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updated: 10/10/2011 4:16 PM

DuPage woman: 'I was planning on maybe running half' of marathon

Marathon in 6:25, then Westchester woman gives birth 7 hours later

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  • Amber Miller, 27, of Westchester, finished the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and then went to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield where she gave birth to her second child, June. She met with media members Monday along with her husband Joe and their 19-month-old son Caleb.

       Amber Miller, 27, of Westchester, finished the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and then went to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield where she gave birth to her second child, June. She met with media members Monday along with her husband Joe and their 19-month-old son Caleb.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Amber Miller of Westchester says her doctor had given her the OK to walk and run the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

       Amber Miller of Westchester says her doctor had given her the OK to walk and run the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Amber Miller was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant when she began the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. Before the day was over, she had given birth to her daughter June at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

       Amber Miller was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant when she began the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. Before the day was over, she had given birth to her daughter June at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • June Miller weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds and 13 ounces.

       June Miller weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds and 13 ounces.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Amber Miller said she felt a little "something" Sunday shortly after crossing the Chicago Marathon finish line.

That "something" turned out to be her newborn daughter, June Audra, who would be born that night at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

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Miller was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant when she stepped off from the starting line early Sunday morning for what would be her eighth marathon and second while carrying June.

She and her husband, Joe, signed up for the race in February, two days before she learned she was pregnant.

"I wasn't real determined to run it. I kinda thought I would have already had the baby," she said Monday. "So it comes down to the night before. I'm still pregnant and I paid for it, so I'm going to run it or do as much as I can."

The Westchester woman said her doctor gave her clearance to alternate running two miles and then walking two miles throughout the race. She said she was making good time throughout the day.

"I was having a conversation with my parents Saturday night and told them I had no plans of actually finishing. I have run marathons, while pregnant, but not at 38 weeks," Miller said. "I was planning on maybe running half and skipping to the end and walking across the finish line."

After crossing the finish line in 6 hours and 25 minutes, she felt a contraction.

"I did (feel contractions during the run) but I've been running the whole pregnancy and it's very normal for me to have contractions when I run. So they weren't anything out of the usual. I wasn't concerned at all," she said. "It was right after the race (around 3 p.m.) when they started coming regularly and I said 'Oh, this is labor.'"

June was born about seven hours later at 10:29 p.m., weighing in at a healthy 7 pounds and 13 ounces.

"Baby is perfect and doing wonderful. I'm feeling as you would expect after giving birth," Miller said. "I don't feel anything from the marathon."

Miller said she was "a little embarrassed" during the run but heard mostly positive comments from other runners and spectators. She could also feel the eyes of police and paramedics following her throughout the course.

She's aware there are some who question the wisdom of doing a marathon while so far along in a pregnancy.

"I know what I can handle. I ran a marathon with (her now 19-month-old son Caleb) when he was 17 weeks. I've been running for a long time," she said. "This is my eighth marathon; my third marathon pregnant. I think I'm pretty smart about it. I really don't take risks and the baby comes first."

Miller's husband, Joe, was also comfortable with her decision to run

"I think she's amazing," Joe Miller said. "My biggest concern was going to be getting out of downtown. I trusted her judgment and trusted that the Lord would see that Amber and our baby was safe."

Dr. Jeffery Loughead, director of the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, called the situation an "extreme circumstance" and cautioned other pregnant women to be in contact with their doctors to ensure their exercise routines are safe.

"We don't recommend that one routinely runs marathons, but obviously (this) mom is a very experienced runner and in excellent shape," he said. "So these situations should be reviewed with her OB to make sure this kind of exercise would be appropriate for that level of pregnancy and that particular mom."

If June continues to progress, the Millers hope to bring her home as soon as Tuesday morning.

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