Saturday work menu gets complicated for owner and bartender
(May 10, 2019) Barry Reichart’s Saturday afternoon work menu at his Bourbon Street restaurant had something neither he nor his bartender anticipated: he had to help deliver her baby.
Even though most mothers know they are pregnant before they give birth, that was not the case for the bartender at the 116th Street establishment last Saturday, as she unexpectedly went into labor during the lunch shift.
The mother, who asked to remain anonymous because some of her family members have yet to be informed about the new addition, knew something was amiss when the pains began and she called for help.
“It was 1 p.m. on Saturday before all the other workers got there so it was a small lunch crowd,” Reichart said. “She’s yelling in pain and I didn’t really know what to do because I didn’t know she was pregnant. She said, ‘You’ve got to help me.’ I’m on the line cooking lunch, and I come out and she’s holding her back and her legs, saying, ‘I have bad cramps.’
“I start moving a table to get a booth cleared out so I can get her to the booth and I ask, ‘What can I do for you, can I get you over here?’ and she says, ‘I think I’m having a baby,’” he continued. “I’m like, ‘What?’ I froze for about what seemed like an eternity, but was probably 10 seconds.”
Reichart called 911, and was given instructions by the paramedics over the phone on what to do to help his employee.
“By the time I got her on the floor, the head was already starting to pop out,” Reichart said. “[The paramedics] walked me through the whole thing and they were amazing, because I had no idea what to do, even though I’ve seen my two girls born. It’s a whole lot different when you’re the one doing all the work.”
The mother gave birth to a full-term, six-pound, seven ounces, 18 inches long baby boy after 1 p.m. with Reichart’s help. The entire process, according to Reichart, took less than five minutes, though to him it “felt like five hours.”
“When the baby finally came out, it wasn’t breathing,” Reichart said. “They told me how to clear his airways … then they told me how to clean him up. I had no more than gotten him cleaned up and the paramedics came through the door. I assumed I would be getting her comfortable until they came; I had no idea this was all going to happen before they could get there, and they got there within five minutes or less.”
The greatest shock of all for everyone involved was how the mother could not be aware she was pregnant.
“I had gone in, it was a normal day at work ... set up, everything was fine,” the mother said. “There were only two guests sitting at the bar. I felt a trickle down my leg and I wasn’t sure what it was and then two seconds later, I just crouched down and had extreme pain. I was able to stand up enough to get over to tell Barry something wasn’t right and minutes later, little man was there.”
The mother apparently experienced a “cryptic pregnancy,” which affects one in every 475 pregnancies, according to Healthline.com. In the United States, most people discover that they’re pregnant within 5 to 12 weeks after conception.
With a cryptic pregnancy, however, nothing sets off the chain of events that leads to discovering pregnancy. Low levels of pregnancy hormones, called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, can mean pregnancy symptoms are very mild or close to impossible to notice. A pregnancy test may come back negative even after missing a menstrual cycle. Mothers may dismiss early pregnancy nausea as stomach flu or indigestion.
This lack of symptoms occurred for the mother, already a parent of a three-year-old girl, who is delighted with her new baby brother.
“She’s excited to bring him home,” the mother said.
The baby, named Christopher, and the mother were taken to the hospital and both were pronounced healthy. Both were released from the hospital Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, Reichart had to close the restaurant for a few hours to thoroughly clean afterwards.
“We scrubbed everything down and disinfected,” Reichart said. “Some of the EMTs helped me clean up as well, which was nice. We did another thorough cleaning after that.”
Given the unexpected delivery, however, the mother was left unprepared, and is in need of diapers, clothes, bottles and other baby supplies, which Reichart is planning to collect for her.
Bourbon Street on the Beach will accept donations of baby diapers, formula, clothes, blankets, bottles, stuffed animals and shampoos dropped off on site for the mother and her newborn child.
Reichart, who has received a bit of praise from his patrons once they heard about the event, was left humbled.
“Everyone says, ‘You did a great job,’ and I’m like, ‘I didn’t have a choice,’” he said. “[The paramedics] were the real heroes.”
Reichart also has received a bit of ribbing from his patrons: “Customers are teasing me to put out on the sign, ‘Bourbon Street Delivers.’”