Danielle Brooks opens up about her unexpected labor and delivery challenges on Thursday's episode of Katie Lowes' Katie's Crib podcast

By Jen Juneau
November 12, 2020 10:36 AM
Advertisement
Danielle Brooks
| Credit: Matt Doyle

Aside from morning sickness in the first trimester and some tiredness throughout, Danielle Brooks had a healthy pregnancy that she "enjoyed" — but her labor and delivery experience was nothing like how she'd imagined.

On Thursday's episode of Katie LowesKatie's Crib podcast, the former Orange Is the New Black star recalls giving birth to her daughter Freeya Carel, who turns 1 this month, admitting she "wanted to go natural" with "no epidural, no nothing" in terms of her delivery but had to switch gears when "the Lord was like, 'Nope!' "

"I ended up having to have an emergency [caesarean] section because Freeya had meconium in her system, which meconium is basically when the baby poops inside their amniotic sac," said Brooks, 31. "So she was in distress and, therefore, we both could be in distress, and so we just had to make it happen."

"It was [scary]. It was an episode of ER, for sure," she added.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Danielle Brooks and daughter Freeya
| Credit: Danielle Brooks/Instagram

Brooks' delivery experience "started out really smooth," despite the fact that her cervix had only dilated 2 centimeters over a span of nine hours of labor. But before she knew it, the actress was surrounded by "10 people" in a "very tiny room," who were putting an oxygen mask on her and hooking her up to an IV but telling her to stay calm while they were throwing around the term, "flatlining."

"I immediately started just praying and singing a gospel song," she said, laughing, and also praised her doula for "advocat(ing) for me." She then told her medical team that she wanted to have open communication going forward, as it would help her nerves during the procedure.

Brooks was also worried she might have preeclampsia even though she had "no signs of it," as her doctor kept dropping the term into their conversations.

"She kept saying that I might need to get induced — I didn't want to get induced. And she kept saying the good reasons why it's okay to get a c-section and I was like, 'I don't want it!' " the actress said.

RELATED VIDEO: Serena Williams Recalls Being "Devastated" by Emergency C-Section and Postpartum Problems

Over the next hour, Brooks came around to the idea of the c-section after talking to her doula, who helped bring her some calm, along with her fiancé, Dennis Gelin. And her doctor "coached" her along, keeping her updated "every step" of the way until Freeya's arrival.

Brooks welcomed her daughter on Nov. 16, 2019. She announced the happy news two days later, sharing a sweet black-and-white photo of her baby girl resting on her chest and sharing her birthdate.

The Master of None actress introduced Freeya for the first time at her 10-week milestone, sharing an adorable photo of her first child posing with blocks that spelled out her age.

"Our heartbeat. Introducing Baby Freeya," Brooks captioned it.