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'My Life Was Definitely On The Line': UCHealth Saves Mom And Baby

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)- A young mother was faced with a life-threatening pregnancy complication. She had a severe condition that could cause her to hemorrhage. She credits a team of specialists at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital with saving her life.

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The Folena family children are 4-year-old Jordan and 6-month-old Faye Marie, the most recent addition.

"She's honestly a miracle baby in my eyes," said Rob Folena, Faye's father.

Desta Asfaw, Faye's mother, is a miracle, too.

"My life was definitely on the line," Desta told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Desta had a condition called placenta percreta. It's become more common in women who've had previous c-sections, like Desta. The placenta grew through her uterine wall and attached to her bladder.

"Being African American, I'm 2 to 3 times more likely to die in childbirth," explained Desta, "so we were facing a really bad situation."

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"It is an unacceptable thing to have happen in the United States for a woman to die as a result of her pregnancy," said Dr. Saketh Guntupalli.

Guntupalli is Chief of Gynecologic Oncology and part of a team of specialists at UCHealth dedicated to these difficult cases.

"(A team) that has now done over a hundred of these cases," said Guntupalli.

Desta and Rob moved their care there.

"It was definitely scary, definitely scary," said Rob.

Faye was born by C-section on December 9, 2020 at 34 weeks. Desta had a hysterectomy and was in the ICU.

"I lost quite a bit of blood and then, afterward, I had trouble clotting," Desta said.

Rob stayed with baby Faye in the NICU and worried.

"Is my wife going to be okay?" he said he kept asking himself.

Doctors were able to stop the bleeding with interventional radiology and a minimally invasive procedure.

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"UCHealth was the reason I'm still here," said Desta.

Dad, mom, son and daughter... the Folenas are a family of four full of gratitude.

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