Diane Aulger was about two weeks before his baby daughter’s delivery date, his husband Mark Aulger found out he had only a few days to live. His loving wife made sure father and daughter got to meet.
It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood tear-jerker, but the story is all too true for a Dallas-area family. Mark Aulger, 52, was hospitalized with complications from colon cancer. His wife, Diane, 31, was two weeks away from delivering their fifth child. When the doctors told the Aulgers that Mark had only five or six days to live, “Mark said, ‘I’d like to see the baby,'” Diane told the Associated Press. So the doctors induced pregnancy.
It was on December 11, 2011, when Mark Aulger received the good news after battling cancer for months, that he was officially in remission from cancer after a grueling treatment of chemotherapy for eight months
The good news coincided with the arrival of his soon-to-be daughter, who’s due date was fast approaching.
Initially, the Aulgers were hopeful. But the good news was not meant to last.
“He thought he’d be coming home in a few days with an oxygen tank,” said Diane Aulger, who lives in The Colony, about 25 miles north of Dallas.
Mark Aulger was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease caused by scared or damaged tissue. To add insult to injury, the doctors thought the disease came about because of the grueling chemotherapy treatments he endured to fight off cancer.
But on Jan. 16, the doctor delivered more bad news: Mark Aulger’s condition was fatal. When Diane Aulger asked how long her husband had, the response was a sobering five or six days.
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That’s when mom came up with the shocking plan to give birth two weeks early to make sure her husband had a chance to see his daughter before he died. Doctors helped soon-to-be mom Diane induce labor, so she could give birth to her daughter while Mark was still alive.
The birth came on January 18, 2012. Mark was in the delivery room while his wife battled through labor. The baby girl came into the world, and doctors told Mark that his oxygen levels were strong enough for him to spend forty-five minutes, not a minute longer, with his newborn daughter. He spent that limited time holding her close, feeling her tiny but strong heartbeat, and savoring the close contact with the newborn girl.
The following day, January 19, 2012, Mark slipped into a coma. He lost consciousness before he ever got a second chance to hold his daughter.
Nevertheless, Diane kept the baby girl close to dad while he was in the coma. He even seemed to react to her cries and touch. He’d move his hand toward her and shake his head when he heard her crying.
Mark passed away on January 23, 2012. He was surrounded by loved ones and his family. Although he met his end too soon, at least he had one chance to hold his newborn daughter before he slipped into a coma and passed away.
Diane shared her family’s story with The Doctors television show. In the video below, you can hear from the family and see how the tragedy shaped their lives in the months afterward.
Watch it here: Youtube/TheDoctors