Weighing just 2Ib 14oz she lay hooked up to wires and tubes in a neonatal unit on August 29, 1977.

But there was no anxious parent nearby, lovingly holding her minuscule hand, desperately willing her to live.

Because Melissa Ohden’s mother had left the hospital in Iowa, believing the toxic saline solution she’d been given over a five-day period when she was eight months pregnant had aborted her child.

However the procedure had failed but Melissa’s mother had no idea her daughter had survived, against the odds, until 36 years later.

After Melissa learnt about her traumatic start in life, she spent nearly two decades searching for answers and would discover her guilt-ridden birth mother had not wanted to have the termination.

Melissa also learnt that she is alive today because a nurse heard her weak cries, slight movements and gasps for breath as she lay discarded as medical waste and rushed her to intensive care.

And in a macabre twist, it emerged there was another nurse at the hospital who had instructed the others to ‘leave the baby in the room to die’.

Devastatingly, Melissa, who lives in Missouri, US, found out that that woman – one of the supervisors in charge that day – was in fact her own grandmother.

Here Melissa re-tells her astonishing journey exclusively to Mail Online and reveals how she learnt to forgive her mother and grandmother – who she has chosen not to name.

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Melissa Ohden discovered she had survived her mother's five-day saline abortion

Melissa Ohden discovered she had survived her mother’s five-day saline abortion

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