A mother who gave birth to her first child on an airplane was reunited just days before Thanksgiving with the first responders who helped her safely deliver the baby.
Liliana Castañeda and her husband, Edgar Acevedo, were on a Delta Air Lines flight heading home to North Carolina from Mexico on Nov. 14 when Castañeda started having contractions. Her water broke an hour into the flight.
A nurse on board helped Castañeda for more than three hours until the plane landed at the Atlanta International Airport.
“He was like ‘Yeah the baby girl is coming, it’s on its way.’ And he was like ‘Don’t try to push, because if you push more the baby will come out.’ So I held those contractions for like three hours and 30 minutes on the way here,” Castañeda said in a video posted on social media on Wednesday by the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, which responded to a 911 call from Delta alerting emergency authorities that Castañeda was in labor.
First responders rushed to the airport and waited for the plane to arrive at the gate.
“The airplane was coming in exceedingly fast, faster than normal, so we knew there was an emergency, we knew people were nervous,” said Juanita Nash, one of the people who greeted the plane.
As soon as Nash and other first responders were able to get inside the aircraft, they found Castañeda in the back of the plane, lying on the floor. After assessing the situation, emergency personnel decided to deliver the baby right there.
“I just pushed once and the baby girl came out crying,” Castañeda said.
Baby Analia Acevedo Castañeda was born aboard Delta flight 1804, according to the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.
“Once she did deliver, one of the flight attendants got on the microphone and she was able to say, ‘Hey we have a baby girl,'” Nash said. “It was a special occasion.”
Castañeda was expecting her baby to arrive on Dec. 23, “but she came out early,” the mother told WRAL, NBC’s affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“I was nervous at the same time and worried for her and the baby,” Acevedo, Analia’s father, told WRAL.
On Tuesday, the new parents met with Nash and other first responders who witnessed Analia’s birth in Atlanta before the new family was able to return home to North Carolina for the holidays.
“Thank you to all the people that were in the airplane, like the EMS, the fire department, everybody who helped us,” Castañeda added.