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Baby’s birth surprises Duluth runner training for race

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John Staine pinched the doctor on Monday.

“It was like a dream,” the new father said of the odyssey he and his wife have experienced in the past two days. “I wanted to make sure it was real.”

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Trish Staine is one of those rare cases of a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant until minutes before she gave birth.

Trish, 33, remained in the hospital Wednesday, and John told the story from his perspective. Both Mom and the new baby girl are doing fine despite a delivery five weeks early.

It started Sunday when Trish felt some back stiffness after training for the half-marathon on Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

John said Trish’s pain increased throughout the day Monday. John was stuck in Superior for a hospital checkup. He had seen his wife crying in pain earlier in the day and it eventually led to “screaming, crying and yelling out,” he said.

She had run at least nine miles Sunday. They thought maybe it was a pinched nerve, a kidney stone or a burst appendix.

She took some pain relievers. She took baths. She lay down. It got worse.

Finally, two of the couple’s older children were asked to take her in to the hospital. But the pain was too great and an ambulance was called instead.

When John later walked into Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, doctors said “you have a brand-new girl,” John said.

“Whose baby is that? It’s not possible," said John, who had a vasectomy.

The two have foster children and two biological children, 7 and 11.

Trish Staine is also stepmother to John's three boys, ages 17, 19 and 20.

The Staines run the Genesis Project, a transitional foster-care program for young men between ages 17 and 21.

The family named the newborn Mira, short for "Miracle."

Neither of Trish’s first pregnancies, obviously, compared to the one the couple never knew about.

There was no kicking, no movement, John said. His wife even looked like she’d lost weight while training hard for the half-marathon.

“She didn’t gain any weight,” he said. “Her face was even thinner.”

He admitted that he can usually talk a mile a minute, but not this time.

“I just didn’t have anything to say,” John said. “It takes a lot to shock me.”

Interviewed from her hospital room by the Associated Press on Wednesday, Trish Staine said she had no idea she was pregnant before Monday's birth. She said she hadn't gained any weight or felt fetal movement in the months before. And besides, her husband had a vasectomy.

“I said ‘no, no, that's impossible,’ ” Staine said Wednesday from her Duluth hospital room.

“I definitely thought I was done having kids,” she joked.

Staine said she ran for about two hours Sunday in preparation for the Garry Bjorklund half-marathon on June 22.

“I had a sore back Sunday evening. I had taken a hot shower and was dealing with it,” Staine said. “Monday morning, I woke up and had more back pain, and as the day went on it got worse. I thought I should go to the ER. I thought I ruptured a disc or pulled a muscle.”

But she soldiered on, watching her husband play basketball at noon and going to her daughter's short play. When Staine got home, she thought a bath might help her pain.

As she talked to her husband on the phone, Staine said her pain was becoming unbearable. Her husband called an ambulance.

“I felt like I was dying. I didn't know what was going on,” she said.

During the emergency room examination, Staine and her husband were stunned to learn medical staff had detected a fetal heartbeat. She was whisked to the delivery room and in what she said seemed like 5 minutes later, her daughter was born at 3:25 p.m. Monday. She weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces, and was 18.9 inches long.

Staine said her husband has a good sense of humor.

“He's still in shock. Everybody is teasing him,” she said.

Born about 5 weeks early, the Staines expect they will be able to take their baby home in about a week, a girl they have named Mira — short for Miracle.

One question? Will Trish Staine finish her goal to run the half-marathon?

“We paid for it,” John Staine said of the Grandma’s entry fee. “They’ve already cashed the check.”

If Trish makes it to Scenic Highway 61 starting line in 17 days, consider it just another miracle for the Staine family.

 Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribun

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