See also past Guest columns.

A ‘miracle baby’ is born Print
Guest column
Written by Janeen Otis   
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

On March 3, 2013, I received a telephone call from a pretty distraught gentleman who was waiting in his car in the Planned Parenthood parking lot while his girlfriend had her abortion consult appointment.

Curtis kept referring to abortion as "intrinsic evil," yet he felt that abortion was the only option to hide the fact that he had premarital sex.

Curtis had recently come to the Catholic faith and held a position on a board and was involved in prison ministry. He couldn’t imagine his peers knowing of his choice to engage in premarital sex.

Women's Care Center
The Women's Care Center of Madison, 3711 Orin Rd., is a not for profit pregnancy help center funded by donations. The center strives to serve every women who enters the door with unconditional positive regard so that she can feel welcome and supported when struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.
For more information, call 608-241-8100, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit

Curtis and Candee had been together for nine years and have a seven-year-old daughter that they had together before entering into the Catholic faith and its beliefs. Their daughter is named Cherish.

Concerned about pregnancy

After talking with Curtis for a bit on the phone, I learned that Candee was concerned about carrying a pregnancy at her age of 40. After discussing abortion procedures and risks, I asked Curtis if I could put him on "hold" while I looked up our medical director Dr. Michael Kloess’ phone number for them to call regarding Candee's concerns of going through a pregnancy at the age of 40.

When I went to pick the call back up, Curtis was gone. Thank goodness for caller ID! I called him back, and he answered with "“just the number, please." I gave him Dr. Mike's phone number and hung up.

The next day, another phone call from Curtis came. He and Candee were in the parking lot of Planned Parenthood awaiting Candee's abortion procedure.

Curtis told me that Candee was having a really hard time and asked me if I would talk to her. When she got on the phone, she was very tearful. I told her that I wished that she and Curtis could come in and we could just sit down and chat.

Curtis got back on the phone and said, "Well, we are already halfway there . . . what’s a little bit farther."

That is when I learned that they were from the U.P. of Michigan, and they were at the Planned Parenthood in Appleton.

About one and a half hours later, I saw the Michigan license plates pull into our parking lot in Madison. I greeted both of them with a hug and then took them back to a counseling room.

After giving them some bottled water and a snack, we got down to catching up. We discussed the fact that some of Curtis' peers may have had premarital sex as well, just not with the outcome of a pregnancy. We talked about forgiveness in the Church.

Making the right decision

We also talked about which decision would be the hardest to live with the rest of their lives.

I went over fetal development with the models. Candee said that she chose not to look at the ultrasound screen during her visit to Planned Parenthood, and I offered her a free ultrasound here at our center. She got teary and said that she would like that.

One important detail that I must share with you is that while Curtis and Candee were driving around waiting for Candee’s abortion appointment, they came across a large billboard that said in bold letters, "Cherish Life." We all got teary as we realized that God was speaking directly to them!

While the ultrasound nurse prepared Candee for her ultrasound, Curtis and I were able to chat a bit more. Before he left me to go into the ultrasound room, he gave me a big hug and said that he couldn’t have done this without me.

After their ultrasound, we chatted a bit more, and when I asked them how they were feeling, Candee said, "I know that I made the right decision by coming here today instead of my abortion appointment."

We all hugged, and then they headed back to Michigan in snowy weather.

Hoping for a boy

Over the months, I would periodically check in with Candee to see how things were going. She did end up being put in a "high risk" category due to her age and previous pre-eclampsia.

When I was counseling Curtis and Candee at the center back in March, I had said that maybe this baby is that little boy to help even out the playing field for Curtis with all of the girls in the house (Candee has three daughters from a previous relationship).

The last I spoke with Candee, she said that the baby is a boy and will be a "fourth" to be named after not only his father, but also his grandfather and great-grandfather.

Curtis was asked by his deacon (the same deacon that he was afraid to tell that he was expecting a baby out of wedlock) to share his story at a recent "Celebrate Life" picnic. Candee said that Curtis spoke from the heart and was very emotional. There wasn't a dry eye in the place, she said.

As we were getting ready to hang up, Candee said that I have been a blessing in their lives and that she has saved all of the voicemails that I have left for her over the months so she can listen to them when it has been awhile since we have chatted. I then proceeded to tell her what a blessing that they have all been in MY life.

The baby arrives

On October 1, 2013, I received a call in the afternoon while I was working at the center. When I answered, I heard a male voice say, "19 ½ inches, 9 lbs. 3 oz." It was Curtis calling to let me know that “our” little miracle had arrived. Mom and baby were doing just fine. He thanked me and told me that the reason that their son was here was because of me. We both cried as we chatted on the phone.

I LOVE MY JOB!! How blessed am I to be able to make such a difference in this world?? GOD IS GOOD!

On a blustery cold January day in 2014, Curtis and Candee made the trip back to Madison to introduce me to baby Curt. I cannot tell you the emotion that flowed through me the first time I laid eyes on that beautiful little boy! What a gift it was to me to hold him for the first time! Since then, I have continued to keep in touch with them and consider them part of my family.

Reaching souls

As I shared with Ann Manion, the volunteer president of Women’s Care Center, when I was in South Bend, Ind., for my training, while I feel that I will be able to love and serve women in the Madison area very empathetically and lovingly, I am the one that will walk away a richer woman having helped those going through a very trying time.

I would like to close with a quote from Mother Teresa: "If our work were just to wash and feed and give medicines to the sick, the center would have closed a long time ago. The most important thing in our centers is the opportunity we are offered to reach souls."


Janeen Otis is a counselor at the Women’s Care Center in Madison.