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Woman gives birth to premature baby mid-flight


NadyaEugene | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/08/21

The mom was blessed by three NICU nurses and a doctor also on board.

Plane journeys can be stressful enough, without delivering a premature baby mid-flight! Yet for one new mom, that’s exactly what happened on a recent trip from Salt Lake City to Honolulu.

Lavinia “Lavi” Mounga suddenly went into labor and delivered her baby, Raymond, in the middle of a Delta flight over the Pacific Ocean. After calling for medical help, there happened to be the perfect team of medical professionals to lend a hand.

Dr. Dale Glenn, a Hawaii Pacific Health Family Medicine physician, and three neonatal intensive care nurses — Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho, who work at North Kansas City Hospital — were on the flight and came to help the mother and child.

“I went to see what was going on and see her there holding a baby in her hands, and it’s little,” explained Bamfield to NBC News. The newborn came into the world at 29 weeks’ gestation, nearly 2 months premature.

The quick-thinking team improvised with whatever they could find on the plane to stabilize the baby for the remaining three hours of the flight. Shoelaces were used to cut and tie the umbilical cord, microwaved bottles became baby warmers, and the tiny Raymond had his heartbeat measured courtesy of an Apple Watch.

When the plane finally landed, the preemie and his mom were taken to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. The on-board nurses and doctor later came to visit the new mom and baby Raymond: “We all just teared up. She called us family and said we’re all his aunties, and it was so great to see them,” shared one of the nurses, Ho.

While the baby understandably remains in the NICU, his mom has been discharged. She reports that the whole experience was “overwhelming,” but she is most grateful that she had the ideal team on board with her and in Raymond’s three hours of need. Giving birth in flight is very rare, so it would seem that perhaps a little divine intervention was involved.

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