Category Archives: PARENTING

Dad Cares for Quadruplets After Wife’s Tragic Death in Childbirth

It was supposed to be the happiest moment of their lives. Carlos Morales kissed his wife Erica and told her he loved her just minutes before she delivered their quadruplets.

Tragically, it would be the last time he would ever see her alive, Morales tells PEOPLE.

Pregnant with four babies conceived through IVF, Erica, 36, went into labor at seven months on Jan. 15. Doctors prepared to deliver the babies by C-section.

Carlos Morales and his Quadruplets: Photo curtesy Carlos Morales
Carlos Morales and his Quadruplets: Photo courtesy Carlos Morales

“We were so excited to start our family,” Carlos, 29, who works in manufacturing in Phoenix, Arizona, says. “And then it all came crashing down.”

All four babies – three girls, one boy – were safely delivered. But Erica went into hypovolemic shock, an emergency condition where one experiences a severe amount of blood loss. She died at 1:50 a.m. on Jan. 16, before she even had a chance to hold her newborns in her arms.

Their Love Story

Carlos and Erica met at a nightclub in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2006.

“I didn’t speak any English and she didn’t speak any Spanish,” Carlos tells PEOPLE, laughing. “But I asked her to dance and she said yes”

He only found out later that Erica, a real estate agent, ended up throwing out a piece of paper he gave her that night with his number scribbled on it.

But through mutual friends, they saw each other again, and this time, they didn’t part ways.

He knew right away he wanted to marry her. Erica learned Spanish, Carlos learned English, and in 2007 they got married in Las Vegas.

Carlos and Erica Morales
Carlos and Erica Morales, photo courtesy: Carlos Morales

“We also really wanted to have a baby,” says Carlos. “So we started to try right away.”

After experiencing a miscarriage, which Carlos says “was beyond devastating,” they found out Erica was pregnant last June after undergoing fertility treatment.

“We couldn’t have been more excited to finally have a baby,” he says. “Erica was taking such good care of herself.”

When she went for her first sonogram, she found out she wasn’t just having one baby, but four.

“Her doctor told her she had to just relax,” Carlos says. “So that’s exactly what she did.”

Carlos cooked, cleaned and made sure Erica stayed off her feet. Erica’s mother move into their house to help them.

Doctors closely monitored Erica, who was healthy throughout her pregnancy.

On Jan. 12, Erica was checked into the hospital because she was experiencing high blood pressure.

It was on Jan. 15 that she texted Carlos when he was at work saying the doctors wanted to deliver the babies.

“The doctor said she was having too many contractions so it was time to deliver the babies,” Carlos says. “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.’ ”

The couple also discussed names. They settled on Carlos Jr. for the boy and Tracey and Paisley for the two girls. Erica couldn’t decide on the other girl’s name. They thought they had plenty of time to figure it out.

“‘We can decide after she’s born,’ ” Carlos recalls Erica telling him.

Some 24 people – doctors, nurses, family and friends – were in the delivery room when the babies were born. Each weighed from two to three lbs. For Carlos, it was the moment of a lifetime.

“I forgot about how expensive it was going to be to raise four kids or how hard it might be,” he says. “Seeing Erica and the babies healthy is all I could think about. I was just so excited for our future.”

Erica, who was coming out of an anesthesia-induced sleep, squeezed her husband’s hand. She couldn’t yet speak. Carlos sat by her bedside, with their newborn babies in the nursery one floor away.

Code Blue

Suddenly, around 1 a.m., Carlos heard equipment alarms going off and saw nurses rushing into the room. The medical team asked him to leave while they worked on Erica.

An hour later, they told him she was gone. He heard their words but couldn’t understand.

“How could this have happened?” he asked, something that still haunts him today. “She was fine, and then she wasn’t. She was alive and then she was just gone.”

He still asks himself every day if there is something he could have done to keep his wife alive.

“I went from having the best day of my life to the next morning experiencing the worst day of my life,” Carlos says. “My four babies came into the world and then my wife died.”

When he was sitting by his babies in the middle of the night after she passed away, the nurse asked him what the babies’ names were.

Carlos gave the nurse the three names they had agreed upon. The other girl’s name he chose himself: Erica.

Living for His Children

Carlos continues to grieve for Erica every waking minute. She lives in his dreams. The one thing that keeps him going: The babies.

Carlos Jr. and Tracey are already home; Paisley and Erica are still in the hospital. Carlos goes to visit them every day while his mother-in-law cares for the babies at home. At the hospital, Carlos is also a student, paying close attention in the free baby-care classes it offers.

“I’m learning everything from how to give them a bath, CPR, feeding, and how to manage their sleep schedule,” he says. “I need to be prepared.”

“Everything I do now is for my children,” Carlos, who will return to work, tells PEOPLE. “Our family and friends have been very supportive too.”

One friend, Nicole Todman, created a GoFundMe page where people can donate.

Erica Morales, Photo Courtesy: Carlos Morales
Erica Morales, Photo Courtesy: Carlos Morales

It’s hard for Carlos to think of the future when he still can’t understand the past.

“When I’m alone at home I still tell myself that I hope I’m dreaming,” he says. “Erica was the most special person in the world and she should be here to love her babies.”

Just recently he found a note that she had written on her iPad.

She had jotted down her dreams for her children to go to college, speak both English and Spanish and to have good jobs.

“I will try my hardest to make sure that happens,” he says.

And he draws comfort from his Catholic faith. He knows when he held all four babies for the first time after they were born, 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 was doing it next to me,” he says.



Dad Calls Sheriff’s Office to Supervise Spanking

Spanking is a divisive issue in America – according to one poll, 78 percent of parents say spanking can be appropriate, while most parenting experts warn against it. In the eyes of the law, though, it’s acceptable: Corporal punishment is legal in all 50 states.

But just to be on the safe side, one father in Florida called in the local authorities last week to supervise as he spanked his 12-year-old daughter.

“My understanding is that the father was going to render corporal punishment to his daughter,” Undersheriff Neal Stephen, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, tells Yahoo Parenting. “She said ‘no you can’t, it’s abuse.’ And the father said ‘Okay, let’s call the sheriff’s department to find out.’”

Stephen says one of his deputies answered the call, went to the family’s home, and told both the father and daughter that corporal punishment was within the dad’s rights as a parent.

The father spanked his daughter four times with a paddle, according to the incident report.

Stephen says the call to his office was for the father to prove to the daughter that spanking was legal. “We have an ‘asking why’ generation,” he says. “Adolescents question what exactly parents can do, which makes parents begin to question. There is a misconception among kids that spanking isn’t an option for parents. I’m not saying it’s the answer, but it’s their prerogative.” Since the deputy was already there, the father asked him to stay to supervise the paddling, Stephen says.

But just because something is legal doesn’t make it right, and Stephen says he and Child Services don’t always interpret parental behavior in the same way. “I’m there to determine whether or not a criminal act took place,” he says. “Child Services is there to determine if something was right by their statute. We may not always agree on our interpretation of what happened.”

Dr. Alan Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center, says corporal punishment is ineffective. “Moderate or severe spanking doesn’t change behavior,” he tells Yahoo Parenting. “It stops it in the moment, but doesn’t change the rate of the behavior in the coming days, months or year, and will actually increase the negative side effects.” These side effects can include increased risk of mental health problems, short-term and chronic physical health problems, and even an altered immune system.

So what should parents do? “The better route is one that focuses on building the behaviors you want,” Kazdin says. “Instead of punishing, praise incidents where kids do good things.”

“This dad was right, the law intervenes only in extreme cases,” Kazdin says. But if he wants his daughter to stop misbehaving, he might take another route next time. “Based on the evidence, spanking is an ineffective way to change people.”

Stephen says this isn’t the first time his department has answered a call from a disciplining parent. “We’re not in the service of standing by while parents spank their children,” he says. “But I’ve seen this maybe a dozen times in my 27 years on the job.”

Source: Yahoo