A pregnant bride died from a stroke minutes before reaching the altar, leaving her groom a single dad to their newborn daughter who was delivered by emergency cesarean.
Jessica Guedes, 30, a nurse, was six months pregnant and apparently healthy when she began to feel ill while in the limo on the way to the church last Sunday in São Paulo.
It was her wedding day and she was excited about getting married to firefighter Lieutenant Flavio Gonçalvez, 31.
After taking photos in her wedding dress, she never made it to her wedding as she died on the way due to pre-eclampsia, a condition which can go unnoticed in pregnant women or those who have just given birth.
When the bride complained of feeling dizzy with pains in her neck, her family thought she was suffering from anxiety due to wedding nerves. Because of this the entourage was running late and they were unaware the victim was suffering from the pre-eclampsia.
She collapsed in the limo and was declared brain dead by doctors shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Her fiancé, firefighter Lieutenant Flavio Gonçalvez, 31, who was already waiting at the altar, was surprised by the delay. When the limo eventually arrived, the bride didn’t step out as expected, instead, a relative rushed into the venue pleading for help after the bride passed out in the car.
In an interview with Brazilian Crescer Magazine, the groom said: “I was worried because I was waiting for her at the altar and she was taking ages to come in.
“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.
“I took her out of the limo, started first aid and asked for help from my firefighter friends who were there as guests.”
Jessica 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.
The medical team performed an emergency caesarean section to save the 29-week-old baby’s life and the young mum, who had been declared brain dead, died after the operation.
Baby Sophia was born weighing 930 grams and 34 centimeters and is in the neonatal intensive care unit. She is likely to be in 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.”
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.
Images also captured 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.
The bereaved father said: “Jessica was a really cheerful person who loved life, an enlightened and strong being of light. 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 added: “However, in my case, the movie will never be over, and the suffering will go on forever.”