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A very special Mother's Day gift

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Tiny Amie Ojeda-Melendez’s birth caused quite a stir, giving her parents the shock of their lives.

The now 2-month-old arrived unannounced and unexpected March 2, weighing just a little more than 3 pounds.

Amie is home for a very special Mother’s Day for Carmen Melendez and her husband, Federico Ojeda, after a two-month stay at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.


The couple, originally from Puerto Rico, did not know Melendez was seven months’ pregnant when she gave birth in the bathroom of their Columbus home.

Melendez, 40, had been having health issues for quite some time for high blood pressure. She was taking a medication that made her feel poorly, gain weight and swell up. She also had continued her menstrual cycle.

After having five children — ages 22, 21, 19, 17 and 10 — Melendez said she saw no signs that she was pregnant. She attributed any changes in how she was feeling to her blood-pressure issues.

Last week, she cuddled her newest little one, dressed in bright pink, smiling at the surprise baby in her lap.

Melendez was trying to get Amie to drink from a bottle. She explained that premature babies often have difficulty with the sucking and swallowing coordination.

The family gathered in the living room of their home, recalling the frantic day of Amie’s birth.

“She was feeling very, very awful on March 2,” Merced Maldonado, Melendez’s mother, said about her daughter.

Melendez went into the bathroom because she was feeling pressure. Suddenly, out came the baby.

She started yelling for her husband, who after the initial shock of walking into the situation, nudged the baby, who made noises.

He immediately ran to get help.

Ojeda, 39, went across the street where Melendez’s stepfather, Carmelo Marchante, lives. Melendez’s sister, Diana Torres, was there at that time and after assessing the scene instinctively knew what to do.

“It’s a baby. It’s alive. Call 911,” Maldonado recounted Torres’ words.

“I heard some noise and cleared around her mouth,” said Torres, who also held the baby close to her chest to try to keep it warm.

The father said the house was filled with commotion and confusion. At first, he feared something awful was happening to his wife.

“It was crazy with everyone running around,” said Amie’s brother, 19-year-old Johnathan Ojeda.

Ojeda smiles now when recalling the day — and the sirens and throng of police and emergency crews arriving to help.

He said the emergency responders quickly rushed to the mom and baby, who were taken by ambulance to Columbus Regional Hospital and then to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.

“It was all just total shock and surprise,” Ojeda said.

Maldonado said Amie is doing better after her two-month stay at Riley, and at 6 pounds is now about twice her birth weight.

Amie had multiple problems related to her heart, lungs, digestive system and blood and will have regular checkups with her Riley doctors to track her progress.

Melendez traveled to Indianapolis every day to see her daughter, until she came home on Tuesday. The family planned to have a big welcome-home party Saturday with family and friends.

If Amie would have been full term, she likely would have been born this Mother’s Day weekend.

Although the family had no time to prepare for Amie’s arrival, the little girl has quickly won over their hearts and shown she is a fighter, they said.

“She’s a miracle,” Torres said about her special niece.

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