“Out of nowhere”: Orem woman delivers surprise baby on flight to Honolulu

Local News

HONOLULU, HAWAII (ABC4) – A Utah woman and her son are recovering in Kapi’Olani Medical Center after a midair miracle. Last Wednesday, Delta Flight 306 landed in Honolulu with one more passenger than when it took off from Salt Lake City.

39-year-old Lavinia Mounga of Orem was headed to Hawaii for a vacation with 10 family members when she went into surprise labor in the plane’s lavatory.

“I just didn’t know I was pregnant,” Mounga says. “Then this guy just came out of nowhere.”

The tiny baby boy was premature, just 29 weeks along and struggling to breathe. Luckily, an Oahu family physician named Dr. Dale Glenn and three neonatal intensive care unit nurses from North Kansas City Hospital just happened to be on the flight and sprang into action.

“The great thing about this was the teamwork. Everyone jumped in together and everyone helped out,” Dr. Glenn says. “Someone’s got to be there to help cut the cord. Someone’s got to help deliver the placenta. You’ve got to check Mom. You’ve got to check vital signs on Mom. Meanwhile, we’re trying to resuscitate baby, make sure baby’s breathing, get baby warmed up. There’s a lot of work to do….I don’t know how a patient gets so lucky to have three neo-natal intensive care nurses on board the flight when she was in emergency labor.”

The baby’s condition slowly improved, but he didn’t make a sound until the flight landed in Honolulu.

“As we moved Mom, baby woke up and for the first time in three hours, he cried,” Dr. Glenn says. “And we were just cheering at that point. We were so excited.”

A few days later, Dr. Glenn and the three nurses got to visit mom and baby at the hospital.

“As soon as she started tearing up, we did,” nurse Mimi Ho R.N. says. “Like she called us family and the babies aunties. It was really sweet to just be able to see her again.” 

Lots of travelers bring back souvenirs from Hawaii. Lavinia will be bringing home a son.

“Raymond Kaimana Wade Kobe Lavaki Mounga,” she said. “He’s doing really good…Just nice that there were three NICU nurses on the plane and a doctor that were able to help stabilize him and make sure that he was OK…If they weren’t there, I don’t think he would be here.”

Doctors told Lavinia that she’ll have to stay in the hospital about 10 weeks before baby Raymond will be strong enough to fly back to Utah. 

If you’d like to help with medical expenses, the family’s Go Fund Me page can be found here.

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