Monday, March 23, 2009

Day Sixty-Seven:In the News

***Catching up for the four days I missed while in Oklahoma without Internet, here's last Thursday's update***

Blog post for 3/19/09

So Tuesday, something pretty significant happened in my little corner of the world, and while it’s not particularly something I’d like to dwell too much on, it is worth remembering. Furthermore, whether it was my original intention for this project or not (it wasn’t), this blog is going to end up being a good way that I can look back and reflect on this year for quite awhile (at least as long as blogspot keeps it around), so I’d probably better use it to keep note of the significant things that happen over the course of the year.

And the reason I didn’t write anything about this Wednesday was that I knew I wouldn’t get to update again until Monday, and I didn’t want to leave this story at the top of my page for nearly a full week.

Last night, as my friend Sarah and I were driving home from work (see: Kim’s car tried to kill me so we grounded it, thus we became a one-car family), we saw a helicopter hovering in the general direction of our apartment complex. Still a good mile or so away, we wondered what they could be looking for/at.

As we pulled up to our complex, we noticed that all of the major local news stations had vans parked on the lawn of the complex across the street from ours and cameras pointed across the street toward our homes.

As we pulled in the gate, we found police cars blocking off the portion of the complex I was used to parking in (back when I had a car to drive) and police tape prohibiting anybody from going to the guest parking, laundromat, and dumpster behind my apartment.

Now, this is pretty awful, so before you read ahead know that this story has a good ending. Not “happy” necessarily, but everything ends up all right. Besides, if you live in Houston and watch the news/read the paper, you probably already heard it anyway.

Seems that about 3:00 p.m., one of our neighbors went to take out his trash when he heard something crying from inside an old spare dryer that was sitting beside the dumpster. He peered inside, expecting a cat or other animal. Instead, he found a newborn human girl with the umbilical cord still attached. The child was wrapped in a black plastic trash bag.

The man and his roommate pulled the girl from the dryer and called 9-1-1 immediately. Fortunately, there is a fire station only three blocks from our complex, and paramedics were on the scene in minutes. The baby was air-lifted to Texas Children’s Hospital, which is located in Houston’s own medical center, where she was immediately treated. Doctors afterwards said the baby was around an hour old when the man found her. That was miraculous; God only knows if she’d have survived any longer the way she’d been abandoned.

As of Wednesday morning, the girl—named “Mia” by the hospital staff—was recovering and was going to be all right and live a normal life, medically speaking. That’s the good ending.

The bad news is that it doesn’t look like the police will ever find the child’s mother. No one interviewed can remember seeing a last-trimester pregnant woman around the complex. I can’t remember seeing her, either. The bloodhounds weren’t able to pick up a scent, which isn’t surprising given that it was the only dumpster in a fairly large complex. No eyewitnesses, nothing. She “gets away” with this one.

As I mentioned before, it isn’t far from the complex to a fire department. According to the “Baby Moses Law,” this woman—or an accomplice, if she wasn’t feeling up to it (understandable after just having given birth)—could have taken the girl to the fire station and left her there, saying “I can’t care for this child,” and they would have taken her to get proper care, no questions asked.

Instead, she wrapped her up in a plastic bag and left her to die in a dryer. Thank God she did that much instead of just slinging the baby into the dumpster!

I wonder what the woman thought when she saw the news that night? Relief that they still had no idea who she was? Relief that her daughter was going to live after all? Disdain that little Mia didn’t die? Any shame or remorse whatsoever?

Or just a tired sort of relief that the whole inconvenient thing was over?

Surely this isn’t the sort of thing you can forget having done. I wonder how one goes about living with oneself after a thing like this?