mom kissing newborn baby

Birth Story: “I was so excited to have a Christmas baby.”

Danielle is a mom of two very different little boys, with two very different birth stories. Below is the story of her second son’s birth.

If you’ve ever found out you’re pregnant after a few miscarriages, you’ll know that at first it’s more nerve-wracking than exciting. That’s how the story of my second son starts. I was only four weeks along when I found out that I was pregnant again after having lost two, both around six weeks. My OB-GYN Dr. Claire Mallof suggested that I take progesterone for 13 weeks to support the pregnancy, so I started right away.

After eight weeks, I was hopeful. At 10 weeks, my confidence picked up even more. Once we made it past 13 weeks I was full-on excited, but I knew we weren’t out of the woods yet. I started to think a lot about the delivery. After my first son’s birth only two years before I had a lot of complications, and I was nervous the same things would happen again. I’m so thankful that I opened up to Dr. Mallof about my fears.

She was so non-judgmental and understanding. She addressed my concerns and together we came up with a plan to help lessen my risk of complications. I felt like I had an ally who understood me. I’m not sure what I would have done without her. Before I knew it December had arrived, and I was starting to have Braxton Hicks contractions.

Dreaming of a newborn at Christmas
My due date was December 18 and I was so excited to have a Christmas baby. There was all this build-up and anticipation. But then December 18 came and went, and he stayed put. After a few days, I went to see Dr. Mallof to make sure everything was ok and to talk about whether we should intervene.

During my first pregnancy I had a big belly, but with my second I stayed pretty small. People were always shocked when I told them how far along I was. That, on top of missing my due date, made me worry that maybe something was wrong. Again, Dr. Mallof was so helpful and calming. She made sure that everything was fine and reassured me. I wanted to give him time to come on his own, as long as it was safe. She agreed that it was, so we decided to keep waiting.

Nearly a week later on December 26, I just started to feel like he wasn’t going to come at all. I had gone on so many winter walks to try and move things along. I did all the safe homeopathic things I could think of – eating dates like crazy and doing different yoga poses – but nothing seemed to help. Not to mention there had been a huge ice storm on Christmas. We had all been cooped up for a day or so. I felt restless and wanted to get out of the house, so that night we decided to go see a movie.

Finally going into labor
It took a while to thaw out the car. It seemed like there was nearly an inch of ice on the windshield. By the time we got to the movie theater we were late, so we had to sit in the very top row of seats. If you’ve ever been 40 weeks pregnant, you’ll know that frequent bathroom visits become a necessary a part of life. I must have walked up and down all those steps four or five times. I’m not sure if it was all that exercise or if my little guy was just finally ready, but in the car on the way home my contractions started to get more intense.

At first I told myself it was nothing, still being pretty convinced I was just going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. But they didn’t let up. After only being home for an hour, my water broke. I couldn’t believe it was finally happening.

Suddenly, things started to feel like they were moving along pretty quickly. Living 45 minutes outside of Duluth, I’m so thankful we went to that movie. We were able to just hop back in the car without having to scrape all the ice off and drove to St. Luke’s as fast as we could.

Welcome to the world, Ansel
Once I was in my suite at St. Luke’s Birthing Center, I was so excited to use the labor tub. Water itself is just so calming to me, and it took the weight off my back and hips. I knew I wanted to do non-medicated birth, and it totally provided the relief that I needed. After about 40 minutes, I started to feel like I was ready to push.

swaddled newborn baby

My birthing team helped me out of the tub, and I started wondering if I was going to be able to handle the intensity of the contractions. Michelle Breiland, PA-C, looked at me and told me that he was going to be there in three pushes and that I could do it. Her confidence was just what I needed. I closed my eyes to concentrate and three pushes later, he was there.

newborn being held by family with smiling woman and man
Danielle and her dad holding Ansel

He didn’t cry right away, so I didn’t even know what had happened at first. Michelle had to tell me to me to open my eyes so I could see him. I fell in love right away – he was just so sweet and tiny. This wave of peace came over me as I held him for the first time. I felt like I had been waiting for him for so long, it was so wonderful to finally have him. He felt like a miracle – my little Christmas angel.

This is how Danielle remembers the day Ansel was born. To meet Ansel, watch the video below (he’s little guy at the end). View More Stories »


St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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