Lavinia Mounga was flying from Salt Lake City to Honolulu when her son Raymond arrived into the world amidst the clouds at 29 weeks.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 5, 2021. It has since been updated.
A woman who was not aware that she was pregnant ended up giving birth mid-air during a flight, but she had a safe delivery, thanks to a doctor and three nurses who were luckily on the same flight as the woman. Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga was flying from Salt Lake City to Honolulu on Wednesday via Delta Airlines when her son Raymond arrived into the world amidst the clouds at 29 weeks. A GoFundMe set up by Mounga's sisters to help pay Raymond's medical bill said, "Our sister did not know she was pregnant so she was just as shocked as the rest of us when our nephew was born!"
It definitely seemed like luck was on Mounga's side as Dr. Dale Glenn, a family medicine physician with Hawaii Pacific Health, and NICU nurses Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho were present to assist with her delivery, reports PEOPLE. “About halfway through the flight, there was an emergency call, and I've experienced this before and usually they're pretty clear asking if there is a doctor on board,” recalls Dr. Glenn, per a news release by Hawaii Pacific Health.
“This call was not like this and it was fairly urgent. I let the flight attendant know that I’m a physician and she said we have a woman having a baby, so I hurried over to see what I could do," he added. When he got there, Bamfield, Beeding, and Ho were already there to help out.
"We were about halfway through the flight and we heard someone call out for medical help. I went to see what was going on and see her there holding a baby in her hands, and it's little," Bamfield said. “I don't know how a patient gets so lucky as to have three neonatal intensive care nurses onboard the same flight when she is in emergency labor, but that was the situation we were in,” added Dr. Glenn. “The great thing about this was the teamwork. Everybody jumped in together and everyone helped out."
As it is, delivering a baby is tricky, but add turbulence to the mix and it could have turned into a disaster just as easy. But, the teamwork between the medicos was just great! “Basically, you need somebody to watch the mom too because we have two patients, not just one. So someone’s got to help cut the cord, someone’s got to help deliver the placenta, we’ve got to check vital signs on mom. Meanwhile, we’re trying to resuscitate the baby, make sure the baby’s breathing, get the baby warmed up."
"That’s a lot of work to do, and we’re all trying to work in a very small, confined space in an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork was great.” Since they didn't have access to proper medical tools, they had to make do with whatever they had around them. Dr. Glenn relied on wilderness medical training, and he, along with the nurses, used shoelaces to tie and cut through the baby's umbilical cord.
For the next three hours until landing, the team made baby warmers out of microwaved bottles and used an Apple Watch to measure the newborn's heart rate to make sure he was stable. "I was literally counting down the time on my watch, between where we are in the flight to when we can get this child to Kapiolani [Medical Center for Women and Children]," Glenn said in the release.
"As soon as we got him on board the ambulance, we headed straight for Kapiolani. And once he arrived there, the emergency room took great care of him, moved him up to the NICU, and baby and mom are both doing great." Two days later, Mounga and her baby got a visit from the group. "We all just teared up," Ho said in the release. "She called us family and said we're all his aunties, and it was so great to see them." While the new mom has been discharged, the baby will remain in the NICU until he's ready to go home.
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Hawaii Pacific Health