"Erica might have left this world, but she brought four beautiful babies into it," Bridges tells PEOPLE

By Caitlin Keating
Updated March 19, 2015 08:00 AM
Credit: Melanie Acevedo

Following his wife’s tragic death just hours after giving birth, Carlos Morales is raising newborn quadruplets on his own. Subscribe now for instant access to this single dad s mission to make his late wife proud, exclusively in PEOPLE.

A month before she was to deliver quadruplets, Erica Morales asked her mother, Sondra Bridges, to make a promise: that Bridges, 56, would help Erica and her husband, Carlos, raise the children, until they were old enough to go to school. Now, still mourning her daughter, Bridges says her job has become even more meaningful.

Erica, 36, from Phoenix, Arizona, gave birth to four healthy babies on Jan. 15, with her husband Carlos by her side. But eight hours later, she went into hypovolemic shock, an emergency condition involving massive blood loss, and died at 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 16.

“Erica told me, ‘Mom, I’m going to need your help. I’m having four babies,’ ” Bridges tells PEOPLE. “So I moved from Memphis, Tennessee, and into their home.”

Family, Bridges says, always comes first – especially when you need them the most.

“I knew right then and there that these babies might not have their mom anymore,” she says, “but they would never be alone.” Before Erica had a C-section, they told each other they loved each other and would see each other soon.

Since that tragic day two months ago, Bridges, warm and voluble but fiercely protective of her family, has been right by grieving dad Carlos’s side as he cares for four newborns.

She is on call 24 hours a day to change a diaper, mix some formula, rock a baby to sleep, and most importantly, talk to the infants about the mom who wanted children more than anything.

“I tell them all about her,” Bridges says. “She was my best friend. She gave me guidance, always offered a unique perspective on everything and had a smile on her face no matter what. This is all bittersweet.”

Although Carlos is now a single dad, he says it would be impossible to get through the days without his mother-in-law.

“She is a savior,” he tells PEOPLE. “I really don’t know what I would do without her. The babies need her, too.”

Bridges remembers the day Erica called her in 2006 and told her that she had to meet a special man named Carlos.

“She told me that she knew he was the one,” Bridges recalls. “When I met him, he gave me the warmest hug ever, and I could see how much he cared about her.”

As Bridges and Carlos sit together in the living room they now share together, she watches him as he tends to two of his babies.

“I know she is proud of you,” Bridges tells Carlos. “That’s why she chose you as a husband and as the father of her children.”

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: