A scared first-time mom gave birth on a Delta flight from an undisclosed location in Africa to Atlanta at 3am, 36,000 feet above ground.
Three hours into the flight, Katherine Oyedoh started screaming from row 37. 29-year veteran flight attendant Susan Carnes headed to the passenger to see what was wrong. Carnes told MyFoxTampaBay.com, "I saw her and just the way she was leaned over and moaning, I just knew..I said, do you feel like your water has broken and she said 'Yes,' and that's when I knew, okay we're having a baby."
Carnes jumped into action, asking if there was a doctor on board (a Georgia OBGYN was). Oyedoh was due April 13th and had gotten clearance to take the flight from her doctor. Of the mom, Carnes told MyFox, "She was very strong. She was very scared at first. She was traveling alone, and she was in a public place, having a baby. On an airplane, how crazy is that?"
Carnes called the cockpit, alerting them to the situation (the flight later diverted to Dakar), and started collecting supplies, including gloves, paper towels and hot towels from business class.
Passengers started looking for something to tie off the umbilical cord; a passenger across the aisle from the mom offered his shoelaces. Another passenger timed contractions on his watch and two other passengers with medical training watched Oyedoh's blood pressure.
The doctor on board dipped the passenger's shoe laces and scissors from Carnes' bag in vodka in a styrofoam Delta cup to sterilize them, according to Tampa Bay Online.
Of the birth, Carnes said, "The doctors said, 'here comes the baby.' Baby comes out and the doctor hands him to me. Or he says tie it. So I got the shoestring and tied it and tied it again and got the scissors. And snip, snip, snip, three little snips is all it took, and he handed me the baby. And I was like OH MY GOD."
The new passenger, Ebosalume, was placed on Oyedoh's chest. Flight attendants created a bassinet out of newspapers and paper towels.
"I took the baby to hand it over and I lifted him across the seats. And as I did, I noticed everyone was looking at me, and I just raised it up and said, 'it's a boy!' And the whole airplane broke out into applause and laughter," Carnes said. "It was a 'Lion King' moment," she added to Tampa Bay Online.
The flight was diverted and was on the ground 15 minutes later. The new mom and baby were transported to a hospital there, where they stayed over the weekend.
Carnes spoke with the new father in California, Greg Idoni, who has yet to meet his baby--mother and son are due back to the U.S. on Thursday.
Idoni told Tampa Bay Online, "They should be leaving Wednesday and should be in California by Thursday. I am very excited."
Of the family, Carnes told Tampa Bay Online that she may fly to Senegal to accompany the new mom back to the States, adding "I feel like I'm part of this family."
In January, a 23-year-old woman gave birth mid-flight with the help of four flight attendants. In September 2011, a French woman gave birth on an Alitalia flight as passengers cheered her on.