Amber Miller accomplished two monumental feats this weekend. First, the 27-year-old Illinois woman joined 45,000 other runners to participate in Sunday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Then, hours after crossing the finish line, she gave birth to a baby girl at a nearby hospital. Baby June weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds, 13 ounces.
Remarkably, this wasn’t an episode of TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” Miller is a seasoned runner who has now completed eight marathons – three of them while pregnant. When she initially signed up for the 26.2-mile Chicago race she didn’t know she was going to have another baby but she trained throughout the pregnancy and felt good.
Despite being almost 39 weeks pregnant (and 8 days away from her due date), Miller received her doctor’s permission to compete in the race, provided that she ran half and walked half of the course. Miller and her husband started running, and just kept going. It took the couple 6.5 hours to finish.
Dr. Jacques Moritz, a medical contributor for ABC News and director of gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, said that while Miller’s story was “outside of the norm,” he did not think she put her baby or herself in danger.
Moritz said new recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists allowed a pregnant woman to do moderate, strenuous exercise as long as she could beathe normally and hold a conversation.
Miller said that it usually takes her about 3.5 hours to complete a marathon so she was about three hours off her regular time. Not bad considering she was carrying an extra 20 pounds and experiencing contractions randomly throughout the race.
By the time she arrived in the hospital, she was five centimeters dilated. She is pretty sure the run triggered her labor. Hello! In an interview this morning with the Daily Herald, the stay-at-home mother of two calls Sunday the “longest day of my life.” Was it long enough to make her hang up her running shoes? Doubtful.
Marathon running, however, is not without risk. In the same race Sunday, veteran marathoner William Caviness, 35, collapsed 500 yards from the finish line and died of an unknown cause. It was the sixth death in the Chicago Marathon since 1998.
If you spent the last weeks of your pregancy on the couch watching the E channel with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, well, you might not be able to relate to Miller.