Meet Sterling Diane Falconetti!
“She is our miracle baby,” says Miller, 36, who battled a non-hereditary form of ovarian cancer known as a germ cell malignancy in early 2011.
The seven-time Olympic medalist, leader of the famed “Magnificent Seven” women’s gymnastics team at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, underwent surgery to remove her left ovary and fallopian tube after her cancer diagnosis.
Although she preserved her eggs “as an insurance policy,” prior to undergoing a grueling nine-week chemotherapy regimen, she was able to conceive Sterling, now three weeks old, naturally.
Soon after they began trying for baby No. 2, “one day I did the [pregnancy] test, left it on the counter, got busy, came back seven hours later and went to throw it away and it said ‘PREGNANT,’” recalls Miller. “I thought it must have malfunctioned. I took another test and it said pregnant too. I was surprised, but John and I both had put our trust in God.”
Now a health advocate who runs a women’s health and wellness company, Shannon Miller Lifestyle, Miller says motherhood has “given me purpose that’s different than anything I’ve ever done. I think it’s calmed me down a little bit. Everything I do is for the kids. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
For much more on Miller’s emotional cancer journey and her new daughter, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
– Michelle Tauber