A 41-year-old Nigerian banker identified as Toyin Ogundipe, aboard an Air France flight, was delivered of a baby boy mid-air about 35,000 feet above sea level and four hours away from the destination.
The mother of two who resides in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria had gone into labour a week earlier than her delivery date.
The baby was delivered after a 30-minute labour on December, 17, 2017, Dailymail states.
Dr. Sij Hemal, 27, a second-year urology resident at Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, who was also a passenger in the plane, helped Ogundipe deliver her baby half-way through an eight-hour flight from Paris to New York.
An emergency landing would require a two-hour diversion to a U.S. military base in the Azores Islands, so Dr. Hemal – who volunteered to assist Toyin recommended to the pilot that they continue to JFK International Airport, still four hours away.
Dr. Hemal, who spoke to Dailymail, said he was just glad everything went smoothly — and was relieved it all happened before he’d had any champagne.
READ ALSO: 7 Typical Signs Your Labour is Near
“We’re trained to stay calm and think clearly in emergency situations. I just tried to think ahead to what might go wrong and come up with a creative solution.
“Her contractions were about 10 minutes apart, so a pediatrician (Dr. Stefanie Ortolan, of Senlis, France) and I began to monitor her vital signs and keep her comfortable,” explains Dr. Hemal.
”They also suggested Toyin be moved to the roomier first-class section, which had very few passengers. While the flight’s air hostesses tended to Toyin’s traveling companion, her 4-year-old daughter, Amy, the doctors helped her mom deliver her baby boy.”
Toyin recalls being rather composed throughout the delivery, thanks to the calm manner of the two doctors and the professional treatment they provided.
“I was relaxed because I knew I was in safe hands. They did everything a doctor or midwife would have done if I was in the labor room in the hospital. Even better, if you ask me.”
After about 30 minutes of pushing, Toyin gave birth to a boy, whom she named Jake. Upon arrival at JFK, Toyin, Jake and Amy were whisked away by ambulance to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Toyin was released later that day, and is recovering – with her children – at the home of friends in New Jersey.
Because baby Jake was born in US airspace, he now has an American passport.
Photo credit: Cleveland Clinic