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Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Aya Soliman most unusual start in life .
Aya Soliman, born two days after her mum Jayne died, is 16 months old and the spitting image of her mother
Aya's mum died 2 days before she was born.
Now she's 16 months old(2012), talking and ready to walk ....
Little Aya Soliman is the image of her mum... her ears, the shape of her hands, even her laugh.
It makes her proud dad Mahmoud delighted to see the similarities, but it's also bittersweet - because Aya was born two days AFTER her mum Jayne suddenly "died".
Tragic Jayne's heart was kept beating long enough to give her unborn baby girl a fighting chance of survival - but then her life support machine was switched off.
Shellshocked Mahmoud had to watch helplessly as his daughter, born 15 weeks premature and only just bigger than his hand, battled to live against the odds.
Now, 16 months on, Aya is almost walking and has said her first words - Dadda and Mama. In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, Mahmoud says: "Every time I look at Aya I think of her mum. She does things her mum did, like purse her lips in a certain way or the way she'll hold up her hand.
"It makes me smile to see. And like any father it makes me so happy to hear her first laugh or see her take her first steps. But at the same time it's a constant reminder that Jayne isn't here."
The couple met in Abu Dhabi four years ago where Jayne, a former ice skating champ, worked as a coach and Mahmoud was a telecoms specialist. In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, he explains: "We were friends at first and then it just happened. You know when you get that feeling someone is perfect for you? That's what it was like. She was so bubbly and she loved me like I was the only person that mattered."
Within months, Mahmoud, 30, asked what her reaction would be if he asked her to be his wife.
He says: "I remember she said, 'Woah' but I only wanted her to consider it. Two weeks later we went for a meal and she said, 'Do you remember you asked if I'd consider marrying you? Well, I would.'"
Jayne converted to Islam before their April 2007 wedding and changed her name to Aya Jayne, meaning "miracle". But neither had any idea how prophetic that name would prove to be.
With Jayne 12 years older than Mahmoud, they wanted to try for a family straight away. They were traumatised after Jayne miscarried but delighted when she became pregnant again two months later.
They were both petrified something would go wrong but, when they saw their child's tiny heart beat during the one-month scan, they started to relax.
"Every day we'd sing to Jayne's bump and started to call the baby Sparky as she'd always be moving in the womb," recalls Mahmoud. But in January last year, with Jayne just 25 weeks pregnant, she came home feeling unwell.
Mahmoud recalls: "She said to me, 'I've got a headache' and cradled her head in her hands. Suddenly she vomited on the floor and I went to the kitchen to get her a glass of water. But then I heard a thud that shook the whole house. I shouted her name, hoping to hear her laugh. But when I went back upstairs, I saw her collapsed on the floor."
As Mahmoud bent down to lift his stricken wife, she affectionately called him by his nickname. "Moody Shmoody, don't hurt your back," she said.
"Those were the last words she ever said to me," he says. "I thought it was a fit, or something to do with the pregnancy. I never thought it was serious."
Jayne was airlifted to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford but a scan revealed she'd suffered a massive brain haemorrhage, brought on by an undetected cancerous brain tumour rupturing a blood vessel. "They told me there was nothing they could do," recalls Mahmoud. "I asked them to operate in case they could help her, but they said she was already brain-dead and there was no point."
However, doctors were able to shine the slimmest slither of hope onto Mahmoud. If they could keep her heart beating for two more days, they could give her steroids so their baby's lungs could grow stronger, taking her odds of survival from below 50% to way above it.
But Mahmoud says: "Even then they didn't know if Jayne could hold on. Sometimes on life support, people's bodies just give up."
But Jayne's heart did keep going, and Aya Jayne - named after her mum - was delivered by Caesarean section on January 9, two days after her mum had officially died.
"Those 48 hours were the most joyful and heartbreaking of my entire life," says Mahmoud. "I could barely function. But I knew that I had to stay strong - I was all Aya had."
Mahmoud couldn't bear to sit in while the op was carried out. Instead, one of Jayne's best pals held her hand, and later told Mahmoud how their 2lb 1oz daughter was placed onto Jayne so they were cheek to cheek. As Mahmoud first met his daughter, his wife's life support machine was being turned off.
"Jayne never met Aya - they had physical contact but Jayne was already dead," he says. "It really upsets me because Jayne didn't even get to see her, just to hold her once. It seems so unfair. But I truly believe Jayne stayed strong for Aya. She'd done everything she could to give our daughter the best chance."
For the next three months, Mahmoud kept a bedside vigil as Aya battled for life in an incubator. He had dreamed of the moment he could bring her home but, when that day arrived last March, he was terrified. "I was worried something would go wrong, I was so nervous," he says. "But my mum had come over from Egypt to help, so I got on with it."
In their home in Bracknell, Berkshire, photos of Jayne are everywhere.
Mahmoud plans to get Aya onto the ice rink as soon as possible so she can follow in her mum's footsteps, and her ice-skater friends are lining up to take her for her first lesson.
There's also a huge box filled with videos, cuttings, cards and photos that Mahmoud will keep for Aya until she's old enough to understand.
"I haven't watched a video of Jayne yet, I'm not ready," he says. "But when I do, Aya will be with me. I'll make sure she knows how amazing she was, and how much I loved her. Sometimes, when I'm putting Aya to bed, I'll tell her that her mum's watching over her. Or if she does something like her mum, I'll tell her.
"I still feel Jayne is watching over us. I see her in my dreams sometimes. She tells me I'm doing well. When she goes to leave, I ask if we should come with her but she says no. Then I wake up, and realise it was a dream but I wish it wasn't."