I worked at regaining my non-combative posture and continued.
Sarah delivered her speech to the Texas audience, ending it with a comment about having to leave because she evidently had gone into labour. (I’m thinking Sarah and Todd went from the hall to a restaurant as there was some time to kill before the flight departed, but I could be wrong on this point.) Regardless, they took cabs and shuttles between Texas destinations and the airport, Todd jostling all the bags, Sarah looking after herself. She claims to not have been in any discomfort, which is why no one noticed she was in early labour. She says the leaking amniotic fluid was so minimal it presented her with no problems and she had no contractions. Once on the airplane, she apparently stayed in her seat. She’s quite proud of the fact that no flight attendant or passenger knew what she was experiencing. This was strictly between her and Todd and God.
Now back in Alaska, Sarah and Todd…
“WAIT WAIT WAIT!” my Oz friend bellowed. “Nobody on the plane NOTICED???”
“Apparently not. The flight crew was later identified and interviewed by reporters and they (the crew) were a bit confused to learn there had been a passenger on board who’d been pregnant at all, much less in the last moments before birth. No one seemed to recall any pregnant woman or any woman in any sort of distress on the flight.”
“Surely someone noticed a full-on pregnant belly bumping into them on her many trips to the loo? Was there never a line to get into a loo? How big was this airplane anyway? Did she have a private compartment like they have on trains?”
I shrugged my shoulders. My friend slumped back into her chair, rolled her eyes and motioned me to go on.
Ok… back in Alaska, Sarah and Todd got into the family car and drove home to Wasilla. Through a snowstorm. Or a blizzard. One accounting said it took five hours. Another quote had it at ‘two or three’. Still another occasion has Sarah saying the car ride home was nothing, so I’m not at all sure which version to give you. Suffice it to say it was Alaska cold, there was at the very least, Alaska snow on Alaska ground and it was after midnight. So reasonably, if the roads weren’t piled deep in drifts, they were at least icy and slick, and sure to provide a bumpy ride. The pair reached the Mat`Su Hospital in (or near) Wasilla, Alaska just after 5am and she had her first contraction as she entered the hospital building. Baby Trig was born a couple of hours later, a full month early but full term weight of 6+ pounds..
And there you have it. The media coined it Sarah’s Wild Ride and I think I’ve given you as close to her version of the story as possible.
I waited quietly for her reaction and finally, in a surprisingly calm voice she flatly stated:
“That’s the biggest pile of porkies I think I’ve ever heard in my entire life! Really! People believe that rubbish? That’s like an episode straight out of Desperate Housewives! Does she know the writers?”
“Well it’s odd to me that with Sarah’s overnight fame, not one person from either her Washington D.C. or Texas trip ever came forward to claim braggers rights on having helped her in or out of a taxi, a table at a restaurant, an elevator or even a flight of steps. How on earth did anyone nine months pregnant descend the portable stairs from an airplane to the tarmac, in the dead of night on icy ground with not one person coming forward to share a cute story about having helped her? That just goes against human nature. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. Sarah became a national figure only four months after this event. Surely people who’d helped or seen a very pregnant woman waddling in and out of cars, up and down stairs and on and off airplanes only four months earlier would have remembered their experience and spoken up? But no – nothing.”
We chatted about other things for a while, mutual friends, her new home and how she was (for the first time ever) wrapping her head around gardening. I gave her some clippings from a few of my more forgiving plants, and then we were standing at the door of her car.
“You know, I lived closer to my sister when she was carrying her two boys. I’m thinking it was by her sixth or maybe seventh month mum and I were driving her everywhere because even though she was in really great shape, physically, the bulk made her too uncomfortable to get behind the wheel. Even young and thin, she waddled that unmistakable pregnant waddle. You know, the one that makes it look like a woman’s balancing a watermelon between her knees whilst walking? I was actually looking forward to experiencing that firsthand.”
She put the plant cuttings in the backseat and shut the door. She gave me a hug and said calmly “I don’t think it’s right that someone gets to make up a story like this and pass it off as the truth. Not while there’s people like me who tried so hard to have a child and failed every time. I’m 37 years old and I’m running out of time and I don’t think there’s many options left for me to have a baby. So no, I don’t think this is funny at all. I think this is a very serious lie she’s telling and I hope someone in her world who knows the truth pulls their finger out and exposes this nonsense for exactly what it is. Nonsense. Hurtful nonsense.”
People who have no investment in Sarah Palin see through her veil of absurdities without hesitation. The problem is, those people who are invested in Sarah Palin don’t seem to see her at all. – OzMud
====== OzMud’s note ======
The first time I heard about Sarah’s ‘Wild Ride’ was over a year ago. I’ve read other people’s versions and heard her ever-evolving version in bits of speeches and now in her book, throughout the year. Please remember that while I was relating this tale to my friend, we were sitting on my porch with sun shining and birds singing and I was attempting to be fair to Sarah and not embellish.
All of the details offered in these past three posts came off the top of my head – as good as memory allowed – and not from sitting in front of a computer where each detail could have been checked and verified. I acknowledge that in the telling, I’ve got more than one detail wrong
To those contributing comments on the road trip from the airport to Mat’Su Hospital – kudos on the energetic discussion and thanks so much for all your input. (I do appreciate everything you add.) The first version I heard had this taking place during a blizzard. I know this because I lived in the high desert of snow country for several years and immediately associated the tale with a night I’d been caught in an unexpected storm nd the visibility was so bad I got behind a snowplow on the freeway and followed it all the way home (going aprox 10 mph) for fear of going off the road and over a cliff . I was terrified and it took for-bloody-ever.
Under the best of conditions, in my humble experience, in snow country, during snow season, with or without an active storm happening, after 10pm on the best of roads there is always black ice, there are always slick spots, there is always that unexpected chunk of brownish snow that’s fallen off a car ahead that needs to be avoided at all costs because you can’t tell if the center is soft or hard and hitting it might damage your front end – and there is always the possibility of an unpredictable storm or blanket of fog that renders you suddenly and completely blind until it passes. Driving at night in snow country should always, always be approached with caution.
I’m sure it’s done, but I cannot wrap my head around anyone ’safely’ travelling 45 miles, after midnight, in snow country, in under two hours. Especially with a passenger who’s leaking amniotic fluid and could go into hard labour at any second.
And that’s the key. Labour is not predictable. What would Todd have done if, on an isolated road in the dead of night, his wife had gone into hard labour? How would he have delivered his son? Protected his wife? What provisions did they have on hand? Hot water? Clean blankets? Could Todd have at least washed his hands? Was there light? What would he have used to clamp or cut the umbilical cord? What if the infant, born a month early, had trouble breathing? How would he have kept his son alive long enough for help to arrive? What if Sarah began to hemorrhage?
One would think Todd would have at least arranged for an ambulance to meet them at the airport in Anchorage, providing his wife and unborn child with immediate medical assistance and the safest possible passage on the last leg of what must have been an incredibly tense, gruelling trip for him.
One would think.