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Mom delivers baby 2 weeks early so terminally-ill husband could meet his daughter
Mark was able to hold his newborn daughter for 45 minutes.
Ashley Brewer
12.29.21

The birth of a child is one of the most exciting and important moments in the parents’ lives.

And for most, they will hold their child thousands of more times as the years go on. But for one girl, her father held her exactly one time and never any more.

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Mark Aulger held his daughter, Savannah, for a total of forty-five minutes the day she was born and then never again after that. The day after Savannah was born, Mark fell into a coma, and several days later, he passed away.

Below is the story of the days surrounding Savannah’s birth and Mark’s death.

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December 11, 2011: Mark learned he was cancer-free after eight months of going through chemotherapy.

January 3, 2012: Nine days before the birth of his fifth child, Mark was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease caused by scared or damaged tissue. In Mark’s case, this disease was an effect of chemotherapy.

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When it comes to pulmonary fibrosis, most diagnosed have a three to five-year life expectancy with the aid of specific treatments.

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January 16, 20212: Hopes of steroid and oxygen treatments failed, and things began to take a turn for the worse.

Two weeks before Savannah was due, it became clear treatments weren’t working, and Mark wouldn’t have much longer to live. The family was told he had only one week.

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With the assistance of her doctors, Savannah’s mother Diane decided to induce labor early to allow Mark to meet his daughter.

January 18, 2012: Mark rested in his bed in the delivery room while Diana gave birth. Mark’s oxygen levels were high enough for him to hold her for forty-five minutes. And of course, those forty-five minutes were emotional for him and Diane, who says she cried the whole time, understandably.

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January 19, 2012: Mark attempted to hold Savannah again but was unable to. And unfortunately, mark slipped into a coma.

Diane says she would place the baby on her husband while he was in the coma and that his hand would move toward her. She also says if Savannah cried, Mark would shake his head and moan in repose.

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Whether you believe this is possible or not, it is heartbreaking to think about how badly Mark must have wanted to comfort and hold his daughter.

January 23, 2012: Mark passed away surrounded by his family.

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In the days following Mark’s death, the family became overwhelmed with support from others. From money to baby supplies, the love was abundant. Diane was even able to purchase a minivan thanks to the kindness of others, allowing the family to move forward.

This story is full of sadness as father and daughter only share a brief moment together at the beginning of her life and the end of his.

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But it is important to remember the happiness that this opportunity gave Mark in the moment and Savannah for the rest of her life. She can grow up knowing she was held by her father and even has a photo where the special moment lives forever.

The Augler family’s story is full of sadness, strength, and resilience, all in one. Watch more about this incredible story below.

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By Ashley Brewer
hi@sbly.com
Ashley Brewer is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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