When Cristina Salazar went into labor, she was let out of jail to have her baby. The little girl suffered from a lung infection and spent some time in neonatal care at Sacred Heart. Salazar was allowed to spend those days with her infant daughter, but then she had to report back to Kootenai County Jail. Now she’s finishing her sentence in southern Idaho while her mother and younger sister look after her baby. Salazar illustrates the stark reality of a jailhouse pregnancy and a young mother determined to turn her life around and be there for her child.
Related story: Going to term
“It’s rough. I feel all big and huge,” Salazar said. “It’s not the best, but I mean, I just gotta tough it out. I imagine it wouldn’t be much more comfortable being out there, being this big.”
“I have some really good friends in here,” Salazar said. “They definitely watch out for me and definitely care for me, that’s for sure. And the baby.”
“I was happy I could hear her cry,” Salazar said. “I was scared, though.”
“I just don’t like seeing her sick like that,” Salazar said. “I just want her to be good, to be healthy.”
“It hurts me, it really does,” Salazar said, thinking about missing the critical bonding time after birth. “But I just gotta change it and just be better for the future. Like I can’t do anything about it now, just change for her.”
“She’s beautiful, I can’t believe how big she is already,” said Salazar.
“I want to be 100 percent for my daughter. I want to be there….I can’t be doing this anymore, ‘cause if I continue then she’s not going to know me.”