“I had known ever since I can remember that I had been not only adopted, but I had been born about four months premature. I knew that I had been very sick and very tiny, and the doctors didn’t have a very good prognosis for my life. I didn’t have a lot of questions about that growing up, because I guess to me it didn’t matter because I was healthy. I was in a great home. I was loved, and life was good.”
But Melissa Ohden only knew part of the story. She was 14 when her older sister got pregnant out of wedlock and considered an abortion. Melissa’s mother, Linda, wanted to stop her daughter from having the abortion and told her daughters the shocking circumstances of Melissa’s birth.
“She said, ’We never meant to keep it from you. There’s no easy way to tell you this. Please know that we’ll always love you.’ Then she just kind of blurted it out. She said, ‘Melissa, your mother had an abortion during her fifth month of pregnancy with you and you survived it.’”
In 1978, Melissa’s teenage birth mother, walked into an abortion clinic expecting to walk out with her “problem” solved. She chose a saline injection to end the life of her five month old baby. When the procedure was over, a nurse heard her two-pound baby crying from the discarded medical waste.
Social services knew Mr. and Mrs. Cross wanted to adopt another baby girl. They didn’t know if they would take such a high risk baby.
Melissa’s mother Linda says, “When we first saw Melissa, her head was shaved from temple to temple, because she was too little to suck and they fed her intravenously. They told us all the things that could be wrong with her because of the premature birth, but as soon as they put her in my arms, I knew she was going to be fine. She was just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”
Melissa recovered completely, and lived a normal childhood until the circumstances of her birth were revealed. Now questions flooded her mind.