Governor's baby arrives early

Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin gave birth Friday to her fifth child, a boy, about a month before her due date.

Trig Paxson Van Palin weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces. A news release from Palin's office says the 44-year-old governor and the baby are doing well and resting comfortably.

"Trig is beautiful and already adored by us," said the Palin family in a written statement. "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."

Anchorage television station KTUU on Friday quoted an unnamed source close to the family saying the baby has Down syndrome.

The governor's spokeswoman Sharon Leighow would neither confirm nor deny the report. Leighow said Palin would talk with reporters early next week.

Leighow said mother and baby are doing well and resting comfortably.

"It sounds like the delivery was fine, the baby was fine. He just came into the world early," Leighow said.

The name Trig is a Norse word meaning "true" and "brave victory," said Leighow. Paxson is an area of Alaska that both Palin and her husband Todd feel is "one of the most beautiful spots in Alaska," she added.

Palin earlier joked about naming the baby Van Palin after the '80s rock group Van Halen.

Palin went into labor Thursday while attending an energy conference for governors in Texas, where she gave a keynote address. Her contractions let up enough for her to fly home on Alaska Airlines to deliver her baby in Alaska, Leighow said.

Palin was scheduled to sign a bill on Saturday at the Lions Convention in Anchorage allowing for the redistribution of used eyeglasses. Leighow said Palin will sign the bill without attending the event.

"Until yesterday, we were planning bill signings and then the governor gives birth," Leighow said. "I think it caught everyone off guard."

The Palins have four other children including a son, Track, 18, and three daughters, Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, 7.

Down syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. It results in mental retardation, a characteristic broad, flat face and small head, and, often, serious heart defects.

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