TAYLORSVILLE

A Taylorsville family believes “God’s will” is the only way to describe the unexpected birth and miraculous survival of their child.

Carmen Melendez didn’t even know she was pregnant when the ailing woman went into her bathroom on March 2, 2013 — five years ago this month — and, to everyone’s surprise, gave birth to a daughter.

Symptoms of pregnancy that the Puerto Rico native experienced while giving birth to five older children were not obvious this time to the experienced mother.

While Melendez experienced nausea, swelling and weight gain during her pregnancy, those symptoms were attributed to negative side effects of a new blood pressure medication.

After giving birth, Melendez started yelling for her husband, Federico Ojeda. After the initial shock of walking into the situation, Ojeda nudged the newborn, who made noises confirming she was alive.

The atmosphere became increasingly frantic, but Melendez’s sister, Diana Torres, assessed the situation and instinctively knew what to do.

After clearing her niece’s mouth, Torres held the newborn close to her chest to keep her warm until the ambulance and first-responders arrived.

Born two months premature at a little more than 3 pounds, Amie Ojeda-Melendez spent the next two months at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.

Serious developmental problems regarding her heart, lungs, digestive system and blood required long-term care of physicians and staff at the Indianapolis hospital.

Although her parents never failed to make a daily visit, they knew the odds were not on Amie’s side. Ojeda described persistent fear that his daughter might perish at any moment as horrible.

Amie stopped breathing multiple times, Melendez said. But the tough little girl displayed a remarkable will to survive, her father said. Suddenly, the sum of experiences seemed to indicate that providence was on his daughter’s side, the father said.

“She’s a miracle,” was how Torres phrased it, when her niece was brought home for the first time just before Mother’s Day 2013.

In those five years, family members have come to believe that Amie, who will enter kindergarten at Taylorsville Elementary later this year, has a special destiny in this world.

With a smile her aunt describes as “God sent,” Amie serves as proof of the family’s religious faith, Torres said.

Bilingual in Spanish and English, the pre-schooler displays exceptional intelligence that includes the ability to grasp small details most people overlook, her mother said.

In fact, her adult half-brother, Alex Ojeda, said Amie can and will quickly correct him if he steers the slightest bit off course while driving in the Indianapolis area.

Although Amie has to undergo regular lung examinations as a precaution, all post-birth health problems are long gone, her mother said.

While doctors had warned Amie would lag behind her classmates through grade school, she’s virtually the same height as her 5-year-old nephew and playmate, Ian Ojeda.

But there is something else that makes this little girl so special, her aunt said.

Besides overcoming great obstacles, it also is Amie’s desire to constantly better herself that strengthens the family’s faith and give them hope for the future, Torres said.

Amie’s insistence on wearing dresses every day, as well as elaborate princess bedroom decor, demonstrate a sweetness — coupled with her strong survivor qualities — that makes the 5-year-old so endearing to her much-older siblings, Alex Ojeda said.

Covered with gifts of My Little Pony and Minnie Mouse stuffed animals, as well as princess dolls, the walls and shelves of Amie’s bedroom represent how much she is loved and admired, Alex Ojeda said.

And how does Amie feel about her family?

“They are great!” Amie enthusiastically said without hesitation.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.