Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Labor Pains

In 2007, after a very complicated labor and delivery, mrs. o gave birth to a baby boy. There were some issues, however, and he had to be taken to another hospital and placed in NICU.

She was in ICU herself, but when she was finally able to come home, she seemed in good spirits, still preparing their house for the new baby.

Then one day, she broke down. You go through labor and delivery and you expect to come home with your baby*, she explained to me. So one of the emptiest, most hurtful feelings she'd ever had was coming home from giving birth without a baby.

mrs. o could take solace in the fact that her baby would soon be there--a homecoming delayed by two weeks, in the end, but a homecoming nonetheless.

Kalynn Moore of Jersey City has no such comfort. She gave birth to a baby boy who died on 12/21. There would be no homecoming, but she hoped to give him a homegoing.

And now, even that desire may be denied. Christ Hospital, where Moore gave birth to little Bashir, has apparently discarded the baby's body with the trash. From abc.com:
The hospital says the baby... was delivered stillborn and was placed in the hospital morgue. When funeral workers came to claim the body Friday the hospital could not locate the body.

Police later informed Moore that her son's remains had been thrown out with the garbage.
The article states that Bashir was "misplaced."


My first reaction was that this story, even with no other details, is horrific.

But I am waiting for more details because I think there is a lot more behind this story. I do not know anything about Christ Hospital, but these things stand out to me.

1)Kalynn Moore is black. I think of the historic (mis)treatment of people of color by the medical establishment and, specifically, how reproductive freedom and justice have been denied women of color.

2) Kalynn Moore might be a single mother. Though her son seems to have been named for his father, the articles I've read have said things like, "a son was born to Moore" or "Mom demands answers." There is no mention of the baby's father--when the articles talk of family, they mention Moore's cousin. That is not to say that Bashir's father is not there, but that in a society that constructs married parenthood as the-only-way-to-go, 1) he might be being disappeared as not a "real father" and 2)the validity of their family unit is quietly denied. Similarly, I wonder how the treatment of Kalynn Moore might have been affected?

3) The baby was born on December 21, but the funeral home did not come to pick up his body to January 2. Because the hospital says he was stillborn, there was no autopsy. Even given the holidays, is 13 days a long delay? (It would be where I'm from). I ask, because I wonder if there were financial difficulties--an issue that would have definitely affected how Moore and her baby were prioritized and treated.

*Such is the case for most women, though I do not mean to discount the experiences of women who place their babies for adoption or who know, before delivery for various reasons, that their newborn's life will be short.

**This post calls the situation a "bizarre mishap," this one (by one of the authors of the first linked post and with the appalling title, "Dead Baby Trashed"), a "hospital blunder." Euphemisms, gotta love them.


Curly Guera said...

i'm speechless.

Giftie Etcetera said...

I'm come home three times now without my baby. Ander stayed 18 days. Grace Pax was miscarried at 9 weeks, requiring a procedure at the hospital (and no remains that could be saved). Loki came home after 7 days, and spent the next 7 strapped to a table at home.

I just cannot even imagine the anguish.

I hope you are wrong. I REALLY hope you are wrong.

But I get calls from my black clients all the time (and flowers, occassionally ;)), thanking me for finally helping them. Seems a lot of attorneys treat them differently and without professionalism, if they aren't paying clients. (The indigent defender board pays my meager salary.) I imagine the same thing goes on in hospitals.

Anonymous said...

this is horrific and horrible, but not surprising takig how hospitals treat low income folks, immigrants & undocumented folks. I also freaking get fed up when the media has to do their little spin on cutesy titles and play on words when tragedies like these occur. Like, don't copy editors have a heart?

Renee said...

I heard about this on CNN and started a blog post but could not find the words to express my horror. I cannot help but think that there is a connection between the race of the baby and the mother and this incident. The medical establishment has been known to have little regard for the lives of POC.

Professing Mama said...

Horrifying--simply horrifying. What the hell is wrong with people? How could ANYONE throw out a dead baby? These people must not only be missing a heart, but also a soul.

You are not wrong about this. There is no doubt in my mind on that.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...