What they DON’T Show you on the Discovery Channel

I was intrigued with this story late last night, when the captain was a guest on Jay Leno.

Child born on shrimp boat in open water

FREEPORT – The shrimp boat Raindear was miles from shore, out of radio range and at her top speed of 9 mph. The captain knew they would never make it to Freeport in time.

The baby wasn’t due until mid-September, and the crew was sure they would finish the first leg of the season’s shrimp fishing before she gave birth. But Cindy Preisel, the ship’s cook, was in labor, and at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the ship’s galley was the delivery room.

Equipped with a first aid handbook and a new roll of paper towels – the most sterile swaddling he could find – the ship’s captain, Ed Keisel, was prepared to deliver the baby.

“We’re crowning, we’re crowning,” Keisel recalled saying before he felt something out of place – the baby was coming out feet first.

“I’m no doctor, but even I knew that’s not supposed to happen,” Keisel said.

Brian Mawhorr, the father and part of the Raindear’s crew, could only trust his captain.

With no way to perform a Cesarean section, Keisel said he had to improvise.

“I reached with my fingers and as gently as I could and popped out his left shoulder and then his right,” he said. “But then the little guy was stuck by his head, being strangled. So I did the only thing I could – I waited for a contraction and then slid my fingers in around the top of his head and scooped him out.”

Preisel and Mawhorr could only look on in horror as Keisel realized the newborn in his hands wasn’t breathing.

“I started giving mouth-to-mouth, 3 short puffs, and then thumping and rubbing its back,” he said.

The baby began to take short breaths, and after 20 to 25 minutes of CPR, Keisel said he got a mouthful of amniotic fluid. The newborn gulped in air, his light blue lips got their rosy color, and the galley was filled with the sound of crying, he said.

Preisel said she held her baby and named him Brian Edward Mawhorr, after his father and the man who delivered him, she said.

Keisel weighed the newborn with the scale they use for weighing their catch, after a vigorous cleaning, and told Preisel, “You’ve got a healthy 7 1⁄2-pounder.”

Keisel plotted Brian’s birthplace – 29.6 miles offshore – into his ship’s GPS computer after docking the ship at Western Seafood Co. in Freeport. Friends waited at the dock with bottles and baby clothes.

Keisel thought he had seen everything after running shrimp boats since he was a teen. But when the Raindear set out from Fort Myers, Fla., for Freeport on July 15, he said he never would have guessed he would get an extra hand along the way.

“We set out with a crew of three, and we came back with a crew of four,” he said. “We’re not getting too much new blood in the shrimp industry, so I guess we have to manufacture our own.”


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