A casino in Atlantic City became a temporary maternity ward on Saturday morning when pregnant gambler Nyree Thompson, 32, went into labor while playing the penny slots. At around 9:30am, Thompson’s water broke on the casino floor. She then shortly delivered a healthy baby boy with the assistance of four security guards.
Thompson was only eight months pregnant, and had several weeks to go before her expected due date. When contractions began, she didn’t initially realize what was happening; Thompson told reporters she mistook the first labor pangs for gas, and only realized after a trip to the bathroom that her discomfort was the prelude to giving birth. She immediately informed a casino security guard of the situation, but was met with disbelief when she told him she might be in labor. Thompson reported that although the guard thought that she was joking, his incredulity vanished once her water broke.
When it became clear that a baby was on the way, casino guards Charles Baldwin, Sandi Freeman, Danny Ramirez and Valentine Weiss attempted to make the soon-to-be mother as comfortable as possible in the casino setting. However, according to Thompson, the assistance of the guards wasn’t all of equal value.
“A guard came over and said, ‘Don’t push,” a statement to which Thompson says she responded, “‘Forget you, this baby is coming right now.'”
After just ten minutes of labor, Thompson gave birth to a baby boy. One of the guards wrapped the child in a coat to keep him warm until the paramedics arrived ten minutes later.
Steve Callender, the vice president of operations at Resorts Atlantic City, where the event took place, said that to his knowledge, this was the first casino floor birth in the establishment’s history. He told an Atlantic City reporter that “We’ve had people die here, but we’ve never had people born here.” Callender has been on staff since the casino opened in 1978.
The Resorts Atlantic City website claims the establishment was the first casino to open in Atlantic City, now a gambling haven. Resorts boasts a 24 hour casino that is open 7 days a week; it’s unconfirmed how many hours Thompson had been gambling at Resorts before she went into labor. The casino is located directly on the densely populated Atlantic City boardwalk.
Although his delivery was premature, the baby boy is doing well. Both mother and child received post-birth care at nearby AltlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus in Atlantic City. Thompson has named the child “Qualeem.” Qualeem currently weighs in at just under five pounds.