Melissa Ohden, who survived a late-term saline infusion abortion in 1977 and was abandoned by her mother who thought she was dead, learned about her unique story in bits and pieces across a few decades. 

The culmination of the story for 40-year-old Ohden, a writer and motivational speaker, occurred when she finally met her mother in 2016.

Ohden was born in an Iowa hospital, though her mother thought that the saline solution she was given for five days while she was eight months pregnant had killed her child.

However, Ohden was very much alive, and her cries, movements and gasps for breath were heard by a nurse as she lay discarded as medical waste. She was rushed to the intensive care unit and survived.

Although Ohden was adopted in a loving family when she was three months old, and is now married and has two wonderful girls, her life journey has been far from easy.

After learning about her traumatic start in life, Ohden, who spent nearly two decades searching for answers, found that her mother had not wanted the abortion.

Speaking with the Daily Mail, Ohden shared her inspiring story, her journey from shame and anger to forgiveness. "I discovered that my birth mother, aged 19, had been forced into the abortion by her own mother, who was an educational nurse at the hospital," Ohden recounted. 

"She was heavily sedated and didn't know that I had been born alive ... It's been a long and painful journey from shame and anger to faith and forgiveness. But I refuse to be poisoned by bitterness — that's no way to live."

It was later in life that Ohden discovered that her maternal grandmother reportedly did not approve of Ohden's father and asked her daughter to get an abortion done by saline infusion, a procedure no longer recognized in the U.S. because of its failure rates.

And it was her grandmother who had instructed the others to "leave the baby in the room to die."

Recalling her experience of meeting her mother when she was 39 years old, Ohden said that she doesn’t remember who was the first person to send an email, but she does accept that both of them were in a shock when they first met, especially her mother who had no idea that her daughter was alive. 

“When we finally met in May 2016, I could see her in the distance getting nearer and part of me wanted to run away. It was scary. Then we hugged and both cried. I said, 'It’s been a long time,' and she told me, 'I was robbed of you,' and thereon it felt really natural.

‘She carries a lot of guilt and lives with many regrets but I told her I don’t blame her at all," she said. 

Her past is behind her now and Ohden has made it her life’s motive to help others in similar situations. She wrote a memoir that released in Jan. 2017, “You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir,” to share her story with the world. 

Ohden has also laid the foundation to the ‘Abortion Survivors Network’ to support people who find themselves in a similar position, and has been in touch with 223 abortion survivors, mainly from the U.S. but also from across the world. 

Ever since the first meeting, Ohden has seen her mother a few times and is also in regular contact. 

“Through my Catholic faith, I have learned to forgive. It doesn’t make what happened okay, but it releases you from the pain. We are all human and we all make mistakes.”