It's incredible what becoming a mother does to your intuition. Your awareness is heightened, your connection to another human being is something that can't be described, and above all else, you'll do anything to keep your child safe.
That couldn't be more true for a Wyoming, Illinois, mother whose quick thinking and love for her daughter saved her 12-day-old baby's life this week. Those in her community as well as across the country are calling 21-year-old mother Shelby Ann Carter a hero.
On January 30, firefighters received a call about a house fire. By the time first responders got to the home, which Shelby shared with her mother, the 21-year-old was deceased in a second-story bedroom. She died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
They were surprised to find her baby wasn't with her.
The infant, Keana Davis, was found on top of a pile of debris, safely strapped into her carseat. She had been dropped from a second story window that Shelby broke to save her daughter's life.
The fire had spread quickly, and in just a few short moments, the house was filled with dangerous smoke with no way to escape. After realizing the house was engulfed in flames, Shelby strapped Keana in her car seat,smashed a window, and tossed the child from the second-story in an effort to save her baby's life.
Investigators believe it was only a matter of seconds or a couple of minutes at most from the time Shelby Carter realized her home was on fire and the moment she made the decision to save her child while she seemingly knew she was going to die. What is certain is that her quick thinking saved Keana's life.
Even in the most life-threatening circumstances, and with an incredibly limited amount of time, Shelby had the presence of mind to quickly strap her into the carseat.
Other than a minor burn, the infant was completely unharmed. Responders took her to the hospital in good condition, and released her shortly after.
Chief of the Wyoming-Speer Fire Protection District Ed Foglesonger said:
"It's just incredible that she was able to pull her thoughts together to save her baby… I'd say it's nothing short of a miracle the way it ended up."
Friends and family of the young mom are mourning the loss of their loved one, whose greatest joy was motherhood.
Her aunt Kathy Carter said, "Shelby was so proud of this beautiful baby girl."
"It's just incredible that she was able to pull her thoughts together to save her baby," said Ed Foglesonger, chief of the Wyoming-Speer Fire Protection District. "It's just too bad she couldn't save herself, but I'd say it's nothing short of a miracle the way it ended up.”
Shelby Carter's death was a painful blow to her small town, but her loved ones take comfort in knowing her final act was a heroic one. No one who knew her, however, was surprised that she lost her life saving her child. Shelby was a strong woman with an inherently protective personality and a passion for children. Taking care of kids came naturally to her, according to family and friends. "She loved every child she came in contact with and they loved her," her obituary said.
"Her greatest moment was becoming a mom," her online memorial added, and Shelby performed that role impeccably and admirably. With her last breath, Shelby Carter laid down her life for her daughter and gave the world a perfect example of a mother's love that is both incredibly sad and very heartwarming. She was determined to protect her child, even if it meant sacrificing herself. Please SHARE this great mom's story with your friends.