HONOLULU - Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga didn’t know she was even pregnant until she was on a plane from Salt Lake City to Honolulu, Hawaii and delivered her first child, a boy, midway through the flight on April 28.
"I just didn’t know I was pregnant," Mounga said in a video interview released from Hawai‘i Pacific Health to FOX Television Stations Monday. "And this guy just came out of nowhere."
Dr. Dale Glenn and his family were seated in the back of the airplane on the same Delta flight when he heard an announcement that a doctor was urgently needed.
Flight attendants told the 52-year-old physician that a woman was giving birth in the bathroom towards the front of the airplane.
Glenn said by the time he got to the bathroom, three NICU nurses: Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding and Mimi Ho, were already helping after Mounga gave birth to a premature baby boy, born at 29 weeks. The nurses were on their way to Hawaii for a vacation.
"The baby had been out before any of us got there," Glenn told FOX Television Stations. "It was a very small baby delivered very quickly."
Glenn said he and the nurses rendered aid after Mounga had passed out and her son wasn’t responding.
"Baby was out. Cord was still attached. We needed to clamp and cut the cord and start resuscitating baby," he said.
For the remainder of the flight, Glenn and the nurses worked to keep the baby warm and alive, using the airplane’s oxygen supply to help him breathe. Mounga also regained consciousness and was reunited with her child.
Another passenger captured the ordeal and posted the video on TikTok.
It’s the ‘baby being born while we’re above the Pacific Ocean’ for me♬ original sound - Julia Hansen
Glenn said the pilots changed flight plans and arrived at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport about 45 minutes ahead of schedule. He said before the mother and son were escorted off the flight, the baby finally cried, giving him and the nurses reassurance he was in good shape.
"It was such a great feeling and I think everyone around just clapped because, for the first time in three hours, we’re hearing this baby cry," he said.
Mounga named her child Raymond Kaimana Mounga. Glenn’s daughter helped give the baby’s middle name which means "power of the ocean" since he was born while overseas, according to Glenn.
Both mother and son are now recovering at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu. Doctors said baby Raymond will remain in the hospital for several more weeks for medical care.
Mounga said she’s grateful that Glenn and the other nurses were on her flight.
"I had no idea they were there," she said. "I don’t think he [Raymond] would be here so I’m very blessed."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Mounga with medical expenses.
Glenn described what happened to Mounga as a "cryptic pregnancy," common among first-time mothers who aren’t aware of the body’s physical changes and symptoms that can occur during a pregnancy.
"Many of these women have irregular bleeding during their pregnancy and they sort of mistake that for irregular periods," he said. "So they assume they can’t be pregnant because they're having intermittent bleeding."
According to News Medical Life Science, one in every 475 women experience cryptic pregnancy undiscovered until the 20th week of the pregnancy.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.