July 21, 2010 04:00 PM

Joe Buissink

Tiffani Thiessen hoped to use hypnobirthing to aid in the delivery of her first child, but was open to all options. Good thing, because 5-week-old daughter Harper Renn Smith had her own ideas when it came to her June 15 birth.

“First my water didn’t break; they had to do it for me. Then the baby wasn’t descending, because the cord was wrapped around her neck,” the White Collar star — who ultimately delivered via c-section after 30 hours of labor — tells PEOPLE.

“Once she was finally out, I didn’t even get to hold her before they whisked her away… The whole thing was very surreal.”

For more photos of the Thiessen-Smith family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Charlotte Triggs and Ulrica Wihlborg

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