Mom Wakes up and Realizes She Gave Birth in Her Sleep
| LAST UPDATE 12/22/2021
Amy Dunbar was beyond excited to welcome her first child into the world. But when the big day finally arrived, things didn't go as planned. From learning she's expecting to the whirlwind of events that followed, this is Amy's unique story.
This is Amy Dunbar, a Canadian woman residing in the beautiful town of Aurora, Ontario. This incredible story began when Amy was a 20-year-old student earning her Bachelor's Degree at Laurentian University.
Aside from a dedicated student, Dunbar had a natural tendency toward something else: motherhood. "When I was younger anyone who knew me could tell countless stories of stuff I did with my dolls, they were my life," Amy shared. But she never imagined the incredible journey that lay ahead.
Studies weren't the only focus in Amy's life. The young woman also spent much of her time with a very special someone named Martyn Seinberg. The pair met and quickly fell head-over-heels for each other. The couple was happy, constantly showering each other in love and gifts.
The partners in crime spent nearly every day together and did what many other young and in love couples do: romantic dinners, special adventures, and adorable nights in. Amy thought she'd found the one. But with time, things would become more complicated.
A Dream Come True
Amy and Martyn were madly in love. But the duo's relationship was about to change forever. The couple would soon find out they were expecting a new addition to their little family. In the middle of studying for university, Dunbar started to feel her body changing.
It didn't take long to figure out that Dunbar was pregnant with Seinberg's baby! The couple was ecstatic to welcome a child and endlessly discussed what the newborn would be like. "I'm not a very big person, and her dad isn't either. So she's bound to be a small kid, right?" the excited mama wondered.
A New Year's Eve Baby
At 20 years old, Amy was pregnant with her first child. It was a dream come true for the expectant mom who dreamt of the beautiful life she would give her baby. And the due date was fast approaching: doctors said the new addition to the Dunbar-Seinberg clan would arrive on December 31st.
Martyn and Amy were busy for the months leading up to the big day. The young couple got the nursery ready and made sure they had all of the necessities for the baby's arrival: a crib, a changing table, plenty of diapers, and, of course, adorable newborn clothes. There was just one problem.
Amy Didn't Like the Due Date
While Amy was beyond excited to meet her baby, the young mom didn't want to give birth on December 31st, the official due date. "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," Dunbar explained.
"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," she continued. "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 things wouldn't go as planned...
Setting the Appointment
The hospital contacted Amy on December 17 - her chosen due date - to set up an appointment for New Year's Eve. It seemed that whether she liked it or not, Dunbar would be giving birth on the 31st. But that same day, the expecting mom started experiencing contractions!
Soon, the contractions were a mere five minutes apart. Amy knew that it was time to go to the hospital. It seemed the young mama would get her wish after all: a baby born on December 17 and not on the eve of one of the biggest days of the year. Or so she thought...
She Was Home Alone
Amy was home alone when the contractions started. Now, with the birth pangs only minutes apart, the 20-year-old contacted her boyfriend. Dunbar told Seingberg the contractions were only five minutes apart and he needed to come home and drive them to the hospital.
"Dinner will be out of the oven in 15 minutes. Can I come after I eat?" Martyn texted back. Amy explained to her baby daddy that the newborn wouldn't "just wait because of his dinner plans." This was not how Dunbar imagined the birthday going. Little did she know, the next 24 hours would be full of surprises.
Finally at the Hospital
After the frustrating back-and-forth over text message, Martyn and Amy finally made it to the hospital. The couple could hardly believe the turn their day had taken. They had spoken with the hospital only hours before and booked an appointment to give birth at the end of the month!
Now, they walked through the hospital doors as Amy's contractions seemed to get stronger and stronger. "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?'" Dunbar shared. "I was like, 'Yup, yeah, you did, but she wants to come.'"
A Long Labor
It seemed that the baby couldn't wait one more minute to join the world outside of her mommy's belly. But those predictions turned out to be wrong, and hours passed without any changes. "I had been in labor for about 12 hours," Amy recalled of the exhausting experience.
After hours of painful contractions, doctors administered the standard local anesthetic around the spinal nerves to block the labor pains. But once again, things didn't go as planned. "They did the epidural and we figured out very quickly that it wasn't working," Dunbar said.
She Had Little Support
When the hospital staff realized the first anesthetic had been ineffective, they injected Amy with more. It was a challenging time for the expecting mom. "Sitting still two times in a row during contractions is really hard, in case you didn't know," Dunbar shared.
And her baby daddy's absence in the hospital room didn't help. "But also I didn't have the support system that I should have because my boyfriend at the time, her father, was out... in the parking lot," Amy admitted. It seemed that this day was full of surprises.
She Fell Asleep
So the big day was too stressful for Martyn to bear, and the expecting dad was instead in the hospital parking lot. Luckily, both of Amy's parents were there to support her through the difficult labor and two rounds of epidurals. Did the second try at easing the pain prove effective?
Fortunately for the hard-working mama, the anesthetic finally worked the second time around. "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," Amy said. Pain-free for the first time in what felt like forever, Dunbar took a little nap...
A Big Contraction
With the first round of epidurals having failed, doctors wondered just how effective the anesthetic would be for Amy, who was now peacefully asleep. But when a huge contraction hit and the expecting mom continued snoozing, it was obvious the epidural had been very effective.
"The nurse... turned to my mom and was like, 'Is she asleep?' My mom was like, 'Yeah, yes she is,'" Dunbar shared. "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." Then things took a turn.
They Lost the Heartbeat
Amy's contractions were only getting bigger. But after a painful 13 hours, the young mom was peacefully asleep and couldn't feel the bothersome labor pangs any longer. But shortly after the latest huge contraction, the nurse in charge noticed something worrisome.
"A minute after [the contraction], the nurse was waking me up telling me that she lost my baby's heartbeat on the monitor," Amy explained. The news shook Dunbar awake. "But she said don't worry, flip over, and she'll find it; my baby just probably moved," she added.
"There's Something Going On"
Amy was scared that the baby's heartbeat had become undetectable, but the nurse assured her that this often happened as the child moved around. But everyone would soon find out that there was something far from ordinary happening in this hospital room.
Dunbar followed the instructions the medical professional gave her. The young mom started flipping over in order to detect the heartbeat again. "Doing as I was told, I started moving the blanket and turning over, and I was like, 'There's something that's going on,'" Amy said.
A freshly woken-up Dunbar felt that something was not as it should be. And then she realized exactly what had happened. "My baby was in the bed. She had delivered herself while I was asleep," Amy explained. "That big contraction the nurse saw was her being born."
Over 13 hours into labor, Amy welcomed a baby girl, Maddy, into the world. The newborn slipped out of her sleeping mama on December 18, 2016, at about 11:10 in the morning. Dunbar was delighted. But then the young mom noticed something that could change everything.
"It Was Incredibly Traumatic"
The exciting moment passed as Amy realized that her baby girl was frighteningly quiet. "It was incredibly traumatic because my daughter was in the bed, in a ball, not moving and not crying, and nobody knew about it," Dunbar explained. She could hardly believe what was happening.
"I pulled back the blanket, and she was lying in a ball, on the bed," Amy remembered. "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!'"
The Doctors Came
Amy and her family scrambled to act when they realized the baby might need some major help. And to top it all off, the new mom's boyfriend and baby daddy was still nowhere to be found. "All of a sudden just so many doctors and nurses flooded the room," Dunbar said.
Amy added, "And 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." As doctors and nurses inundated the room, someone got a hold of Maddy.
She Still Wouldn't Cry
But when the professionals looked over the newborn, they couldn't find anything wrong. It looked like Maddy was healthy, despite the out-of-the-ordinary silence. "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 said.
"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," Dunbar continued. "She was completely fine. But she just didn't want to cry." With Maddy safe and sound, Amy processed the whirlwind of events that had just happened.
How Did Amy Not Feel the Baby?
Amy couldn't believe it - she'd unknowingly given birth to her baby. After seemingly endless hours of painful labor, Maddy slipped out without a peep and painlessly. "The reason I did not feel her between my legs was because the epidural finally did its job," Dunbar explained.
"She had exited my body on her own," Amy added. "And I was numb from the waist down. She was not between my legs for very long." If the nurse hadn't been alerted by the undetectable heartbeat, who knows how much time the newborn could've quietly laid there as her mom napped! Being Maddy's mom would soon bring more surprises.
Becoming a Single Mom
Sometime after Maddy was born, Amy decided to leave Martyn. "I am grateful I left, and his deadbeat narcissist [explicit] is no longer in our lives," she expressed. "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," the dedicated mama continued. "At least I have this beauty to make me feel better when I'm at my lowest and highest." But things weren't done evolving; the Dunbar gals' lives were about to take some major turns.
A Better Life
Becoming a single mom was far from easy. But Amy viewed it as a challenging step in the right direction for both her and Maddy. And the loving pair soon had much to celebrate as Dunbar achieved some incredible professional milestones, including a degree and a new gig.
After getting pregnant in the middle of her studies, experiencing an unexpected birth, and becoming a single mom, Amy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in just three years. She also started a small business and became the director of a community market. Dunbar never predicted what would happen next.
Busy taking off her career and putting that Bachelor's Degree to use, Amy's world was completely rocked by the worldwide pandemic. Like many people around the world, the mother-of-one joined TikTok for some light-hearted fun. One specific trend shot Dunbar to internet fame.
When Amy saw a challenge for people to share their "ridiculous birth story," she knew it was her time to shine. Delivering a baby while sleeping? About as ridiculous as it gets! Over four years after Maddy's birthday, Dunbar uploaded a short clip detailing the wild event. The response was overwhelming - to the good and the bad.
Some People Blamed the Nurse
Some people were shocked by Amy's birth story. After hours of labor, a painless delivery in her sleep was hard to believe. The TikTok went viral and, at the time of this article's writing, had over 178,000 views. But not all viewers had something positive to say.
Some questioned the attending nurse's ability to do her job. "Nah! That's not ok! You had a baby and no one noticed! Wtf! That nurse should seriously consider her career path!" commented one TikTok user. Dunbar soon uploaded a video with her own thoughts on the matter.
It Wasn't The Nurse's Fault
Amy was quick to defend the nurse's actions. "What we are not gonna do here is imply this nurse couldn't do her job because she was phenomenal. She was so sweet," Dunbar said in a response video. "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," Amy added. "What nobody knew was that she had birthed herself. But that's not the nurse's fault." According to the proud mama, it was simply her child's nature.
A Very Strong, Independent Little Girl
Having Maddy changed Amy's life in more ways than one. Becoming a mother was the biggest shift of all. But the incredible events leading up to that and following the birth are ones Dunbar never could've imagined. Yet, according to the young mama, certain things never changed.
Like when she first came into the world, Amy said that Maddy is still an independent girl doing things on her own terms. "She is still very much - has always been - a, 'Yeah, mom, I'm gonna do this myself,'" Dunbar shared. You can follow the pair's unstoppable adventures on TikTok at @amyedunbar.