I can’t even . . .
Okay, I lie. I can even. A 39-year-old Virginia woman gave birth at home (unassisted, I assume, props for that, at least) and then wrapped the baby in a plastic bag and a pillowcase and put it in the dryer.
Angela Janecka then called her husband at his work and told him the baby was stillborn, that medical staff had helped her deliver the baby and had taken the body away. Hey, she had already told him weeks before that the fetus had died but her doctors had advised her to carry it to term. Um, what? First of all, according to my good friend Wikipedia, when a fetus dies, usually labor follows and the fetus is delivered within two weeks. After that a woman is at risk for infection, blood clots, and all sorts of nastiness, including emotional trauma, because, hello? Dead fetus inside me. Get it out! Get it out!
Of course, as Georgia Representative Terry England maintains, pigs and cows carry dead fetuses to term all the time, so why shouldn’t women? Yes, back in March he was trying to get abortion legislation passed to make illegal for any fetus to be aborted, even if it was not viable outside the mother’s womb. In other words, women would be forced to carry dead fetuses until they spontaneously delivered. A “compromise” bill was passed banning all abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy. It was signed into law in May.
And moo to you, too, Mr. England.
I digress. Back to Angela. Her husband came home and started cleaning house, which I bet was a wreck, because I’ve had babies (in a hospital, but still), and let me tell you, it’s a messy business. I laughed when my obstetrician came into the delivery room wearing hip waders, but I wasn’t laughing for long. And I knew a couple who did a home birth, and they didn’t use one of those plastic kiddie pools that seem to be all the rage for home birthing these days—whoever thought of that, good job!—but instead the woman labored and delivered in the family La-z-boy recliner, and even with all the sheets and tarps and drop cloths they put over that thing, it still wasn’t fit for anything but the dump after it was all over.
Anyway, while Mr. Janecka was cleaning, he heard what he thought was a cat. Apparently the Janecka’s don’t have a cat. Upon further investigation, he found his 8-pound newborn daughter in the dryer, wrapped in a plastic bag and, depending on which news source you read, a towel, a sheet, or a pillowcase.
I keep wondering where the couple’s eight-year-old son was while all this was going on. Not home, I hope. Anywhere but home. Well, not anywhere. Not in a pit of man-eating lions, obviously. With a more responsible relative, maybe.
The couple called their son’s pediatrician. Of course! That’s what I would have done if I had just given birth and put the baby in the dryer. They left a message with the service, and the service—can you believe this?—called 911. I don’t know what the emergency was.
Angela was charged with attempted murder and felony child neglect. A judge has ordered her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. It seems that she was really, really determined not to have this baby, who is alive and well, by the way. She and her husband had attempted to get her an abortion at some point earlier in the pregnancy, but a doctor said she was too far along. Guess we know her pregnancy wasn’t a result of “legitimate rape,” huh, Todd Akin? That or her magic uterus was malfunctioning that day.
I know pre- and post-partum depression can make women do crazy, terrible things. I can relate. Really I can. When I was a new mother with a colicky baby who screamed All! Night! Long! Every! Goddamn! Night! I was desperate to try anything to make that kid shut up. I even tried the dryer–by putting my son on TOP of the dryer, because I had read in Dr. Spock that the vibration of a running dryer could soothe a colicky baby.
My husband, half-asleep himself, upon seeing what I was doing, did scream, “What are you doing???” and I might have snarled, “Don’t think I’m not considering it.” But I wasn’t that crazy. And I’m don’t know that Angela Janecka is, either. There seems to be an bawful lot of premeditation in her attempts to not bring this baby to term. But then, how could anyone not be crazy to wrap a live baby in plastic and put it in the dryer??? People are calling her all kinds of evil, but I still say that kind of evil equals some amount of insanity.