Northridge nurse and mother of 6 dies from COVID-19 shortly after giving birth

NORTHRIDGE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just over two weeks ago, 30-year-old Ashley Gomez was working on the frontlines as a nurse at congregate living facilities in Van Nuys.

At the same time, the Northridge woman was pregnant, raising five boys. Then out of the blue, with no known exposure, she experienced her first COVID-19 symptom: shortness of breath.

"Then she started having a small cough, and the fever kicked in," said her husband Wilber Gomez, who says she insisted on fighting it at home. "She was just a rock star, she tried to wait till the last minute. She's like, 'No, I got this, I can do this.' She liked to power through everything."

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But family convinced her to go to the hospital, and the next day she was admitted to Kaiser Woodland Hills. When things got worse, she had an emergency C-section, bringing her son Corey into the world. It led to better breathing, but because of her COVID-19 status, she had to stay isolated.

"She got to see just the picture, so she didn't get a chance to hold him, to kiss him or anything," Wilbur said.

The next day, her health declined again and despite her efforts to avoid it, her aunt says they had no choice but to put her on a ventilator.

"It's confusing to think, how can she had been progressing and in a matter of hours, hours, it just turned," said Valerie Wolff.

Ashley's final moments now haunt her mother.

"We were there, yeah, it was hard. As soon as they turned off the machine, that was it," said Veronica Gornick.

In an instant, her boys were left with only memories.

"Sometimes when I struggle doing homework, mom always comes in and helps me," said 8-year-old Zachary Gomez.

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"She's the reason I'm here today, to be hearing her as I'm going to school on Monday," said 11-year-old Ryan Gomez.

"She tried so hard to help us all with school. She tried to give us everything she could. She fought so hard to get us the best presents for Christmas," said 9-year-old Jacob Gomez.

Two of the boys have a different father, who died a year and a half ago. Wilber considers them all his own, grateful Ashley's legacy lives on sixfold -- something he realizes as he looks at his newborn son.

"I see her in him. I see all that in each of the kids," he said.

Now, a plea to help them find comfort.

"Just pray for this family, pray for these boys. They've gone through so much and they deserve to have some relief," said Wolff.

Relatives also started a GoFundMe page to ensure the family doesn't have to worry about finances during this difficult time.

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