27-year-old Charlene Flores was admitted to a Fresno area hospital in the early morning hours of October 24 after she began experiencing pregnancy pains weeks before her baby’s due date.
Thinking she’d be fine, she told her husband to go home, get some rest, and make sure their girls got to school okay.
A short while later, she called her husband and urged him to come back to the hospital.
“She FaceTimes me and says I need you here right now,” 30-year-old Elesandro recalled to KFSN.
Charlene had begun to bleed internally while at the hospital and doctors said she needed to undergo an emergency caesarian section to save the baby’s life.
According to Mayo Clinic, while caesarian sections are common and save lives, they involve numerous risks for the mother, including infections, blood clots, cardiac arrest and postpartum hemorrhages. Because Charlene had heart problems and underwent a surgery last summer, there were added risks in going through with surgery, the Bee reported.
While she initially survived the operation, once Elesandro was able to return to the hospital, things quickly turned for the worst.
“So the doctors come back to me in the room saying your baby’s being worked on, your wife’s asleep,” he told KFSN.
He continued: “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.”
The couple’s newborn daughter, Quinn Nevaeh Flores, survived the ordeal but will remain in the NICU for the next few weeks after being born prematurely.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Charlene’s funeral, which has been set for Saturday.
“Before leaving she left us a parting gift of her everlasting love for us through her and her husband’s miracle baby Quinn Nevaeh Flores,” the donation page reads. “We ask in this time of grieving you keep all of those she knew in your prayers.”
With the help of hundreds of donors, the GoFundMe page has raised more than $12,000 so far.
Now, Elesandro and his other daughters — Lanyssa Vasquez, 12; Kiara Flores, 12; Adriene Flores, 8 — are doing their best to heal after the loss of Charlene.
“I told my kids, you’re [an] extension of your mother,” Flores told KFSN. “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.”
Charlene Flores wasn’t Black, but did you know that according to the CDC, Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers?
A Black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy-or childbirth-related causes. In a national study of five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death and injury, Black women were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition.
This is yet another result of of implicit bias within the healthcare system. It must end.