Mom Gives Birth on an Airplane -- With 2 Quick Pushes

airplaneHow many pushes did it take to bring your babies out into the world? I was pushing for an hour in a state of delirium, so it never even occurred to me to count the number of pushes. I would wager it was somewhere in the range of Oh My God and Too Many. Which is why I can hardly believe those super-short labor stories, like this one about the teen who delivered a baby with just two pushes. On an airplane.

Seventeen-year-old Fatawmatt Kaba was about 38,000 feet in the air on a flight between South Africa and New York when she went into labor. Lucky for her, there were two doctors on board at the time. That baby was not waiting for anything.


The pilot was still trying to decide whether to divert the plane and try to land. But Fatawmatt "made the decision for us!” said pediatric anesthesiologist Julie Williamson. “She delivered him in two pushes.” Well good for her! Really, if you're going to up and birth a baby on an airplane, better make it snappy.

That's why, despite my delivery envy, I can't begrudge Fatawmatt her two-push labor. Napping on an airplane is uncomfortable enough as it is. I can't imagine how hellish it must feel to have a baby on a plane. No birthing balls, no tub, no big, juicy epidural. Hardly any legroom. Did they let her walk around at least? Was she laid out in the aisle? Were people kind about it, or were there passengers who said, "Ech, stewardess, I'm trying to read my book and this woman is having a baby next to me. Make her stop." Most importantly, what did they do with the afterbirth?!?

Only someone who has been at a delivery scene would think to ask that question.

Well, we'll never know that part of the story. But we do know that Fatawmatt and her baby, Mamel Joella, are safe and well in New York. Fatawmatt joined her husband, a Gambian diplomat, and her in-laws. And little Mamel has one hell of a birth story.

What would you do if you went into labor on an airplane?


Image via xlibber/Flickr

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