When a 21-year-old woman suffered a stroke at just 9-weeks pregnant, doctors made a groundbreaking decision. Rather than let the tragedy end 3 lives, they placed the mom-to-be on life support. And 123 days later, the brain-dead mom delivered twins!
Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha of Brazil was only 9-weeks pregnant when intense pain in her head and neck caused her to call her husband, Muriel Padilha. Muriel came straight home from work and rushed Frankielen to the hospital.
The mom-to-be didn't know exactly what was happening to her, but somehow she knew her time on earth was coming to an end.
"As I drove her to hospital, she said 'I want you to be prepared to accept this because I will be staying there, I won't be coming home,'" Muriel recalled. "Then she passed out and those were the last words she spoke to me and the last time I saw her alive."
At the hospital, doctors discovered a vein had burst inside Frankielen's head. The severe bleeding left her brain-dead.
Miracle Twins Cling To Life
At first, doctors had no hope for the couple's unborn twins.
"They told me they would give the babies three more days of life because they had given my wife multiple CT scans, sedated her with powerful drugs and pumped her full of antibiotics and this meant everything had ended up in our babies," Muriel explained. "They said as soon as their little hearts stopped beating, they would turn off the gadgets and I would be able to bury my wife."
Heartbroken, Muriel prepared for the worst. But God wasn't ready to bring these little ones to Heaven just yet.
"We did an ultrasound on the embryos thinking they would be failing in the womb but to our surprise they were clinging to life," said Dr Dalton Rivabem. "Frankielen's organs were all intact and working as if she was still with us. We took the decision to keep her alive to save her unborn children. And every day we watched them grow normally."
And so, doctors kept Frankielen on life support for more than four months, until the brain-dead mom delivered twins!
An ICU Filled With Love
Keeping the twins happy and healthy within the womb was no easy task.
"There were many complications with continuous support of medications to maintain pressure, maintain oxygenation, maintain continuous nutrition and hormonal balance. We used antibiotics during the entire hospitalization period," Dr Rivabem explained.
In addition to their medical needs, doctors needed to find a way to provide the love and nurturing the growing twins would have normally received from their mom.
Muriel and family visited every day. More than 20 health professionals chipped in and developed a regular routine of singing, talking and rubbing Frankielen's belly.
"We found children's songs and played them to the babies in the womb. We even made up tunes exclusively for them," said Erika Chechan, the hospital’s chaplain. "And we decorated the area around Frankielen's bed. The ICU was filled with love, affection and encouragement for the babies and their family to succeed. We said, 'we love you' every day they were here."
Brain-Dead Mom Delivered Twins
For 123 days, Frankielen was on life support, and her twins were surrounded by love and prayer. It's the longest amount of time a mom-to-be has been kept on life support.
"There have been other cases, but ours is the longest one with 123 days - four months, and we started with embryos at two months and delivered twins," Dr Rivabem said.
No one but the Lord knew exactly how the story would end. So when the big day finally came, and the brain-dead mom delivered twins, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Everyone there knew they'd witnessed a miracle.
"The success of this case was down to great teamwork and, of course, to a divine purpose," said Dr Rivabem.
It was a bittersweet day for Muriel. While he finally got to meet his babies, it was also time to say goodbye to his wife. But he trusts in God's plan for his family.
"Frankielen was a generous and loving person. I believe God chose her for this purpose so a miracle could happen," he said.
Miracle Twins Are An Answered Prayer
Doctors delivered the babies via emergency c-section at 7 month's gestation. Baby boy Asaph and baby girl Anna Vitoria came into the world weighing roughly 3 pounds each. Muriel and the twins' big sister, 2-year-old Isa Beatriz, were there to welcome these little miracles.
Asaph and Anna Vitoria remained in incubators for three months, until finally they were strong enough to go home. Frankielena's mother cares for the babies while Muriel is working, and she knows these two are a special blessing from God.
"I'm so proud of my daughter," she said. "It's been hard losing her but she was a warrior right until the end, protecting her beautiful children and giving them life until the day she finally died."
WATCH: Brain-Dead Mom Delivered Twins
And though Muriel misses his wife dearly, he, too, finds peace in knowing God is in control.
"Frankielen has appeared to me on many occasions especially when I was despairing and crying out for God to bring her back to me," he said. "One night she sat on my bed and said: 'Baby I can't come back to you anymore. I must stay. I am in a beautiful place now. You've got a big mission still to complete. You have to look after our children and you have to be strong and move on and live your life.' "
The twins will surely know their mother's love all of their lives, even though they never got to meet her. But their miraculous survival is undoubtedly their mom's dying wish granted from above.
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