A Nigerian father in the UK has been left to bring up his daughter alone after his wife died while six months pregnant – but her baby was delivered alive.
Emmanuel Olubayo could only watch helplessly as Emma, a nursing team leader, collapsed from an undetected heart defect and died in the home they shared in Leicestershire.
Paramedics tried for an hour to resuscitate the 41-year-old before performing a rare posthumous delivery.
They carried out an emergency Caesarean section on the living room floor last November.
The couple’s baby girl Aretha was delivered alive then taken to hospital.
Emmanuel said he was shocked to become a father and a widower on the same day.
The 35-year-old education consultant said:
“It is hard and I don’t really know how I am coping as single dad but I am.
“I have to be strong for Aretha. One day I will tell her all about her mother and how wonderful she was.”
He said he believed his wife of eight months, whose heart suddenly stopped, had battled on to give their daughter Aretha the chance to live.
Aretha was born 10 weeks prematurely and was taken to hospital where she was cared for by members of the team that Emma led – the critical care outreach team which covers Glenfield Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital.
Emmanuel, who was living in Birmingham, told how he and Emma fell in love after meeting in an internet dating chat room.
“I knew when I started chatting to Emma online that she was special,” he said. “We had an immediate connection.
“We got on really well and arranged to meet after three weeks chatting.”
The pair had their first date at the Parcel Yard pub in Leicester in May 2016.
“I caught a train after work and we met at about 7pm. We did not want the night to end and I caught the last train home to Birmingham. The evening had flown by and we talked about everything and nothing.
We could not wait to see each other and were in contact all the time from that night on. It was as if we were meant to be together.”
The romance blossomed as Emma travelled to Birmingham and Emmanuel came to Leicester to see each other.
In December 2016 – seven months after they first chatted online – Emmanuel popped the question.
“We were out for meal in Birmingham when I got down on one knee in the restaurant,” he said.
“I gave Emma a sapphire ring and asked her to marry me. She said yes and was ecstatic. Everyone cheered. It was beautiful.”
The pair married in Birmingham in April 2017.