Family talks about mother who died after childbirth
It tugged at Tony Zeigler's heart when he heard about a 31-year-old Belleville woman who died on May 3, two days after giving birth to her third child.
What could he do? Use his skills as a hypnotist and performer to raise money for the family of Kayla Goscinski.
"I don't know them," said Zeigler, 53, of Belleville. "I saw it in the paper, and I just wanted to help. It's bad to lose someone. But to lose someone suddenly and unexpectedly, it's just horrible."
Zeigler will perform his "Tony Z Hypnosis Show" at 7 p.m. May 29 at Hey Guys Comedy Club in Fairview Heights (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). Admission is $10.
All proceeds will go to Kayla's husband, George, and their three children, Edward, 4; Joanna, 2; and Hudson, 3 weeks. Hey Guys is donating use of the 200-seat club.
"When people are hurting, even the smallest gesture can show that there's light at the end of the tunnel," said co-owner Bruce Veach.
Kayla was a stay-at-home mom and volunteer at Notre Dame Academy in Belleville, where Edward attended preschool. She delivered Hudson by C-section on May 1 at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.
Soon after the healthy birth, Kayla developed amniotic fluid embolism, a pregnancy complication that causes life-threatening conditions such as heart failure and internal bleeding. The rare condition occurs in 1 out of 40,000 deliveries in North America.
"She was beautiful, and she was even better on the inside," her husband said Monday, fighting back tears. "She loved her kids. She was just awesome."
George, 34, is a salesman at Weber Chevrolet in Granite City. He's taking some time off from work, trying to help the family come to grips with a new reality.
"Kayla did everything," he said. "She was the best mom possible. She loved her kids. She took care of them. She taught them. A lot of it's new to me. Just figuring out where their clothes were was a challenge."
Zeigler developed an interest in hypnotism while earning a psychology degree and became certified in the 1990s. Today, he has a private practice in Clayton, Missouri, helping people lose weight, stop smoking and reduce stress through hypnosis.
Zeigler also travels all over the country, performing his "Tony Z" show at colleges, schools, churches and private parties.
"I don't embarrass people or anything," he said. "It's all in good fun, and all ages can come (on May 29). It's family-friendly."
Veach noted that the Fairview Heights show might give the Goscinski family and friends a much-needed night out while also raising money for a good cause.
Zeigler knows what it's like to lose a loved one suddenly. His 81-year-old father, Philip, died of a heart attack last year, shortly after acing a physical exam. A fundraiser for the Goscinskis just seemed like the right thing to do.
"I've had a really good year (professionally)," Zeigler said. "And I think it's good to give something back."
Kayla was well-known at Notre Dame Academy. In one year, she organized a breakfast with Santa, a mother-son dance and a father-daughter dance and volunteered for other activities.
On May 2, the day after Kayla gave birth and the day before she died, the school's parent association had planned to hold a meeting and name her as president. Instead, about 100 people gathered to pray for her recovery.
"She was just a natural-born leader," said school secretary Sandra McNease. "People trusted her. When she led, they would follow."
Since Kayla's death, George has been moved by the outpouring of love and support from family and friends. People have given nearly $34,000 through a GoFundMe page.
A Notre Dame parent persuaded the Enfamil company to donate a year's worth of baby formula. People have brought meals, diapers and other supplies to the home.
"Everybody has just been so supportive," George said. "The school has helped so much. Kayla had a lot of family and friends, and they've been wonderful. You don't realize how much it means until you need them."