As narrated by Capt Sanjay Mishra
Surreal experience narrated by Capt Sanjay Mishra ex IAF Captain of Indigo flight Delhi to Bengaluru. Surreal to witness a miracle in the air yesterday. Went through full range of emotions as the situation kept unfolding rapidly.
It started with the lead informing me that the lady on seat 1C, is an expectant mother feeling a little restless and that she had not eaten anything since morning. She was comforted and was given fluids and something to eat. A while later her anxiety and restlessness increased. She also started complaining if stomach pain. As the situation was developing, I asked the lead to page for a doctor.
By sheer providence and divine destiny of this would be new born, there were two very accomplished doctors on board. One of them Dr Nagaraj, is a plastic surgeon who works in King Fahd hospital in Riyadh and the other Dr Shailaja a Gynaecologist and an Obstetrics surgeon, heading the fetal medicine department in Cloud Nine hospital.
We were near Jaipur, cruising at FL 390 (that is 39000 ft). She was initially diagnosed with Gastric pain or just Constipation and the doctors felt that she would be fine. However her discomfort and restlessness kept getting worse. Both doctors were in constant attendance. I spoke to the lady doctor who assured me that she is watching her carefully.
A little later, North of Bhopal, came to know that she has started bleeding followed by the shattering news that she was suffering an abortion. Forward galley and the Lav were swiftly and efficiently converted into a makeshift ward/ labour room taking all precautions by an excellent team of cabin crew who rose to the requirements of the occasion.
They were very brilliantly supported by several Captains and Crew travelling ACM and Dead Head. I was waiting for one final update from the doctors to decide on my next course of action.
As I was mulling over this disheartening piece of news, heard and noticed sudden increase in the activity levels in the cabin…screaming.. shouting.. clapping and a faint cry of what sounded like a new born. It was a baby boy!!
From a feeling of deep sadness..it turned to a feeling of intense joy…never witnessed fortunes turning so swiftly and so miraculously!! Don’t think there was a single soul on board who didn’t have goose bumps on him or her at this moment. So the youngster was born on Cloud Nine with the help of a doctor from Cloud Nine!!
The baby was premature and there was not much clarity on how many months pregnant she was, could have been anything. She had earlier mentioned 5 months.
My decision making skills were getting tested with rapidly unfolding situations!! Although the doctors confirmed to me that the mother and child are doing well.. things could again worsen any moment.
Nagpur was 500m in Thundershowers…Indore had a closure.. HYD was the best option to divert in case of any new contingency. At the bottom of my heart, I was hoping and praying that the youngster holds on for another hour and a bit. He did well much better that expected at his ripe old age of 5 mins!
I didn’t want her to land up in Hyderabad in this Covid times and with a premature baby as she was travelling alone. In my address to the passengers I informed them that “We have an extra passenger on board..” POB was also revised, plenty of congratulatory calls on air on Nagpur, Chennai and Bangalore frequencies.
Nagpur gave me direct BL552 for Bangalore 27L from just south of Bhopal. Enjoyed the uninterrupted high speed run! Post landing Birth on Board form was filled, don’t think it has ever been filled in a domestic flight in India ever and it is most appropriately titled FFS 007 .
On ground amidst all the frenzy, I could sense a genuine sense of happiness and joy amongst all present, KIAL staff, Aster Clinic staff in all the gloom surrounding us, people were looking for a reason to celebrate and they got one.
There were banners, chocolates, gifts…and the brave mother was given a rousing reception! Meet 007! Had a look at his face of course he was unaffected by all the commotion around him. By now he was an hour and a half old.
As for me…I couldn’t have asked for a happier Air Force Day eve!!