Ashley was 20 years old and in love. She was surprised when she became pregnant. She knew her Christian parents would be disappointed, but her boyfriend had promised her he would take care of her and the baby if ever it happened.
Instead, he insisted she get an abortion. He convinced her her parents would throw her out. If she had a baby now she wouldn't be able to go to nursing school, and he wasn't going to support a baby he wasn't ready for. He said he wouldn't be able to get time off work to go with her.
She felt she had no option. She went to the abortion clinic. They confirmed the pregnancy at seven weeks, but didn't let her see the baby on ultrasound or hear the heartbeat. They gave her RU 486, and watched her while she took it.
Immediately, she realised that what she had done was contrary to all that she believed in. She didn't want an abortion, she wanted love and support. She asked the abortionist what she could do if she changed her mind. She was told if she didn't take the later pill in the RU 486 procedure to induce labour, the baby would still die, and if it didn't, it would be born deformed or mentally defective.
Ashley was heartbroken. She told her mother what had happened and what she had done. Her mother gave her a big hug. They telephoned the local crisis pregnancy centre, who telephoned a doctor. The doctor, Dr Matt Harrison, asked them to send her over.
"She came, shattered," he said. "It was about 36 hours since she had taken the abortion pill, and she wanted to do whatever it would take to reverse it and save her baby. I consoled her and then excused myself. to my office. I prayed, 'God, what can I do?'" This was not something taught in medical school - but Dr Harrison had a feeling that something could be done.
"I started leafing through some textbooks and started thinking about how RU 486 worked. It is a progesterone counterfeit. It tricks the body into thinking that it is progesterone, fills the progesterone receptor with a key that will not turn the lock. It is a very effective blocker, and there was no known antidote. The placenta blood vessels act as if the mother is having a menstrual cycle and the placenta is starved and sloughs off, along with the baby, causing an abortion.
"God placed in my mind memories of my research in basic protein receptor biology. If we could flood Ashley's system with progesterone, with 'good' keys, then we might be able to out-compete the RU 486 and fill the receptors with working keys that will support the baby's life like God designed.
"We kept progesterone in our office for fertility treatments, so I told Ashley and her mother my plan and told her the risks. This had never been done; I doubted that it would work. She didn't care about the risks to her. Ashley was ready to do anything to save her baby's life. So I injected her with 200 mg of progesterone. It was a Friday and I told her to come back on Monday."
That weekend Ashley went to A&E. They found a heartbeat and Ashley got to see her baby. She was so thankful and felt that even if the baby died, she had done what she could.
She went back to the doctor's surgery and had progesterone injections twice a week. She became cautiously optimistic with each week that went by. She had her 17-week ultrasound. The baby looked completely normal.
At full term, Ashley gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.
The baby, Kaylie, is now six years old. Ashley is now a respiratory therapist at a major children's hospital. She has her own home, and is going to college to get a nursing degree.