Name: Melissa Ohden
Survived Abortion: 1978
Thirty years ago, my biological mother, a 19-year-old college student, got pregnant out of wedlock. I am not sure that I will ever truly know what she thought or how she felt about her pregnancy. I am not sure that I will ever know if and how her parents, my biological father, her friends, or the culture of the time impacted these thoughts and feelings and her subsequent decision regarding her pregnancy. What I do know, however, is that in the late summer of 1977, her life, my life, the lives of my biological father, and their families was forever changed.
When my biological mother was somewhere between 18 and 22 weeks pregnant, she underwent a saline infusion abortion. Saline abortions involve injecting a caustic saline solution into the amniotic fluid, which causes the fetus to be scalded to death and then delivered dead.
Throughout the course of a 5-day period, I endured the deliverance of this saline solution into the fluid around me, breathing it in through my nose and mouth, while numerous rounds of Pitocin were delivered to my mother, to induce labor, and ultimately dispel my dead body from her womb.
When I was delivered in bed by a nurse that fifth day, I was believed to be dead. Weighing a mere 2 pounds, 14 ounces, suffering from jaundice and severe respiratory distress, my future appeared to be bleak, but I was alive.
Soon after my birth, my biological parents put me up for adoption. As an infant, doctors believed I would suffer from any one of a number of physical and emotional disabilities as a result of the abortion procedure and my subsequent premature birth.
Despite these ominous forebodings that were made regarding my future, I was wanted. My adoptive parents adopted me, knowing full well that as they opened their hearts and their home to me, they took a chance on raising a child who would quite probably not live past their infancy, and if I did survive, would more than likely be disabled.
Ever since I can remember, I've known that I was adopted. Like a badge of honor, I carried that distinction with me throughout my life, proud to share with others that my parents found me so special. To make a long story short, it was during my adolescence when I was alerted by my older sister to question my adoptive parents about my premature birth. When my adoptive mother shared the truth with me, that, I was "not born," but in fact had survived a lethal attempt on my life, my life was never the same.
I spent many years of my life being ashamed and embarrassed by the abortion attempt that my biological mother underwent; when I was younger, I was also very hurt, assuming that so little was thought of me and my potential for life. Of course, I would be lying to myself and everyone else, if I stated that I had never been angry with my biological mother, and had never thought vengeful, hurtful thoughts towards her. Looking back on this now, I understand that this was all part of the grieving process that I had to go through.
I have also struggled with strong feelings of guilt for being physically, mentally, and emotionally able; I know full well that millions of babies each year are not as lucky as I was. I am truly blessed to be alive, nonetheless, to be perfectly happy, healthy, and successful.
I believe in my heart that if my biological mother would have felt that there was support for other choices than abortion-single or martial parenthood, adoption, and that resources to support these choices were available to her, that she didn't have to decide between her child and her life as she knew it, she would not have made that fateful decision to end my life.
Instead of being angry or bitter about the circumstances that surrounded my arrival into this world, I have chosen to be grateful, and the time has come in my life in which I believe I need to use my story to provide a voice for the voiceless, the children killed each day by abortion, and the women who felt driven to it.
My blog currently focuses on my experiences with my first pregnancy; how my mother's abortion attempt has impacted my pregnancy and my views on abortion, being pro-woman, and pro-life; and my hopes and dreams for a different world for my unborn daughter; a world where there are resources and support for pregnant and parenting mothers and fathers.