Woman Who Was Unaware of Pregnancy Gives Birth on Flight with Help From Nurses, Doctor: 'Lucky'
A woman who did not know she was pregnant gave birth to a baby boy on a Delta Airlines flight that just so happened to be carrying her own personal medical team.
Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga was flying from Salt Lake City to Honolulu on Wednesday when she unexpectedly gave birth to her son Raymond at just 29 weeks, according to a news release from Hawaii Pacific Health.
"Our sister did not know she was pregnant so she was just as shocked as the rest of us when our nephew was born!" the new mom's sisters wrote on a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $6,000.
Luckily for Mounga, there happened to be several passengers on board the flight for whom caring for a mother and her new baby is second nature: Dr. Dale Glenn, a family medicine physician with Hawaii Pacific Health, and NICU nurses Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding and Mimi Ho.
"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. The great thing about this was the teamwork," Mounga said in the release. "Everybody jumped in together and everyone helped out."
Glenn said a "fairly urgent" emergency call came over the loudspeaker about halfway through the flight, and he was clued into what was going on by a flight attendant.
When he got to Mounga, Bamfield, Beeding and Ho — who are specially trained to treat premature births — were already there.
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"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 in the release.
Because the group didn't have the usual tools they do in the hospital, Glenn relied on wilderness medical training, and he and the nurses used shoelaces to tie and cut through the baby's umbilical cord, the release said.
They also made baby warmers out of microwaved bottles, and used an Apple Watch to measure the newborn's heart rate, keeping him stable for the three hours it took to land.
"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."
Mounga, who lives in Orem, Utah and was traveling to Hawaii on vacation with family, received a special visit from the group in the hospital two days later.
"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."
The new mom has since been discharged, though little Raymond will remain in the NICU until he is ready to go home.
The heartwarming story was captured on video by TikTok user Julia Hansen, whose viral clip has been viewed more than 13.4 million times.
In the video, Hansen says, "A baby was just born on this plane." A round of applause then breaks out following an overhead announcement about the birth. At the end of the clip, Mounga is brought out in a wheelchair and people clap as the baby is heard crying.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Post that if a birth occurs somewhere in a "moving conveyance," such as an airplane, the child's place of birth will be listed as the place where they were first removed from the conveyance.