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Mother passes away after giving birth to fifth child

Idaho Falls

IDAHO FALLS — A local father is left to raise his young kids after his wife passed away giving birth to their fifth child.

“I am really lost without her. I guess time heals all wounds,” said Filipe Kioa.

His wife, Paeasia, passed away on July 13 and was only 33 years old. Their baby was born July 12.

“Our doctor told us she was high-risk. They told us, ‘You probably shouldn’t have any more kids’ and we said, ‘OK, yeah, we won’t,’ and this one was a surprise,” said Filipe.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a high-risk pregnancy is one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her fetus. It often requires specialized care from specially trained providers.

Filipe says all of the kids he had with his wife were cesarean deliveries (c-sections) and that’s why his wife became high-risk.

According to the Mayo Clinic, women who have multiple repeat cesarean deliveries are at increased risk of problems with the placenta, complications related to adhesions and incision-related complications. 

Filipe says they monitored Paeasia’s health along the way. Their fifth child came a month early.

“They had to do an emergency c-section,” said Filipe.

Paeasia’s placenta ruptured and came out first, and their baby boy came afterward.

“I guess when they pulled out baby, some of the bad blood went into her (my wife’s) bloodstream and caused her to have a cardiac arrest, and that’s what stopped her heart,” he said.

Paeasia was gone for 90 minutes. Filipe says their baby was rushed to the NICU while hospital staff did all they could to help his wife.

“Their team up at Madison Memorial (Hospital), oh my gosh, I truly love them all. There was over 20 people lined up in the room trying to resuscitate my wife,” he said.

Paeasia was eventually revived, but only for a short while. She was taken to Idaho Falls Community Hospital, where she passed away in the afternoon.

“I just remember her words to me, ‘Sing to me.’ Slowly but surely, she started to come back but she didn’t talk. She was just gone for so long. I sat there and held her hand and sang to her and thinking she would come back, but Heavenly Father has a better plan than we do,” he said.

Filipe says Paeasia was beautiful and loved unconditionally.

“She would sacrifice our material things just to see me smile, just to see me happy. That’s who she was. She would sacrifice everything for me,” Filipe said.

Paeasia came from a big family with six other siblings. Her mother recently passed away. She grew up in California and was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paeasia met Filipe in 2013 at Brigham Young University Idaho. They got married in 2014 in the Reno, Nevada, Temple.

“My wife was really determined. She was a go-getter,” he said.

Paeasia would try and find ways to bring in revenue for their family. They started a cookie business called “Feed Me Cookies” and then added a tropical drink business from Tonga called “Oh Mai Otai.”

She worked for an airline for several years and always wanted to progress.

“I honestly can say that I am so grateful that I was her best friend,” said Filipe.

Filipe is now left with their five young kids.

“I know my kids are going to miss her, and I know I have really big shoes to fill,” he said.

His oldest child is 6 years old.

“His name is Paeasia. He’s named after my wife,” he said. He explained that he decided what his son’s name was after the birth.

“The word ‘paea’ means hard times,” Filipe said.

Though these will be hard times for Filipe and his children, he knows his wife will always be with him.

“Through my kids, she lives,” he said.

So how likely is it for a mother to pass away during childbirth?

Dr. Matt Allred, an OB-GYN in Rexburg, says it is not common.

“The loss of a mother’s life to bring life into this world is absolutely tragic, and my heart breaks for all those involved,” he said. “A mother dying during childbirth is extremely rare — about 0.005% chance of maternal death from onset of labor through the first week of delivery.”

Some factors can increase the risk of maternal death.

“Pre-existing medical conditions that can increase the chance of maternal death include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, morbid obesity, diabetes, blood clotting or hemorrhagic disorders and advanced maternal age. These risks are further amplified when these conditions are uncontrolled prior to or during pregnancy,” Allred said.

Family members and friends have set up a GoFundMe account for Filipe to help him and his children moving forward. If you would like to donate, click here.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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