Missy Berberabe Umandel was recently on a Cebu Pacific flight from Dubai back to her home in the Philippines when her plane had to make an emergency landing.
Umandel said that mid-flight — about five hours in — a pregnant woman near her started having contractions. The flight attendants called for assistance and, luckily, there were two nurses on board.
The nurses helped successfully deliver the baby. Cebu Pacific, in a statement, said it was a little girl named Haven. The mother has not come forward.
"I can't tell for sure when she started having contractions because the majority of the passengers were asleep at that time — including myself," Umandel told BuzzFeed News. "At about 8:40 a.m. my mother woke me up, telling me that the lady was about to give birth."
After the woman gave birth, the plane made an emergency landing in India. "We arrived in India shortly after that," she said, "and remained there for three hours to deploy the mother, baby, and the baby's grandmother, as well as refuel and sanitize the area of birth, before flying to Philippines."
Umandel wrote about her experience on Facebook, where it was shared over 3,000 times. "Relatives and friends of the mother, who got hold of this viral post, thanked me for sharing it, as they didn't know the entire story just yet, since the mother and baby were left in India," Umandel said.
"This is something you don't get to see everyday. It only happens in movies, and we're lucky to witness this miracle," Umandel wrote in her Facebook post.
Had the most 'NORMAL' flight ever with Cebu Pacific Air. A woman near our seat gave birth to a healthy baby girl, on our flight from Dubai back to PH. We had to do an emergency landing in India to ensure the baby's safety. All flight attendants, pilots, and passengers were very attentive too. Very lucky baby.. since she was born in a Cebu Pac plane, she is awarded 1,000,000 Get Go Points from the airline (STILL pretty much the equivalent of free flights for a lifetime, I mean she could be living in the plane if she wished). Congratulations to the first-time Mom and Grandma! This is something you don't get to see everyday. It only happens in movies, and we're lucky to witness this miracle❤️✈️
*I would like to disclose that this might not be the EXACT story because I am a mere bystander. I am also sharing this story purely because I find it very inspiring, but I never intended it to go viral*
The lady started having contractions mid-flight, about 5 hours in going to the Philippines. She was set to give birth on October, so this came to a surprise, even to her Mother who picked her up from Dubai. For once in my life, I saw flight attendants, who are meant to always maintain their poise and composure, panic ever so slightly. Flight attendants started calling for medical assistance, and luckily, there were two nurses among the passengers. She was already crowning, so she was brought to the more spacious area in front of the plane. We only heard one semi-loud screech, and a few seconds later, there were tinier, cute screeches, and it was when we knew the baby was born. Luckily, she only had to push ONCE. Moments later, the woman got up to go back to her seat, baby in arms (mighty strong, I might say). There were 2 other babies with us in the front row, and one of the passengers had a suitcase full of infant clothes and necessities, which could not have come at a better time. The flight attendants took a shelf from the cabinets and filled it with mineral water, which became a makeshift wash basin to clean the baby in. It was immediately decided that an emergency landing in India was necessary to ensure the baby's health, as it was born 2 months earlier than expected.
We might have misheard the name, but it sounded like the baby would be named "Haven". Flight was delayed once again (what was supposed to be a 9-hour flight became roughly 18 hours), but no complaints.. everyone in that plane was blessed. To the woman, in the hopes she gets to read this: we understand you are resting and giving time to take care of your baby, but we are all hoping for your quick recovery and a lifetime of happiness to your beautiful child! And Mom, this experience made me appreciate you so so so much more than I already do. When my future children ask me what my greatest memory with my mother was, I would tell them of this extraordinary moment we shared.
On a side note, for those curious about the child's citizenship: there is an existing rule of when a child is born mid-air, the baby will hold citizenship of the country the plane lands on next. While this rule still applies in USA, it has been revoked in most countries, including the Philippines. Instead, this particular baby's birthplace is India, but she will still carry a Philippine passport (since Cebu Pacific is a Philippine airline). Her time of birth also follows India Standard time.
Janette Berberabe Mom, this is the highlight of our short leisure trip to Dubai, fo sho 😂
Umandel said she didn't want to take credit for her status because it's really the mother's amazing story that she just happened to witness.
"It was shared hundreds of times — and soon, thousands — by people who also found it inspiring," she said. "I really don't want to take credit for this entire story on my own, since it was the wonder woman who gave birth who should be."
Not only did the little girl's birth make headlines around the world, she also got one heck of a present from Cebu Pacific. She was given a million air mile points by the airline.
Cebu Pacific's president and CEO, Lance Gokongwei, said in a Facebook post, “We are happy that both the mother and daughter are doing well, and would like to commend our flight and cabin crew for handling the situation with utmost professionalism and efficiency."
You can read the airline's full statement about the birth here:
Ryan Broderick is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ryan Broderick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie Kirschen est journaliste chez BuzzFeed News, France, et travaille depuis Paris.
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