Lavinia Mounga boarded a Delta flight to Honolulu, hoping for a relaxing family vacation. Hours later, Mounga would land in Hawaii with a newborn baby boy named Raymond in her arms.
The new mother had no idea she was pregnant and gave birth at just 29 weeks, according to the Associated Press.
About halfway through the flight from Salt Lake City on Wednesday, a medical emergency was announced by the flight’s captain and four passengers rushed to Mounga’s aid.
Hawaii Pacific Health family physician Dale Glenn and North Kansas City Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding and Mimi Ho helped Mounga deliver her son and monitored the health of the baby. baby for several hours.
Glenn told USA TODAY that a baby’s first minute of life is vital, and without the intervention of the three nurses, the baby may not have survived. During childbirth, Glenn said, Mounga passed out, possibly from shock.
“Myself and the nurses’ survival mode started; we had to create an intensive care unit within an airline, ”said Glenn. “Plus, we didn’t have just one patient, we had two.”
The impromptu medical team was able to create makeshift medical supplies, in part thanks to Glenn’s training in the wilderness. Glenn said they used multiple laces to cut the baby’s umbilical cord and an Apple Watch was used to monitor the baby’s heart rate. To keep the premature baby warm, water bottles were microwaved and nurses wrapped in plastic.
Glenn said passengers were “surprisingly calm” and donated their own diapers and blankets to help mother and son. Glenn also applauded Mounga’s strength; he said she was standing and walking a few minutes after giving birth.
A Delta spokesperson told USA TODAY that all crews are “well trained” to handle medical scenarios on board.
“Every plane is equipped with medical equipment and crews have access to expert advice during the flight when a problem arises,” Delta spokesperson Anthony Black told USA TODAY.
The four passengers worked to keep Mounga and baby Raymond safe for three hours until the plane landed. Once in Honolulu, the mother and baby were taken to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
In a TikTok video shared by Julia Hansen, passengers can be seen cheering and congratulating Mounga as she exits the plane. The video has garnered over 13 million views.
Hansen and a friend she flew with, Siearra Rowlan, told the Washington Post that the emergency initially caused a stir, but other passengers were “occasional” about it at the end of the flight.
“Everyone got up, took their carry-ons and left,” Hansen said of the scene after Mounga and her son were first escorted.
Glenn, Bamfield, Beeding and Ho reunited with Mounga and her son at the medical center on Friday.
“(Mounga) is an amazing person. She took this flight for a vacation and immediately became a mother. But she’s handling it so positively, it’s great to see, ”said Glenn.
Mounga has since been released, while her son, Raymond, has remained in the neonatal unit.