In January last year, I read a story of a woman that touched my heart and truly inspired myself, mother and three friends to start training for a half marathon in May 2012 . Yes, that’s right we agreed to run 21.1 km non-stop, but it was to raise money for an amazing cause!
The story that has inspired us is that of Sophie Smith. This story stuck a cord for me, not only because of the strength and resilience of Sophie and Ash, but also because my own daughter had been born very prematurely at the Royal Hospital for Women in October 2005.
Twenty-eight weeks into my pregnancy I was diagnosed with severe pre-ecamplsia. I was so severely ill that medication could not control my dangerously high blood pressure and my vital organs were at risk of shutting down, the only solution was to deliver my baby 12 weeks prematurely. I remember the doctors telling my husband if they don’t deliver our baby as soon as possible, he would not have his wife or child.
We were also told that our baby had a 95-98% chance of survival however there was a risk that she would be born with a number of disabilities and challenges. Lucy, was born the next day, 21 October 2005 weighing a tiny 990 grams and 35 centimetres long.
The time immediately after Lucy’s birth and was the most stressful and uncertain of our lives. I remember the first time I saw Lucy after she was born. Our tiny baby was in a humidicrib, she had see through skin and attached to her were all types of machines helping her to breathe and giving her the fluid and nutrients that she need to fight the brave battle ahead of her. As I put my hand into the humidicrib, to touch my baby for the first time, she reached out with her tiny hand and held my finger, we both cried.
Fortunately Lucy was strong.
The 10 weeks she was in hospital (2 weeks at RHW and 8 weeks in Wollongong Hospital) were like riding a roller coaster, she fought a number of infections and overcame battles that come being born so prematurely. Without the life saving equipment and amazing doctors and nurses, both at the Royal Hospital for Women and Wollongong Hospital we wouldn’t have our precious daughter. Lucy is now a healthy and happy seven year old and is in year two at St Paul’s Primary School Moss Vale.
My mum, my 3 friends and I joined Sophie’s team in 2012 to run our first half marathon. It really was such an amazing experience and one I'll never forget. In training for it I lost 20 kg and It's really changed my life. I've since done a ‘Tough Mudder’ and run two more half marathons: one in Huskisson and last weekend I ram the Mt Kosciuszko Half Marathon. I never imagined I could do any of those things at the beginning of this 2012. When training gets hard and my body get fatigued on those long runs I remind myself that it’s nothing compared to the battle Lucy and other premature babies like her have fought for their lives. Makes running 21.1 km seem easy.
Mum and I have decided that running for premature babies will be an annual event for us and we often talk about how one day Lucy may run with us too.