I don’t remember anything about the Super Bowl that year; the game was simply an excuse for the party. I ran into my neighbors at some point after the beer run. I clearly remember helping my neighbor put her son Kai to bed. I watched as she gently placed him into bed with motherly love oozing from every pour.
As we exited his room I said, “Now that I’ve met Kai, I wouldn’t get an abortion if I ever got pregnant.”
I do not remember a single thing from that moment forward. I woke the next morning to my alarm going off signaling that it was time to get up for work. It was the Monday after Super Bowl and I was scheduled to open the store I managed. The rest of the story is told in my book Puffy & Blue: The Chronicles of Nine Lives Together
The party train abruptly ended. One morning, with no memory of the night before, I awoke feeling life inside of me. The feeling of life was foreign and altogether consuming as I had been so dead and so numb for so very long. I knew with certainty I was pregnant. Just as suddenly, I also knew life began at conception and I had to protect this new life with all of my being.
I was only hours pregnant when I chose to stop drinking for the good of my child. I had studied fetal alcohol syndrome in college, and, all these years later, I still haven’t taken a single drink. I couldn’t bear to injure this baby. I was instantly converted from being pro-choice to being ready to sacrifice everything to protect life, especially this life. My future plans to obtain my Ph.D. were quickly abandoned. They now become meaningless in the face of this new life.
I went to the store a week later to buy a pregnancy test and bottle of wine. I decided one or the other would be my future. The test came up positive, so I gave the bottle of wine to my neighbors. The next day I went to confirm the test at a women’s clinic. I stood beside the nurse waiting for the test results. It came up negative.
I insisted I was indeed pregnant. She administered another more accurate test. This one came up with a very faint positive sign.
The nurse turned to me and said, “Don’t worry. It is early enough we can get this taken care of before you even know you’re pregnant.”
I suddenly realized the women’s clinic I had gone to for help was, in reality an abortion clinic. I flew out of there never looking back.
Later that day in downtown Portland, I told the biological dad that I was pregnant. He and I had been friends since childhood.
I felt safe as I told him, “I am pregnant.”
He turned to me and said, “Don’t worry, I will be there,” after a long pause, “for the abortion.”
I replied, “I am not having an abortion.”
“I didn’t sign up to be a dad,” he replied.
For the first time, I realized I had been playing Russian roulette with my life by making choices that caused the creation of children. My resolve to protect my child grew. I settled in for a battle as pressure to abort my child continued to come from every direction.
Those around pressured me daily with arguments like, “Having this baby will ruin your life,” and, “It would be better to have an abortion than to live with this mistake forever. At the very least, consider adoption and get on with your life.”
I knew having this baby would save my life. I didn’t know how, but I knew this child was a life preserver. I knew for me, adoption wasn’t the best option. I was willing and able to let go of the future I had planned to grasp hold of the hope of a new future. I never wrestled with the decision to abort my baby because I knew I would never recover from it. I did take the time to wrestle with the decision of adoption.
Someone close to me said, “But you don’t even like children.”
To this I answered, “But I love this one.”
With my love for my child solidified in my heart everything changed. I had thought my love for Puffy was as big as love got. I loved Ena, but her life had not yet weaved through the fabric of my life. I discovered a love bigger than I ever imagined possible as I faced pregnancy alone.
Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Puffy & Blue: The Chronicles of Nine Lives Together
The Monday following Super Bowl Sunday always marks the anniversary of my sobriety. I never took another drink. Today I celebrate 24 years of sobriety. And I am immensely proud of the man my son Keegan has become. We were both blessed when my husband Dennis stepped in to raise Keegan as his own in 1998. Super Bowl Sunday 1992 changed my life forever . . . for the better.