In this post, I retell in my own words, Sarah Palin’s account of her pregnancy with and the birth of Trig Palin from the book Going Rogue. While the wording is changed the events remain the same. I will be examining and commenting on Sarah’s account to determine if her story holds water. Remarks in brown are my own thoughts and questions.
According To Sarah
In the fall of 2007 Sarah Palin noticed some familiar symptoms like being more nauseated than usual by the smell of cigarette smoke. At first she ignored the symptoms but after a few weeks she had suspicions about their cause.
Sarah couldn’t just go out and buy a home pregnancy test. She was too well known as the Governor of Alaska. Cashiers and other people in the store would know. The news would be all over the headlines and Sarah wanted to keep it private at least for awhile.
Okay, Sarah you didn’t want anyone to see you buying a pregnancy test. Why not schedule an appointment with a doctor? Doctors do still administer pregnancy tests even in this age of home testing. Duh!!!
The opportunity she had been waiting for arose when she flew to New Orleans to deliver a speech at an oil and gas conference. She had her security personnel stop by a pharmacy. She went back to the hotel before her speech and used the pregnancy test. It was positive.She prayed as thoughts went through her mind about the ramifications of this pregnancy. Her constituents might think she couldn’t handle running the state and a pregnancy. For a fleeting moment she thought I'm out of town. No one knows I'm pregnant. No one would ever have to know.
Understanding of why some women choose to make the problem go away when faced with a difficult situation dawned on her. It was sad that education and career were valued more by society than bringing a new life into the world. Though the timing could have been better that wasn’t the baby’s fault. She was thankful for the right to life groups that advocate for the unborn.
Sarah didn’t want to break the news to Todd over the telephone. However, when she returned home he was away. Due to both of their busy schedules, they kept missing each other, so it was a few weeks before they were in the same room and she told him she was pregnant. Todd was thrilled.
So Todd was away when you got home, Sarah, but when he got back you kept missing each other. Couldn’t you have scheduled time with him to give him such important news or was there some reason you didn’t want him to know right away?
They kept the news to themselves. They had always kept their pregnancies private since most all other aspects of their lives were constantly in the public eye. It was a special time. A joyous secret between husband and wife.
When Sarah was 12 weeks along she paid a visit to her doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson who informed Sarah that due to her age, 43, there was about a 1 in 80 chance of the baby having Down Syndrome.
Shouldn’t you have seen a doctor before then, Sarah. How did you know exactly how far along you were? For someone with a history of miscarriages, the first trimester can be a dangerous period. In any case it’s recommended to schedule an appointment with a doctor soon after getting a positive home pregnancy test result to make sure everything is okay, get prenatal vitamins, etc. Of course, you probably had some vitamins around the house from your last pregnancy and just took them. They were only about 7 years old. They were probably still safe to use.
Sarah wasn’t worried. She was healthy, all of her children were healthy but CBJ as the Palin’s called the doctor wanted Sarah to have an ultrasound.
Across the hall, the technician, a jovial older lady prepped Sarah and performed the test. They joked with each other as the wand traveled across Sarah’s abdomen.
When the technician grew a bit quieter, Sarah flashed back to an earlier ultrasound when she had learned she had suffered a miscarriage.
Then the technician grinned and told Sarah that she saw boy parts and asked if that would be good.
Sarah told the woman that would be perfect and thought how wonderful God is and how he knew best.
Still the woman kept passing the transducer over Sarah’s belly. It seemed to be taking a long time. Finally the technician said she wasn’t sure the baby was a boy. It might be a girl.
It was taking so long Sarah no longer cared if the baby was a boy or a girl. A healthy girl would be wonderful. She just wanted the technician to tell her everything was fine.
Then the woman said the baby’s neck was a little thicker than normal.
Sarah first thought about how amazing it was that they could measure the neck at only 12 weeks along. Then she remembered that she had heard somewhere that a thick neck was a sign of Down Syndrome. She knew a moment of fear but then was comforted by the thought that God wouldn’t give her anything she couldn’t handle. And she didn’t think she could handle that.
She was busy. Always on the go. She always talked about how lucky she was that all her kids were healthy, self-sufficient overachievers. She had a difficult job and other children who needed her. She couldn’t fathom how she could add a special- needs baby to the mix and make it all work.
Although, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence on the Internet about the behavior of your children, Sarah, I have seen no evidence of overachieving at least not in the common definition of the term. But I’m sure you’re proud of them, anyway.
Unless God knows me better than I know myself she thought, He won’t send me a special-needs baby.
The next day Sarah received a call from CBJ. The ultrasound pictures combined with her age meant there was a 1 in 12 chance the baby would be born with Down Syndrome. Well, she thought, that means there’s still a 90 percent chance everything will be okay.
CBJ wanted Sarah to see a doctor in Anchorage. A geneticist. She also offered an amniocentesis
Sarah had always refused amnios before since she was positive she would never have an abortion. This time she decided to have the test. She needed to know so she could prepare.
So you wanted the amnio for information. That doesn’t explain why the test was performed at 12 weeks instead of the 15-20 weeks that is usual, Sarah. Having amniocentesis earlier than 15 weeks carries a greater risk of miscarriage. Seems this would be contraindicated for someone with a prior history of miscarriage. Did CBJ really suggest it or did you request it?
Sarah visited the geneticist alone since Todd was out of town the day of the appointment. She entered the office through the back door and used her maiden name. Sarah was very scared. Three days later CBJ called Sarah at her office in Anchorage. It was 2:22pm. The time was still stuck in her head.
So Todd wouldn’t reschedule whatever else he had planned to be with you at such a time. Nothing should be more important than that, Sarah. Unless you didn’t tell Todd that the baby might have Down Syndrome. I guess you used your maiden name so some lab technician wouldn’t spill the beans about your pregnancy but why did you use the back door? That would look more suspicious if someone spotted you than entering the office the usual way. You could have been at the geneticist office on state business.
The amnio results were in and CBJ wanted Sarah to come to her office.
But Sarah wanted the results over the phone. Maybe if I am strong, she thought, God will reward me with good news.
CBJ was reluctant and tried to convince Sarah to come to her office.
Again Sarah refused. She was busy. Whatever the results were it would be okay. Just tell me, she told CBJ.
The doctor then told Sarah the baby would be born with Down Syndrome. Sarah told CBJ she was coming to Wasilla and hung up the phone.
So, Sarah, you’re in your office in Anchorage and you get the call from CBJ. You want to hear the results over the phone. Most women wouldn’t want to be alone but okay. You’re hoping for good news but what if the news is bad? Aren’t you worried that someone might enter the office and see how upset you are. It would be hard to hide your feelings after getting such news. Wouldn’t leaving suddenly, seeming upset, after receiving a phone call set tongues wagging more than leaving to get the results in person while you still had hopes that things were okay?
Sarah was shocked. How could God do this. Her sister had a special-needs kid. Wasn’t one in the family enough. She gritted her teeth all the way to Wasilla refusing to cry.
Her seeming lack of emotion at difficult times bewildered her family and friends. Bristol, her eldest daughter once asked her why she didn’t ever cry.
Sarah didn’t tell Bristol but she did choke up over lots of things. She just kept it inside. Even when her heart was breaking she didn’t want to appear weak. Maybe it was the way she was brought up. Hunting and fishing with the boys and playing basketball. Her eyes stayed dry as she sped toward Wasilla with her mind racing.
Could it be that you’re trying to justify your lack of emotion at receiving bad news, Sarah?
Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe the results got switched with someone else’s. Maybe the test is wrong. Are you listening, God?
But it wasn’t a mistake. When she got to the office, CBJ showed her the pictures. There was an extra copy of chromosome 21.
CBJ told Sarah it was a boy. Sarah thanked God for that. It gave her a warm feeling. The doctor left the room and returned with a pamphlet for parents expecting a Down Syndrome child. Sarah didn’t open it.
Sarah wasn’t ready. She wasn’t the one to handle this. Her sisters were. She didn’t know if she had the love and compassion needed to raise a child that society would view as less than perfect. She wondered if she should be ashamed for thinking such things.
Yes, you should, Sarah. But I suspect you have many more things of which to be ashamed.
Sarah read that nearly 90 percent of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted. Didn’t that mean that this situation would be nearly impossible to deal with? That thought came to her mind again, not as something she would consider but she understood why people would take the easy way out and get rid of the problem. But again she had to hold on to her faith.
Todd finally got home a few days later. He was on the bed still wearing his winter coat when Sarah handed him the pictures and she finally broke down.
Why didn’t you call Todd and ask him to please come home right away, Sarah. It must have been hard to keep up a brave front in the house alone with the kids and no one to confide in. What a difficult time that must have been for you.
Between sobs, she told him it was definitely a boy.
He looked up at her with tears in his eyes and told her that was great and that God knew what he was doing.
Sarah stood beside the bed and blurted out the news that the baby had Down Syndrome.
Todd was quiet. He just flipped through the pictures over and over as if he were searching for answers.
Finally, Sarah sat down beside him. He didn’t react so she asked him what he thought.
He asked if they were sure and how they knew.
She told him they were sure because there was an extra chromosome.
Todd put the pictures aside. He looked at Sarah and told her he was happy and sad.
Sarah thought it was perfect the way he put it because that’s the way it was and she felt the same way.
Todd said it would be okay.
Sarah asked him if he wondered why them like she did.
Todd seemed surprised by the question and asked why not them.
From then on Todd never seemed to worry about it. He often wondered aloud about what kind of things the coming child would be interested in.
He would ask people with special-needs children what their kid liked to do and if they played sports.
Todd was more optimistic and accepting of the situation than Sarah who was still struggling to come to terms with the reality. They didn’t share the pregnancy with anyone. Not even their children.
Sarah wasn’t ready to deal with this yet or answer questions. She had always faced challenges head-on but this was different so she stayed silent.
She began writing a letter to family and friends explaining not only the challenges but the joy this baby would bring to their lives.
Sarah wrote the letter in the voice of the baby’s Creator. She thought the letter was the best way to share the news with family and friends not knowing it would be used by a hostile journalist during the Vice Presidential campaign to mock her family and Christianity by saying that she was so self-absorbed that she wrote a letter as if she were speaking for God.
Well, wasn’t that just a little egotistical. Sarah?
Soon Sarah was 7 months along. She hadn’t gained much weight and by wearing winter clothes and cleverly draped scarves she was able to hide the pregnancy. No one saw how big she was or suspected she was expecting. But a blazer was getting tight and Willow, her 2nd oldest daughter remarked that she was porking up.
Sarah shushed her and said pass the Häagen-Dazs. Chocolate, with peanut butter.
Weren’t you worried about not gaining enough weight, Sarah? Especially knowing you were carrying a special-needs baby. That would have sent most women running to the doctor. Were you trying to keep from gaining weight?
She hadn’t finished the letter but she and Todd decided to share the news that she was pregnant with family and a few close friends. Their kids were ecstatic.
Strange that no one guessed you were pregnant, Sarah. Willow said you were porking up but why didn’t she notice the weight gain was only in a certain area? All those over-achieving kids never guessed their Mom was pregnant? You were small and pregnancy usually shows sooner and bigger on smaller women. I guess you’re just abnormal, Sarah.
Soon after the Palin’s decided to make their news public. Sarah invited 3 reporters to come over. She could have just made a matter of fact announcement but decided to play a little game.
First she told them the first family was expanding.
She decided to put it another way.
She asked the reporters if they remembered her promise to deliver for Alaska.
They still didn’t have a clue but they readied their pens and notebooks for the big scoop that was obviously coming.
Finally, Sarah decided to can the jokes and just blurt out the news.
She told them she was pregnant and due in two months.
Three chins dropped and three pairs of astonished eyes gazed at Sarah’s mid-section. She laughed as the three reporters pulled out their phones. Sarah waved goodbye and left the room. Within ten minutes Sarah’s announcement was all over the news.
Of course they were surprised and shocked, Sarah, because you didn’t look pregnant. If your children, living in the same house with you didn’t guess why on earth would those reporters suspect anything.
Todd and Sarah checked into a Dallas hotel the following month. Sarah was scheduled to speak at another oil and gas conference the next day. She was due in 5 weeks but the pregnancy was progressing well. However, the next morning a strange sensation in her lower stomach awoke Sarah at 4am. She sat straight up in the bed.
No, she thought. It’s too soon. A few minutes later she shook Todd awake and told him something was happening.
He sat up in bed, wide awake. He said he was calling CBJ.
Sarah told him not to since it was 1am in Alaska.
Doctors get calls at all times of the day and night, Sarah. But you are admirable for not wanting to disturb CBJ over something so trivial as possibly going into premature labor while carrying a Down Syndrome baby.
She didn’t want to call anyone right then. She wanted to wait a bit and see if the baby was really on the way. She also wanted to pray and asked God silently but with great emotion to please let it all be okay. Sarah was fraught with despair for the baby. Please keep this baby safe. She realized, despite all her doubts and fears during this pregnancy, how much she loved her baby. God, please protect the baby. It would be such a tragedy to lose the baby now. God knew what He was doing.
Despite Sarah’s objections, Todd called CBJ. Sarah told the doctor that she felt fine. She absolutely didn’t want to cancel her speech and let people down. They agreed she would take it easy, make her speech and then catch an earlier flight back to Alaska. There was plenty of time.
Oh, Sarah, poor Sarah. You’re so concerned about the safety of your baby. You don’t want to lose him. So what do you do? Go to one of the nearby state-of-the-art medical centers in Dallas with NICU facilities. Nope, you stay in your hotel room and rest up before your speech. Excellent decision! By the way, you left out the part about leaking amniotic fluid. You did say it was leaking, right? That was really dangerous for you and the baby. You are one remarkably brave woman!
Later that afternoon Sarah delivered her speech and received a standing ovation. She handed the microphone to her co-host Governor Rick Perry of Texas and left the stage.
Rick Perry chuckled over the sound system. “Hey, we're not finished with the program!”
“I know you're pregnant,” Rick said, joking into the microphone. “But don't tell me you're going off to have the baby right now!”
The audience laughed as Sarah smiled and waved goodbye. Little did they know, she thought.
Sarah met Todd at the exit. He said that even though he loved the state they couldn’t have a fish picker born in Texas. They had a quite, relatively peaceful flight home.
It was wonderful of you to skip the rest of that conference, Sarah. That was really putting your unborn baby first. Your actions were extraordinary! Flying all the way back to Alaska. 8 hours in the air with a 2 hour layover and if that wasn’t enough after landing in Anchorage you traveled by car to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center bypassing Providence Hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. Down Syndrome babies often need special care at birth but you knew that your baby was tough even though he was coming 5 weeks early. He didn’t need a hospital specially equipped to care for premature babies.
Many hours and two flights later with Todd and their daughters nearby Sarah delivered Trig Paxson Van Palin. She was overwhelmed with love when the nurse placed the baby in her arms and she knew God had answered her prayers.
Sarah was glad God had let Trig join them early. They were so anxious to see him. Sarah hadn’t known how Trig would look or how she would feel but when she saw the baby she felt true joy. God had made Trig perfect even though he was different.
What woman in her right mind is happy to have their baby early. Okay, Sarah. The jig is up. Time to tell the truth. Either you were never pregnant with Trig Paxson Van Palin or you tried everything in your power to kill that kid. Now which was it?