FOX NEWS - A pregnant bride died from a stroke minutes before arriving at the altar, leaving her groom a single father when doctors managed to save their baby's life.
Jessica Guedes, 30, a nurse, was six months pregnant and apparently healthy when she fell ill in the limo on the way to the church last Sunday in São Paulo.
At first her family thought she was suffering from anxiety due to wedding nerves after she complained of feeling dizzy with pains in her neck.
Because of this, the entourage was running late and they were unaware the victim was suffering from the pre-eclampsia which would shortly rob her of her young life and motherhood.
The bride was declared brain dead by doctors shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition which can go unnoticed in pregnant women or those who have just given birth.
It causes high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine meaning red blood cells break down and eventually leads to seizures and liver and kidney failure.
Her fiancé, firefighter Lieutenant Flavio Gonçalvez, 31, who was already waiting at the altar, was surprised by the delay.
But when she arrived a relative rushed into the venue pleading for help after the first time mom-to-be passed out in the car.
ON HER WEDDING DAY
“I was worried because I was waiting for her at the altar and she was taking ages to come in," Goncalvez told Brazilian Crescer Magazine. "A cousin of hers ran down the carpet and told me that she had passed out. I opened the car door and she was lying down but regained consciousness to talk to me. I said to her, 'Baby, I'm here.' She replied that everything was fine, but that she had a severe pain in the back of her neck. At that moment, I became a rescuer, as I have been for seven years with the Fire Department."
DECLARED BRAIN DEAD
“I took her out of the limo, started first aid and asked for help from my firefighter friends who were there as guests,” he said.
Guedes was taken to a state maternity hospital in central São Paulo. However, due to the complexity of the case, she was transferred to the private Pro Matre Paulista Maternity Hospital.
According to the medical report, the mother had a stroke, due to preeclampsia and internal bleeding that meant surgeons were forced to remove the uterus.
Given the severity of the case, the medical team performed an emergency C-section to save the 29-week-old baby's life and the young mom, who had been declared brain dead, died after the operation.
Sophia was born weighing 2.05 pounds and is 13.5 inches long and is in the neonatal intensive care unit. She is likely to be in the hospital for at least two months.
A relative of the victim, said: “Jessica was attending prenatal care, had no high blood pressure during her pregnancy and was healthy, doing physical activity and eating well.”
In a statement, the hospital confirmed that Guedes was admitted to the maternity department last Sunday.
BABY DAUGHTER SOPHIA
"At the moment, the entire Maternity team is prioritizing the support, comfort and attention of the families of Lieutenant Gonçalves and the patients’ (by) helping them with all necessary measures," a hospital spokesperson said.
A video of the last moments of the bride shows her happily waving to the camera in her gown on her wedding day. But within a few hours, she was dead, and her groom was left with bittersweet emotions as he learns to come to terms with the loss of his bride while taking comfort in the birth of his child.
Images capture the incredible moment the premature child responds to her father’s voice by opening her eyes, turning to look at him and seemingly reaching for him with an outstretched hand that creeps out from underneath the covers.
“Jessica was a really cheerful person who loved life, an enlightened and strong being of light," Goncalves said. "I was so looking forward to becoming her husband and becoming a father. I will be strong and I will not weaken in the face of adversity. The love of my life taught me how to respect and treat a woman well so that I could learn how to take care of our daughter."
“I still can’t believe this has happened. It seems like I'm in a sad movie, and you cry, cry, cry, but leave the movie theatre knowing it was just a movie," he said. “However, in my case, the movie will never be over, and the suffering will go on forever.”
Following the unforeseen tragedy, the new father discovered that his health plan failed to cover private maternity care.
But within a couple of days of friends set up an online fundraiser, and colleagues from the military police helped raise more than needed to cover the expenses.
The family decided to respect Guedes’ request to donate her organs and she was buried yesterday following the release of her body.
In August this year doctors in the Czech Republic delivered a healthy baby girl 117 days after her mother was declared brain dead.
The unnamed mom, 27, suffered a stroke in April and was kept on life support to keep the pregnancy going, and regularly moved her legs to simulate walking to help the child’s growth.