Hallelujah to the most High. Two days after Jayne Soliman was declared brain-dead, her grieving husband saw her life-support machine turned off. In a moment of unbelievable poignancy, he was then given their baby daughter to hold for the first time. Doctors had kept 41-year-old Mrs Soliman's heart beating after she suffered a brain hemorrhage.
For 48 hours they pumped large doses of steroids into her body to help the baby's lungs develop. Then they delivered baby Aya Jayne by cesarean section. At 26 weeks, she weighed just 2lb 11/2oz. The tiny infant was placed on her mother's shoulder for a moment before being handed to her father, Mahmoud Soliman.
Aya - her name is a word from the Koran meaning miracle - is now doing well in hospital while 29-year-old Mr Soliman struggles to cope with the misery of suddenly losing his wife and the joy of becoming a father.
'It was Jayne's one true wish to be a mum - and she would have been a great mum,' he said at the couple's home in Bracknell, Berkshire. Mrs Soliman, formerly Jayne Campbell, was British Free Skating champion in 1989, the same year she was rated seventh in the world.
She went on to become a figure-skating teacher and had a spell in Abu Dhabi, where she met her Egyptian-born husband-to-be. Law graduate Mr Soliman said that when they met it was 'love at first sight' despite her worries over their age difference. She converted to Islam before their wedding. Upon their arrival in Britain Mr Soliman began studying for a business masters degree. Mrs Soliman had been healthy throughout her pregnancy, and continued working as a coach at Bracknell Skating Club. She was on the ice last Wednesday before she suddenly collapsed in her bedroom after complaining of a headache. She was flown by air ambulance to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford but hours later, in the early evening, was declared brain dead.
Doctors told devastated Mr Soliman that an aggressive tumour had rapidly developed in her brain in just a few weeks - and had suddenly ruptured a major blood vessel.
But although she had suffered brain death, her heart could still be kept pumping on a life-support machine, and the doctors were hopeful her daughter could be born.
A mother's body remains the best incubator for a baby, even if she is brain-dead, but it is still wise for birth to be carried out as soon as the fetus is considered viable because infections can develop and spread to the baby. He wept as he recalled his wife's final hours. 'The doctors told me there was nothing they could do for Jayne but they needed her to stay strong for 48 hours to help our unborn child. 'Her heart kept beating strongly for 48 hours and her body never gave up.'