Sawyer Nathaniel Shawn Anderson, or the “Islamorada Beer Baby,” was born on the steps of Islamorada Beer Company at 11 p.m. on July 24. Aaron Reed, an off-duty bartender at the Islamorada Beer Company, had stopped by the brewery to socialize with coworkers, when he noticed a car pull in with emergency lights blinking.
Reed poked his head outside to see what was going on. That’s when he heard mom Jessica Bogle, who was crouched in front of mom Bonnie Barry on the cement in front of IBC, yell out “We’ve got a head!”
Reed looked over at dad Stephen Anderson, who calmly told Reed, “We’re having a baby.”
Reed describes the entire experience as one of the wildest scenes he’s ever witnessed. “I’d never seen a live birth before. We saw the baby being handed to the mother. Literally, you’re seeing a baby seconds and minutes old,” he said.
Barry, the mother of Sawyer, and Bogle and Anderson — a unique blended family — had been en route from their home in Duck Key to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with their three other kids in tow. Then Barry’s water broke in their minivan. Bogle, who is also pregnant and due in October, checked Barry and saw that the baby was already crowning.
Barry thought there would be time. “My first was a 17-hour labor, so when contractions started, I thought we’d at least make it to Mariners, but no,” she said, smiling.
Bogle interjected in the re-telling, “He was crowning in the car. We weren’t making it to Mariners!”
Barry laughed, “Yeah, Sawyer had other plans.”
Bogle said she pulled over at the first set of lights she saw, which were in front of IBC, and told Barry, “Sit down before he falls out!” Bogle and Anderson laid towels on the stoop, and two pushes later, Sawyer was born. Bogle says, “Sawyer came out perfect and I put him on her chest. I have no medical training. I don’t know how I did it, but it was amazing!”
The entire experience took only 8 minutes. The other kids, Caylee and Jaelyn, 10, and Brycen, 5, were still seatbelted in the minivan. “We didn’t even tell the kids what was going on,” says Anderson, “It was just go time.”
Sawyer’s unexpected birth played a role in his name. “We were deciding between Sawyer and Nathaniel,” said Barry, “but when he decided to come here, I thought, ‘Okay, Sawyer, like Tom Sawyer — an adventurer. He started his adventure. He proved his name.’”
A few weeks after the birth, the family stopped by the IBC to introduce Sawyer to the staff, inadvertent witnesses to the birth.
Bogle thinks the baby’s birth warrants a new brew: “They should make a special brew for him — ‘Doorstep Sawyer’ or ‘Special Delivery,’” she said, smiling. “This is one of those feel good stories you hear on TV. I never expected it to be us. But that’s okay; I wouldn’t change it.”
Anderson, looking at Bogle who is also pregnant, dead-panned, “Yes, but let’s not do it again.”