A mum named her son ‘Sky’ after giving birth on a plane 18,000 feet in the air

A mum named her son Sky after his one-of-a-kind birth experience. Mixmotive/Getty Images/Chrystal Hicks
  • Chrystal Hicks named her son Sky Airon after giving birth to him mid-flight.
  • Hicks lives in Glennallen, Alaska, where the hospital doesn’t have a neonatal unit – so she was medically evacuated via plane to a hospital in the city of Anchorage.
  • Hicks’ water broke 20 minutes into the flight, and she later chose her son’s name based on the unexpected but special experience.
  • “We were 18,000 feet in the air when he decided to come out,” Hicks told Insider.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chrystal Hicks has a one-of-a-kind story to someday tell her son, who was born at 18,000 feet in the air.

On the morning of August 4, Hicks, who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time, unexpectedly experienced contractions. That night, she knew that she needed to go to the hospital.

“At about 7 or 8 p.m., [the contractions] really started getting stronger, and then finally my neighbour came over and called 911,” she told Insider.

Hicks was taken to a hospital in her town of Glennallen, Alaska. Shortly after, a medical evacuation team was called to fly her to another facility, as her local hospital doesn’t have a neonatal unit, which was necessary.

Hicks gave birth to Sky 20 minutes into the flight.
Hicks gave birth to her son 20 minutes into the flight. Chrystal Hicks

The next day – August 5 – Hicks boarded a Lifemed Alaska plane, and her water broke just 20 minutes into the flight at an elevation of 18,000 feet.

“I had to push right away,” Hicks said. “I rolled over on my back, and then all of a sudden, he was out.”

Hicks' cousin gave her the idea to name her son 'Sky.'
Baby Sky is now safely at home with Hicks. Chrystal Hicks

At first, Hicks wasn’t sure what she would name her fourth child, but her cousin gave her the idea to name him Sky, which aptly describes his birth story.

Hicks also gave him the middle name Airon – pronounced like Aaron – to further symbolise where he was born.

Hicks’ delivery was a rare event for the Lifemed Alaska team

“In my 20-plus-year career, I can think of maybe four [births],” Lifemed Alaska’s Chief Operations Officer, Steve Heyano, told Insider.

Though onboard deliveries are rare, Heyano said they do happen, which is why Lifemed flies with an Isolette – which is an incubator that has life-support capabilities. Patients on the flights are also always in good hands with onboard care providers, including neonatal nurse practitioners, flight paramedics, and nurses, Heyano said.

Sky is now healthy and at home with Hicks.
Hicks said she’ll have a special story to tell Sky one day. Chrystal Hicks

Sky Airon was 5 pounds, 10 ounces when he was born. He initially had respiratory problems and was placed on a breathing machine in a neonatal intensive care unit at Alaska Native Medical Centre in Anchorage, Alaska.

He was discharged after about two weeks on August 22 and is now safely at home with Hicks.