British Ice Skating Star Gives Birth Two Days After Collapsing, Dying

Doctors delivered a baby girl two days after her mother, a British ice skating champion, collapsed from a fatal brain hemorrhage.

Jayne Soliman was declared brain dead but doctors managed to keep her heart beating until they delivered her daughter, Aya Jayne, by Caesarean section last week.

Soliman, 41, was only 25 weeks pregnant when she collapsed in her bedroom at her home in Bracknell, Berkshire, England, after going to bed with a headache. She was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but was pronounced brain dead last Wednesday evening, just hours after arriving at the hospital. Doctors said that she had suffered a brain hemorrhage caused by an aggressive tumor.

Soliman was given huge doses of steroids to help the unborn child’s lungs develop. Two days later, Aya was born, weighing 2 pounds, 1.5 ounces. She was transferred to the intensive care unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where she remained Monday night.

David Phillips, 48, a close friend and fellow skater who was at the hospital with Soliman, said that her husband, Mahmoud Soliman, had had “the best and the worst day of his life."

“It’s just something you can’t conceive — turning off your wife’s life-support machine and then going to see your newborn daughter,” Phillips said.

Phillips’s wife, Lucine, who was present at the delivery of Aya, said, “A midwife picked tiny Aya up and put her little face up to Jayne’s. It was just like welcoming any new baby into the world ... but we also had to say goodbye to Jayne.”

In 1989, Soliman was both British Champion and No. 7 in the world for professional free skating.

The ice-skating champion also spent some time in Dubai where she taught figure skating and met her husband.

Click here to see a photo of Soliman and to read more on this story from the Times of London.