Orange County

After Tragic Loss of Pregnant Wife, Single Father Now Helping Teach Parenting Skills

Last August, an accused drunk driver struck and killed Yesenia Aguilar, who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time. James Alvarez suddenly became a single father to baby Adalyn Rose, born by emergency C-section

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A father, a widower and now a teacher. 

Nine months after his wife was killed, James Alvarez says their daughter is inspiring him to do more than he ever imagined.

In August of 2020, an accused drunk driver struck and killed Yesenia Aguilar, who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time. 

The couple's baby, Adalyn Rose, was delivered in an emergency C-section after the crash.

“Out of all of this, I have this blessing in front of me, and she keeps my spirits high,” Alvarez shared Thursday during a virtual fundraiser for an Orange County nonprofit.

During Aguilar’s pregnancy the couple went to parenting classes at MOMS Orange County to learn all the ins and outs of what to expect, never realizing they would not raise Adalyn Rose together.

Courtesy of family
Baby Adalyn Rose soon after she was born by emergency C-Section last year, at left, and mother Yesenia Aguilar, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver while 35 weeks pregnant.

“When she was in her classes I was right next to her, learning everything that she was learning,” Alvarez said Thursday while speaking at a virtual fundraiser for the nonprofit organization. 

The organization helps “mothers and their families have healthy babies by offering health coordination, education, and access to community services.”

Alvarez credits the nonprofit with teaching him how to be a dad.

“Without this program I felt like I would have been very lost, you know?,” he said. “ Very didn’t know what to do and just going off of what people would tell me. I’ve found out with parenthood, you have to find out your own way of raising your children.”

Not only did he find his way, Alvarez is now teaching other first time dads to relish the journey.

“He is walking them through what he has learned, in effect paying it forward. Giving back,” said Dave Lugo, chief executive of MOMS Orange County.

Alvarez says when he lost his wife he never expected to be teaching others nine months later. 

The case against the driver has yet to go to trial. 

For now, James Alvarez is focused on teaching other fathers that what they have can’t be replaced.

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