Real life: Days after giving birth, Rayan’s wife was back in hospital

'I hoped renewing our wedding vows would bring my wife back to life.'
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Rayan Cosme, 38, from Auckland, NZ, shares his heartbreaking real life story:

My wife of 11 years, Arlene, looked nervous as she planted a huge kiss on my lips.

‘We’re having another girl, darling,’ she told me, her voice full of doubt.

The silly duffer thought I would be disappointed that we weren’t having a son. ‘I couldn’t be happier,’ I told her.

Arlene and I met as teenagers in our hometown in the Philippines and it was love at first sight.

We married and moved to New Zealand, where we were raising our gorgeous girls Gracie, 10, and Gwynnete, six.

Rubbing my hand gently over Arlene’s belly, I gasped as I felt a little kick.

Our eyes met as we both giggled.

‘I can’t believe we’re having another one,’ Arlene smiled.

A family photo. Pictures exclusive to Take 5.

The girls were so excited when we told them a baby sister was on the way.

‘Why can’t she come out now?’ Gwynnete cried impatiently.

‘She’s not cooked enough yet,’ Arlene, 37, laughed.

Their giggles echoed through the house and I felt truly lucky.

Life can’t get better than this, I thought.

As the weeks went by and Arlene’s belly grew, I just couldn’t wait to welcome our next addition.

Finally, the day arrived.

‘You can do this!’ I shouted excitedly as I held Arlene’s sweaty hand at the hospital.

And with one more push, we welcomed our baby girl Grayan into the world.

We only spent two days in hospital before going home to begin our new life as a family of five.

But Arlene didn’t seem to recover as quickly as she had with the other two.

She was constantly exhausted and complained of a stiff neck.

‘I’ve got no energy to do anything,’ she moaned to me.

The following morning, I went back to work as a system technician.

‘Are you sure you’ll be OK?’ I asked her.

‘Mum’s here and the midwife will be over later today, stop worrying,’ she replied as I left.

Her mother Teodora, 71, had flown over from the Philippines for the birth.

Later that afternoon at work, my phone rang.

‘Arlene’s collapsed. She’s unconscious. You need to get to the hospital now,’ Teodora blurted.

My hands were shaking uncontrollably as I swerved through the traffic to get to the hospital.

Ryan with Arlene when unconscious with newborn Grayan. Pictures exclusive to Take 5.

I felt my legs buckle when I first saw her, tangled in a web of medical tubes.

‘Your wife has suffered a devastating brain aneurysm,’ the doctor explained. ‘She needs surgery right away if we have any chance of saving her life.’

A wave of nausea washed over me.

How could this be? It had only been hours since I’d looked in to my wife’s beautiful brown eyes and kissed her goodbye.

Then I remembered Teodora and the girls were sitting in the waiting room.

‘Mama is going to be fine,’ I told them, with a forced smile.

After what felt like an eternity, the surgeon finally came out of the operating theatre.

‘I’m sorry, but your wife hasn’t woken up from surgery yet,’ he told me.

My heart ached as I sensed the sorrow in his eyes. He said she was in a coma.

As soon as he left, the girls really started fretting.

‘Why isn’t Mummy waking up?’ Gracie asked.

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I struggled to find the answer.

‘I don’t know, baby,’ I replied, putting my arm around her.

Seeing the girls so frightened, I knew I had to do absolutely everything in my power to try and wake Arlene.

She had always loved listening to me play my guitar, so I brought it in the next day and started strumming.

‘It’s our song, darling,’ I cooed as I serenaded her with our favourite track, ‘The Dance’ by Garth Brooks.

Desperate, I had Grayan baptised at her bedside.

But Arlene still lay unconscious and motionless.

I felt broken – like someone had reached in and ripped my heart out. But I had heard that coma patients can hear everything, so I had to keep trying.

Gracie and Gwynette at their mum’s funeral. Pictures exclusive to Take 5.

‘I want to renew our wedding vows,’ I blurted to Arlene’s doctor. ‘I think it could bring her out of the coma.’

‘That’s a lovely idea,’ he smiled.

The following morning, our family priest joined me and the girls by Arlene’s bedside.

My voice shook with emotion as I solemnly renewed my vows.

‘I’ll love you forever, my darling,’ I promised.

I spent 11 days and nights by Arlene’s side before I got a surprise call from the hospital.

I’d only left for a few hours to run some errands.

‘I’m so sorry, Rayan,’ the doctor said, his voice faltering. ‘We did everything we could…’

I was an emotional wreck – having to tell my daughters their mother was never coming home was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

‘What do you mean we can’t see her anymore?’ they cried.

Being catapulted into the role of a single father was not easy.

The first three months were the hardest as I struggled to cope with everything in a fog of grief.

But soon, the three of us got into the rhythm of it all.

It’s been six months since Arlene passed away, but I still think about her every second.

When our baby girl gets older, I’ll tell her all about her amazing, gorgeous mother.

I’ll constantly remind the girls how kind, generous and caring she was, and how much she loved us all.

She was an incredibly beautiful person and her spirit will live on in our girls forever.

Every time I look at six-month-old Grayan, I see her mother and can’t help but smile.

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