A reader, who had a high-risk pregnancy, writes in about Sarah Palin reportedly choosing to give a speech then flying halfway across the country, on 9 hours of flights (including a stopover), AFTER her water broke, then landing and choosing to travel to a small town of 7,000 people rather than remaining at a hospital in the state’s largest city, Anchorage (population 250,000) – all this BEFORE she gave birth to a child she knew in advance had Down’s Syndrome.
First, the facts as Palin tells them, from this April 22 story in the Anchorage Daily News:
Palin was in Texas last week for an energy conference of the National Governors Association when she experienced signs of early labor. She wasn’t due for another month.
Early Thursday — she thinks it was around 4 a.m. Texas time — she consulted with her doctor, family physician Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who is based in the Valley and has delivered lots of babies, including Piper, Palin’s 7-year-old.
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.
“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.
“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.
“I don’t think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back,” Baldwin-Johnson said.
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.
Still, a Sacramento, Calif., obstetrician who is active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a pregnant woman’s water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That’s true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out, said Dr. Laurie Gregg.
“To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing. We are talking doctor-speak,” Gregg said.
Some married-with-children friends write in with their thoughts on this story:
Speaking as someone who went through a difficult, high-risk pregnancy, I can report that every parent finds the idea of her getting on a plane supposedly after she went into labor completely preposterous. No one would do it. The moose can’t be that good at the hospital in Anchorage. And, my wife reminds me as I type, she didn’t even go to the hospital in Anchorage. [Palin reportedly landed in Anchorage then traveled on to her very small home town, Wasilla, to have the baby.]
And finally, Sarah Palin gave birth to a special needs child, then four months later decided to run for vice president. Jacki weighs in on that aspect of the story:
She has 5 kids. 5. And one is only 4-months-old. With Down syndrome. Now, I’m not a parent so I don’t know firsthand the difficulties in raising children, but I have a lot of friends who are parents of one or two children – many under the age of 3, and I can tell you they assure me it’s no easy task. I would love to know how this woman plans to raise a 4-month-old with a condition that requires special attention and nurturing and will cause cognitive delays while running for – and then potentially serving as – Vice President of the United States.