(BBC) When Melissa Ohden was 14 she learned a shocking secret – her mother had tried to abort her. She was saved by a nurse who heard her crying as she lay among medical waste at a US hospital. This is the story of her survival, and of the mother who thought she was dead.
“I grew up knowing I’d been born prematurely, that I had been adopted,” Melissa Ohden, now 41, tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.
“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.”
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.
At eight months old 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.
Doctors thought she would be blind, and at one stage believed she had a fatal heart defect.
But she has gone on to live a perfectly healthy life, being brought up by an adoptive family.
“It is astonishing”, Melissa admits. “I pinch myself some days.”
Melissa – who has written a book about her experiences – says she only found out she was an abortion survivor when her sister in her adoptive family let it slip during an argument.
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