A Utah woman gave birth to a baby boy midway through a flight to Hawaii last week and was treated by a doctor and three neonatal nurses who happened to be on board.
Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga traveled from Salt Lake City to Honolulu on a Delta flight when she went into labor and delivered her son, Raymond Mounga, at 29 weeks on Wednesday.
Dr. Dale Glenn, a Hawaii Pacific Health Family Medicine physician, and three neonatal intensive care nurses from North Kansas City Hospital, Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho, were on board and helped take care of Lavinia and Raymond.
"We were about halfway through the flight and we heard someone call out for medical help," Bamfield said. "I went to see what was going on and see her there holding a baby in her hands, and it's little."
Without medical equipment for a premature baby on the airplane, the doctor and nurses used a couple of shoelaces to tie and cut through the umbilical cord, made baby warmers out of microwaved bottles, and used an Apple Watch to measure the baby's heart rate. The medical team kept the baby stable for three hours until the plane landed.
"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 [the hospital]," Glenn said.
The delivery was also the subject of a viral TikTok, which racked up more than 11 million views as of Sunday night. The video shared by Julia Hansen shows the announcement of the birth on the flight, with the plane landing three hours later.
Hansen and a friend she was flying with, Siearra Rowlan, told The Washington Post the situation initially caused a commotion, but other passengers were pretty “casual” about it by the end of the flight.
“Everyone just kind of got up, got their carry-on and left,” Hansen said of the scene after Mounga and her son were escorted off first.
Once the flight landed in Honolulu, medical response teams transported Lavinia and Raymond to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. The doctor and nurses later reunited with the new mom and baby on Friday.
"We all just teared up. She called us family and said we're all his aunties, and it was so great to see them," Ho said.
Lavinia said the experience has been "overwhelming," but added that she is "just so lucky that there were three NICU nurses and a doctor on the plane to help me, and help stabilize him and make sure he was ok for the duration of the flight."
She has been discharged from the hospital, but Raymond remains in the NICU.