A Birth and A Marathon by Laura

Hello! I’m Laura from Mommy Run Fast. I’m happy to cover for Katie while she cares for her sweet newborn, I remember those all-consuming days very well!

In the spirit of pregnancy and birth, I’m here to share a bit of my story with you. I’ve been a runner since college (about 12 years), and have run numerous races, from 5k’s to half marathons. I trained for my first full marathon in 2008, hoping to run one before we got pregnant, but I had to drop out because of a knee injury.

Running was so much a part of my routine and identity that by the time I became pregnant in May 2009, there was no question in my mind that I would continue to run.

Having no “real-life” examples to turn to, I sought advice on runnersworld.com, mom blogs, online articles and books such as Clapp’s “Exercising through Your Pregnancy” – which I highly recommend if you haven’t read it!

I ran a ten mile “race” at 20 weeks, and did a 13 mile long run a few weeks later. After that run, my hips were a little achy and I decided to cut out the long runs, but maintained about 20-25 miles per week, usually several 5-mile runs. I was able to continue running through the last week of my pregnancy, although by that point I was significantly slower and doing about 3 miles every other day. I also incorporated more swimming and walking during the last trimester.

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I was lucky to work with a midwife who was very supportive of my activity level, and was equally supportive in providing a natural birth experience which my husband and I wanted.

There is so much about the birthing process that is out of your control—no one can guarantee or predict the circumstances — long or short, easy or difficult, complicated or smooth, stressful or peaceful.

I found that running races had provided me with a mental toughness that prepared me for this unknown. Many times, I considered the birth my “marathon” and I was prepared for some discomfort, and the need to trust my body to do the work.

I believe that my determination to have a natural birth carried me through. My contractions began overnight, and I labored at home until noon when they were much closer and stronger. We headed to the birthing center and had the flexibility to snack, move around, and dress comfortably. By 6pm, all my creative positions and the midwife’s tricks were no long cutting it, so I got in the tub to help relieve some pressure. When I felt the urge to push, I decided to stay in the tub and my daughter was born in the water, at 9pm that evening, into a quiet room with dim lights and one of our Bach cd’s playing.

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It was an experience that I’ll never forget—much like a challenging race, there were times when I questioned why I was doing this, and thought it would never be over. I had to dig deep to find the drive to push through, and often found strength in the mantras my husband was repeating, “she’s getting closer with each push” and “you’re strong, you’re amazing.”

Although much more powerful than crossing a finish line, it was a similar surge of exhilaration, relief and joy when it was all over! Of course, the prize of a beautiful little girl tops the bling of a medal any day!

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Fifteen months later, I crossed the finish line of my first full marathon and I’m still not sure which was more challenging. But there is no question which is more rewarding!

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Thank you so much for sharing your birth and marathon story Laura! Your daughter is absolutely precious!

What was the most challenging accomplishment you’ve achieved?

If you’ve run a marathon and given birth, which do you think was harder?

Comments

  1. 1

    Thanks for letting me share, Katie! Hope you got in an extra nap in place of blog-writing. :)

  2. 3

    beautiful post!

    Katie, can’t wait to read your birth story!

  3. 5

    Beautiful story!

    I’ve given birth and ran a half marathon (not a full) and would say that birth was harder, but more rewarding. ;)

  4. 7

    Loved this post. Laura, you are amazing. Your birth story is so beautiful, one we all wish we could write as our own.

    Congrats on your new baby Katie!

    • 8

      Thank you, Robin! I do feel so blessed that it went this smoothly… I know many women who wanted a natural birth, and things didn’t work out as planned.

  5. 9

    i loved this, laura! i’m glad you provided the link to this beautiful story in your blog. thanks for sharing!

    i am going to go with childbirth as being much harder than running a marathon – and believe me, i’ve done some hellish marathons! in my opinion, you can always “stop” running in a race, but you can’t quit while in labor.

    and congratulations to katie, too! enjoy that newborn baby – it goes so fast!! i’ll have to check out her blog as well -

    • 10

      Yes… that’s a good point. There is something difficult mentally about knowing you can’t “stop” birth from continuing to increase in intensity!

  6. 11

    Beautiful story, brought the mist to my eyes. I am a midwife (no longer practicing) and it’s so good to hear about these wonderful, empowering, family-centered births still happening. I’ve never done a marathon, but wait until you have another baby– I think you will find it’s much easier than the first!

  7. 12

    Very great story. Laura and I have a lot in common, actually! I ran through my pregnancy with my daughter (actually ran two marathons while pregnant… one right after conception, and another at about 10-12 weeks), and I think it made a HUGE difference with my L&D. Like Laura, I also elected to go drug-free and “natural” as possible, and I, too, had my kiddo in a water birth here in Chicago. As far as marathons versus childbirth… it’s a tough call which is more difficult :) it’s a different type of challenge, to be sure!

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