Modesto Preschool Teacher Dies Suddenly after Asthma Attack

MODESTO-- It is the quirky kind of thing you notice when you’re doting on every inch of your newborn baby girl.

“Yeah, she’s got her mama’s feet. That’s the only part she got from Stephanie I think. Just the toes,” the girl's father, Ismael Iniguez, said.

But Ismael’s fiancé, Stephanie Kessel, only got two months of motherhood.

“She was always thinking about the baby before herself and it might have cost her her life. I don’t know,” Iniguez said.

Stephanie Kessel's BBQ Fundraiser Flyer

Ten days ago, the 35-year-old was having trouble breathing. It was her asthma acting up again.

She insisted on driving herself to the emergency room in Modesto, with her breathing machine on in the car.

"She still made like five bottles (for the baby) before she took off to the ER," Iniguez told FOX40.

Now, Ismael is left wondering if she had not waited to prepare those bottles for little Emilie. If she got to the hospital before her airway closed so tight, would she still be alive?

“They couldn’t get air to her fast enough. So she was pretty much gone two minutes after she arrived. That’s what they told me,” he said.

An asthma attack so severe that Stephanie died.

“But never said she couldn’t breathe like that,” Stacie Kessel, Stephanie's twin sister, told FOX40.

Kessel was absolutely stunned. She has asthma as well, and said that Stephanie was using allergy medication, steroids, inhalers and nebulizer treatments to live with hers.

Stephanie and Ismael tried for a baby for 10 years. During that time, Stephanie took care of other babies as a preschool teacher -- most recently at Merryhill preschool in Modesto.

"She treated them like as if they were her own," Kessel said. "Coming through that door every day. Greeted them with smiles, with hugs, with kisses.”

Stephanie was scheduled to return to work from maternity leave a few days after she died.

Now, baby Emillie is in Merryhill’s infant program.

"I’m gonna try to do her proud and raise this baby as best I can," Iniguez said.

A GoFundMe has been established for Stephanie.