Hunter McGrady recalls the 'sheer drama' of giving birth to daughter Ava: 'So scared'

The model, 29, told her sister the scary experience of recently giving birth to her daughter, Ava.

·6 min read
Hunter McGrady is retelling the dramatic story of giving birth to her daughter and second child, Ava, on her podcast. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)
Hunter McGrady is retelling the dramatic story of giving birth to her daughter and second child, Ava, on her podcast. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

Hunter McGrady is reliving the "drama" of giving birth to her second kid.

The 29-year-old model opened up about her childbirth journey in the latest episode of her "Model Citizen" podcast, which she co-hosts with her sister and fellow model, Michaela McGrady.

"Hunter, you have quite a birth story," Michaela shared in the March 23 podcast episode, to which Hunter said, "I love to have my offspring make an entrance."

Hunter shares two children with her husband, Brian Keys: Hudson, who was born on June 26, 2021, and Ava, who was born this past March 9.

Despite Hunter jokingly shrugging off the "drama" of her daughter's recent birth, Michaela responded saying she had "never been more traumatized" following the event.

A day before giving birth, Hunter said she had informed her sister that they should record some podcast episodes in advance, since she felt "something brewing" as she was around 39 weeks pregnant.

The following morning, she had a "typical check up" with her OB-GYN. After leaving her home and opening the door to her car, Hunter said she immediately threw up everywhere. While she was going to visit her doctor solo, she cried out to her husband to come with her to the appointment.

"This was the beginning of it all. I should've known then," McGrady told her sister. "He comes out, my eggs are everywhere on the ground and we're rushing to the OB-GYN and I'm just like, 'Oh my God. What the h— is going on.'"

After arriving at the clinic and getting an ultrasound, McGrady said her technician, who was "a little bit quiet" in the moment, noted that her baby's heartbeat was around 200 BPM — a high number compared to the usual 140 BPM.

Once getting to see her doctor, McGrady recalled that the doppler ultrasound couldn't register her baby's heartbeat since it was so high.

"My heart is in my stomach. She looks at me and she goes, 'OK. I want you to go to the hospital. Don't stop at home,'" McGrady shared. "Bro. The way I looked at Brian and started crying. I was so scared."

McGrady (right) and husband Brian Keys tied the knot in 2019. They currently share two children, Hudson and Ava, together. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
McGrady (right) and husband Brian Keys tied the knot in 2019. They currently share two children, Hudson and Ava, together. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Upon arriving to the hospital, McGrady began believing she was likely going into labour after being told she had a fever and slight contractions. Medical practitioners also informed McGrady that her and her baby were dehydrated, and the baby's heartbeat was around 170 to 180 BPM.

"So, I'm freaking out. I'm literally already asking them to give me a C-section," she added. "I was just like, 'I don't care about me. I want her out and safe.'"

After being asked to hold off on proceeding with a C-section, McGrady said she was contracting four minutes apart, but her cervix had only dilated to two centimetres, which it had been at for the past three-and-a-half weeks.

Health care professionals then told the model they wanted to monitor her for 24 hours before possibly inducing her. Following several tests, she decided to send her husband home to relieve their nanny and get a good night's sleep with their son.

"No less than 45 minutes after sending Brian home, they come in and they go, 'The doctor wants to induce you. We're going to give you Cytotec right now and start the induction process,'" McGrady said. "I was like, 'Are you f—ing kidding me, I just sent my husband home and we sent the nanny home.'"

She called her husband informing him to return and immediately started the induction process. After taking the pill and going to the bathroom, McGrady said she lost her mucus plug, meaning her cervix had softened and she essentially began the natural labour process.

Medical practitioners then told McGrady they were going to take her to go into delivery. Once her husband returned to the hospital, McGrady was give Pitocin to help start the labour process. Her contractions then went to two minutes apart, she was given an epidural and she was ready to give birth.

"The way that wasn't the plan. The way God said, 'Yeah, right,'" McGrady quipped, adding that it had been eight hours into labour and she was still only two centimetres dilated.

After asking for numerous second opinions, contractions began picking up and McGrady said her entire body began shaking. Her epidural didn't have fentanyl since she believed she was allergic following her first pregnancy, and she noted that she "never felt this kind of pain" in her entire life.

Michaela McGrady (right) and Hunter McGrady co-host the
Michaela McGrady (right) and Hunter McGrady co-host the "Model Citizen" podcast. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

"I'm in so much pain and they check and I'm starting to dilate more and more," she said, adding that over roughly five hours, her cervix went from two centimetres to five or six centimetres in dilation. "The pain that I felt and the sounds coming out of my mouth were so bad. Every single time I told the nurse, 'I'm in so much pain, I'm shaking, my teeth are chattering,' they're like, 'Press the button to get more from your epidural.'

"I was like, 'This isn't working!' Finally, when I was about six, seven centimetres dilated, I start throwing up because the pain is so bad. I'm screaming so loud in this room. Brian is scared for is f—ing life. ... I am in severe pain."

McGrady's husband then went to get anesthesia to help, and once she was checked, they discovered her epidural had been dislodged. That meant that every time McGrady pressed the button to get a relief from the pain, all of the medication had been running down her back rather into her body.

She recalled that giving birth to her first child, Hudson, was nowhere near as intense and painful as giving birth this second time.

"If my epidural was good the entire time, I think this would've all been so different," she said. "But the pain was so severe and I don't know how women do this naturally [like] with water births. ... It was insane."

After finally getting her epidural, McGrady recalled being "numbed so hard I s— myself," adding that she couldn't feel "more disgusting in my life" and was "mortified."

Thirty hours in, McGrady said she was "finally" dilated to nine centimetres at around 11 p.m. on March 9. She was then left shocked after being told her doctor was at home and had to be called in to the hospital.

Once her doctor arrived fully dressed in garb like a "superhero," McGrady said she started pushing and "fell asleep" during pushes, something her doctor said she had never seen before.

"Finally, after the last push ... she flies out. Literally, my doctor goes, 'No, no, no, not that hard! Stop!' [and] literally catches my sweet baby girl," McGrady said. "By the grace of God, my OB-GYN caught her. The most f—ing dramatic entrance.

"I felt so much relief getting her out. ... When I held her, I just started sobbing. I was like, 'Oh my God, this was so traumatic.'

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