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An adventure from the start: The birth of Gavin Unmedicated

An adventure from the start: The birth of Gavin

"While pushing Gavins heart rate would drop to almost nothing, which scared us all."

The birth of Gavin was an adventure that started at about 26 weeks pregnant. It was then that I started having preterm labor, which led to a hospital visit almost every week. At 33 weeks I went into actual labor, with contractions three minutes apart. I was also three centimeters dilated. That led to four days in the hospital with steroid shots and magnesium hell. They were able to keep it all under control until one week later, when I started bleeding—a lot.

From 33 weeks to 36 weeks I was plagued with on-again, off-again contractions and bleeding, and then I spent a couple of days in the hospital. At 36 weeks and 2 days I woke up around 1 a.m. with a contraction which led me to believe I had peed on myself. I got up for the day around 8 a.m. and was getting my son ready for school when I stood up with a gush of fluid. I went into the bathroom and discovered I was soaked and bleeding again. So I got my son dressed, called grandpa, and headed to the hospital. I was almost certain my water had broken, and my contractions were definitely picking up.

When I got to triage in L&D, they did an amnio test which was positive, but she decided to double check, which led to a negative for amniotic fluid. This led to two more tests, one positive, one negative. Also, my contractions were irregular. They decided to send me home, despite me begging to call my midwife. I left in tears, and by the time I got home I had soaked through my clothes into the car seat. I had an appointment that day so I decided to change and head there a little early. When I got into a room I was curled up on the table, bawling my eyes out, wearing soaked pants, in writhing pain. I want to interject here and say: I LOVE MY MIDWIFE! Linda came in and asked me what was wrong. I went through the whole story, and once she saw my soaked clothes she decided to check me. I was 4 cm, and showing signs of what she called “pooling fluid.” She was so mad they had sent me home, saying that my water had broken, and that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP.

She wanted to call an ambulance but the office is literally down the hill from L&D, so I chose to drive myself. I got there and was taken right to a room, then hooked up to all kinds of fun monitors. At that point I started crying again—crying from relief knowing I was going to be OK. My second midwife Dahlia came right in and checked me again. I was still 4 cm and contracting strong and regular. She also told me my water was broken but there was some fluid cushioning the baby. At this point it was 4 pm and I was 15 hours past my water having ruptured so she decided to leave the fluid and start me on a round of antibiotics till midnight. She also started me on Pitocin to help my contractions stay regular, and ordered my epidural. I got my epidural and tried sleeping.

Around 10 p.m. my blood pressure dropped and so did Gavin’s heart rate, so I was put on oxygen and flipped from side to side every 30 minutes. At midnight Dahlia came in and broke my water the rest of the way. At about 1:45 a.m. the nurse came in to check, and asked if I was feeling anything. I told her no, just exhaustion, and then asked why. She told me I was 8 cm and completely thinned out! Dahlia and the nurses rushed in knowing baby Gavin would be here quickly, and by 2 a.m. I was 10 cm and ready to push!

While pushing Gavins heart rate would drop to almost nothing, which scared us all. It turns out out he had decided to come sunny side up. Gavin Thomas Cunningham was born on October 24th, 2012 at 2:15 a.m. and was 5lbs 8oz 19in long. After he was born I kept bleeding, and they discovered I had a hidden abruption, which was the cause for all of my issues. Gavin was healthy, full developed and went home with me three days later!

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!