An aborted baby who was left for dead in hospital trash survived—and 36 years later, meets her mom after a long search to find her.
Melissa Ohden, now 40, was only 14 years old when she discovered that as a baby she had survived a botched abortion. Her birth mother was given a saline solution to end the pregnancy—and the baby, presumed dead, was thrown into a medical waste bin. Fortunately for Melissa, a nurse heard her weak cries and gasps for air and rushed her to intensive care.
Baby Melissa weighed just 2 pounds 14 ounces (approx. 1 kg). Her biological mother had already left the hospital and was unaware her baby had survived.
“I have never met the woman who took me to neonatal but she’s an angel, I owe her my life,” Melissa told Mail Online in an exclusive interview.
She was adopted by Linda and Ron Ohden, who had another adopted child named Tammy. Melissa and her sister Tammy knew that they were adopted from a young age.
“Tammy and I fought like sisters typically do,” she said. “It was during one of these explosive arguments, when I was 14, that she blurted out, ‘At least my parents wanted me!’ I ran to my adoptive parents who eventually told me the devastating truth—that I had survived a botched abortion.
“My world felt like it stopped spinning that night. I felt, angry, scared, ashamed and even guilty for being alive,” Melissa said. “I was drinking heavily to numb the pain. But my parents never realized how much I was hurting because I was so good at hiding it.”
Melissa spent almost two decades searching for her biological parents, and she discovered that her birth mother was forced into an abortion and was living with the guilt. And just as devastating, she also learned that her grandmother had been a nursing supervisor at the hospital at that time, and had instructed nursing staff to leave her to die as an aborted fetus.
“I discovered that my birth mother, aged 19, had been forced into the abortion by her own mother, who was an educational nurse at the hospital,” said Melissa, who has written a book, You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir, detailing her journey.
After a 17-year search, Melissa met her mother on May 22, 2016. “When we finally met … I could see her in the distance getting nearer and part of me wanted to run away. It was scary.”
“Then we hugged and both cried. I said, ‘It’s been a long time.’ She told me, ‘I was robbed of you.’” Melissa said, “Then it felt really natural.”
Melissa wrote in the 15th chapter of her book about what her mother told her on their first meeting: “‘My greatest regret, Melissa, is that I didn’t just run away,’ she said. She told me that her parents were outraged by her pregnancy, ashamed about her being unmarried and pregnant, afraid of what it would mean for their reputation in the community. The most obvious solution – marriage – was the one her parents most opposed. They were adamant that their daughter not marry a man whose background and prospects were so modest, in their opinion. They were intent on their daughter making a ‘better,’ more socially prominent match.”
“She carries a lot of guilt and lives with many regrets but I told her I don’t blame her at all. I have only forgiveness in my heart, for my father too and even for my grandmother,” she said.
Melissa married Ryan, and together they have two daughters, Olivia and Ava. Coincidentally, Olivia was born at the same hospital where Melissa survived the abortion.
“It’s been a long and painful journey from shame and anger to faith and forgiveness. But I refuse to be poisoned by bitterness – that’s no way to live.”
Melissa is the founder of Abortion Survivors Network and has a master’s degree in social work.
“I have been in touch with 223 abortion survivors, mainly from the US but from all over,” she said. “It has devastated lives.”
“I have learnt to forgive. It doesn’t make what happened okay, but it releases you from the pain. We are all human and we all make mistakes,” she told Mail Online.
Photo credit: Facebook | Melissaohdenfan.