Anyone who’s taken a flight this year knows that air travel is kind of like the Wild West right now. Delays are almost expected. Cancellations are a little too frequent. You have to go in expecting a little turbulence and a few surprises.
But Connecticut mom Kendra Rhoden, who boarded an American Airlines flight to the Dominican Republic six weeks before her baby was due, got more of a surprise than she ever could have expected—her water broke while she was in the air and within minutes, she gave birth to her baby on an airplane.
“Everything just happened so fast, it just happened so quick,” she told CBS affiliate WFSB.
Before the plane could get back on the ground, Rhoden’s son made his arrival. And to pay tribute to his truly unique entrance into the world, Rhoden picked the perfect name.
“His name is Skylen,” she said, “because he was born in the plane.”
While Skylen is a U.S. citizen, his birth certificate has a unique detail that reflects the surprising way he arrived: his place of birth is listed as “in the air.”
Rhoden’s sister, who was traveling with her, documented the entire experience on TikTok. “This is how my vacation is going,” she wrote alongside the video, which shows Rhoden cradling her newborn son as the pair exits the plane.
The video also included a sweet message to everyone who helped out when Rhoden went into labor in mid-flight, including a number of nurses who were on the flight.
“We really appreciate you for all the hard work you did that day because we know how things really could have went left,” Rhoden’s sister said in the clip. “We know it’s not easy to deliver a baby on an airplane.”
American Airlines confirmed the birth and also thanked onboard medical professionals in a statement.
“Upon landing, the customer was transported to a local hospital for evaluation,” the statement read. “We thank our team members and medical professionals on board for their professionalism and quick action.”
As for Rhoden and baby Skylen? They had to stay abroad for a few weeks until it was safe for them to fly again, but they’re now safe and sound back at home.
“I feel good now,” she told WFBS.
This isn’t the first time a baby has made a surprise arrival like this. Last year, a mama-to-be was supposed to catch a flight to Honduras, but instead, she had a surprise delay — her baby arrived outside of a bathroom near her gate at Miami International Airport. In similar fashion, that mom named her baby girl Mia—a nod to the airport where she took her first breaths.