Last year teacher Megan Carter completed the Swavesey five mile event, her first attempt at a running race. In nine days, she’ll be taking on the London Marathon.
Despite being “very nervous” about taking part in the Marathon on April 23, the brave supermum will be spurred on by husband James, and twins Toby and Dominic, now three.
Megan told Spotted in Ely that she was looking at ways of supporting Addenbrooke Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as a way of thanking them for looking after her premature twins and when she thought of activities she disliked, “running was top of the list”.
Megan, who heads Cottenham Village College’s science department, says the level of support she received from NICU staff after her sons were born had got her through one of the bleakest periods of her life.
Despite having an easy pregnancy, Megan knew something was wrong when she got terrible backache at 25 weeks. A fortnight later, in December 2013, her waters broke.
James drove her to Addenbrookes in Cambridge, where she was admitted to a ward. By 11am the following morning, Toby and Dominic were born by emergency Caesarian.
“They were in poor shape, especially Toby. They were resuscitated in front of us and then intubated and rushed straight to the NICU.”
During recovery, a doctor told the shell-shocked Ely couple that Toby had a condition called hemifacial microsomia, where the bone structure on the left side of his face was slightly smaller than on the right. He was missing a piece of jawbone on the left and also his left ear.
Toby needed a chest drain after birth and was very bruised from his delivery.
“It was over a week before I held them and over a month before we had our first family photo.”
Dominic was in the NICU for just under three months, with Toby staying slightly longer.
“They had multiple issues whilst there including chronic lung disease and feeding issues.”
Toby came home on oxygen and was only able to come off it after having a heart operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital at the age of six months. He also had a feeding tube until he was 10 months old.
Both boys had hernia operations at Addenbrookes, with Toby having to be rushed to hospital by ambulance and admitted three times after developing bronchitis shortly after returning home.
Megan says: “During our time in the NICU the staff were all amazing.
“They cared for us and the boys and never made me feel judged or guilty.
“The level of support they gave inspired me and kept me going.”
Wanting to give back something to the staff who helped her through the family’s darkest hour, she started off by baking cakes and knitting stockings to give to the babies at Christmas.
“I wanted to do more however so thought about what I really didn’t like doing.
“Running was top of the list.”
In January 2016 she completed the Swavesey five mile, her first ever race, in 55 minutes, raising £500.
“Then I decided to go further. I entered the marathon ballot but was unsuccessful so signed up for Cambridge half marathon.
“I had just started training in Jan 2017 when Addenbrookes contacted me to say they had marathon places. I applied and got a place.”
Megan’s aim is to finish it – even if it takes all day!
“My training has not gone brilliantly due to illness and bereavement but I’ve kept going.”
On her Just Giving page, Megan says that despite the challenges they faced at birth, her boys are indistinguishable from others in their peer group.
“I can never stop singing the praises of the doctors and nurses who supported us. Without them we would not be where we are.”
Click here to sponsor Megan.