Sarah Palin was in Texas on April 17th 2008, when according to her own statements, her amniotic sac began leaking during the early morning hours. According to multiple sources, around 28 hours later, at approximately 6:30 a.m. on April 18th, Trig Palin was born at Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer Alaska. The events of that 28-hour period as Gov. Palin made her way from Texas back to Alaska comprise the core that has fueled virtually all the continued speculation about this birth. The trip was unavoidably public and documented, and many of the details were questioned within days of the birth. Without the concrete time frame of this trip, very little could now be pieced together about the sequence of events.
Sarah Palin's version has changed numerous times. They story has been shaded and spun. Details are still changing. The point of this post is to document this "work in progress," in all of its forms, in one place.
Palin is relying, I believe, on a couple of factors that allow this story to stand. First, birth is personal. It involves an extremely private event that a woman should be able to share only with those of her choosing. It seems really rude to call her on some of these details. Second, a lot of people frankly don't know much about human childbirth. Although this story feels wrong to many, they don't quite have the medical knowledge to know how or why. Third, knowing the end of the story as we do (i.e., she did not give birth on an airplane) it's hard not to let that color our interpretation of the story. All's well that ends well.
Here are my responses to these three points: This woman is candidate for vice president of the United States. There are credible questions about whether or not she actually gave birth to a child that she is claiming as her own, a child with a medical condition that has become part of her political persona. While we don't want to invade anyone's private life, when she accepted that nomination she needed to understand that ordinary rules don't apply to her, and that the American people can ask for and expect reasonable answers. She's counting on the fact that people will not really confront her on the specifics. She's counting on the fact that the mainstream media can't figure out how to pursue this without looking like they are "dishing dirt." So far, she appears to be right.
Second, a lot of people don't know much about birth, but plenty of people do. Numerous doctors, midwives, and OB nurses have commented on the story on multiple boards and forums, and, to a person, have stated that this story makes no sense, not from the mother's view, and not from a physician's view. No one seems to be listening to them.
Third, we must look at this story from the point of view of someone that does not know the outcome. Sarah Palin, leaking amniotic fluid and having one or two contractions an hour could not have possibly known when she got on an airplane that she wouldn't begin "gushing" amniotic fluid and having one contraction every three minutes within twenty minutes of take-off. Her argument now seems to be that because she didn't have the baby on the plane, the decision was correct. I can let my two year old run across the highway and he might not get hit by a car, but that doesn't mean it's a correct decision.
So what really happened?
(4/19) The first official statement from the state of Alaska is as follows: Palin's "labor began Thursday [4/17] while she was in Texas at the governor's energy conference, where she gave the keynote luncheon address, but let up enough for her to travel on Alaska Airlines back to Alaska in time to deliver her second son." (Comment: Let up? So she was having more active labor, or more amniotic fluid leakage, or something else that just "got better?")
(4/21) From an article in the Anchorage Daily News : Palin was in Texas at a Republican Governors Association energy conference last week when early signs of labor began. She said she called her doctor early Thursday morning after some amniotic fluid began to leak. She talked over what was happening with her doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, and they consulted about what to do. (Comment – she and her doctor "consulted." Doesn't that mean she got her doctor's input? But see below.)
She gave the keynote luncheon address; then she and Todd caught an Alaska Airlines flight back to Alaska. She said was never in full-blown labor on the plane but was having a contraction or two every hour.
"By my fifth child, I know what labor feels like," Palin said. That wasn't labor, she said.
(Comment: Right. But just because you're not in labor now, doesn't mean that you won't be in "full blown labor" ten minutes from now. A long labor for someone on her fifth delivery would be ten hours. I personally had a fourth child three hours after I cooked lunch for eight people.)
(4/22) From an article in Anchorage Daily News: Palin said she felt fine but had leaked amniotic fluid and also felt some contractions that seemed different from the false labor she had been having for months. (Comment: Leaking amniotic fluid and contractions that are different from false labor = "real" labor.)
"I said I am going to stay for the day. I have a speech I was determined to give," Palin said. She gave the luncheon keynote address for the energy conference.
Palin kept in close contact with Baldwin-Johnson. The contractions slowed to one or two an hour, "which is not active labor," the doctor said. (Comment: Again, it may not be active labor now but that says nothing about what might happen in one minute or one hour.)
"Things were already settling down when she talked to me," Baldwin-Johnson said. Palin did not ask for a medical OK to fly, the doctor said. (Comment: But hold it? Didn't Gov. Palin say she'd called her doctor as soon as she felt something going on at 4 AM? And "settling down" from what? More active labor that had slowed down temporarily? Palin did "not ask for a medical OK to fly?" Well, then what did they talk about? The weather in Wasilla? If you're talking to your doctor about potential early labor and you're out of town, what's the topic of conversation? I would think it would be whether you're safe to travel!)
"I don't think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back," Baldwin-Johnson said. (Comment: More than one medical professional has stated that if she really said this to a 44 year old woman who was a) on her fifth pregnancy, b) leaking amniotic fluid c) in pre-term labor with d) a known Down's baby who e) was contemplating taking two four hour plane rides, she should lose her medical license.)
So the Palins flew on Alaska Airlines from Dallas to Anchorage, stopping in Seattle and checking with the doctor along the way.
"I am not a glutton for pain and punishment. I would have never wanted to travel had I been fully engaged in labor," Palin said. After four kids, the governor said, she knew what labor felt like, and she wasn't in labor. (Comment, again right. But labor happens fast for women on a fourth or fifth delivery. At times really fast. At any point Palin could have become "fully engaged in labor," and once that happened she could easily have given birth within an hour or two. )
But another report from 4/22 contains direct contradictions: "The governor, eight months into her pregnancy, noticed amniotic fluid Thursday morning prior to giving a keynote luncheon address at the Republican Governor’s Energy Conference in Texas. After wrapping up the speech, Palin and her husband consulted with her physician about possibly flying home on an earlier flight. After being granted permission from her doctor, she and her husband proceeded with the trek home.
At that point, Palin was only having minor contractions and was not showing signs of active labor, Sharon Leighow, the governor’s spokeswoman, said on Monday." (Comment: Elsewhere she said she did not get an "OK" from her doctor. Did she or didn't she? And the governor's spokeswoman stated that she was not showing signs of active labor. If her amniotic sac had ruptured, she was in labor. Saying anything else is just not accurate.)
Here are comments from the transcript of a "in-person" interview that was done on 4/22: :
Reporter: Just a clarification – you flew commercial Alaska Airlines?
Palin: Yeah, yeah.
Reporter: And did -- This was something else I think I heard your father say I just wanted to clarify. Did you have to hide your pregnancy because you were so far along?
Palin: Well, you know I never felt nor do some people say I ever looked like I was that far along, um, so no purposeful way or need to hide that I was pregnant. Um, some, I know that some airlines would have uh, some hesitancy on letting maybe a nine month pregnant person get on board but it wasn’t nine months so, um, it was…
Reporter: And you didn’t tell them you were feeling something when you came back on the plane?
Palin: No need to because I wasn’t feeling at all like I was in labor in fact, you know I wasn’t having one or maybe two contractions an hour that felt just like Braxton-Hicks which I’d been having for months. That doesn’t constitute labor, so…
Comment: This seems almost blatantly to contradict what has been said elsewhere. First, she said specifically elsewhere that the contractions were different from the "false labor" (i.e, Braxton-Hicks contractions) she had been having for months. Here they are "just like" Braxton-Hicks. And when she's asked point blank about whether she felt the need to tell the airline anything, she says "no need," basically because she wasn't nine months pregnant, and because she wasn't "feeling" like she was in labor. Of course, the fact that she also was leaking amniotic fluid doesn't seem to be relevant here, I guess because she's only eight months pregnant. What? Did she really say that?)
And now, months later, the story is being spun even more firmly. In the New York Times article which has been widely republished, when she's questioned about her decision to travel, it is stated categorically that "Around 4 a.m. on the day of her presentation, Palin stirred in her hotel room to an unusual sensation. She guessed she was leaking amniotic fluid, she …called her doctor back home. Go ahead and give the speech, said the doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who declined to comment for this article." But then, the article goes on to say, "In fact, Palin was not yet in labor, and her doctor thought she had time."
(Comment: Which doctor thought she had time? The one who would not comment on the article? So.. then... who said Palin wasn't in labor? Palin?)
The entire saga from the time it allegedly began at 4 AM on Thursday April 17th until when the birth occurred at 6:30 AM on Friday April 18th is full of holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Much of the time, the story reads like the efforts of people who don't have their stories straight and have to keep backtracking. (For example, Palin saying she called her doctor as soon as she felt something happening, and the doctor saying by the time Palin called her, things had "settled down." These are in direct contradiction to each other.) And, perhaps most glaring of all, is Cathy Baldwin Johnson's utter lack of any decisive statements about the birth whatsoever. Never once has this physician gone on record to say that "Sarah Palin is Trig Palin's mother," or even that she was actually at the birth. She has not spoken to anyone about this since the few very tepid statements she gave to the press in April. Now she won't comment at all.
The one thing, however, that is strikingly constant in this whole thing, and that is Gov. Palin's single-minded determination to reach not Alaska, not a familiar doctor, but Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer, Alaska. Guess they must have really nice birthing rooms. Or maybe there was something else there.
Carl Bernstein concerning Trump/Russia investigation: "Oh my god, there’s a cover-up going on." - Courtesy of The Independent: *Famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein says that the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn ...
5 hours ago