Monday, 25 April 2011

Sarah Palin's Pregnancy: No More Conspiracy Theories - Just the Facts

The information below is not new to the people who have been following Babygate for over two years, but I thought it would be interesting to have it all in one post, just in case an adventurous, independent journalist learns to google.

Salon, Politico and the Huffington Post have declared the story debunked, but as far as I know, the "biggies" haven't said anything yet. The NY Times and the Washington Post havent touched it, have they?

I wonder if there are any Woodwards and Bernsteins left out there. My fear is that journalism in the US may have moved into the corporate world and we will never see anything like Watergate again.

It must be very frustrating and frightening for Americans to feel that what used to be taken for granted - a media that had an important role in keeping politicians accountable for their actions - may now be a thing of the past.

The media focused on the conspiracy theory element of the story. Perhaps we should stop trying to prove that Sarah Palin didn't give birth to Trig. Let's accept that things happened exactly as she described in the "Wild Ride" audio and in Going Rogue. Geoffrey Dunn's article, rejected by the Huffington Post, was not based on conspiracy theories. His approach was to question Sarah Palin's decision to embark on a long journey by air after the onset of labour.

Perhaps we should abandon the conspiracy theory and act as people concerned about the poor example Sarah Palin set for pregnant women through her actions.


Sarah Palin, "Wild Ride" interview:

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 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…

Fox News

While the vast majority of women heed airline rules against flying during the last four or five weeks of pregnancy or comply with requirements about providing a medical certificate from a doctor, some manage to conceal their condition or lie about how far along they are so they can get where they want to go.

Since 2007, babies have also been born aboard planes flying from Chicago to Salt Lake City; on a domestic flight in Malaysia; and on long-haul flights from the Netherlands to Boston, from Hong Kong to Australia, and from Germany to Atlanta.

But even when gate attendants question how pregnant a passenger is, they usually have no choice but to let the woman fly if she says she has not reached the airline's cutoff date and is showing no sign of physical distress, said Dr. Fanancy Anzalone, president-elect of the Aerospace Medical Association in Alexandria, Virginia.

"The rules now are based on honesty and (the idea) that a pregnant mom is going to protect her unborn," Anzalone said.

Wall Street Journal:

Gov. Palin's opted to board a jet from Dallas in April while about to deliver a child. Gov. Palin, who was eight months pregnant, says she felt a few contractions shortly before she was to give a keynote speech to an energy summit of governors in Dallas. But she says she went ahead with it after her doctor in Alaska advised her to put her feet up to rest. "I was not going to miss that speech," she says.

She rushed so quickly from the podium afterwards that Texas Gov. Rick Perry nervously asked if she was about to deliver the baby then. She made it to the airport, and gave birth hours after landing in Anchorage to Trig, who is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. "Maybe they shouldn't have let me fly, but I wasn't showing much so they didn't know," she says.

Information on various websites:

You can fly on commercial airlines without restriction during your first and second trimesters, but during your third trimester you may run into some restrictions.

Airlines rely on an "honor policy" when it comes to enforcement, so it's the passenger's decision to notify agents that she's expecting and how far along she is. Ticket agents won't mention travel restrictions unless asked, so inquire about them when you book your seat.

All airlines recommend you consult your physician before travel at any time during pregnancy. Play it safe by getting a "permission-to-travel" letter from your doctor. You won't — and shouldn't — get one if your pregnancy is considered high-risk. Be sure to take your due date into consideration on the return trip, too. And before you plan a cross-country or international flight, remember how you'll feel squeezed into a seat for hours.

Alaska Airlines — 800/426-0333
No restrictions
No restrictions

Generally speaking there is no cause for concern when it comes to flying during your third trimester. However, it is important to discuss your trip plans with your general practitioner before you book your flight. If you booked your flight early on and you find out you will be in your third trimester during this time it is recommended you try to reschedule your flight times as soon as possible. This is especially important if your flight time corresponds with 35 weeks and beyond in your pregnancy because many airlines will refuse boarding at this time. Plane travel can be stressful and worrying and labor mid-flight would not be ideal. Make sure you check with your chosen airline for pregnancy admittance regulations, some of them may even refuse boarding for pregnant women under 35 weeks.

It is generally advised that even though you may be enjoying a healthy and normal pregnancy you do not fly within your third trimester just to be safe especially in your final month.

Your doctor will refer you to an appropriate medical professional for the duration of your holiday so make sure you get their contact details and keep them with you at all times should anything happen. You will also need to take your prenatal chart with you which will have all your pertinent medical data on it.

Finally, make sure you reserve a plane seat that is on the aisle and as close to the middle of the plane as possible. This will make sure your ride is as smooth and comfortable as possible and will also make it easier for you to get up mid flight to walk around and visit the bathroom.

Even if you're enjoying an uncomplicated pregnancy, it's best to avoid flying (or any travel far from home) during your final month because you can go into labor at any time.

The chance of premature labor is the main concern
of pregnant women traveling by air during their third trimester, Douglas says. "It's essential to have a medical contact at your destination," she says. Douglas also states that a mom-to-be should make sure her health insurance is valid and will cover her newborn before she leaves home. "You don't want to be unsure, especially if you're in a strange or new location."

Decreased air pressure during flight
may slightly reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood, but this isn't likely to cause problems if you're otherwise healthy. Likewise, the radiation exposure associated with air travel at high altitudes isn't thought to be problematic for most business or leisure travelers. There's a caveat for frequent fliers, however. Pilots, flight attendants and others who fly often may be exposed to more radiation than is considered safe during pregnancy. If you must fly frequently during your pregnancy, discuss it with your health care provider. He or she may limit your total flight time during pregnancy.

Sarah Palin was a frequent flyer throughout her third trimester:

Circa March 4: Los Angeles to Anchorage
Circa March 7: Anchorage to Fairbanks
Circa March 9: Fairbanks to Anchorage
Circa March 11: Anchorage to Juneau
Circa March 14: Juneau to Anchorage
Circa March 27: Anchorage to Juneau
Circa April 15: from Juneau to Dallas
April 17: from Dallas to Anchorage


Sarah Palin, "Wild Ride" interview:

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.

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 another four or five weeks knowing that it would be not a bother to call our doctor and let her know.

Going Rogue:

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.”

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.

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!

Taking care of a premature baby

Infections. Like other organ systems, the immune system of a premature infant does not function as well as that of older kids or adults. This places preemies at risk for contracting infections (especially viral ones) after discharge.

Expect to live quietly with your preemie at first. Because their immune systems are still developing, preemies are susceptible to infections. Therefore, you need to take some precautions. Visits outside the home should be limited to the doctor's office for the first several weeks, especially if your baby is discharged during the winter months.

Because doctors' offices commonly have several kids with viral infections, try scheduling your appointment as the first of the day or request to wait in an examining room instead of the main waiting area. Ask the doctor how limited your baby's contact with other kids and adults should be during these first weeks.

Most doctors recommend not visiting public places with preemies. And limit visitors to your home: anyone who is ill should not visit, nobody should smoke in your home, and all visitors should wash their hands before touching the baby. Talk to your doctor about specific recommendations — some family visits may need to be postponed to allow your little one's immune system to grow stronger.


Our little friend Max

Wild Ride interview:

Reporter: Are you going to take a maternity leave?

Palin: No, mm,mm. I’ll, I’ll…

Reporter: You’re gonna be…you’re obviously back today..

Palin: I’ll be able to bring Trig with me, um, to many of the, um, meetings and, and events and um, parts of the job here that I’m engaged in and just working it around Trig either being here with me in the early days as I did… the last one, with Piper, when I was mayor of Wasilla, she was with me so often.

Sarah Palin wanted to be prepared.

Going Rogue:

I had always flippantly declined the amnios before, thinking they didn't matter, since I confidently asserted I would never abort anyway. But this time I said yes. This time I wanted information. If there was something wrong, I wanted to be prepared.

She was desperate for this baby:

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.

Precious Trig at 11pm, 41F

If a birth defect is discovered prenatally, your doctor may discuss what will happen in the time right after you deliver the baby. You and your doctor should discuss which hospital is best prepared to deal care for your baby so that you can plan to deliver there.

You might want to ask if you can tour the intensive or special care unit at the hospital to become familiar with it and meet the team of health care professionals who may care your baby. This team may include neonatologists, pediatric anesthesiologists, pediatric surgeons, neonatal nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors in training (like fellows and residents).

Kids with Down syndrome are also at an increased risk of developing pulmonary hypertension, a serious condition that can lead to irreversible damage to the lungs. All infants with Down syndrome should be evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist.

Expectant parents preparing for the birth of a baby with Down syndrome
will read information in our book and other on-line resources discussing the possibility of a NICU stay. Mom Adina over at Baby Center conducted an informal poll of moms which found the following:

32.4 percent of babies went home with mom

24.3 percent spent less than 2 weeks in NICU

19.8 percent spent 2 to 4 weeks in NICU

9 percent spent 4 to 6 weeks in NICU

14.4 percent spent over 6 weeks in NICU

Adina’s poll shows over half of the babies with Down syndrome had no NICU stay or only a short NICU stay. But a large percentage do have a stay over 2 weeks. So while many babies will not have a NICU stay, practically speaking it is a very good idea to prepare for the possibility.

Sarah Palin knew she was carrying a baby with Down Syndrome. She wanted to inform herself about the condition, so she must have known that babies with Down syndrome may need extra assistance at birth. The websites I visited talk about the steps taken in the delivery of full term babies. Sarah Palin indicated that she wasn't going to be able to be pregnant for another five weeks, so she knew Trig would be premature. Prematurity alone alters the routine of the mother during and after the birth. There are issues about the immature immune systems of preemies. There are health issues affecting babies with Down Syndrome. The combination of Trig's special needs and his premature arrival would make his concerned, well informed mother wish to avail herself of the best possible facilities and resources in case anything went wrong.

Sarah Palin didn't alter her routine during this pregnancy at all. She knew she was carrying a baby with potentially serious health issues and yet she clocked several thousand air miles in her third trimester. When the possibility of Trig arriving five weeks early became part of her reality, she didn't alter her plans. All the consultations and examinations of her impending labour were conducted by telephone. She was determined to give her speech and very determined to give birth at a poorly equipped hospital.

Women who are not pregnant with a baby with special needs think twice before booking a flight in their third trimester. Women who suspect they're leaking amniotic fluid or who experience strange sensations down in their bellies in their eigth month would make sure they see a doctor in the flesh and wouldn't dream of boarding two flights with a 2-hour layover in between, followed by a car journey to an ill-equipped hospital. What makes Sarah Palin so very different from all the rest of pregnant women? It should also be noted that Sarah Palin didn't alter her routine after the birth of her premature baby with special needs.

The happy outcome doesn't alter the fact that her nonchalant behaviour had the potential for tragic consequences for herself and her baby. It also doesn't justify her award-winning doctor giving irresponsible advice over the telephone.

How would Sarah Palin react if one of her followers copied her actions and died with her baby in mid-air? Another blood libel?