Not all love stories are perfect, but these are love stories too. Here is the story of a great, perhaps bittersweet love that truly lives beyond the grave.
August 15, 2017, was a grim day for banker and Kannur resident Shilna. On that day, her husband, former journalist, poet and Malayalam lecturer K V Sudhakaran, passed away in a fatal road accident. Now, one year and 29 days later, on the 13th of September, Shilna has given birth to twin girls conceived with her late husband, using his semen stored at a cryo-bank facility.
Shilna and Sudhakaran married in 2006, after they met through their mutual interest in literature and poetry. Shilnaâ€™s father, Pavithran, says that both families were happy with the marriage, especially given that Sudhakaran was considered by many to be a rising star in the Malayalam literary scene. Shilna, too, was uniquely devoted to her husband.
The couple began undergoing IVF treatments a few years later at ARMC Clinic in Kozhikode, after they were unable to conceive a child through natural methods. There, under the care of Dr Kunjimoideen and Dr Sreeja, Shilna became pregnant through IVF twice, but the pregnancies were not viable and resulted in miscarriages.
The coupleâ€™s third IVF procedure was planned for the first week of September 2017, for which both Shilna and Sudhakaran had arranged for time off work. Tragically, on August 15, Sudhakaran was fatally hit by a tipper lorry on a damaged road during a field visit to Nelumboor as part of his PhD research, just two weeks before their scheduled appointment.
Within three days of her husbandâ€™s death, Shilna decided that she wanted to complete the IVF treatment, and expressed this firm desire to her family, telling them that she didnâ€™t want to carry any other personâ€™s child in her lifetime but Sudhakaranâ€™s. Her family considered it, and seeing her resolve and determination, and her great love for her late husband, said that they would support her in her efforts.
Her mental and physical health was examined by doctors, and she was found medically fit to undergo the procedure. Given that the semen sample had been collected in December 2016, two prior IVF treatments had been attempted and the individualâ€™s legal heir had given their consent, the procedure met all legal restrictions despite Sudhakaranâ€™s demise.
The third and final IVF procedure took place on January 13, 2018, at the ARMC Hospital in Kozhikode. Within 15 days, the pregnancy was confirmed and progressed steadily with no issues. The family soon learnt that Shilna was expecting twins. Her treatment was shifted from Kozhikode to Koili Hospital, Kannur, where she was cared for by Dr Shaijas Nair and Pavithranâ€™s neighbour, Dr Amar Ramachandran.
On September 13, at 11.50 AM, Shilna delivered two baby girls by Caesarian section, weighing 2.3 kgs and 2.5 kgs each. Mother and children are in good health. Although the baby girls are fractionally underweight, they and the two families are in high spirits.