Unfortunately for expectant mothers, babies tend to arrive at the most inopportune moment.
For first-time mom Katherine Oyedoh who was 37 weeks pregnant, that moment happened to be 36,000 feet in the air somewhere between Atlanta and Senegal at 3.20am.
A Delta flight attendant for the last 30 years, Susan Carnes, from Tampa, Florida, had never encountered a mid-air pregnancy, but she knew what was happening as soon as she saw a heavily pregnant Mrs Oyedoh leaning over and moaning on the March 23 flight.
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Speaking to Fox News she said: ‘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.’
Calling out for a medical professional, Dr Patrick Ojukwu, an OB/GYN from Stockbridge, Georgia, immediately volunteered, and Susan was assigned the role of his assistant.
Trying to improvise with what they had at their disposal, Susan took a pair of scissors from her galley gear bag, gloves, paper towels, hot towels and shoe strings donated by a passenger to help cut the umbilical chord.
Passengers offered to help her in whatever way they could, with one monitoring Mrs Oyedoh’s blood pressure, another sterilizing the makeshift medical equipment in vodka and another timing her contractions on his watch.
Susan said of Mrs Oyedoh: ‘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?’
The first-time mother was due on April 13, but she got clearance from her doctor for the March 23 flight.