Sarah Palin won the Alaska gubernatorial election in 2006 on a ticket of promised transparency in government, ousting the seated governor whom no one liked and most suspected of corruption. Sarah had done business with the big boys in oil and had put them in their places, promising to do more of the same as governor.

Just after a year in office, Sarah, aged 42 or 43, discovered she was pregnant with her fifth child. She had a son serving in Iraq, two teenage daughters and a daughter in grade school. At the time, her husband was working on the North Slope – a large oil field owned by BP I think. The site was not one the workers could commute to and from so they worked in blocks of weeks, and during this particular ‘block’, Todd was not at home. Anyway, Sarah tells how because Todd was gone she had to handle all the initial decisions and emotions by herself, and she hadn’t wanted to tell anyone else until after she’d spoken with her husband. So nobody was told the good news.

For reasons which escape me at the moment, she underwent amniocentesis. Again Todd was not available, and again she had to wait for him to come home before telling him. She said she hadn’t wanted any criticism from the press or the legislators on being pregnant at her age so kept the whole pregnancy quiet. When Todd finally did come home, she told him the amnio results concluded the bub had Downs Syndrome. They decided together to not say anything until it was necessary. It was their little secret and nobody else’s business.

She was able to cover her pregnancy bump with loose clothing and cleverly-draped scarves enough that not even the people with whom she worked closely everyday suspected. She didn’t gain any excessive weight (she runs a lot) and was in general good health. A month before the bub was due, Sarah had two work-related trips planned. One toWashington D.C., the other to Texas to give a speech for something or other – I forget. Any way, the trips were about a week apart, the second one falling in her 36th week, and her Ob-Gyn gave her the okay to make the trips. Both are like going from Alice Springs to Sydney. It’s a few hours of driving to get from home to the airport, (more than two hours in good weather), then a long flight across the country, (12-15 hours), then taxi rides to get to hotels.

So – long story short – on the second trip, in Texas, her water broke. Just leaking, not huge puddles, but any leak is considered a break so – her water broke. She calls her doctor in Alaska. She wants badly for her son to be born on Alaska soil, but she also wants badly to deliver her 30 minute speech to the board of – something (why can’t I remember this part? I must be getting old) in Texas. Remember, she doesn’t want to catch flack for being a woman and the governor and having a baby all at the same time, and she claims the press was not normally kind to her.

So the doctor asks her a few questions and then tells her it should be ok to give the speech and then come home as planned.

My friend leans forward and belly laughs. Belly laughs! I had to wait for her to stop!

“Sarah is how old?” she finally asks

“By this time she’s 43 or 44”

“And she’s got four already?”

“Yuh.”

“They got this guy’s license, right? The doctor. I mean he’s not practicing medicine anywhere anymore is he?”

“Well, it’s she, and no, she’s still practicing medicine in Alaska.”

“What quack doctor would tell a woman in her 36th week to get on a plane and fly anywhere much less a 10 hour”

“12 hour”

“…a 12 hour trip, a woman past 35 and they already know the bub has Downs? That’s mad! Were there no hospitals in Texas?”

“Practically across the street from her hotel.”

“And her husband didn’t throw her in a hotel laundry cart and push her there himself? Or call an ambo? Geez my husband would have just taken over and my feet wouldn’t have hit the ground between the time I told him my water broke and they opened the doors to the maternity ward.”

“Well, Sarah and Todd agreed it would be best for them to go home.”

“They at least took an earlier flight?”

“Well, no, she gave her speech and then…”

More laughter. No kidding, she was holding her stomach she was laughing so hard. Spouse came out from under his headphones to see what the noise was about. We stood side by side in the doorway watching her laugh. “I’m only up to the water breaking at the hotel” I told him. He chuckled something about silly Americans, and went back to WoW. I refilled the plate of bikkies. Finally, she settled down.

“You’ve made all this up just to make me feel better haven’t you!”

“Nup.” I said, whilst a big grin grew across my face. “Want to hear about the flight home?”

…to be continued

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