Marathon  mums baby  a winner in  long run
All smiles: Janine Chatfield with Harper Laine. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

The 12-month ordeal Janine Chatfield went through after the birth of her first child must make marathons seem easy.

She ran her first marathon in Melbourne last year and plans to tackle the New York Marathon in November for the Miracle Babies Foundation.

Mrs Chatfield was just over 31 weeks pregnant when she was called in to King Edward Memorial Hospital for a check-up in September 2012.

She was complaining of stomach pains but the thought of an early birth never crossed her mind.

Her antenatal classes were still a month away and the home nursery in Doubleview was incomplete.

"I didn't even take a bag with me because I thought we'd be in and out," Mrs Chatfield, 34, said.

"Then the nurses said, 'You'll be having this baby within 72 hours'."

That moment marked the start of an arduous journey for Mrs Chatfield and her husband Ryan, 34.

Mr Chatfield works four weeks on and one week off as a commercial diver but, fortunately, he was home for the birth.

"The night we were admitted, I googled '31 weeks baby' and that's when I became frightened," Mrs Chatfield said.

"I thought there might be disabilities, I thought there might be ongoing difficulties - I thought we might lose her."

Harper Laine was born the next morning and then hooked up to an assisted breathing machine in the neonatal intensive care unit.

After three weeks in the NICU and one week in the special care nursery at St John of God, the family were finally reunited.

"It was daunting at the hospital, but when you come home it's even scarier because you don't have the paediatricians or the nurses," she said.

The next 12 months were a blur for the Chatfields, who did their best to raise a premature baby with very little guidance.

Harper, who turns two on September 11, has blossomed into a talking, dancing bundle of joy.

By the time Mrs Chatfield discovered the Miracle Babies Foundation, most of the hard work was done, but she has taken it on herself to spread the word.

She will run the New York Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the foundation, which is opening a new support group south of the river on Friday.

Her husband will be running the marathon alongside her.

"Miracle Babies is a whole community of support for the families of premature or sick babies," Mrs Chatfield said.

"I wish I'd known about them earlier and that's why I want to tell people about it."

The West Australian

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