Pregnant lady notices that she is leaking fluid, and promptly heads home to deliver her baby boy.

Except that she was in Texas at the time, and “home” is Anchorage, Alaska.

When asked why she chose to give birth at home, the father, who is best known for the Iron Dog race but who works along with his family as a commercial fisherman, said:
“Can’t have a fish picker from Texas.”

Well, that statement won’t exactly win a lot of thanks from the Lone Star state.

As a doc, I’m glad I wasn’t on that flight. Medical supplies on airliners are spotty (although usually passengers will volunteer a pharmacy of pills to help you care for a sick person). Of course, it sounds like she wasn’t really in labor, just with leaky membranes, which usually means you have time before labor starts, although if labor doesn’t start we induce it (start it with medicine) because if it goes on more than 24 hours there is a risk of infection.

And it sounds like the lady wasn’t in labor, since she didn’t deliver until she was in the hospital 8 hours.

But there is more:
The lady is the governor of Alaska…and her decision to fly home to deliver the baby caused some raised eyebrows. Was it done for political purposes?

When the child was born, the family released this statement:

“Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives.

“We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”

The press was at first puzzled, but then the news leaked out that the baby boy had Down’s syndrome.

This means the boy will be mild to moderately retarded, and may suffer from other medical problems that we sometimes see with children with that congenital problem. However, with good parenting and modern antibiotics, these children often can live productive lives; more importantly, they tend to have a trustful happy personality that brings joy to those around them.

Columnist George Will writes about his son who has Down’s syndrome:

Jon has Down syndrome, a chromosomal defect involving varying degrees of mental retardation and physical abnormalities. Jon lost, at the instant he was conceived, one of life’s lotteries, but he also was lucky: His physical abnormalities do not impede his vitality and his retardation is not so severe that it interferes with life’s essential joys–receiving love, returning it, and reading baseball box scores.

One must mind one’s language when speaking of people like Jon. He does not “suffer from” Down syndrome. It is an affliction, but he is happy–as happy as the Orioles’ stumbling start this season will permit. You may well say that being happy is easy now that ESPN exists. Jon would agree. But happiness is a species of talent, for which some people have superior aptitudes…. Jon is an adornment to a world increasingly stained by anger acted out.

Too often the discussion of eugenics and abortion comes down to a “right/left” shouting match in today’s politics, yet most people still believe life is a gift, even if it is imperfect.

As for the governor: she promptly went back to work. And plans to care and feed the kid while working, as she did with baby number four…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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