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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Odd

Anchorage Daily News:

EARLY ARRIVAL

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 airlines have policies against pregnant women onboard during the last four weeks of pregnancy, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against flying after 36 weeks.

This was going to be Palin's last flight anyway, her doctor said.

Alaska Airlines has no such rule and leaves the decision to the woman and her doctor, said spokeswoman Caroline Boren. Palin was very pleasant to the gate agents and flight attendants, as always, Boren said.

"The stage of her pregnancy was not apparent by observation. She did not show any signs of distress," Boren said.

Palin never got big with this pregnancy. She said she didn't try to hide it but didn't feel a need to alert the airline, either.

They landed in Anchorage around 10:30 p.m. Thursday and an hour later were at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Wasilla.

Baldwin-Johnson said she had to induce labor, and the baby didn't come until 6:30 a.m. Friday.

"It was smooth. It was relatively easy," Palin said. "In fact it was the easiest of all," probably because Trig was small, at 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

Palin said she wanted him born in Alaska but wouldn't have risked anyone's health to make that happen.

"You can't have a fish picker from Texas," said Todd.

Palin said she won't take maternity leave but will go with Trig to doctor's visits, physical therapy, whatever he needs. She's breast feeding and plans to bring Trig to work with her, just as she did with Piper.

"It just feels like he fits perfectly," Palin said. "He is supposed to be here with us."

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