Burnt Eggs with a Side of Baby
That day will probably remain in my memory for as long as my brain continues to function. In last issue’s column I explained that my job requires many different hats. This time, instead of wearing my marriage counselor hat, I had to wear my medic and crisis prevention hat. Unfortunately, aside from being CPR- and Heimlich-trained, my medical knowledge is woefully scant.
One thing you can count on always at the Rehoboth Guest House is a really nice and delicious breakfast. I love to cook, have been in the food industry most of my life, and I take deep pride in people’s experience with us. In the summer of 2015, around 6:00 a.m., I was cooking and preparing for our extensive breakfast buffet, just as I did (and still do) almost every day. I was cooking for 30 people and had about three dozen scrambled eggs in a large pot on the stove when I thought I heard someone scream.
I ignored it, but then I heard it again. This time it was followed by what sounded like an argument. I couldn’t have people fighting with dozens of other people in the house still sleeping. So, I went to see what was going on.
When I got up to the second floor, it became obvious that something had happened in room 22. The door was open, towels were strewn about everywhere, and a trail of clothing lead to the large full bath at the end of the hallway. I could see the door shut and could hear all kinds of commotion going on behind it. Things like this simply don’t happen here with us. So, I had to intervene.
I knocked on the door and asked if everything was okay. The door opened and the young man staying in room 22 with his wife came out looking very disturbed. He explained to me that his wife believed she was going into labor, and that he didn’t know what to do.
Apparently, the day before she also thought she was going into labor. Instead of the beach, they spent the entire day at the hospital. The hospital sent them back with the news that she was mistaken. They explained to her that new feelings in her body could sometimes be misleading to first-time moms. After all, the baby wasn’t due for another nine weeks. “Hubs” didn’t want to go through this all over again and was trying to convince his wife they didn’t need to miss another day at the beach.
At just about the same moment he finished explaining the situation to me, the wife announced that her water had just broken. He opened the door, and she clearly was standing in a puddle. Thankfully, she decided to get in the bathtub. I had no more questions, and immediately called 911.
The fire/police/ambulance stations are just about one block away from our property and they arrived very quickly. The paramedics first attempted to calm her. They explained to her that if her water just broke there was still plenty of time to get her safely to the hospital.
To everyone’s shock, she refused to get out of the bathtub. She became very upset that no one—most especially her husband—was handling the situation the way she felt they should. The paramedics and police did a lot negotiating and they brought the stretcher into the bathroom so they could get her to the hospital.
Well, when she saw they were planning to put her on that stretcher, she’d finally had enough. In a very loud voice she yelled, “I said, it’s coming out!”
The paramedic took another look, and I could see the color drain from his face. She was right, and they were going to be delivering this baby themselves, right now, in the bathtub.
The husband asked me to confirm he had heard correctly. I told him, “It seems you are about to become a father.” He promptly fainted and now was lying in the hallway unconscious. So I tended to him, the paramedics and the police being fully occupied with her.
As if it weren’t risky enough being nine weeks early, they soon found that the cord was tangled around the baby’s neck. The paramedics did an incredible job and successfully assisted her with the delivery, but the dangers for mom and baby were not over.
With a helicopter organized to meet them, the paramedics got mom and baby in an ambulance for transport to the pick-up location. The husband was coming around, but not before his wife—and baby—had left. The entire adventure, from start to finish, took less than an hour.
I looked around at the gigantic mess in the bathroom and felt thankful it all happened in there. Then I took in the scattered room, and hall, and a young man who needed to figure out what the hell just happened.
Then, a very strong smell hit me—smoke! I somehow had forgotten about my eggs on the stove. Nothing was left but a huge block of charcoal in the pan. That day, breakfast was very late, but everybody in the house was very cool about it. Later, we got a call from the husband. The couple had decided to name their daughter Mary, since she was (unexpectedly!) born on Maryland Avenue.
I was very glad everything ended up okay. I reminded them of our house rule: You are welcome to make the kids here, but you can’t bring them back till they are 18! ▼
Tom Kelch is the innkeeper and property manager of the Rehoboth Guest House. He is thrilled to share these stories with Letters’ readers.