They were getting ready to spend the rest of their lives together and start their family - until the bride collapsed minutes from the altar.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 3, 2023. It has since been updated.
A beautiful wedding turned tragic just minutes before the bride reached the altar.
Just as 6-month-pregnant Jessica Guedes, 30, was ready to make her way out of the limo to greet her firefighter to-be-husband, Flavio Gonçalvez, 31, at the altar, she suddenly collapsed in the vehicle. And moments later as her fiance and family rushed her to the hospital, she was declared brain dead, leaving her fiance a single father, after the doctors managed to save her baby.
Jessica had apparently started feeling ill while in the limo on the way to the church. Initially, her family believed that she was suffering anxiety about the wedding when she told them that she was feeling dizzy with pains in her neck. As her company was trying to support her, they were delayed. Little did they know that she was suffering from pre-eclampsia which would rob her of the chance to be a wife and mother, according to Metro UK.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine meaning red blood cells break down and eventually lead to seizures, and liver and kidney failure. And worse, it can go unnoticed in pregnant women or those who have just recently given birth, according to The Sun.
While her family was trying to help her, her fiance, Flavio was waiting at the altar with bated breath. He was surprised by the delay and when she finally did arrive at the venue in Sao Paulo, it was only so a relative could rush into the church and beg for help.
When talking to Brazilian Crescer Magazine, according to Inside Edition, 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 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."
Immediately taken to a state maternity hospital in central São Paulo, and they tried to get her treatment there. However, due to the complexity of the case, Jessica was transferred to the private Pro Matre Paulista Maternity Hospital.
According to the medical report, the 30-year-old mother had not only suffered pre-eclampsia but also a stroke and internal bleeding which forced surgeons to remove the uterus. They performed an emergency cesarean section to save the 29-week-old baby's life and soon after, the brain-dead mother died after the operation, reported Mirror UK.
The baby was a little girl. Sophia was born weighing 2.05lbs and13.5 inches (930 grams and 34 centimeters) and is currently in the neonatal intensive care unit, according to the Daily Mail. 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." And yet, the mother-to-be and bride-to-be couldn't survive the sudden emergency.
She left behind a bereaved fiance with bittersweet emotions as he slowly comes to terms with the loss of his bride while taking comfort in the birth of his child. The devastated 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. However, in my case, the movie will never be over, and the suffering will go on forever," he added emotionally.
There was even a picture of the incredible moment the premature child reacted to her father's voice by opening her eyes, turning to look at him and seemingly reaching out for him with an outstretched hand that comes out from underneath the covers.
Just as he started connecting with child, the only thing left of his beloved, the new father discovered that his health plan did not cover private maternity care. But thankfully, that worry didn't last long. Within a couple of days, his friends set up an online kitty. His colleagues from the military police helped raise more than the £20,000 (100,00 reais) needed to cover the expenses.
Now, the single father won't be left underhanded as he takes on the journey of raising his little girl.
Cover image (Representational): Getty Images | Photo by joeyful