The miracle twins were born via Cesarean section after their brain-dead mother was kept alive for 123 days.
Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha, 21, of Campo Largo, died as a result of a stroke that rendered her brain dead. She was nine weeks pregnant at the time. The physicians, however, decided to save the nine-week-old embryos because their hearts never stopped beating. They tried everything they could to keep her alive so she could give birth to her twins.
“I was on my way to work last October when Frankielen called begging me to come back home quickly,” Muriel Padilha, 24, said. She claimed that her head was killing her. I instructed her to take medication. But she reported there was a tremendous pain at the back of her neck that was so intense she thought she’d collapse.”
When he returned home, he discovered her wife shivering, weeping, and vomiting. When he saw how much her wife was suffering, he immediately took her to the hospital.
“As I took her to the hospital, she told me, ‘I want you to be ready to accept this because I will be remaining there, I won’t be coming home.'” “Then she passed out, and those were the last words she said to me, and the last time I saw her alive,” he explained.
She was diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhage, which means a vein within her head broke, causing significant internal bleeding in the brain. Following a series of tests and scans, she was confirmed brain-dead. Seeing this type of scenario, the doctors informed her husband that saving the unborn twins would be extremely difficult.
“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. 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,” he said.
“We did an ultrasound on the embryos expecting them to die in the womb, but to our surprise, they were still alive.” Frankielen’s organs were completely intact and functioning normally as if she were still alive. We decided to keep her alive in order to preserve her unborn children. And every day, we watched them grow properly,” said Dr. Dalton Rivabem, the hospital’s head of the neurological ICU.
Doctors, nurses, and other health workers even arranged a routine to sing, chat, and caress Frankielen’s pregnant abdomen.
“We found children’s songs and played them to the babies in the womb,” Erika Cheten, chaplain and music therapist, explained. We even composed songs just for them. We also decorated the area surrounding Frankielen’s bed. The ICU was filled with love, affection, and hope for the newborns and their families. Every day they were here, we said, ‘We love you.'”
In Portugal, there had also been a similar case previously where the foetus gestated for 107 days before being born. Dr. Rivabem also made an attempt to contact the doctor in Portugal who handled the case asking for certain help.
“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. One of our main concerns was to keep the organ functions continual for the babies to grow and develop,” said Dr. Rivabem.
“The success of this case was down to great teamwork and, of course, to a divine purpose,” he said.
The twins, whom their father called as the miracle babies were named Ana Vitoria and Asaph. They were born weighing 3 pounds and 2.9 pounds respectively. The twins were kept in incubators for three months and are being taken care by Frankielen Padilha’s mother, Angela Silva because Padilha needs to continue her work routine as a farmer.
On the other hand, Silva also looks after his two-year-old daughter, Isa Beatriz.
“I’m so proud of my daughter. 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,” Silva said.
“Frankielen has appeared to me on many occasions especially when I was despairing and crying out for God to bring her back to me. 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,’” Padilha said.
“Frankielen was a generous and loving person. I believe God chose her for this purpose so a miracle could happen,” he added.