We Don’t Meet People By Accident

By Melissa Ohden

Editor’s note. The following was posted on Melissa’s blog. In 1977 Melissa survived a saline infusion abortion. She has written many times for NRL News Today and NRL News and appeared numerous times at NRLC’s annual convention.

Melissa Ohden (right) and Lisa Andrusko, NRLC Yearbook Editor

Who would have thought 41 years ago, that a nurse who prayed over me in my NICU incubator at St. Luke’s Hospital would be a continued presence in my life. No one but God…

After my book, You Carried Me, was published in 2017, I was contacted by a nurse, Jan, who admitted that she had been following me on social media for many years, wondering if I was the baby that she remembered from so long ago. After reading my book, she stated that she knew without a doubt it was, indeed, me, that she held memories of.

She recounted how she was there in the NICU that fateful day in August of 1977 when the door came flying open and I was rushed in by a tall, blonde nurse, who shared that I “just kept gasping for breath,” and she “couldn’t just leave me there to die.”

To say that I’m grateful to that nurse, Jan, for contacting me all these years later to share these details surrounding my survival, would be an understatement. It’s a very surreal and strange thing when countless other people have memories of and knowledge about your life that you don’t know anything about.

Most survivors will likely never have the breadth of medical records and first-hand accounts by medical professionals and biological family members that I have. I wish I could change that. Survivors deserve information about their life circumstances. But I digress….

Jan and I now have spoken on the phone once and have emailed and messaged back and forth numerous times. I’m so blessed to know many details about her life, the experiences she’s had both professionally and personally over the years. We’ve bonded over our faith, and seeing God in the midst of great suffering and difficulty.

Jan and all of the nurses at the St. Luke’s NICU decades ago were certainly brought into my life at a critical time. They provided me medical care as professionals, they prayed over me, they took joy in watching me defy the odds. And then like so many babies, they had to let me go. After 21 days, I was gone, transferred to another hospital.

As Jan shared so beautifully with me, though, although I was gone, I was not forgotten. Over the years, she wondered about what had happened to me, what my life looked like. I’m sure she’s not the only nurse who did so.

Surely, it was no accident that I “met” Jan and the other nurses and medical professionals 41 years ago. Our paths crossed for a reason. They were all a major part of saving and sustaining my life.

Jan has stated that crossing paths with me that fateful day had a positive and long-lasting impact on her life, too. It solidified within her the boundaries she had about not assisting with abortions. It also prepared her for becoming a mother later, herself, as she took away from my birthmother’s experience that she would treat her children so much differently than my grandmother treated hers.

I deeply appreciate how God allows people to enter into our lives for a reason, and more often than not, our paths cross again and again, sometimes years or decades later. It was no coincidence that Jan’s path and mine have crossed once again. This is what He does.

Keep your eyes, ears and heart open for who God brings into your life, and remain hopeful that no matter how brief your time together, that you may very well encounter them again.