Updated: June 11, 2021 10:47 PM
Created: June 11, 2021 10:30 PM
An unforgettable bond was formed between two softball coaches in southwestern Minnesota this week. Wabasso softball head coach Tiffany Eichten went into labor on Tuesday, giving birth to her daughter within minutes of a game's end with the help of assistant coach Andrea Ellanson.
Eichten recruited Ellanson as assistant coach seven years ago and they’ve become friends over the years. When she woke up on Tuesday morning, Eichten told Ellanson to be prepared.
“I told her I think everything's good but I’m having contractions kind of like when I was pregnant with Elway but nothing concerning,” Eichten said. “It was pretty much the same thing where I was having a few contractions, then we had a game.”
Eichten has three other children, each born at least 10 days after their due date. Her daughter, Elway, arrived after the season was over four years ago, 12 days after her due date.
“I wasn’t too concerned because [this baby] wasn’t at her 10-day mark,” Eichten said.
She coached two games on Tuesday, with her team fighting to make it into the sectional finals. During the fifth inning of the second game, her contractions intensified. Still, Eichten stayed to coach her team.
“It was a close game so that was part of it, I really didn’t want to leave either and stir things up,” she said. “Growing up playing and coaching, you really train your mind to focus.”
Ellanson still noticed a change and learned Eichten’s contractions were five to 10 minutes apart.
“She wasn’t pacing around as much, wasn't kicking and dirt around wasn’t as chattery or clapping her hands as much, something must be up,” said Ellanson. “I grabbed my phone and texted Christopher [Eichten] and I said, as soon as this game is over get the car and Tiffany has to get to the hospital ASAP.”
After the game was over, Eichten stayed to talk to her team and congratulate them on their season despite the loss.
“I’m thinking to myself these guys need to hurry up,” Christopher said. “We have to get going.”
Tiffany Eichten added, “I still wasn’t too concerned about it yet, until my water broke after the game. That is when I really went into panic mode since my kids, once my water breaks, tends to really go rapid.”
Ellanson, who is a nurse, jumped into the back of the family’s SUV with Tiffany.
“I thought, 'I’ll go along just in case,'” Ellanson said. “I’m kind of thinking, 'What do I have in the car here that I need?' [… ] It was such a blur and all happened so fast I didn’t have to time to even think or process this is happening, this baby is coming.”
Christopher, meanwhile, was in the driver’s seat rushing them to the hospital.
“My heartbeat was going really fast, I had a lot of adrenaline but Andrea was so calm the entire time that I really wasn't worried,” Christopher said. “We were weaving in and out of traffic but we didn't quite make it all the way to Marshall.”
Halfway to the hospital, Tiffany told her friend she was ready to have her baby.
“I think with one push baby was out,” Ellanson said. “I didn’t have scissors or a towel or any normal supplies you have at a hospital room. I did have a shoelace to tie the cord off. Baby came out, put her right up on Tiffany’s chest and she started crying right away and she pinked up and was perfect.”
Tiffany credits Ellanson with keeping her calm through the delivery.
Christopher told KSTP, “Andrea was a rockstar. She yelled 'It's a girl' and we got time of birth right away and she said baby looks good, color looks good and she started yelling right away and it was pretty cool.”
They arrived at the hospital safe and healthy, where the staff took over the care of mom and baby.
“It was just kind of so surreal this actually happened and to happen to a friend as well and a coach,” Ellanson said. “Just grabbing her child and bringing it up was kind of this blessing moment.”
Tiffany said she’s glad she stayed through the whole game. Otherwise, Ellanson would’ve taken over as coach and stayed at the field rather than drive to the hospital with them.
“All I know is God has his plans and I really truly think he put her in that moment with us because it was a miracle that she was there and as calm as she was and kept us calm, which really played a role in how healthy everything turned out to be,” Tiffany said.
The Eichtens named their newborn daughter Andie, after Ellanson.
“It was just very moving and had brought tears to my eyes, it still does when I think about [her name],” Ellanson said. “It just makes me happy, knowing that I helped bring her into the world.”
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