Real Life

Real life: My dead wife gave birth to twins

In the depths of my grief, I was praying for a miracle.

By As told to Take 5

Muriel Padilha, 24, shares unbelievable his true life story;

I clutched my wife's hand and we stared at each other in stunned silence.

"We're having twins?" Fran, 21, asked the sonographer, and she nodded.

We burst into uncontrollable tears of joy.

Heading home, we couldn't stop smiling. Three years earlier, Fran had suffered a miscarriage which was devastating for both of us.

Then, we welcomed our little girl, Isa, two, who lit up our world. The twins would complete our family.

When Fran was nine weeks along, I was on my way to work when she phoned me.

"I need you to come home," she groaned. "My head is killing me and there's a sharp pain in my neck."

"I'm on my way," I told her.

When I got home, I found her on the floor, shaking and vomiting.

I scooped her up and raced her to hospital.

On the way, she turned to me with fear in her eyes.

"I want you to be prepared," she moaned. "I don't think I'll be coming home."

"Don't talk like that," I said. "You're going to be fine".

I reached over to squeeze her hand but by then, she'd fallen unconscious.

We were so excited to be expecting.
We were so excited to be expecting.

She was sent for tests while I paced the waiting room for what felt like an eternity.

When I was allowed to see her, she was laying lifeless in the bed.

"She's suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage," the doctor said, explaining a burst vein had caused severe bleeding on her brain.

They didn't know exactly how much damage had been done.

The room fell quiet as I tried to process the news.

"What about our babies?" I asked.

He looked at me grimly and shook his head.

"It's unlikely they'll make it," he said.

The next three days passed in a blur while endless tests and scans were carried out.

Finally, the doctor came to see me.

"I'm so sorry but your wife is brain dead," he said. "There's no hope for her or your twins."

My knees gave way and I collapsed to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

My world was crumbling around me as I tried to imagine life without my beautiful childhood sweetheart.

Waiting for the doctor's report was torture.
Waiting for the doctor's report was torture.

The next few hours were unbearable as I wept over her lifeless body.

Machines were keeping her heart beating but I knew she'd never wake up.

Her prediction had been right.

I was told our babies would live for another three days because of the powerful drugs and antibiotics they'd pumped into Fran's body.

But as soon as their little hearts gave up, the machine would be turned off and I'd be able to bury my wife and bubs.

Her mum Angela and I sat by her side for days, hoping for a miracle before the doctor eventually came to switch off the life-support.

"Isa and I love you more than you'll ever know," I whispered into Fran's ear.

"Goodbye, my love."

First, an ultrasound had to confirm our babies' hearts had stopped beating.

I watched on with a shattered heart as the doctor waved the wand over Fran's belly.

He frowned.

Fran's prediction was right.
Fran's prediction was right.

"I don't believe this," he said. "The hearts are still beating."

He explained that because Fran's organs were all still working, the twins hadn't yet died.

"I've never seen anything like it" he said, stunned. My beautiful wife was still fighting for our unborn children.

After that, the doctor decided to keep Fran alive a little longer to see how long the bubs would survive.

I felt a flicker of hope, but knew they didn't have long.

It was unknown territory for the medical team, so we all faced a long and complicated road.

The doctors sought help from a physician who'd handled a similar case, where a foetus survived for 107 days in the womb of a woman on life-support, before being born alive.

My emotions were all over the place.

Fran was my childhood sweetheart.
Fran was my childhood sweetheart.

I was grieving the loss of my wife while clinging on to the desperate hope that I'd one day hold our twins in my arms.

Day in, day out, doctors worked tirelessly to maintain Fran's blood pressure, oxygen levels, nutrition and hormonal balance.

With each night that passed, my hope grew.

But the medical team wasn't just focused on the physical health of the twins, nurses also read and sang to Fran's bump to mimic a mother's love.

One day, they even arranged for an orchestra to come in and play to them!

It was incredibly touching. With every day that passed, I marvelled at Fran's growing belly as she lay lifeless.

I knew that somehow, she was aware she had to fight a little while longer.

"Keep going, my love," I whispered, stroking her hand.

As news of our situation spread, cards and flowers started flowing in.

Fran's room was so full of love.

I placed a big read heart above her bed and had a jeweller make a replica, which I wore on a necklace.

Suddenly, I was filled with more hope than ever before.

One morning, after Fran had been on life-support for four months, I got a phone call. It was a nurse from the hospital.

"There was a sudden drop in pressure in Fran's womb overnight. Doctors had to perform an emergency C-section to deliver your babies," she said.

My heart started pounding.

"Please tell me they're okay," I urged.

Doctors worked tirelessly over our twins.
Doctors worked tirelessly over our twins.

"They're very little, but doing well," she replied.

Hanging up, I buried my face in my hands and sobbed.

After 123 days of monitoring and endless prayers, I was going to meet my twins.

"You did it, my darling," I whispered, hoping Fran could hear me.

To hear more of Muriel's story, tune in to the latest Take 5 Ripper Real Life Podcast below!

The images used in this story have been purchased from Getty and are not images of the people involved in this story.

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