Cause of Death Determined in Free Birth Gone Bad

Cause of Death Determined in Free Birth Gone Bad October 15, 2018

Last week we reported on the death of an infant related to a free birth in California. The story has gone viral thanks to many of our readers sharing the article on social media. Today we have updates on the infant cause of death. Additionally, we review if criminal charges can be filed in the case.

Yesterday, the mother took to Facebook to update her friends and family about her status. According to the mother, she and her partner continue to grieve the loss of their daughter, Journey Moon. Mother and father have accepted the death of their child.

Despite the glaring facts we outlined in our previous article, the mother continues to take no responsibility for the death of her child. If you need a recap of what she did not to help this child, here is a quick list:

-She had no prenatal care at all during her pregnancy. Providing her no indication if she or the baby were healthy enough for a homebirth.

-She labored for six days at home without any medical assistance

-Her water broke and was discolored with a foul smell

-She worried there was meconium in the discharge

-Her water broke and the baby remained inside her womb for more than 48 hours.

-She felt the baby stop moving on day 6, but instead of going to the hospital she took a nap.

-She only went to the hospital on day 7 when her discharge smelled like poop, and she was afraid SHE was in danger.

After she posted the update to Facebook, people flocked to her page to read. Numerous readers of ours tried to ask questions and get more details from the mother. The mother ignored and deleted most of the comments. However, one of our partners, who is fantastic at soliciting and obtaining information, extracted the details from the mother.

As you can see from the response, the mother admitted the baby died from strep B. We informed our readers in our previous article, the strep b is a common bacteria found in pregnant women. The Mayo Clinic provides details about the infection:

“Group B streptococcus (strep or GBS) is a common bacterium often carried in your intestines or lower genital tract. Group B strep is usually harmless in adults. In newborns, however, it can cause a serious illness known as group B strep disease.”

An infant is at increased risk of developing group B strep disease if:

The mother carries group B strep in her body

-The baby is born prematurely (earlier than 37 weeks)

-The mother’s water breaks 18 hours or more before delivery

-The mother has an infection of the placental tissues and amniotic fluid (chorioamnionitis)

-Group B strep bacteria have been detected in the mother’s urine (bacteriuria) during pregnancy (either her current pregnancy or previous pregnancies)

-The mother’s temperature is greater than 100.4 F (38 C) during labor

-The mother previously delivered an infant with group B strep disease

Complications of Group B Strep for infants can be life threatening. Infants can develop inflammation in the lungs. Babies can develop meningitis from the bacteria. Infections of the blood stream (sepsis) can also occur. Any of these complications can kill the infant.

Because Group B Strep can kill infants, pregnant women in the United States are swabbed for GBS during their pregnancy. Most OBGYN’s will test expectant mothers in their third trimester of pregnancy.

If a mother tests positive for GBS, doctors will take precautions to ensure the mother does not infect their child with the bacteria during labor. Mothers with GBS are given the IV antibiotic penicillin. If mothers are allergic to penicillin, other drugs are effective in treating the disease.

GBS exists in the vaginal flora of the mother. Most mothers that carry GBS will not have any symptoms unless they develop other infections within the body.

In the case of Free Birth Momma, she elected not to have any prenatal care for her child. She went to an appointment at eight weeks gestation, and according to our investigation, she never returned to the doctor.

Because she neglected to seek proper medical treatment for her child, she did not get screened for GBS. Without that critical information, Free Birth Momma decided to give birth at home with no assistance.

The Mayo Clinic recommends all mothers receive antibiotic treatment for GBS within 18 hours of their water breaking. Free Birth Momma’s water broke several days before she sought any assistance for the child.

Instead of seeking help from a hospital, she elected to speak with Emilee Saldaya, the founder of Free Birth Society. According to Emilee’s bio on the Free Birth Society website, she worked as a doula for several years. She gave birth last year to her child in the “wild.”

Emilee does not indicate that she has any medical education or certifications that give her rights to practice medicine. However, she charges members of Free Birth Society “coaching” fees to educate and coach them through their pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum recovery.

Free Birth Momma mentioned in the Free Birth Society Facebook group that she and Emilee spoke numerous times.

Since Emilee may have been serving in a medical role, she failed to assist the mother. Midwives that fail to help mothers seek medical assistance can be held accountable legally and civilly. We uncovered numerous stories of midwives being sentenced to prison for their negligence during deliveries.

Here are some examples:

Utah Midwife Sentenced to Prison in Baby’s Premature Death

When a Home Birth Ends in Tragedy, Can the Midwife Go to Jail?

Not only could Emilee be held responsible for her role in the death of the infant, but the mother could also be in legal trouble. We found a case in Oregon where a woman delivered twins in her home. One of the infants was stillborn, and the other child was born alive. The twins were born prematurely.

The baby that survived the birth was in respiratory distress at birth. Instead of seeking medical help for the child, the parents kept the child at home. Ultimately the child died related to medical issues associated with her prematurity. However, the child would have survived with medical intervention.

Based on the findings from the autopsy, police arrested Travis and Sarah Mitchell for the negligent homicide of their daughter. The parents pleaded guilty to the charge in summer 2018.

Free Birth Momma’s case is slightly different. Her baby never lived outside of her womb. However, she was negligent in seeking medical care for herself and the child during labor. By neglecting prenatal care for her and the baby, she put the infant at risk for death.

Since there are so few homebirth death cases prosecuted, the probability of criminal prosecution of either seems unlikely.

For now, both the mom and the Free Birth Society take no responsibility for the death of the child.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Cozmo the Magician

    But it is PP that ‘kills babies’ riiiight.

  • right! Surely not the crunchy, religious, homebirthing mommas

  • Kathleen

    Where are the ‘pro-lifers’ when it comes to this? And yet, my anti-choice friend calls doctors who perform abortions babykillers, while at the same time shopping around for a doctor who will let her do her own ‘research’ and have a “natural” vaginal birth, despite her increased risk of uterine rupture thanks to an emergency c-section and preemie baby. Apparently, body autonomy is only okay in some instances….

  • It’s all about their experience – it’s selfish, dangerous, reckless, and horrific. The women have zero interest in the well being of the baby.

  • RudyTooty

    Thank you for naming the founder of Free Birth Society.

    She is a dangerous and unethical person.

  • AnaBastow

    Not sure why your personal friend is pro-lifer but a lot of pro-lifers are livid about this negligence and are personally very committed to see a doctor when they are blessed with a pregnancy. The whole point of being pro-life is that the baby makes it healthy and live out of the womb that requires science in most cases.

  • OF course! We will bring this woman down – one article at a time. She must be stopped

  • JadeEclypse

    Midwives actually have training. This woman that was involved, did not. Nurse midwives are a real thing that requires real education. Fact check is your friend.

  • Geez, that is so bad. So preventable. And she accepts no blame. SMDH

  • WMccreery

    OK!! I’m a man but I am going to say something!! Birth is not an EXPERIENCE!! It is what you go through to have a BABY!! Raising a child is the experience, raising a child to become a fully functioning member of society!! You need competent help in case there is an emergency!! Getting good prenatal care is a MUST!! Rant over

  • TsuDhoNimh

    This is how women died in childbirth, in agony, after laboring for days.

    The earliest OB instruments were the various things needed to dismember and remove a dead fetus in hopes of saving the woman.

  • swbarnes2

    My guess is she’s tied up her moral worth deeply with her body’s ability to do feminine things. Good women don’t need C-sections. She knows she’s not a man, so if she can’t do womanly things right, she probably thinks she is a waste of space.

  • Dabbledash

    Do we know where Emilee Saldaya lives? (State?)

  • Hawaii

  • Dabbledash

    I think she gave birth in hawaii but might live in Boulder, CO. I haven’t been able to find any yelp pages or independent review sites for her businesses, but I wonder if something like letters to the editor in the local paper would be helpful for getting the word out. The mothers trusting this women don’t WANT their babies to die. People need to be warned about her. And she should be made a pariah.

  • Dabbledash

    Yes, *nurse midwives* have excellent training, but lots of midwives in the US aren’t CNMs, unfortunately.

  • JadeEclypse

    Actually all midwives MUST have medical training. However, people cutie m confuse doulas and other helpers for midwives.

  • Daleth

    I wish it were true that all midwives must have medical training. In the US, it’s not. About half the states let people become licensed midwives when all they have is the “CPM” credential (that stands for Certified Professional Midwife, but it should really stand for Certified Pretend Midwife). You can literally get that “credential” by reading some books at home and tagging along to a couple of dozen home births. It was only in 2012 that the education requirements for it were “strengthened” to require a high school diploma; there’s still no higher ed requirement at all.

  • Daleth

    The mother says “some things are not meant to be understood.” Ok, but this isn’t one of them. It’s easy to understand: this is what happens if you purposely don’t get prenatal care, refuse standard Group B Strep screening, freebirth at home, and let yourself labor for days with increasingly bad symptoms before you finally go to the doctor.

    Why did this happen? Because of how you chose to handle your pregnancy and childbirth.

  • TinnyWhistler

    Sorry, completely off topic, but I LOVE your avatar.

  • Anat

    Adding to Daleth’s response, there are also DEMs – Direct Entry Midwives, also regulated by individual states, with varying requirements.

  • Dabbledash

    You can be licensed as a CPM without any college education at all. Not even on the same planet as CNMs.

  • Yes, and CPMs are the ones that are at home births. Do you really trust someone with only a high school diploma to manage the most high risk time of your life?

  • PistachioGecko

    Good grief. You can do a pretty new agey homebirth and still have prenatal care and a midwife who will at least monitor your vitals for fever and insist on medical treatment upon noting signs of infection, lack of movement in the baby, and/or extended labor. This lady is lucky she isn’t dead. Why do people take things to such extremes? I have nothing against people who eat organic and treat colds with homeopathic stuff. But I don’t understand the people who have peg everything out to 11, whether with this naturalistic stuff or religious fundamentalism. No one is going to give you a prize for purity.

  • kimmason51

    right wing wants to throw women in jai, after having a miscarriage cause gawd wouldn’t let a fetus die. seriously this owman needs to be in jail, charged with at least sec degree miurder

  • KB

    Interesting. I just came across this article and my reaction was the exact opposite. Why would pro-choicers be concerned with this at all? A woman’s body, her choice, right? If a woman is able to decide that a child should die based on the grounds that she can do what she wants with her body, what, really, is the problem with her accidentally killing her child on those same grounds? I really have a difficult time wrapping my head around that.

    I don’t know the actual numbers, but I can tell my experience as living in Oregon (a state where elective abortion is legal up to birth – and is also funded by state funds for lower income and state employees – (yes, few doctors are willing to do it, but it is legal and elective late term does happen here)) and living in one of the many parts that is also hippy-woo woo, there seems to be a greater correlation between pro-choice and “natural” birth/ anti-vaxx. Which, I guess, is consistent? I prefer to be consistent as well. Bodily autonomy is great, but not if you hurt or kill someone else (generally). So, uhh, there is at least one pro-lifer view on this.

  • You are very welcome. We had a lot of help!

  • Pro-choicers are concerned because it’s a damned stupid, immoral choice to have a homebirth or freebirth. Totally legal, totally unethical. If you have unlicensed, poorly educated midwives giving bad advice and causing women and infants to die, that’s also a huge concern because you can only make informed decisions and fully consent to risks if you have all the information, and these women usually don’t because their midwives lie to them.

  • Yep, I am pro-choice but against anyone that practices medicine illegally. If the woman has carried a baby to term, we can ALL assume she planned to be a mother. Pro-choicers support the plans of the woman – whether they chose to parent or chose to terminate. When they chose to parent, we or at least I, want to ensure mothers are provided adequate health care by licensed, qualified providers. If you carry a baby to term, plan a birth, you have planned to be a parent 100%.

  • Adrian

    is too brainwashed

    Emilee does not indicate that she has any medical education or certifications that give her rights to practice medicine. However, she
    charges members of Free Birth Society “coaching” fees to educate and coach them through their pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum recovery.

    Free Birth Momma mentioned in the Free Birth Society Facebook group that she and Emilee spoke numerous times.

    Since Emilee may have been serving in a medical role, she failed to assist the mother. Midwives that fail to help mothers seek medical assistance can be held accountable legally and civilly. We uncovered numerous stories of midwives being sentenced to prison for their negligence during deliveries.

    So, in other words, it seems she’s somewhere between negligent and practicing medicine without a licence… Inquiring minds want to know, who would have standing to get an investigation started, since it looks like Free Birth Momma is too brainwashed?

  • tatortotcassie

    That is a great mnemonic to remember that CPMs aren’t licensed! Thank you!

  • Lambchopsuey

    Agreed. I knew another mom in our homeschooling community, and she bragged about having given birth to her second and third children with “unassisted home birth”, which was apparently the mid-2000s name for it. But BOTH the children she gave birth to that way ended up in the NICU! They didn’t die, fortunately, but how much of an IDIOT do you have to be to see BOTH of your children you gave birth to under that “methodology” end up immediately needing hospitalization in intensive care – and not learn a THING???

  • Jessica

    This story (and those like it) are just so sad and senseless. I had GBS, a low grade fever, meconium at delivery, and a post partum hemorrhage. My daughter is a healthy 3 year old who left the hospital with me after 48 hours. Why? Because these are common, TREATABLE complications. The hospital staff knew what to do, treated us, and we were fine.

  • Yep, GBS is one in 5 Americans…