Gift for dying husband: Mom induces labor so he can hold child
He held his newborn baby for less than an hour before he died.
Mark Aulger, 52, had been diagnosed with colon cancer, and months of chemotherapy had left his lungs badly damaged -- so damaged that by mid-January he only had a few days left to live. Doctors suggested that Aulger's wife, who was eight months' pregnant and due Jan. 29, induce labor.
“Mark said, 'I'd like to see the baby,' " Diane Aulger, 31, told the Associated Press.
She gave birth to Savannah Aulger on Jan. 18.
Hospital staff arranged for the Aulgers to share a large labor and delivery room. “Our beds were side by side,” Diane Aulger said.
After the baby was born, Diane Aulger passed the infant to her husband. "He got to be the first one to hold her, [and he] held her for 45 minutes," Diane Aulger told WFAA.
But during the next few days, she said, her husband was so tired he could only hold the baby for minutes at a time. Three days after Savannah was born, Mark Aulger slipped into a coma. Two days later, he died.
“I brought her home the night before he fell into the coma,” Diane Aulger told the Associated Press. “It was just me and Savannah when he passed away.”
Savannah is the couple's third child together, and Diane has two other children from another relationship. The family lives in The Colony, about 25 miles north of Dallas.
“We're living day-to-day as if Dad's still here,” she said. “We know Dad is here with us.”
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston
Photo: In this Jan. 18 photo, Mark Aulger, 52, holds newborn daughter Savannah for the first time, surrounded by his wife, Diane Aulger, and their other children. Credit: Diane Aulger / Associated Press