This is a corrected blog. I have always said that if I am mistaken about something I’ve written, I will own it, and I do. I had a geography moment and thought that Hammond was in Central Indiana, not Lake County at the NE border of Illinois. As someone who has spent time in Indiana, I know better. I removed the part of this blog where I questioned the location and reporting of the drop-off. The main concern regarding the health of babies and mothers caught in the SHBB trap has not changed. My apologies for my mistake.
On November 18, WSBT-TV in Misiwakna, Indiana broke the story that a newborn dropped off in a Safe Haven Baby Box had been adopted there during National Adoption (Awareness) Month. The adoptive parents are Bruce Faltynski, a Mishawaka police officer, and his wife Shelby, a Nurse Practitioner. The baby’s name is Myah.
It’s not uncommon to find boxed babies in the news. They are essential to SHBB movement growth and money stream. They show up at SHBB Inc fundraisers, box blessings, and press conferences. Occasionally, there’s a “reunion” story when the child meets with firefighters at the station they were dropped at. This is the first time I’ve seen the actual “real-time” box adoption publicized, but I figured this was just another puff piece for NAM/NAMM, which it was.
Perhaps because it was NAM/NAAM then, other media copy-catted the story and now it’s gone on the wire and international. Even People checked in. I have no idea why this is a big story outside of the baby box angle and that the adoptive dad is a cop. Of course, the SHBB Inc Mighty Wurlitzer never misses a churn.
Whatever is going on, the public and unfortunately, the usual incurious media, find nothing peculiar about the story surrounding Baby Myah’s case. But there is. Things are overlooked.
The Incurious Media Strikes Again
SHBB Inc routinely announces box “surrenders.” Most announcements include the date (or approximate date), location, and claim that the baby was born “drug free and healthy.” During birth or shortly after, however, Baby Myah suffered a stroke.
(2) When she was born, Myah had a stroke.
The part of the brain that was affected controls her speech and hearing.
But don’t worry, she made it quite clear how she’s doing.
“We have weaned her completely off her seizure medication and she still has the stroke. That will always be there, but as you can hear she’s reaching all of her developmental milestones and the neurologist is very hopeful that she might not have any neurological deficits. Time will tell,” said Shelby Faltynski.
Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of SHBB Inc has repeatedly claimed that all of the babies “surrendered” in boxes have been healthy and that their mothers, most of whom did not receive prenatal care and delivered alone, (how does she know?) were born “completely healthy.” She was forced to walk that back when she learned that one of the boys “surrendered” at Carmel this Spring was (pending investigation) being returned to a parent. She went to the press squawking confidential medical information, which she has no business knowing or divulging, that his parents were reportedly drug users and he was born with drugs in his system. Since then she has said “all but one”–sometimes.
Why would anyone believe that all 21 babies left in baby boxes and their mothers experienced no medical issues? No medical provider I have ever spoken to believes this. Some might be OK. Others not. Since no one can officially check on mothers, due to the baby box “anonymity” law, we can’t say how many of either experience pre- and postnatal complications. Of course, the anonymity of some of the moms is questionable, since Mrs. Kelsey talks about her personal relationships with them post-“surrender. but that’s a story for another day.
Pregnancy and Birth Complications
Pregnancy and birth complications, of course, are common enough without the added weight of lack of or limited prenatal care and unattended delivery.
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Kenndy National Institute for Child Health and Human Development lists these common pregnancy complications: high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, infections, preeclampsia, preterm labor, depression and anxiety, pregnancy loss/miscarriage, stillbirth, severe, persistent nausea and vomiting, and iron deficiency anemia.
Childbirth complications: labor that does not progress; perineal tears; problems with umbilical cord; abnormal heart rate of the baby; water breaking early; perinatal asphyxia, shoulder dystocia; excessive bleeding.
Since Baby Myah suffered a perinatal stroke, defined as a stroke that occurs between the 140th day of the gestation period and the 28th postpartum day, I looked up causes.
A lot of online resources are pretty technical, but I found a couple that explains the cause of perinatal stroke. I’m using Wiki here. I want to stress that this does not mean that Baby Myah’s mother’s possible lack of pre-natal care caused the stroke. These strokes happen with the best of care, but it is clear that conditions causing them to develop when pregnancy and birth are not conducted with professional medical care.
Perinatal stroke is correlated with various risk factors in infants including birth trauma, placental disorders, infections, and the mother’s health.
Birth trauma and mechanical trauma to the fetal head and neck can cause stroke by damaging arteries: Some children may have arteries that are damaged by trauma or inflammation leaving a rough or jagged inner lining where blood clots can get stuck. These clots can build up enough so that eventually the artery is clogged and no blood can flow through. In addition to vascular damage, trauma to the fetal head from excessive uterine activity, manipulation, pressure, and forceps or vacuum application via direct occlusion or vasospasm can cause perinatal ischemic stroke.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), also known as birth asphyxia arises from oxygen deprivation in the womb. HIE results from placental abruption, umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, or the failure to identify abnormal heart rate by the medical staff.
Placental disorders associated with perinatal stroke, range from anatomical (site or degree of implantation) such as placenta previa to placenta-maternal effects (fetal erythroblastosis).
Infections like chorioamnionitis cause an infection in the maternal blood, commonly leading to premature birth and the newborn experiencing brain damage, meningitis, or death. Other infections include neonatal sepsis, where the immune system reacts by affecting their organs and tissues resulting in meningitis, seizures, and cerebral palsy.
The mother’s health is also associated with perinatal stroke, some factors include blood clotting disorders, congenital heart diseases, and prenatal cocaine exposure. Blood clotting disorders such as Hemophilia A and B result from low clotting factor quantities leading to heavy bleeding. In congenital heart disease, perinatal stroke results from the disruption of blood flow from obstruction of a blood vessel in the brain.
However, various infants still experience perinatal stroke after a normal pregnancy and studies have shown that sometimes there is a lack of direct cause and many infants are idiopathic.
All-in-all, NICHHD lists the five most common causes of infant death: (1) birth defects. (2) preterm birth and low birth weight, (3) Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (4) pregnancy complications, and (5) accidents. Perinatal strokes fit into that list. The nobody-has-to-know-you-are-pregnant/had-this baby doctrine of Baby Box promoters exacerbates 1, 2, and 4.
Down the SHBB Inc Rabbit Hole
Are any of the so-called SHBB Inc’s “trained counselors” prepared to counsel on these issues beyond a superficial level, if that?
Why does SHBB Inc continue to brag that none (or almost none) of their babies and moms have suffered from complications due to lack of medical care and unattended birth? This is clearly untrue and suggests to potential moms that concealed pregnancy holds little danger.
I don’t believe that they encourage women to conceal pregnancies–at least from medical providers; everybody else like parents, husbands, boyfriends, and friends, is fine. I do believe they downplay bad outcomes, especially to the public where they recruit their moms.
No Muss No Fuss babies. At the bottom of this page, you will find a SHBB Inc 8+ minute training film (cleverly marketed as a PSA) targeting teen girls on how to have a secret baby. We see the pregnant teen and her BFF scouring the internet for a solution to the problem. We do not see the bloody birth, which may or may not take place at home, but she leaves her immaculate bedroom, sneaks out of her upscale home, and her friend drives her to their nearby baby box. Her friend drops the baby in the box, and they drive away in an immaculate car. into the winter night. No sign of blood, sweat, and tears. Would you want your daughter to watch this video? Would you want her to do this?
I remember years ago when I attended a traditional safe haven bill hearing in Ohio, where the sponsor said that it would be easy for a 12-year-old to hop on the bus with her 2-hour-old baby to take it to a fire station! The committee, packed with co-sponsors went Whoa! Somebody needs to say Whoa! to Mrs. Kelsey (and her “PSA”)
The silence on the dangers of untreated pregnancy, unattended birth, anonymous baby box abandonment, and the lifelong consequences for mother and baby reminds me of that moment. Potential baby box moms, especially young ones, are kept from a very ugly reality. I may be naive, but I would think that anyone who has given birth would see this brush-off, and think oh-oh. So should the media.
I am not suggesting that the media snoop around Baby Myah’s medical history or try to track down her mother. What I do think is that somebody out there–besides the handful of us fighting baby box lies–needs to bring up these questions instead of kowtowing to SHBB Inc and remaining silent.
It is unconscionable that no one in the popular press has, to the best of my knowledge, discussed dangerous health issues with baby box dumps. Mrs. Kelsey occasionally says something like everybody turned out healthy so what’s the big deal,– the baby is alive. You’d think questions that reflect on the integrity and transparency of the company and welfare of moms and babies would have a better answer.
There are so many questions about SHBB Inc: its history, funding, and funding schemes, agenda, efficacy, claims, evangelicalism, and lack of transparency, as well as legitimate criticism of the movement that SHBB Inc hides and the media ignores, you have to wonder how many rabbits need to scurry down the hole until somebody pursues them.
Would you want your daughter to do this?
Corrected: December 20, 2022
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