Photo: @AishaKhatib via Twitter
When parents envision giving birth, many picture a hospital room full of nurses and doctors, or perhaps a home birth with a midwife at their bedside. And that's usually how it goes down. But for some, the experience is completely different than what they imagined.
Dr. Aisha Khatib, who is a professor at the University of Toronto as well as a doctor specializing in travel medicine, was on a Qatar Airways flight earlier this week when she did something she never expected: help deliver a baby in mid-air.
She shared her disbelief and excitement on Twitter on January 13, calling the delivery a “miracle in the air.”
And a miracle it truly is! Births on planes only occur in around 1 in 26 million passengers, according to aviation medical-support firm MedAire. Luckily, Khatib was aboard when the mother went into labour, and with the support of the plane’s flight crew, she delivered a baby girl.
The doctor had a lot going through her mind during the labour—she hadn’t performed a delivery in about a decade and was worried about the mother’s unknown medical history. Thankfully, the delivery went well, and both mother and baby were perfectly healthy.
Khatib got lots of love on social media for her efforts, and was applauded by an array of doctors, including the school of medicine at the University of Toronto, which called the story “the content we all need right now.”
“This is what you call the epitome of travel medicine!” said another Twitter user in reply to Khatib’s incredible story.
But for Khatib, whose academic research has looked at risks of flying during the COVID-19 pandemic, the most meaningful part of the experience was the appreciation she felt from the new mom and the other passengers.
She said that while the delivery was happening, those seated closest to her were ready to help out in any way possible. And when Khatib announced that the baby was a girl, “the entire plane erupted into applause,” she said.
Khatib stayed with the mother and daughter after the delivery, making sure they had skin-to-skin contact and could breastfeed.
After that, the mother gave her some exciting news. “The best part is that she named the baby after me,” Khatib wrote, expressing her joy with a slew of heart and crying emojis.
Take a look at the adorable newborn and the amazing crew who helped her mom welcome her into the world.
Khatib said that both mother and baby are doing well after their eventful first moments together. Cheers again to Khatib for stepping up like a true hero!