Woman whose flight was diverted after 10 week early labour back in UK

EXCLUSIVE – Mile high baby: British mother gives birth after flight home from Tenerife was diverted to Portugal where she spent SEVEN WEEKS in quarantine with her new son

  • Lauren McLean went into labour 10 weeks early on flight back from Tenerife
  • Flight was immediately diverted to Faro in the Algarve and she managed to not give birth until in Portuguese hospital
  • Her son Oscar was born weighing 3lbs7oz and spent six weeks in baby unit
  • Due to Covid-19 only she or her boyfriend were allowed to visit him once a day
  • As son as he was strong enough they travelled back to the UK via air ambulance 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A British woman whose flight was diverted to Portugal when she went into labour 10 weeks early is finally home after getting trapped in coronavirus lockdown with her newborn son for seven weeks.

Lauren McLean gave birth to Oscar in the most traumatic circumstances at the beginning of March and her ordeal only ended when they flew back home to Birmingham at the end of April.

The 28-year-old had gone into early labour on a Ryanair flight home from Tenerife and was told her baby would not survive if she gave birth in mid-air.

The aircraft diverted to Faro in the Algarve where she delivered her 3lb 70z boy in hospital, but then faced weeks of seeing him just once a day due to strict Covid-19 quarantine.

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, she said: ‘It has been quite a journey and of course I was terrified that Oscar would not make it.

The 28-year-old went into early labour on a Ryanair flight home from Tenerife and was told her baby would not survive if she gave birth in mid-air. The aircraft diverted to Faro in the Algarve where she delivered her 3lb 70z boy in hospital

Lauren McLean, 28, whose flight was diverted to Portugal when she went into labour 10 weeks early is finally home after getting trapped in coronavirus lockdown with her newborn son for seven weeks (above in neonatal care)

Lauren then faced weeks of seeing him just once a day due to strict Covid-19 quarantine and they finally flew back to Birmingham at the end of April via air ambulance (above). She told MailOnline: ‘It has been quite a journey and I was terrified that Oscar would not make it’

‘Before all this happened my boyfriend and I liked the name Oscar, but we thought it was very appropriate given his dramatic arrival which was really like something out of a Hollywood film.’  

Lauren, a service representative for Volvo, was on the last day of her holiday with boyfriend Jake Ward, her mum Adie and sister and brother in law when she began to feel unwell.

At just 30 weeks into her pregnancy she had been safe to fly to Tenerife for a week’s holiday before the birth of her first child.

The day before she was due to fly home on March 5 she felt unwell and a hotel doctor said she was most likely suffering from a water infection.  

He gave her the all clear to fly, but an hour into the flight home Lauren said she began to have contractions.

‘I went to the toilet and could feel my baby’s head emerging. I knew it was serious and my mum was inside the cubicle with me and knew we had to do something,’ she said.

‘I really thought I was going to have the baby on the plane.’

A call by the flight crew over the PA system for a doctor to come forward failed, but Angela Chamberlain, a midwife who was on board, volunteered to help.

Lauren said: ’Angela did a brief examination and told me if the baby was born on the flight he would die. She was fantastic and I can’t thank her enough.

‘The crew got oxygen but the mask would have been too big to fit over a premature baby.

Lauren, a service representative for Volvo, was on the last day of her holiday with boyfriend Jake Ward, her mum Adie and sister and brother in law when she began to feel unwell. At just 30 weeks into her pregnancy she had been safe to fly to Tenerife for a week’s holiday

The doctor gave her the all clear to fly, but an hour into the flight home Lauren said she began to have contractions. ‘I really thought I was going to have the baby on the plane.’ A call by the flight crew for a doctor failed but a midwife who was on board volunteered to help

‘The midwife was fantastic and told me whatever I did I should not push as the baby could not be born.

‘I was terrified and every time I had a contraction took really big deep breaths. I just knew that I could not give birth as I did not want to lose my son.’

Lauren lay on black bin liners at the back of the Boeing 737 jet while the pilot diverted to Faro for an emergency landing.

‘It was about 45 minutes until we landed but the longest 45 minutes in my life as I dared not push. I did not want my baby to die.’

The Ryanair crew had radioed ahead and an ambulance was waiting at the foot of the steps on the runway.

Lauren was rushed to Faro hospital where just minutes after arriving she gave birth.

‘Jake and my mum couldn’t come in the ambulance, but just as Oscar popped out they burst through the doors. It was something like out of a film.

‘I only had to give two small pushes and Oscar was there. He was very early and we are just so happy that we were given such care on the flight and at the hospital.’

As her son was so small he was taken to a neo natal unit for premature babies, while Lauren had to undergo an operation to remove the placenta. 

Oscar’s arrival coincided with a lockdown being imposed in Portugal to stop the spread of coronavirus.

She was only allowed to visit her son once a day during the six weeks he was kept in hospital.

‘The midwife told me whatever I did I should not push as the baby could not be born.’ Lauren lay at the back of the Boeing 737 jet while the pilot diverted to Faro for an emergency landing. ‘It was the longest 45 minutes in my life as I dared not push. I did not want my baby to die’

As her son was so small he was taken to a neo natal unit for premature babies. Oscar’s arrival coincided with a lockdown being imposed in Portugal to stop the spread of coronavirus. She was only allowed to visit her son once a day during the six weeks he was kept in hospital

Her mum and boyfriend Jake, a bricklayer, also stayed on in Portugal as all three rented an Airbnb flat.

‘Due to the lockdown only one of us was allowed to visit the hospital between the hours of 9am and 2pm. Oscar did very well in the hospital and was looked after so well.

‘He put on weight and the only scary moment was when he got a slight infection, but we were told it was nothing to do with coronavirus.’

Doctors told Lauren and Jake their son was strong enough to travel on April 22 when he tipped the scales at 6lbs.

Their holiday insurance company paid for an air ambulance and the family travelled back to Birmingham with a doctor and nurse on the flight to monitor Oscar.

Doctors told Lauren and Jake their son was strong enough to travel on April 22 when he tipped the scales at 6lbs. Oscar has continued to thrive back home in Birmingham and now weighs 8lbs. His due date was meant to be this Saturday

Oscar has continued to thrive back home in Birmingham and now weighs 8lbs. His due date was meant to be this Saturday.

Due to the lockdown conditions he has yet to meet many members of his family.

‘My dad and Jake’s parents haven’t been able to hold Oscar yet.

‘They have to come to the window to see him so we are hoping the lockdown ends very soon.

‘He has had quite a start to his life and will be a story we will tell him when he is older.’

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