Lavinia Mounga was a passenger on a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Hawaii on April 28. She was traveling on a family vacation when she unexpectedly gave birth to a baby boy. She didn’t know she was pregnant.

Fortunately, a doctor and three neonatal nurses were also on board and helped deliver the premature baby.

Instead of scissors, they used shoelaces to cut and tie 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.

“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. This call was not like this and it was fairly urgent,” said Glenn, a Hawaii-based physician. “We’re all trying to work in a very small, confined space in an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork was great” – he added.

Delta Airways child birth
Hawaii Pacific Health

Once the flight landed in Honolulu, medical response teams transported Lavinia and her baby to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

Lavinia said 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.”