A young bride who was seven months pregnant was about to walk down the aisle when she suffered a stroke that left her brain dead.
Jessica Guedes, 30, was travelling in a limousine with her family to her wedding ceremony in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo on Saturday (local time) when she began feeling ill, according to Crescer Magazine.
Her fiancé told the magazine Ms Guedes had been healthy and did not drink or smoke. In addition, he said, as a nurse she was up-to-date with her vaccines and was mindful of maintaining a healthy lifestyle with the right diet and exercise.
As the bride and her entourage arrived at the church where groom, Flavio Gonçalves, 31, was waiting at the altar, Ms Guedes passed out.
The young woman had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke as a result of pre-eclampsia — a condition affecting pregnant women which often goes unnoticed, as it did in Ms Guedes’ case.
The bride’s cousin had rushed into the church to get her fiancé, who was also trained in first aid.
“I went to the car and pulled her out of the limousine, lying on the floor, and started doing first aid,” Mr Gonçalves told Crescer Magazine.
Still in her wedding dress, she was taken to hospital by ambulance where she was rushed into surgery.
“When we got there the doctor who attended us said that the problem was complex,” Mr Gonçalves said.
“I just wanted to save the life of my wife and our daughter.”
Shortly afterwards the couple’s baby was born by C-section. Aside from her premature birth, baby Sophia was healthy and her new father was temporarily relieved.
“I felt a joy and thought everything was fine. I called everyone and said Sophia was born ... Only nobody gave me news about Jessica and I started to get desperate,” Mr Gonçalves said.
“Until a doctor called me into the room and said she had had internal bleeding, that they needed to remove her uterus.”
Doctors were able to stop the young woman’s abdominal bleeding, but she could not be saved.
“The doctor called me into another room and said she had been brain dead. He asked me to come into the room to say goodbye,” Mr Gonçalves said.
“I could only cry, pray and ask for strength to God.
“I felt very scared, a desperation began to take over. But I remembered how much we wanted our daughter, Sophia, and that she now needed help because I would have to be the father and mother of an ICU baby.”
In an emotional video posted to Instagram earlier this week, the father was shown cradling his tiny daughter and singing to her.
The grief-stricken family decided to donate Ms Guedes’ organs because, as a nurse, they knew she would have wanted that.
The untouched food from the wedding the couple never got to celebrate was donated to impoverished children living in the city’s slum.
Pre-eclampsia is among the leading causes of maternity death and is often characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, however it can also sometimes present no symptoms, according to the Australian Department of Health’s Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website.
The grief-stricken partner of Ms Guede claimed her blood pressure was regularly checked during her pregnancy and no abnormalities were detected.
Around five to 10 percent of pre-term deliveries in Australia are due to pre-eclampsia or its associated complications, Pregnancy Birth and Baby stated.
The organisation also warned that if pre-eclampsia is not treated it can lead to serious complications and “in one to two per cent of cases can be life threatening”.
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