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Passengers rally to help woman who unexpectedly gave birth during a flight to Hawaii

Stories of women giving birth when they didn't even know they were pregnant are always a bit mind-boggling. Some people say they don't believe it's possible, but bodies are strange and some pregnancies really do fly under the radar.

Such was the case with Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga, who boarded a flight from Salt Lake City to Hawaii on April 28 with no inkling that she was carrying a baby, nor that he would make his grand entrance 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

"I didn't know I was pregnant and this guy just came out of nowhere," Mounga said in a video from Hawaii Pacific Health, where she and her newborn son, Raymond Mounga, were taken to after the plane landed. "It has been very overwhelming, and I'm just so lucky that there were three NICU nurses and a doctor on the plane to help me, and help stabilize him and make sure he was OK for the duration of the flight."

The doctor on board, Dr. Dale Glenn, is a family physician who practices in Honolulu. He told ABC 7 that an unusual emergency call came from the crew halfway through the flight.


"We've had calls like this before," he said. "Usually, they're pretty clear, you know, 'Is there a doctor on board?' This call was not like this. This call was, 'Medical! Um, help!'"

Glenn and three NICU nurses from Kansas City—Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding and Mimi Ho—responded to the call to help Mounga deliver and care for the baby. The nurses' expertise was particularly fortuitous since Mounga was only 29 weeks along and Raymond was tiny. Since both baby and mom needed to be cared for, having a whole medical team there was a gift.

"Basically, you need somebody to watch the mom, too, because we have two patients, not just one," Glenn told TODAY Parents. "So someone's got to help cut the cord, someone's got to help deliver the placenta, we've got to check vital signs on mom. Meanwhile we're trying to resuscitate baby, make sure baby's breathing, get baby warmed up. That's a lot of work to do, and we're all trying to work in a very small, confined space in an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork was great."

That teamwork included using a shoelace to tie the umbilical cord, warming up bottles to use as baby warmers, and using an Apple watch to monitor the baby's heartbeat. Glenn

"The idea that this baby had a doctor and three NICU nurses is nothing short of miraculous," Glenn added. "It blows me away as a doctor. I don't think people realize how rare this is; there have only been about sixty babies born on airplanes in history. This is literally one in a billion chance kind of thing."

The passengers and crew aboard the flight did their part too. Glenn said people offered diapers, moved seats, and did everything they could to make the new mom and babe comfortable and safe during the three remaining hours of the flight.

At one point, Glenn left Mounga to take his sweater back to his seat and was greeted with a sea of concerned faces.

"I had to kind of stop and say something to them," he told TODAY Parents. "'Everything is alright, we're going to make it' and I could see the weight drop off people's shoulders. They wanted to know but were afraid to ask. The support we got from every person on that plane...there was so much aloha."

Aloha is the universal Hawaiian greeting, but it means more than simply "hello" and "goodbye." It's also an expression of love, compassion, sympathy, and kindness—a connected, harmonious way of life that was exemplified in people's reactions to the surprise birth.

Mounga and her son were visited by the nurses and doctor who helped them over the weekend, and it was a joyful reunion all around.

"We all just teared up," nurse Mimi Ho said, according to the AP. "She called us family and said we're all his aunties, and it was so great to see them."

"The experience here has been so good," Mounga added. "Everybody's so nice and the aloha spirit you feel here is very different from the mainland. It just feels comforting and everyone's willing to help and always checking in on us."

Congratulations to Lavi and Raymond, and thanks to everyone on that unforgettable flight for giving us all a boost of faith in humanity.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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