On April 28, Lavinia “Lavi” Mounga was aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Honolulu, Hawaii, for a family vacation when the unexpected happened.
She gave birth to a baby boy!
Luckily, Family Medicine physician Dr. Dale Glenn and North Kansas City Hospital NICU nurses Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho were also on the flight to help deliver the baby.
“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,” Dr. Glenn recalled. “This call was not like this and it was fairly urgent.”
Dr. Glenn informed a flight attendant that he was a physician, and she told him that a woman on board was having a baby. The doctor hurried over to Mounga to see what he could do.
When he got there, Bamfield, Beeding, and Ho were already on the scene helping the mom and her newborn.
These nurses were specifically trained to care for premature or sick babies requiring intensive care. Their experience makes them the perfect caretakers for baby Raymond who was born prematurely at just 29 weeks.
For the rest of the flight, the trio worked together with Dr. Glenn to watch over Mounga and her baby.
“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,” said Dr. Glenn.
Planes aren’t equipped to provide care for a premature baby, so the team had to get creative. Dr. Glenn relied on his wilderness medicine training to ensure the duo’s safety.
He and the nurses used shoelaces to tie and cut through the umbilical cord. They used bottles that were microwaved as baby warmers, and they used an Apple watch to monitor the baby’s heart rate.
There were many vital signs they couldn’t track, but they made use of what they had on the plane to keep mom and baby stable. Three hours later, they finally landed in Honolulu.
Mounga and her baby were escorted off first and were brought to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. The ER staff took care of them, and baby Raymond was moved up to the NICU, where he would be staying for about 10 more weeks until he’s ready to travel.
Thankfully, both mom and her infant are doing great.
Apparently, Mounga didn’t know that she was pregnant when she boarded the flight.
While on the plane, she remembers feeling a weird pain that she’s never felt before. Mounga then went to the bathroom and passed out, only to wake up with a little baby in her arms.
“Felt the pressure, and the next moment, I open my eyes, and I look down, and I really don’t know what I saw, but I put my hand down, and I picked it up, and it was a baby,” she recalled.
Two days later, Dr. Glenn and the nurses had the opportunity to visit Mounga and her baby. The group shared an emotional reunion, with Mounga calling them “family” and saying that the nurses were all Raymond’s “aunties.”
Dr. Glenn, who gave his adopted children Hawaiian middle names, offered up a name suggestion—Kaimana. Mounga liked it, and it’s now one of the boy’s middle names.
Mounga has since been discharged, but baby Raymond will stay in the NICU until he’s ready to go home. The new mother said that although unexpected, her experience in Hawaii has been good.
“Everybody’s so nice, and the aloha spirit you feel here is very different from the mainland. It just feels comforting, and everyone’s willing to help and always checking in on us,” she said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Mounga with her extended stay in Hawaii until baby Raymond is ready to leave the hospital and travel safely.
Click on the video below for more on this incredible birth story.
Luckily for Mounga and baby Raymond, these medical professionals were in the right place at the right time.
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