One question that has come up repeatedly in comments is the idea that Bristol was breastfeeding and some sort of forced weaning could have accounted for that amount of enormous breast change she evinced OR she was padded so heavily to hide any leakage.
Here's my read on that. This is something I feel very confident discussing since I worked as a lactation consultant for fifteen years and also nursed four children of my own.
Considering the number of bottles you see around Trig (there seems to be one in virtually every photograph) I doubt very much if he was breastfeeding as of August 2008. Someone, however, may have been pumping breast milk and bottle feeding it to him. This is not uncommon for Down Syndrome babies, who typically have a very hard time learning to nurse, and often seem to "forget how" between feedings.
Could that lactating mom have been Bristol? Possibly but more importantly, could that account for the enormous bust we see on the night of September 3, 2008? Here's my answer: I doubt it. When mothers who are nursing stop abruptly, breasts do swell and leak, but most importantly become very sore and tender.
I foolishly once separated myself from my 2 1/2 year old nursing toddler for about 40 hours. I should have known better since I was already a Lactation Consultant, but you know what they say about shoemaker's kids. I had to go to a funeral, it was two flights each way, then driving in cars, then mom is crying, and the idea of doing all that with a 2 1/2 year old was daunting. He'll be fine, I reassured myself. And he's not nursing that much. No problem.
Well, HE was fine. I, however, was not. By the time I got back home, about 40 hours after I left, I ached so badly that I could barely lift my arms to drive the car. The least jounce of the country road was excruciating. I had tried to express milk, most notably in an airport restroom stall (didn't want to shock anyone by trying to do it into a sink) but with limited success. (And this was all the more ludicrous since I rented electric breast pumps in conjunction with my LC practice so I had any equipment I could have desired to take with me already in my house.)
Contrast again these pictures, this one of Bristol taken on (or around) August 24,
Then this one, taken around September 1,
with this one taken on September 3rd.
There is no way that weaning, no matter how forced or abrupt could account for a change in breast size of this magnitude. Furthermore, I have watched every video I can find of this night. Bristol moves easily and naturally, waves at people, hands Trig to her mother then takes him back again with ease. She seems happy and comfortable. There is NO sign of any extreme discomfort. Believe me if your breasts had suddenly turned into hot tender rocks, you wouldn't be waving to the crowd with a smile on your face.
What about padding? Your typical breast pad, worn by most new mothers to prevent leaking, is about three inches across and is made of very absorbent material. They are small, discrete and effective. It's called "leaking," not "rupture." Unless they padded her with bath towels, there is no plausible way to account for this amount of sheer "mass."
The question of the dates.
Numerous people have suggested that Bristol was padded or enhanced in some way to make her look MORE pregnant. Here's the problem with that line of thinking.
Bristol Palin appeared in public on Sunday February 8th, 2009. While she definitely looked as if she might have had a baby "recently," it's hard to imagine her being less than ten days "post partum." So let's assume just for the sake of conversation, that Bristol Palin had actually given birth to Tripp on January 30th.
Why lie about this being her due date? January 30th was still too close to April 18th to allow Bristol to be the mother of both children. If this was her real actual due date there would have been no reason to lie about it.
According to one medical text I consulted, the shortest recorded time between birth and ovulation is 27 days. The mean time is 70 days (so more than two months) for non nursing women and 190 days (more than six months) for nursing moms. However, most texts I looked at agreed anything less than six weeks for a non nursing mom is pretty rare. Just for discussion, let's assume that a baby was born on April 18th, and then the mom ovulated 42 days later. That would have given a due date of Feb 21st. (Yes, there are reports of babies being born much closer than that... but in those cases, the second baby is premature.)
But we know for a fact that Bristol was not pregnant on Feb 7th, and was out and about in public. Furthermore, journalist John Ziegler states he saw Bristol in the Palin home on January 7th and states she was post partum. I believe he would know the difference between "post partum" and nine months pregnant and ready to pop. I also believe that while some journalists have shown themselves willing to not see things or just not ask the right questions, I find it difficult to believe that Ziegler would actually lie about something like that. The consequences of blatantly putting forth an untruth for a journalist would be career-ending. So therefore I tend to believe that John Ziegler did see Bristol on Janaury 7th, and to his eye she was not pregnant at that point.
So, I believe it's implausible that they padded Bristol to make her look MORE pregnant, just as it was unnecessary that they lie about the second birth date. If she was due to deliver any time before Feb 1, they did not need to. Why take the risk, either risk? Any birth before about the 15th of February would have "proved" that Bristol could not be the mother of both children.
One other comment mentioned these three additional shots of Bristol, all from during the campaign. I left them out of the first post primarily because of length but will add them here.
This was taken when Sarah visited a Wal-Mart on October 14th.
This was taken the following Saturday, October 18th.
This was taken the morning of the election, November 4th.
Again, I don't feel that they show a very solid "progression" of pregnancy, but that is my opinion alone, and I will be the first to concede that this proves nothing.
I don't know what to tell people about this mystery. I think I've made it clear that my jury is out on this whole issue. I am NOT saying that Bristol Palin's pregnancy in late 2008 was faked. I am NOT saying even that it was not exactly as reported.
I am saying that photographic evidence shows a pregnancy that does not appear to progress normally. Photographic evidence shows unequivocally that her bustline was padded at an event where there would be no plausible or rationale reason to do so. Common sense screams that something is wrong with the whole way the birth was presented.
It all makes my head hurt.
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