Carlos Morales sits on the couch in his living room, rocking his newborn daughter Paisley to sleep in one arm while giving a bottle to Carlos Jr. In the background, his two other babies, Tracy and Erica, are crying in their bassinets in his Phoenix home.
The only thing missing is his wife, Erica, whom Carlos calls “the love of my life.”
The couple’s long-held dream came true in the early morning hours of Jan. 16 when they welcomed four healthy newborns into their lives. They had tried for years to conceive unsuccessfully and had been through one devastating miscarriage. By Erica’s side in the hospital, where she was not yet awake from anesthesia she had been given for her C-section, Carlos couldn’t contain his excitement.
“It was the best day of my life,” Carlos, 29, says in an exclusive interview in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “Nothing in my life had ever made me this happy.”
But then, just a few hours later, that best day of his life turned into the worst.
After initially seeming fine, Erica, 36, went into hypovolemic shock, an emergency condition involving massive blood loss. She died at 1:20 a.m.
Carlos, a soft-spoken warehouse supervisor, brought the last two babies home from the hospital on March 11. And, with the help of Erica’s mom, Sondra Bridges, and a tight-knit circle of family and friends, he is learning to be both mother and father to his newborns.
“These babies don’t know yet what blessings they have given me. They have given me four reasons to live,” Carlos says.
A friend has set up a GoFundMe site for Carlos and the babies. To donate, click here.
To read more about Carlos and the quadruplets, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
For More on Carlos’s Amazing Story:
• Quadruplets Home with Dad Carlos Morales After His Wife’s Death in Childbirth
• Quadruplets’ Dad Raises Money After His Wife Dies in Childbirth
• Dad Cares for Quadruplets After Wife’s Tragic Death in Childbirth