Emilee Saldaya is as ethically responsible for baby Journey Moon’s death as if she had taken out a gun and shot her

Concept of the death of child, Loss. The family is painted on paper with  pencil and the child is erased

Last week, I wrote about the preventable death of a baby at freebirth.

So the surges keep coming every day, but still no baby. Just making me more and more tired and my body ache everywhere. Nothing I could do would ease the pain but I tried so hard to stay positive.

My water broke the evening of the 4th and was discolored. Since I was 42 weeks I thought it was normal. But as the days went by it got more foul smelling and turned a sick poop color which was constantly leaking and the baby stopped moving on the 6th.

I woke on the 7th with so much pain and pouring meconium that Chris and I agreed it was time to transfer.

Not surprisingly, baby Journey Moon was dead.

Leader of freebirth movement, vowing not to run and hide, immediately runs and hides.

I also wrote about the hallmark of freebirth advocates: emotional immaturity. Freebirthers are monstrously egotistical, reflexively defiant of authority, unwilling to admit mistakes, incapable of accepting responsibility for their own actions and entirely devoid of any empathy for their suffering babies.

In the wake of the outpouring of negative publicity about freebirth and the Facebook group that cheered the mother on to Journey Moon’s death, its creator Emilee Saldaya defiantly vowed:

This is not the time to run, hide and be silenced.

Whereupon she ran away and hid by shutting down her Facebook group.

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It is with a heavy heart that we officially announce the closing of our four wonderful groups here on Facebook. As of November 1st, all members will be removemed and the groups closed permanently.

Her explanation confirms the egotism of freebirthers, refusal to admit mistakes, inability to accept responsibility for their own actions and shocking lack of empathy for suffering and dead babies.

Saldaya’s attitude toward the death — shit happens! — is typical of the fatalism freebirth advocates display when a baby dies.

…[A] member of our private Free Birth Society group tragically lost her baby during her birth process earlier this month. The painful reality is that babies do sometimes die, in all settings, including the hospital, and every pregnant woman must contend with the possibility of death, which exists for each of us.

This is the equivalent of a mother defending the death of an unrestrained baby who died after being ejected through the windshield during a fender bender by declaring that babies in car seats die, too. That doesn’t make it okay to refuse to put your infant in a car seat.

Moreover, principled people look at an infant death and ask: how can we avoid this happening to another baby? In contrast, freebirth advocates ask: how can we avoid blame?

The bulk Saldaya’s post is a series of reasons why this dead baby is not her fault and how the death has impacted HER.

…I have received hundreds of death threats. Posts and private messages calling for my murder, my jailing, and for my family to be harmed, have come streaming in … [S]everal unsubstantiated blog articles have gone viral, full of lies, misinformation, slander and defamation.

There’s no justification for hateful messages but it is par for the course on the internet. I receive them often.

In light of this, we at Free Birth Society are advancing our plan to move off Facebook, to a safe and private membership platform.

I doubt that; they’ll almost certainly be back on Facebook when the publicity fades or even sooner. They are always anxious to proselytize and you can’t do that when you only communicate with each other.

I am so proud of the community that we have built together. This is not the time to run, hide or be silenced. It is a time to become more steadfast, more powerful and more protected in this radical work of healing the deepest wounds on this earth.

English to English translation: I will be continuing to charge hundreds of dollars for private freebirth “coaching” and courses.

I stand and will always stand for women’s reproductive autonomy, our bodily authority, and our freedom to make our own decisions surrounding our health, pregnancies and births.

Here’s something that’s will blow Emilee’s mind:

I too stand and will always stand for women’s reproductive autonomy. But having the legal right to refuse medical care does not mean that refusing medical care is wise or ethical. It does not justify lying about the risks of childbirth and the high death toll of freebirth.

Emilee Saldaya is as ethically responsible for Journey Moon’s death as if she had taken out a gun and shot her. By counseling her mother DURING labor that medical care was unnecessary, Saldaya provided false reassurance that led the mother to avoid the very care that might have saved her Journey Moon’s life.

That’s not promoting women’s autonomy. It’s denying them the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. It may not be illegal but it is morally reprehensible.

  • Shawna

    Last week there was a very similar and completely preventable death in another Freebirth group. I had accidentally joined thinking it was a normal (assisted) homebirth group. I was absolutely shocked by the behavior that I saw in that group. The baby’s death was totaly preventable had the mother just gone to the hospital days earlier. While one difference was that some members were recommending they go to the hospital, others were saying things like “don’t go to the hospital, they will just admit her and call her irresponsible” while it was clear from the mother’s symptoms that the baby was in jeopardy. Afterward, I interacted with one of the admins, and was harrassed, taunted, and ridiculed for being traumatized by the death (she thought it was ridiculous that I would be traumatized by someone else’s trauma) and mocked for accidentally joining a group that I didn’t know anything about. (I thought the “unassisted” part in the title was referring to homebirth accidents where the midwife doesn’t make it in time because it was INCONCEIVABLE to me that people were electing to have unassisted births before I stumbled into this horrible movement). I left the group immediately after the death. Your assesement of their pathology is spot on. They are ego-maniacs devoid of empathy and in complete denial of human history and how women and babies have always died in childbirth and medical advancements have dropped the mortality rates significantly. Dead babies are just bi-products of their precious movement. I was only exposed to this dangerous movement for a week before I watched a completely preventable death and then was harrassed for being traumatized by it. Keep exposing this movement, it is killing babies and misleading women into dangerous territory.

  • Hydrium

    Oh so NOW it’s murdering a child. I sure am glad we’re able to play jump rope with this line that’s been drawn of when it is and isn’t murder of an unborn child.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      It never ceases to amaze me that freebirth advocates want to talk about everything except the baby they let die by withholding emergency medical care. Thanks for illustrating that ugly fact yet again!

  • TsuDhoNimh

    “principled people look at an infant death and ask: how can we avoid this happening to another baby”

    Every maternal and infant death in hospitals I have worked in got a thorough review to see if there was anything that could have been done that would have prevented it. Timeline analysis, equipment review, lab results, vitals, prenatal care … we dug through everything.

    Not every review turned up useful information, but sometimes they did.

  • Melanie Murray

    I saw the image attached. The baby did not look like your description. Be ashamed of your gruesome disrespect.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    …I have received hundreds of death threats.

    There is no justification for death threats. I think she should post those death threats and who they are from. I have no problem calling out those people.

    Posts and private messages calling for my murder, my jailing, and for my family to be harmed, have come streaming in …

    Again, physical threats are not acceptable. Let’s call them out.

    I will say, however, that one of these things is not like the other….

  • rational thinker

    this group is probably back on face book already under a different name. Why dont they post a picture of journey moon after she spent 3 days in what was essentially a fucking crock pot. If the mothers in that group could see what that looks like maybe they would rethink the whole free birthing thing.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Sober drivers die in car accidents, too. That makes the decision to drink and drive more complicated, naturally.

  • Mel

    Yup, babies and moms die in hospitals, too, but a healthy woman with a healthy term baby has very, very high chances of leaving the hospital alive with an alive baby and excellent chances of both parties being healthy to boot.

    That rationale becomes even more absurd for me since I wandered into a hospital with a few organ systems on the verge of collapse while 26 weeks pregnant.

    I left the hospital 8 days later with nothing worse than mild abdominal soreness from a CS, a prescription for a BP lowering drug that we knew worked, and some residual exhaustion from not having as many red blood cells as I was used to.

    My son followed me home 100 days after that. Right now, he’s smacking a book on the floor to remind me to finish this comment and read to him and grinning like a Cheshire cat every time I look up.

    Hospitals saved my life and the life of my 65% finished baby; freebirthing killed a term baby and at the least emotionally hurt her mother. Freebirthing champions should at least be honest about the differences between the moms and babies who die in hospitals compared to those at home.

    • lsn

      Yes they should. The whole “oh babies die in hospital too!” argument makes me see red every bloody time. Term babies with no additional issues are at considerably less risk of dying in a hospital than they are in a freebirth situation when something goes wrong.

      I honestly was left wondering after that “every pregnant woman must contend with the possibility of death” whether Emile Saldaya thinks that this freebirth mother should have stuck to her guns and died at home of sepsis, together with her child.

      • RudyTooty

        Comparing neonatal deaths that occur in a hospital vs at an unassisted homebirth is positively absurd.

        Only the ignorant see that as a viable argument for giving birth in a home setting.

        **Term babies with no additional issues** are at risk of dying in a home birth where that risk is virtually zero in a hospital setting.

        SMH. I know what you mean about seeing red.

  • CSN0116

    This story happened at literally the same time that a tragedy in New York was unfolding. I’ve shared here many times that I research, publish, lecture on, and run several advocacy groups geared toward adherence to proper MCDA twin antenatal care.

    We got a mom into a group a couple of weeks ago. Young, WOC. We’re always on high alert when these cases pop in. Her antenatal care had been patchy and delayed: OB didn’t refer out to an MFM timely, even though he didn’t have the equipment/technology to perform proper surveillance on her. But she made it…a few weeks later than recommended.

    Mom makes it to MFM and is told she’s Stage 3 TTTS (super high mortality risk and usually progresses very fast, surgery should occur immediately). This is a Friday morning. She comes to our group. MFM tells her that she can go see a surgeon on MONDAY. Mom is swelling, contracting, having every symptom of rapidly progressing TTTS. She’s emotional, desperate, and scared. She needs to be seen far sooner than Monday.

    She reaches out to her MFM Friday afternoon to have records sent to multiple TTTS surgeons. MFM office never sends anything to any of the surgeons, but re-confirms that she is, in fact, in Stage III. Then they close for the weekend and stop responding to her altogether. Their call line tells her to go to an E.R. or call 911.

    She frantically calls surgeons several states away for help. We plead with her to go to an E.R., or even go right to a “nearby” hospital (about 150 miles) where a surgeon operates.

    On Saturday night/Sunday morning, while she’s scrambling for any/all life-saving information, she shows up to the E.R. She’s in full-blown preterm labor (22 weeks). The babies had already died. She delivers them.

    The system failed her. Her MFM failed her. She posted constantly, begged for help, and tried so hard to save her babies. To see the mom I’m referencing try so hard and lose. And then see this woman not try at all – it’s a hard pill to swallow 🙁

    • Mel

      That’s heartbreaking – and completely unacceptable.

      My twin and I survived Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome 37 years ago by somehow throwing Mom into labor at 29 weeks before either of us had died. I was on the verge of heart failure from having way more blood than I was supposed to have and I was the color of a beet; my twin was 1/3 smaller than she should have been and grey-white from blood loss.

      Those were the breaks 37 years ago because there was no technology that could diagnose TTTS prior to delivery and no treatment except delivery. There has been so many breakthroughs in monitoring and treatment that this outcome was completely unacceptable.

    • PeggySue

      Oh, God. This is appalling. What was the MFM *thinking? * She was *their patient,* was she not? Poor mother. I am disgusted.

      • Madtowngirl

        I want to know wtf MFM was thinking, too. This sounds like a situation where the mother shouldn’t have even been sent home, much less asked to wait three days for surgery.

    • BeatriceC

      I’m not usually sue happy, but I really hope she sues the MFM. The outcome may not have been changed had he sent the records appropriately, but at least there would have been a chance to save the babies. He deserves to rot in hell for depriving her of her last hope.

  • Daleth

    Yep. I agree, she’s responsible. The gun analogy is off; this is more like a parent who fails to take their kid to the doctor after a major car accident or serious illness. Watching discolored, smelly amniotic fluid pour out of you FOR THREE DAYS before going to the doctor is horrifying. It is, or should be, criminally negligent homicide.

    • Sheven

      Except it would be more like the parents taking the kid to the doctor and the doctor saying, “Oh, no. The [insert horrific physical symptom] is just part of the natural process of healing.” Then the kid dies due to that false reassurance.

      This post isn’t about the parents’ responsibility, it’s about the so-called expert’s responsibility. Saldaya posed as an expert and kept telling the woman to do nothing. That’s more than just neglect. It’s actively preventing (by way of misinformation) medical care.

      • Daleth

        Oh duh, you’re right. I just skimmed the post and thought we were talking about the mother!

        • Sheven

          We all skim occasionally! No worries.

      • MaineJen

        Do screen shots exist of the actual exchange between this mother and the freebirth facebook group?

        • Shawna

          MaineJen yes they do, search “leaked screenshots Emilee Saldaya”