Making the decision to have an abortion, is never an easy one, and it can be traumatic for all parties involved. However, usually, after the operation is completed, that’s the end of it. But for one woman, her decision would come back to haunt her because not only did her baby survive the botched abortion, she was now searching for answers.
Usually, when someone is adopted, at some point in their life they search for answers or information about their birth parents. And hopefully, their adoptive parents are willing to share said info. But when one woman asked her parents about the circumstances of her adoption, she was shocked to find out the horrific truth.
Melissa Oden was only three pounds when she was born, in Ohio in 1977. Her mother, a 19-year-old college student found herself pregnant, and alone. The young woman was nearly 8 months pregnant with Melissa when she decided to go to the hospital for a saline-solution abortion. These abortions are no longer done because of how gruesome they are.
Five Long Days
The solution is injected into the amniotic fluid and is meant to essential kill the child by burning them from the outside in. Melissa sat in the toxic fluid for nearly five days before she was supposed to be stillborn.
A Faint Cry
Her mother returned to the hospital for the final steps of the abortion and after she had given birth to what she and the medical professionals thought to be stillborn, they tossed her in a bin with medical waste. Luckily, soon after that happened, a nurse heard her crying.
NICU nurses worked around the clock to save her after discovering that she was still alive. When Melissa was interviewed on camera, she shared that she loves telling the story of when her parents first saw her, “The first time that they laid eye on me, lying in the incubator, they fell in love with me. And, you know, I always joke, ‘I know I wasn’t a pretty baby. I know that about myself’ ha ha”, she said.
But they knew that she was something special.
In the same interview, Melissa expresses how important she thinks it is that we think about the children behind the statistics and that she is what many other children would look like, if they were given the chance to live. “It’s not a statistic. It’s not just a choice; it’s not just a right. It’s a human being,” she said.
Melissa is now a masters level social worker, who actively campaigns against Planned Parenthood and against future funding of abortion clinics. But before she found her calling, she struggled with self-acceptance and self-love. Something that affected her for years, starting at the tender age of 14. It was then that she spiralled down into what she calls “unholy trinity” of sex, alcohol, and bulimia.
To rid her life of all unhealthy habits, she decided to get in touch with her spiritual side. In her words, she turned to the “grace of God”, which helped her through her most difficult times. She said she started to focus on being grateful for the life she was given.
When she dove a little deeper into why her mother tried to have an abortion, she was shocked at what she uncovered.
Against Her Will
Due to Melissa’s biological mother being the tender age of 19, her mother thought it was best to get rid of the child, and forced her to have the abortion. This fact stunned Melissa as she now knew her birth mother didn’t have a choice in the matter, and must have gone through extreme trauma, just like her.
But how could she just ignore the fact that Melissa was born alive?
It turns out, Melissa’s birth mother was so sedated during the operation, that she didn’t know her baby had been born alive. Amidst the chaos, her birth mother wasn’t notified. Later in life, Melissa desperately searched for her birth mother as she wanted to know her side of the story.
Today, Melissa is a wife, a mother, a devout Catholic, and an author. She published a memoir titled You Carried Me, detailing her life, story, and why she’s a pro-life advocate. Melissa said although she had tensions towards her birth mother and searched for 17 years for her, having her own children softened her heart.
“I’ve always loved her, but my love for her deepens year after year,” Melissa said when speaking of her birth mother. “And not just because the circumstances of her life and mine are now different…I know the truth about how she was forced into that abortion. But I think the older I get, the more I learn how to love people, and to respect them for who they are,” she continued.
A Love Story
Melissa refers to her story with her mother as a love story, a unique one in that, “It’s a love story that God wrote, and man attempted to re-write…[but] God’s story wins in the end.” The two spent two years communicating before meeting, telling secrets and learning to trust each other.
Melissa said that when the two met it was “everything I could have ever expected and more.” Her mother spent 36 years believing Melissa had died that day, and had trouble suffering from grief and guilt over the experience. Her mother never had any other children, but was elated to find out about Melissa.