It’s a birthday this family won’t soon forget.
An expectant mom and her husband went through quite the ordeal earlier this month, when they unexpectedly welcomed their baby while on board a commercial flight.
Liliana Castañeda Avilia’s water broke and she went into labour mid-flight while on her way home from Mexico to North Carolina on Nov. 14.
Avilia told NBC her due date wasn’t until Dec. 3, and the beginning of labour caught her completely off-guard.
With the help of a nurse who was also on board, the new mom laboured for more than three hours.
“(The nurse) was like, ‘Yeah, the baby girl is coming, it’s on its way.’ And he was like, ‘Don’t try to push, because if you push more the baby will come out.’ So I held those contractions for like three hours and 30 minutes on the way here,” Castañeda said in a video posted to Facebook Wednesday by the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.
Crews aboard the Delta flight were able to call 911 in Atlanta, where the plane was touching down for a layover, and first responders were waiting at the gate when it arrived.
“The airplane was coming in exceedingly fast, faster than normal, so we knew there was an emergency, we knew people were nervous,” said Juanetta Nash, one of the firefighters who greeted the plane.
“We knew what we were doing, we wanted to make her feel as comfortable as possible, just putting ourself in her shoes, we knew that she was already very uncomfortable.”
“As we got onto the plane, we started to realize this is real,” Marlo Blas, with Atlanta Fire Rescue’s aviation EMS team, told WSB-TV.
The firefighters found Avilia on the floor at the back of the plane. After a quick assessment, they decided to deliver the baby on the spot.
“They were like, ‘OK, are you ready to push?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m ready to push.’ So I just pushed once and the baby girl came out crying,” Avilia said.
Baby Analia Acevedo Castañeda, weighing five pounds and four ounces, was in hospital for a few days, but is doing just fine, her parents said.
It was a happy moment for all involved, including the passengers, who let out claps and cheers when the little girl was born.
“Us as firefighters, we don’t deal with many happy moments. We deal with a lot of chaos and things like that, so being able to experience a moment with some happiness was gratifying,” said Blas.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.