Melissa Ohden’s traumatic story evokes immediate feelings of horror and sympathy as she tells how she nearly was poisoned her to death by her family.
But some people may start feeling uncomfortable and backing away when they find out the manner in which she nearly was killed.
“I grew up knowing I’d been born prematurely, that I had been adopted,” Ohden said. “What I didn’t know was that there was this great secret behind all of this. That I should have been delivered dead, and instead I was born alive.”
She learned the terrible secret when she was 14 years old.
“I was meant to be poisoned to death,” she told the BBC.
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According to the report:
In 1977, in a hospital in the US state of Iowa, Melissa’s 19-year-old mother had undergone an abortion using a toxic saline solution over five days.
Born at eight months and weighing less than three pounds (1.3kg), Melissa was placed among medical waste.
That was, until a nurse heard her weak cries and slight movements.
Melissa was rushed to an intensive care unit, where – against the odds – she survived.
It was traumatic news for a teenager, and Ohden said she struggled.
“I turned my pain upon myself,” she said. “It was a lonely place. I developed an eating disorder, struggled with alcohol abuse. I didn’t want to be me.”
Years later when she finally found her birth mother, Ohden said she learned how the situation surrounding her birth was even more complicated than she thought. Her birth mother told her that she never wanted the abortion, that Ohden’s biological grandmother had forced her into it.
What’s more, Ohden said her birth mother never had been told that she had survived.
She told the BBC:
“What I learned was my grandmother – her mother – was a prominent nurse in the community, and that the local abortionist was a friend of hers.
“Together they literally forced the abortion on my birth mother against her will.
“They were able to bypass the hospital regulations and procedures that my birth mother would have had to go through.
“So people at the hospital thought it was her choice, and she had no opportunity to fight back.”
Melissa’s survival had been even more unlikely as her grandmother, who worked at the hospital where she was born, had instructed her colleagues to “leave the baby in the room to die” that day – a fact she had openly admitted among family members.
Ohden said she is not angry with her birth grandmother, but her heart does break for her.
After years of struggling with the events around her birth, Ohden said she now considers herself “one of the luckiest people in the world.” Unlike millions of other unborn babies, she survived the abortion. Ohden said she has a loving adopted family and a good relationship with her birth mom, all of which she is extremely thankful for.
Now an internationally known speaker, Ohden shares her story to help people understand that every unborn baby’s life is valuable.