From the moment she knew she was expecting, Amy Dunbar was filled with joy. However, little did she know just how unique her pregnancy would be. From the early weeks to the last days of the third trimester, here is her one-of-a-kind journey.
A Typical University Student
This tale journey starts with Amy Dunbar, a fun-loving 20-year-old from Southern Ontario in Canada. She was in the middle of her studies at Laurentian University when her life suddenly changed its course.
Maternal instincts were in the background as Amy trudged along with her degree. "When I was younger anyone who knew me could tell countless stories of stuff I did with my dolls, they were my life," she reflected. But little did she know she'd be putting those instincts to use soon.
Amy's Special Someone
Besides hitting the books in the library, Amy also dedicated her time to her boyfriend, named Martyn Seinberg. They were pretty hot and heavy and spent all the time together that they could swing. From the moment that they got together, Amy and Martyn felt a special connection.
The two lovebirds were living the good life in that classic honeymoon period. From cute dates to days spent wanderlust-ing, they enjoyed every moment in each other's company. In Amy's eyes, Martyn was a keeper, however, fate had a different plan in store.
Their Little Miracle
Dunbar and Seinberg couldn't have been happier with their budding romance. However, they were in for the shock of a lifetime when they discovered that there would soon be one more added to the mix. After experiencing the early symptoms, Amy knew that something was off.
And just like that, Amy and Martyn put the puzzle pieces together: The two of them would soon be parents. They were thrilled with the news and started obsessing over the good news: "I'm not a very big person, and her dad isn't either. So she's bound to be a small kid, right?" Amy theorized.
The Due Date Was Set
Amy soaked in every second of her surprise pregnancy. She spent her days daydreaming of her and her firstborn's future together, and all the good times they would spend together. But her time from fantasizing was quickly running out: Her little one was due that New Year's Eve.
Amy and Martyn didn't spare any expense when preparing for the due date. From plush toys to a rocking chair, and cute wall decorations, the couple went all out. The whole ordeal was a dream come true for Amy but with one small hiccup standing in the way.
December 31st Was a No-Go
Make no mistake, Amy couldn't have been more excited to step into her new role as a mother... Just not on the 31st of December, as the doctors had set. "They had decided they weren't gonna let me go a day past my due date, which was actually New Year's Eve, which I didn't wanna have her on," Amy said.
"So I actually said that the last day I was willing to have her - because, you know, I thought I had a choice - was the seventeenth," Dunbar added. "Funny enough, they actually called me that morning, and they were like 'Okay, so we're ready, we're gonna book your induction for the 31st." But Amy's body had a plan of its own.
Booking With the Hospital
In a twist of fate, the local hospital called Dunbar on her desired due date to book her in for an induction on December 31st. And just as Amy accepted that the choice wasn't up to her anymore, she was overcome with a surge of pain. The expecting mom's labor had begun!
Before Amy realized it, the frequency of the surges was less than 10 minutes apart, signaling to her that it was time to go to the emergency room. Dunbar was thrilled with the possibility of getting her baby on the desired due date. But she was in for quite the ride...
Amy Was on Her Own
Just her luck: Amy began experiencing her surges when no one else was there to help. With the intervals down to mere minutes, Amy reached out to her boyfriend. The laboring mother informed Martyn of the sudden turn of events. It was time to take Amy to the delivery ward!
"Dinner will be out of the oven in 15 minutes. Can I come after I eat?" Seinberg responded. Amy tried to paint a clear picture of the situation, that the baby couldn't "just wait because of his dinner plans." Was this really how the big day would go down? Amy was certainly in for a rollercoaster.
She Finally Got to the Ward
Following the tense exchange of texts, the expecting parents arrived at the delivery ward. Dunbar and Seinberg were shocked by how it all unfolded: What were the chances that the baby would come the very day that the induction had been scheduled? What a coincidence…
They arrived just in time because upon entry into the birthing unit because Amy's surges were at their strongest. "When I went into labor and delivery, and I gave them my name, the nurse was like, 'Didn't I just talk with you to book the induction?'" Amy recalled. That didn't matter, because the baby had a plan of her own.
Things looked like they were progressing much faster earlier in the day. But after settling into the delivery room, Amy experienced contraction after contraction with little to no results. After 12 excruciating hours of laboring, Amy wasn't seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
"I had been in labor for about 12 hours," Amy remembered from the marathon. To help soothe her, the medical staff gave her an epidural to numb the pressure and agony. But, as luck had it, it wouldn't be successful. "They did the epidural and we figured out very quickly that it wasn't working," Amy shared.
Amy Felt Alone
Amy noticed something and shared her concerns with the doctors. Once they knew that the initial dose didn't do the trick, they tried another round. The whole experience was challenging for Amy. "Sitting still two times in a row during contractions is really hard, in case you didn't know," she said.
To add fuel to the fire, Amy was feeling down about certain people who weren't in the room. "I didn't have the support system that I should have because my boyfriend at the time, her father was... in the parking lot," Dunbar shared. She knew labor wasn't a walk in the park, but Amy was really being tested.
Finally Getting a Rest
While Amy rode out the labor experience, her boyfriend Martyn was elsewhere. The pressure in the hospital room became too much for him to handle so he sought refuge away from the hospital. Fortunately, Amy had her mom and dad to lean on during that time. But would the second epidural do its job?
Call it a medical miracle, the extra dose did the trick and Amy felt numbness take over. "So, they did whatever it is they do to make it work. And it finally was, about 13 hours later, it was working, and I fell asleep," Dunbar recalled. Finally, after over half a day spent in agony, Amy was able to rest...
The Most Intense Surge Yet
Amy's medical staff were relieved to see that the second dose of the medication did the charm. And as the laboring mom-to-be slumbered away, the hospital workers saw just how well the meds were working: Amy didn't so much as flinch as she experienced the strongest surge yet.
"The nurse… turned to my mom and was like, 'Is she asleep?' My mom was like, 'Yeah, yes she is,'" Amy recalled. "And then the nurse was like, 'Hey great, that was a really big contraction, and she's still sleeping, so that means the epidural is working cause she didn't feel it." But it would only get wilder from here…
Suddenly the Monitor Stopped
With every moment that passed, Dunbar's surges grew in strength. However, to the shock of everyone in the room, Amy continued to snooze through it. The 12-plus hours of excruciating labor had wiped her out, and it seemed that nothing would wake her. Until one hospital staff member saw something of concern.
"A minute after [the contraction], the nurse was waking me up telling me that she lost my baby's heartbeat on the monitor," Dunbar recalled. Suddenly, she woke in a stupor. But the nurse assured her that a quick switch of positions would recover the trace. The "baby just probably moved," Amy was told.
"There's Something Going On"
The shocking news had a startling effect on Amy. But her support staff made sure to tell her that there was a simple explanation for the mayhem. Little did they know that what had happened was far from the average delivery story. But for the moment, Amy did what she was told.
As she attempted to switch up positions, per doctors' orders, Amy noticed something was up. "I started moving the blanket and turning over, and I was like, 'There's something that's going on,'" Dunbar recalled. But as she was numb waist-down, she couldn't be sure.
The Shock of a Lifetime
Despite feeling foggy from her sleep, what Amy felt was crystal-clear. And her suspicions were quickly confirmed. "My baby was in the bed. She had delivered herself while I was asleep," the new mother recalled. "That big contraction the nurse saw was her being born."
After a strenuous start to the labor, Dunbar finally got to say hello to her little miracle, who she named Maddy. She wiggled her way out onto the hospital bed on December 18th, 2016, just past 11 am. However, Amy's immediate joy came crashing down moments after.
"It Was Incredibly Traumatic"
What Amy felt was nothing close to the euphoric joy most new moms have described. "It was incredibly traumatic because my daughter was in the bed, in a ball, not moving and not crying, and nobody knew about it," Amy recalled. She was overcome with shock.
"I pulled back the blanket, and she was lying in a ball, on the bed," Dunbar said of the life-changing experience. "And it just kind of blew up from there. Like, my dad was in the room; he was not supposed to be in the room. So he stepped out into the hall and yelled, 'We need help!'"
Help Came Rushing In
Everyone in the room frantically sought assistance when the baby was thought to be in danger. To make matters worse, Martyn still hadn't returned to the room and had missed the unique birth of his daughter. "All of a sudden just so many doctors and nurses flooded the room," Amy recalled.
Dunbar could remember the day like it was yesterday: "She wasn't crying, so of course I'm freaking out, 'Why isn't she crying?' And her dad, who I was with at the time, wasn't there, so I was also freaking out because of that." Medical staff busted the room and quickly swept Maddy away.
Maddy Still Wasn't Making Any Noise
To the confusion of the staff on-call, there weren't any major red flags when they inspected the newborn. At first glance, Maddy was in the clear, just uniquely quiet. "They checked her and gave her back to me and put her on my chest and were like, 'Rub her back and get her to cry,'" Amy recalled.
"I don't know if it's clear, but she liked to do everything on her own terms. So the fact that they wanted her to cry - she didn't cry," Amy elaborated. "She was completely fine. But she just didn't want to cry." Now that her baby was out of immediate danger, Amy was left to absorb the gravity of what had occurred.
How Could It Have Happened?
It was too much for the new mom to process: As she snoozed away, she had inadvertently delivered Maddy! After the excruciating night of contractions, the newborn came earth-side without Amy feeling a thing. "The reason I did not feel her between my legs was because the epidural finally did its job," Amy said.
"She had exited my body on her own," Dunbar continued. "She was not between my legs for very long." The new mom couldn't help but wonder how long Maddy could've remained nestled under the sheets, had the birth staff not noticed the monitor. Amy's unconventional birth would follow with another bold move.
In the months following Amy's delivery experience, she chose to break things off with her boyfriend, Martyn. "I am grateful I left, and his deadbeat narcissist [explicit] is no longer in our lives," Dunbar said. "Starting over and leaving the life you were so comfortable with is far from easy but sometimes the best thing."
"Sometimes making big choices is hard but best for ultimate happiness," Amy went on. "At least I have this beauty to make me feel better when I'm at my lowest and highest." Amy and Maddy's special journey was just beginning. And the future would bring tons of new twists and turns.
A New Chapter
Now that wasn't to say that parenting on her own was a walk in the park. But Dunbar was determined as ever to give her and her baby the best life possible. Their next chapter together came with some good news, as Amy graduated from university and landed a job.
Looking back, Amy went on quite the rollercoaster over the past few years. Her classic university experience was flipped on its head, but she persevered and made it to the other side with her beautiful baby girl and a diploma in her hand. Amy went on to open a company and run her local market. But this was just the beginning…
Amy found her motherhood and business owner groove when life threw another curveball: the Coronavirus. Suddenly, Dunbar found herself stuck at home with some time to kill. In what many believe to be predictable, Amy jumped on TikTok to distract herself. Little did she know that one video of hers would change everything.
Amy decided to join in on a viral trend where moms were broadcasting their "ridiculous birth stories." What better time to share her unique triumph of delivering Maddy mid-nap? Amy posted her story and was quickly inundated with comments. Some positive, but others not so much...
Many Pointed Fingers at the Medical Staff
It didn't come as much of a surprise to Amy that many TikTok users were astonished to hear about her unique birth experience. Her story spread the wildfire and by the time of publishing, her clip sat at 1.2 million views and over 200,000 likes. However, not all the attention was positive.
There was growing concern amongst commenters surrounding the competency of the medical staff. "Nah! That's not ok! You had a baby and no one noticed! Wtf! That nurse should seriously consider her career path!" a concerned viewer responded. But Amy had her own side to the story.
Amy Shot Back
But the single mom jumped in right away to defend the medical staff. "What we are not gonna do here is imply this nurse couldn't do her job because she was phenomenal. She was so sweet," Amy rebutted in her follow-up TikTok. "She was with me the entire time, monitoring my baby girl and making sure she was safe."
"The second... she stopped hearing the heartbeat, she woke me up and was doing everything she was supposed to do to find it," Dunbar continued. "What nobody knew was that she had birthed herself. But that's not the nurse's fault." The way Amy saw it, she wouldn't expect any different from her kiddo.
Maddy Marches to the Beat of Her Own Drum
Amy's journey into parenthood gave her a whole new perspective on life. From day one of the pregnancy, Dunbar began to see everything differently, and couldn't fathom a life without Maddy by her side. But funnily enough, Maddy's debut into the world was a prediction of what was to come.
From delivery up to this day, Dunbar's little girl is a girl on her own mission. "She is still very much - has always been - a, 'Yeah, mom, I'm gonna do this myself,'" Amy explained. Want to see these two take on the world? Check out Amy's videos on TikTok at @amyedunbar.