How do you get an upgrade mid-flight? Easy. Go into labour.
A mum from the UK experienced an intense flight from Paris to New York after unexpectedly going into labour and giving birth to a healthy baby boy mid-flight (and in one of those ultra-lux first class plush seats).
When it comes to crazy birth stories, this mid-air delivery soars high above the traditional hospital birth.
35,000 metres above, to be exact.
Call the (mid-air) Midwife!
In December 2017, heavily pregnant Toyin Ogundipe boarded the flight from Paris to New York City with her four-year-old daughter, Amy.
While the pair settled in for a cruisy flight in the main cabin, Toyin began experiencing contractions. They started out about 10 minutes apart but, within an hour, intensified and quickened.
As Toyin laboured in her seat, the plane cruised over the southern coast of Greenland (aka the middle of nowhere), making a speedy emergency landing impossible. The closest emergency landing area would require a two-hour diversion to a US military base in the Azores Islands.
Doctors team up to deliver newborn
Luckily for Toyin, two doctors were seated close to her on the Air France flight – second-year urology resident, Dr Sij Hemal and paediatrician Dr Susan Shepherd (both pictured below with the mid-air mama). After checking on Toyin’s progress, the doctors agreed that this baby wasn’t going to wait for an emergency landing.
They suggested the pilot continue on the pathway to New York and prepared for an in-flight delivery. As the flight attendants tended to Toyin’s daughter, Torin headed to first class for a more comfortable birthing experience. And so a plane full of people didn’t have to watch her push out a baby.
First class birthing experience
Using instruments and supplies from the airplane’s medical kit, Dr Shepherd and Dr Hemal helped Toyin deliver a healthy baby boy, whom she named Jake.
Dr Hemal safely removed the placenta, used a surgical clamp (and a shoestring) to tie off the umbilical cord, and then cut it off with a pair of scissors.
The superstar mum remained cool, calm and in control throughout the whole mid-air labour and delivery.
“I was relaxed because I knew I was in safe hands,” Toyin explains. “They did everything a doctor or midwife would have done if I was in the labour room in the hospital. Even better, if you ask me.”
Upon arrival at JFK, Toyin, Jake and Amy headed to hospital while the two doctors said their goodbyes and continued on their journeys to their respective homes. Air France sent the doctors a bottle of champagne and a travel voucher for their quick-thinking actions.
“So much could have gone wrong, but it didn’t,” said Dr Hemal, who remains in touch with both Toyin and Dr Shepherd. “Being on that particular flight [with] a paediatrician … it’s like it was destiny.”
For more crazy birth stories, have a look at this woman who gave birth in the entrance of Target.