Against All Odds:Baby Who Survived A Botched Abortion Meets Her Mother At The Age Of 39

woman who survived a botched abortion




40-year-old Melissa Ohden weighed just 2Ib 14oz  on August 29,1977, as she lay on the hospital bed hooked up to wires and tubes in a neonatal unit, without her parents around anxiously looking at her and hoping that she survived.

Melisa’s mother had left the hospital, believing the toxic saline solution she had been placed on over a five-day period in the eight months of her pregnancy had aborted her child.

The abortion procedure had however failed without  Melissa’s mother’s knowledge and had no idea her daughter had survived the ordeal,  until 36 years later.

Melissa later learned about her traumatic beginning, and spent  almost two decades in search of answers and discovered her birth mother did not want to have the abortion.

Melissa also discovered that she was living today only because a nurse heard her faint cries, gasps for breath and slight movements as she was discarded in medical waste and immediately rushed her to the intensive care unit.



Ironically, it was later revealed that another nurse at the hospital had instructed the others to leave the baby in the room to die.

Unfortunately, Melissa found out that that woman who had given that instruction to let her die was her grandmother, a supervisor who was in charge that day.

Melissa who told her life journey to Mail Online says  she has learnt to forgive her mother and grandmother whom she decided not to name.

The discovery of the circumstances surrounding her life would make most people become bitter and unforgiving but Melissa reunited with her birth mother in 2016 after a17 years of searching and says she has forgiven her mother.

Melissa found that her mother was forced into having an abortion at the age of 19 by her  own mother who was a nurse. She was sedated and did not known that her baby was born alive.Doctors at the hospital estimated Melissa’s mother’s pregnancy to be 20 weeks and was given saline infusion, an abortion method no longer in use due to its failure rate.

Baby Melissa suffered jaundice, seizures and respiratory distress and was expected that she would have vision problems, hearing loss, and developmental delays if she survived.

At three months old Melissa was adopted by Linda and Ron Ohden, a couple who had adopted a daughter named Tammy, four years older than Melissa.
woman who survived a botched abortion
Both Melissa and Tammy  had been told they were adopted by their parents.She only discovered that she was aborted when Tammy told her during a fight when she was 14 that at least her own parents wanted her unlike Melissa.At that point, her adoptive parents told her truth about her survival.

Melissa later went on to the University of South Dakota to study political science, where she discovered her birth mother had attended also, after desperately searching for clues about her mother.

Surprisingly her grandmother who had planned the abortion was a professor at the university during at that time Melissa was studying there even though she didn’t know this.

Later on, she moved to  the same City, where the botched abortion took place, giving her the opportunity to search local records for more information.

At age thirty, there was a break for her.As she flipped through a nursing year book she saw someone who she suspected to be her granny as she already found out her grandparents’ names and where they worked.She wrote to them but only her grandfather replied telling her that her survival was not what they intended and also that she wouldn’t find her mother through them because they were estranged.

She asked for her medical records from the hospital and found out he name of her parents.She wrote her father who never replied. Six ,months down the line, she found on the internet that he had died recently.She contacted his brother and family who told her they  had found her letter while clearing out his office drawer after he died.

Melissa later went on to get married and have two kids one of whom was born in the same hospital as the failed abortion.

At the age of 36, her biological mother’s cousin sent her a mail after she learnt she’d contacted the family.She told her her parents were childhood lovers who were engaged when she was conceived.Her mother had irregular periods, hence did not know she was pregnant until the third trimester. Her grandparents did not want the relationship and forced her mother to have the abortion.

After 17 years of searching,  Melissa got in touch with her mother through the mother’s cousin.Her mother had no idea she was alive and they finally met last May.Her grandmother had passed on some years back.

Melissa is now a motivational speaker, and she founded the Abortion Survivors Network to help others in the same position.

photo credit:Melissa Ohden

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