California woman dies after giving premature birth to save daughter

FRESNO, California -- Family and friends are mourning a young mother in California who died after giving birth prematurely to save her daughter's life.

It began when Charlene Flores, of Fresno, couldn't sleep. The pain from her contractions were too much, so her husband took her to Community Regional Medical Center.

Later, she told him to get some rest and make sure their girls got to school OK. Then she called him.

"She FaceTimes me and says, 'I need you here right now,'" husband Elesandro Flores said.

Doctors had told Charlene she was bleeding internally, and that if she wanted to save her baby, she would need to have an emergency C-section.

Charlene had a long history of heart problems, but Flores said his wife authorized the high-risk procedure.

"So the doctors come back to me in the room saying, 'Your baby's being worked on, your wife's asleep,'" he said. "And then (I) heard, 'Code blue.' This lady comes to our door area and says, 'We need you, doctor,' and the doctor rushes back there. And then 20 minutes later, the rest of the doctors and nurses flow in the room and tell me that my wife didn't make it but my daughter's in an incubator getting her treatment."

Elesandro said his wife's heart failed. She was just 27 years old.

In life, she loved, smiled, and put family before herself, as she did last week.

Quinn was born prematurely and will be staying in the NICU for another month or so. Flores said her condition is improving every day.

"I told my kids, you're (an) extension of your mother," Flores said. "You guys are women, and you guys are going to be my life. You guys are going to take that role. You guys are going to take care of me, and I know you will, and they have."

Now on his own, Elesandro needs all the help he can get raising and supporting his four girls. But he knows Charlene is watching from a better place.

The Flores family is accepting donations on their GoFundMe page.

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