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Dad raising newborn quadruplets alone after wife's death: 'We're just doing our best'

Story by Eun Kyung Kim March 18, 2015 at 9:21 AM ET

After Carlos Morales and his wife, Erica, struggled for years to start a family, the birth of quadruplets brought what he called "the best day of my life." But then, in a tragic twist of fate, heartbreak followed joy: Erica died after childbirth.

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.

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."

Their friend Nicole Todman created a GoFundMe page where people can donate to the family. It has raised almost $350,000.

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By Caitlin Keating  03/13/2015 AT 04:05 PM EDT - 

"I am so blown away by how kind people are to donate," Carlos says. "It's unbelievable."

Carlos looks like a natural, tending to crying Erica, who was named after her mother, while calming Carlos Jr. down at the same time, but he admits that this was never the plan.

"Erica was supposed to be here. We were supposed to do this together," he says. "She was so prepared for this. She even wrote down in her iPad every single thing she had to make sure she had to do to have a healthy pregnancy."

Although Erica is gone, she is present throughout every inch of the house. Portraits of her and Carlos sit on counter tops, and photo albums are out in the open.

Carlos isn't going to raise his four children on his own. His mother-in-law, Sondra Elaine Bridges, has moved in and is right by his side every step of the way.

"I made a vow to Erica before she passed that I would move here and help them for a few years," she tells PEOPLE while feeding Carlos Jr. "I don't plan on leaving. These babies are going to have an amazing life and always know how much their mother Erica loves them."

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