October 03, 2021
A pregnant woman went into labor while aboard a commercial airplane which forced the pilot to reroute the plane, but not to the airport.
Rose hated flying. She was a young woman who never had the opportunity to be on a plane for most of her life. Indeed she only started riding one when she started making visits from her town in Omaha to the city of Texas where her husband, Bill, worked as a miner.
The job brought in decent pay which was why he did it, but it separated them for a long long time. Bill was always gone all year long and he only got a break between Christmas and the New Year.
When she got tired of having to live without seeing her husband for long periods, she got Bill to agree to her making a monthly trip to see him.
Bill was initially not enthused about the idea, but in the end, the weekends he spent with her at the small apartment he stayed in were some of the best in their marriage.
It was one of those long romantic nights that brought about the pregnancy Rose now carried in her belly. Bill was aware of the child and could not wait to meet his youngster.
He had even promised to retire from mining and start a farm where they could grow crops to sell. Everyone knew farmers made a lot of profit in Omaha if they had the know-how, and Bill descended from a long line of farmers.
One day, Rose, heavy with child, was flying to Texas to see Bill even though he had asked her to remain in their Omaha home. Flying to him for their weekend getaways had become a habit and she could not stand not seeing him that weekend.
"You are nine months pregnant Rose," he told her the last time they spoke.
"Oh, thank you for pointing that out, I had no idea my stomach started swelling nine months ago," Rose replied drily.
"You shouldn't be moving around so much now that you're this close to giving birth but you want to make a whole journey? That's absurd my dear."
"I need to see you, be with you, I've missed you," Rose cooed. She had let him convince her to remain at home for two months before she put her foot down.
"I know baby," he said. "Hey, it's September and I get to come home in December and never leave again, just be patient hon."
Rose let him believe he had gotten through to her again but as soon as it was Friday, she got on a flight headed to Texas. She surprised him, and even though he claimed to be angered by it, they enjoyed their time together.
By Sunday evening, when Rose got on a plane bound for Omaha, she was glowing — she really did enjoy her husband's refreshing company.
It wasn't until the plane hit turbulence as it gained altitude that she was reminded how much she did not enjoy flying — it was nothing personal, she just preferred to have feet on solid ground where her fall to the ground, if it ever happened, would be a short distance.
Another rattle shook the plane and sent her overactive imagination into overdrive. She thought of everything from a hijacking to a plane crash and it got her stressed out. And it was as she mentally listed things that could go wrong that her water broke.
Caught up in her head, Rose wasn't even aware that her water already broke. When she noticed the wetness, she turned red in the face, embarrassed thinking she could not control her bladder. It never occurred to her that her water had broken because it was not supposed to for another three weeks. Then the contractions began.
Rose started to scream, catching the attention of the flight attendant who rushed over to find out what was wrong. "I'm having a baby!!" Rose yelled.
The attendant quickly let the pilot know and he immediately connected with the nearest airport to request permission to land. Meanwhile, the flight attendant tried to calm Rose down by talking to her in between each contraction.
"Why are you traveling alone pregnant?" the kind-looking woman asked Rose.
"I was with my husband and I'm returning home," Rose answered.
"He let you travel like this, how irresponsible!" the flight attendant exclaimed. "Okay, do you have family we can call? Besides your husband?"
"No, I'm an orphan," Rose said. The flight attendant noticed that she had a temperature and was getting spent from enduring the contractions so she informed the pilot that the labor could get dangerous for Rose without a professional doctor to help.
A dispatcher informed the pilot, a man named Drew, that the nearest airport was not ready to receive their plane due to weather conditions.
Time was running out and in her feverish state, all Rose could manage was call out her husband's name. That's when Drew decided to turn the plane around to return to Texas.
"Keep her stable for thirty more minutes," he told the attendant. Unfortunately, the weather in Texas was also terrible so their plane was denied access to land at the airport.
Luckily, Drew knew the area so he was aware of an abandoned airfield not far from the airport. The only problem was the runway was too short to land their large plane. Still, it was the closest town to where Rose could get medical help.
"Let's land at the abandoned airstrip," Drew told his co-pilot, a rookie who went by the name Stan.
"Sir with all due respect, landing there is against the rules," Stan said.
"Sometimes to save a human being, you need to act according to your conscience, not the rules!" Drew replied.
He got the attendant to call Rose's husband as they circled the abandoned airstrip getting ready to land. Drew knew every move had to be planned down to the last degree.
They circled once, twice, each time steadily getting closer to the ground. Meanwhile Rose was starting to lose consciousness because of her contractions.
The plane got closer to the ground and with a leap of faith, because there was no control tower to navigate their path, Drew took the plane down.
His co-pilot who was still a rookie was just one step away from panicking but he followed Drew's lead and several tense minutes later, the aircraft touched the ground.
As they opened the hatch to get Rose out, an ambulance carrying EMTs and Rose's husband sped through the clearing. It was followed by media vans and some civilians who feared there would be a crash and had come to help.
Bill carried his wife, pregnant as she was to the ambulance and they raced to the hospital. All the shocked man could do was pray that his wife, who did not look very good, would be alright.
At the hospital, the doctors got her a private room and a quick check of her vitals revealed that she was already too weak to push her baby out. It would have to be done via a C–section.
Bill was not allowed to remain in the room but after long moments of waiting, he was ushered in to see his new child and his recuperating wife. He could not believe how close he had gotten to losing them.
He quit his job that day so that when they returned to Omaha, it was to stay. Bill found out the name of the thoughtful pilot who took the risks to get his wife help and named their child after him. Rose was all in favour.
Still, she did not get on another airplane for years.
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