Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sarah Palin's very interesting "Wild Ride"

Discussions about Sarah Palin's "Wild Ride" were revived in a recent thread, so let's review some of the events, using my favourite source of information: Sarah Palin herself!

Palin: And, uh, he wasn’t due for 4 or 5 weeks later and um, while I was at energy conference I felt perfectly fine but uh, had thought maybe a few things were starting to progress a little bit that perhaps there was an idea there that he might come early. So I called my doctor at about uh four in the morning in Texas and um I said ya know I’m gonna stay for the day here at the energy conference - have a speech that I was determined to give at one o’clock that afternoon and, um, had Todd check on a couple of flights that were earlier than we had scheduled. I decided it would be ok to, um, skip the reception that night that we’d already by that time have taken care of our meetings and my speech. So Todd checked on flights. A flight allowed us to get out a little earlier than we had planned. Skipped the reception and, um, called my doctor before I got on the plane to say, ‘Yea, we think that we will come home a few hours early,’ and, uh, she said ‘OK call when you land and I’ll check you out.’ But none of my babies had been early and being my fifth child I know what labor feels like (laughing) and if I had felt at all that I was really engaged in uh, labor activities I would not have desired to fly and, um, get back uh, to deliver in Alaska. But anyway, so no real huge labor signs. Landed in, uh, in Anchorage at about 10:30. Got out to the valley at 11:30 and she met us at the hospital, checked me out and said, ‘Um, Yea you look, you may have it um tonight or in the morning.’ And it was smooth, it was relatively easy, in fact it was very easy, the easiest of all of them because he was so tiny. And, um, it’s just been absolutely wonderful. It was all, it just all seemed meant to be… the logistics and everything else just worked out so perfectly and to us he’s absolutely perfect, too.

Reporter: Of course you’re back to work already today and actually signed a bill that day, right?

Palin: That day, yeah, staff came out to the hospital and I signed a bill there so I could uh make sure we transmitted that in time and then uh here today also yeah, we have some energy updates I didn’t want to miss so that was good look and at him he’s just doing so well and it’s been easy and relaxing and again all it seems just meant to be this way.

Reporter: You said you felt some signs of labor, what were those signs?

Palin: Well not contractions so much because I had Braxton Hicks contractions for months as every pregnant woman does, and nothing real painful but just knowing that, um, it was feeling like, I may not um, be able to be pregnant a whole other four or five weeks knowing that it would be not a bother to call our doctor and let her know. And um she’s delivered how many babies over the year did she say?

Todd: Lots.

Palin: A lot. It’s been a couple of decades of her delivering babies. We knew to call her and just get her advice and, um, from there we again decided to skip the energy conference reception and come on home and get checked out.

Reporter: So did your water break?

Palin: Well, if you must know more of those type of details, but, um…

Reporter: Well, your dad said that and I saw him say it so that’s why I asked.

Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let’s call her.

Going Rogue

The next month, Todd and I checked into a hotel in Dallas. The following day I was scheduled to keynote another oil and gas conference. My pregnancy was going fine, and with five weeks to go, I felt great. But at 4 a.m., a strange sensation low in my belly woke me and I sat up straight in my bed.

It can’t be, I thought. It’s way too early.
Moments later, I shook Todd awake.

“Something’s going on.”
He sat up in bed, instantly alert.

“I’m calling CBJ.”
“No, don’t do that. It’s one a.m. in Alaska.” I didn’t want to call anyone yet.

I just wanted to take stock and see whether this baby was really coming. I also wanted time and pray and asked God silently but fervently to let everything be okay.

Desperation for this baby overwhelmed me.

Please don’t let anything happen to this baby.
It occurred to me, once and for all. I’m so in love with this child, please God, protect him!

After all my doubts and fears, I had fallen in love with this precious child. The worst thing in the world would be that I would lose him. God knew what He was doing.

Over my protests, Todd called CBJ. I told her that I felt fine and absolutely did not want to cancel my speech and disappoint the folks at the conference, including my cohost, Texas Governor Rick Perry.

We agreed that I would stay in contact with CBJ through the day, I’d take it easy, give my speech, then catch an earlier flight back to Alaska. I still had plenty of time.

Later that afternoon we entered a packed house at the energy conference, where I’d speak on the urgent need to tap conventional supplies and innovate on stabilizing renewable sources.

Sarah Palin goes on to describe her speech, saying that she had contractions when she told a joke:

Big laughs. More contractions.

Then I introduced everybody to Todd, Alaska's "First Dude," who, instead of sitting at the head of the table, was standing at the back of the hall, giving me the "get on with it, let's keep it short this time" look and practically holding the door open for our quick exit to the airport.


The audience graciously gave me a standing ovation. Then I handed the mic back to Rick and walked off the stage.

"Hey," Rick drawled over the sound system with a chuckle, "we're not finished with the program!"

I turned around, smiled, waved, and kept moving.
"I know you're pregnant," Rick said, joking into the mic.

"But don't tell me you're going off to have the baby right now!"
The audience laughed. I smiled and waved good-bye.

I thought, if you only knew!
I reached Todd at the exit, and he eyed me with a grin, "Love this state, but we can't have a fish picker born in Texas."

Many hours and two plane flights later, with Todd and our daughters nearby, I delivered Trig Paxson Van Palin into the world at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

Nomoosestew posted a link to the website Babycenter, where air travel during pregnancy was discussed:

Reviewed by Aaron Deutsch, M.D., August 2006

If you have a normal, healthy pregnancy, it can be perfectly safe to fly during most of it. Discuss your trip plans with your doctor or midwife, however, before booking your flight. In certain high-risk cases, your healthcare provider may advise you to stay close to home throughout your pregnancy.

You may find that your second trimester — weeks 14 to 27 — is a perfect time to fly. Once you're past the first trimester, in all likelihood your morning sickness will be behind you, your energy levels will be higher, and your chances of miscarriage will be low. However, you shouldn't travel after 36 weeks.

Before you leave, have your prenatal caregiver refer you to an obstetrician or midwife at your destination in case you need medical attention during your vacation. If you'll be traveling during your second or third trimester, it's a good idea to carry a copy of your prenatal chart. The chart should include your age, the date of your last menstrual period, your due date, the number and outcomes of any prior pregnancies, your risk factors for disease, pregnancy-related lab tests and ultrasounds, medical and surgical history, and a flow sheet of vital signs taken at each visit.

In the comments section on the item "
Is it safe to fly during my third trimester?" most moms-to-be take the issue of air travel a bit more seriously than Sarah Palin. They really don't want anything to happen to their babies. One of them had a cautionary tale about not being properly prepared.

"I flew with my second at 32 weeks and then had a prem birth (whether they were related or not I'll never know), with the third I flew a 12 hour flight at 16 weeks, and recently I've had two miscarriages before getting pregnant with my fourth. My doctor has advised me with the miscarriages and pre-term not to fly - which is disappointing (I really wanted to go away and used to be cabin crew so think of flying as nothing), but I understand it is best to avoid risks. I wouldn't want to be mid-flight if anything went wrong and it's really not worth the risk."

"I'm 34 weeks with my first and have a scheduled trip for work at 36 1/2 weeks. I work in administration for an academic medical center and even though I would be on a direct private flight traveling with a physician who happens to be a high risk obstetrician, I am forgoing the trip. My doctor explained that the minor change in air pressure (since we live at a relatively low elevation) can cause my water to break, which would force me to deliver in a hospital far away (and in this case, a small hospital with limited neonatal capabilities) without my husband and family. Despite the low odds of it happening, it's not a chance I'm willing to take. It would be one thing if the travel caution was about my discomfort, but I'm not forcing my daughter to enter this world sooner than she's ready, and definitely not because of my job. I appreciated knowing the precise risk from my doctor rather than the vague caution in the pregnancy materials I'd researched."

"These posts are right on! Including the one whose doctor told her there is a risk for water breaking and delivering away from home. However, for me, I traveled, boastfully at 29 wks w/ my first. I had dr's note and his blessing days before I left. I had no issues prior. On day 2 of my visit I felt some leaking and after 2 ER visits over 3 days, it showed positive for amniotic fluid. On the 1st ER visit they told me I was incontinent. I delivered at 30 weeks in WI when I live in VA. Very thankfully, my husband made it and I was visiting family in my hometown. The hospital is ranked 2nd & 4th in the nation for NICU and for the hospital. I was very lucky because I didn't check any of that out before I traveled."

Somebody totted up how many air miles Sarah Palin clocked in her the third trimester of Trig's pregnancy and the result was a staggering 18,000!

Dr Cathy Baldwin-Johnson appears to have a very laid back attitude to pregnancy. She had personally attended to Sarah Palin's second miscarriage and had informed the governor about genetic abnormalities and carried out tests regarding possible heart defects that could prevent Trig being delivered in the small community hospital in Palmer. Sarah Palin herself confirmed that Trig was born with holes in his heart.

It seems that Dr Baldwin-Johnson definition of "high-risk" is very different from what the lay person and other doctors would deem to be risky. The wild ride was only one of many, many flights Sarah Palin took while pregnant with Trig, never a problem with the good doctor...

This amazing doctor is also able to perform internal examinations through a phone line to check if the cervix is dilated and test fluids from thousands of miles away from her patient.

The Trig pregnacy and the wild ride, with all the contradictions in Sarah Palin's and her doctor's accounts of them, never cease to amaze!

Going Rogue has other fascinating stories about Sarah Palin's obstetric adventures and I'll look into them in a future post.

On Palin Deceptions, Audrey, in her very first post, tells us how the wild ride motivated her to start the blog.