Erica Morales and her husband Carlos, had been trying for years to have children. So the day that Erica was set to deliver quadruplets, the couple was ecstatic. It was, as Carlos described, the happiest moment of their lives, until it wasn’t anymore.
Sadly, hours after Erica gave birth to their four children, she passed away.
Pregnant with quadruplets conceived through IVF, 36-year-old Erica went into labor 2 months prematurely, on January 15. Doctors delivered the babies through C-section.
Carlos, 29, said the Arizona-based couple “were so excited to start our family and then it all came crashing down.”
After the four babies were delivered, Erica went into hypovolemic shock, a condition that is characterized by a severe loss of blood. She died at 1:50 a.m.. on January 16 before she even had a chance to hold her children.
Before Erica went into surgery to deliver, the couple discussed names. Carlos Jr. for the boy, Tracey and Paisley for the two girls and Erica told Carlos that they would chose a name for the last daughter after she was born.
Between nurses, doctors, family and friends, there were 24 people were in the deliver room when the quadruplets entered the world. Each weighing between 2-3 pounds.
Carlos was elated.
“I forgot about how expensive it was going to be to raise four kids or how hard it might be. Seeing Erica and the babies healthy is all I could think about. I was just so excited for our future.”
After the delivery, Erica was coming out of anesthesia when she squeezed her husband’s hand, still unable to speak. Carlos sat by his wife while their children were in the nursery one floor below.
The Morales’ had come a long way since they first met a nightclub in Scottsdale, Arizone in 2006. Carlos told People, “I didn’t speak any English and she didn’t speak any Spanish. But I asked her to dance and she said yes.”
Carlos gave Erica, a real estate agent, a paper with his number written on it, but she’d thrown it away. But their union was fated and through mutual friends they saw each other again.
As they dated, Erica learned Spanish, Carlos learned English and they got married in Las Vegas the next year, in 2007.
“We also really wanted to have a baby. So we started to try right away,” Carlos said. The couple had a miscarriage and were beyond devastated. Fortunately, after fertility treatments, Erica learned that she was pregnant last June.
It wasn’t until she went in for her first sonogram that she discovered she was having four babies. The doctor told Erica she needed to relax and so, with the help of her husband and mother who came to live with them, that’s what she did. Doctors also monitored her closely, ensuring that she was healthy throughout her pregnancy.
On Jan 12, Erica checked into the hospital for issues with high blood pressure.
Three days later, she texted Carlos at work, saying that the doctors wanted to deliver the quadruplets two months early.
“The doctor said she was having too many contractions so it was time to deliver the babies,” Carlos explained. “We took pictures before she went into the delivery room, made some videos and she was surrounded by family and friends. I said to her, ‘Let’s get these babies out.'”
Erica managed to follow through on her husband’s command but wasn’t able to pull through the delivery herself.
An hour after the medical team started attending to her, in the early morning hours of the next day, she was gone.
“How could this have happened?” Carlos asked. “She was fine, and then she wasn’t. She was alive and then she was just gone.”
Everyday he asks himself if there was anything he could have done to prevent this tragedy.
“I went from having the best day of my life to the next morning experiencing the worst day of my life. My four babies came into the world and then my wife died.”
The middle of the night, the same day Erica passed, Carlos was sitting next to his children when a nurse asked for the names of his babies.
Carlos gave the nurse the names he and Erica had agreed upon and the last daughter’s name he had to choose himself: Erica.
While Carlos continues to grieve for his wife, he says his babies are the only reasons he’s able to keep going.
Carlos Jr. and Tracey are home now and Paisley and Erica are still in the hospital. Carlos visits them everyday while his mother-in-law cares for her grandchildren at home. At the hospital, Carlos is attending the free baby-care classes.
“I’m learning everything from how to give them a bath, CPR, feeding and how to manage their sleep schedule. I need to be prepared. Everything I do now is for my children. Our family and friends have been very supportive too.”
In fact, the couple’s friend, Nicole Todman started a GoFundMe page where people can donate to help Carlos and his family.
But with all the support, in some ways, Carlos still hasn’t come to grips with the reality that his wife is gone.
“When I’m alone at home I still tell myself that I hope I’m dreaming. Erica was the most special person in the world and she should be here to love her babies.”
Recently, Carlos found a note Erica had written on her iPad about the wishes she has for her children. She dreamt of them going to college, speaking both English and Spanish and having good jobs.
Carlos said he will try his hardest to make sure that happens.
Carlos does find solace in his Catholic faith. And he said that he knows when he held the four children for the first time, Erica was looking down on her family from heaven.
“She always used to do this happy dance and I know that right then and there she as doing it next to me.”