I started this post about a month or so ago. I need to get his story down on paper before I start forgetting some of the details. There are some things that happened surrounding the birth of our son that would make most people upset, or mad, but as we have learned through his short life and the short time we got to be with him, that most things happen for a reason. I hope this post can help some of you feel some of the blessings that little Austin has brought to our family. I hope you post your comments to this story, and if you do, do not focus on the things that were hard or difficult about the situation, but focus on the miracle that is God's plan for each one of his children, including our little Austin Terry. The following is his story:
On November 16, 2007 we went in for an ultra-sound to find out the gender of the baby. We were all very excited. Keena and EC were excited as we had decided to take them. We had taken them to a previous ultra-sound almost a year before. It was the ultra-sound to just hear a heart beat. We didn't hear a heart beat that day in January, as we found out Jodi was having a miscarriage. This ultra sound was different. Jodi had been carrying the baby for 5 months. While much less active then either of the girls were in the womb, she had felt the baby move...I had felt the baby move.
The Dr. came in started doing the ultra sound and announced that we would be having a boy. There was no excitement in his voice. He then told us that his head had a severe deformation. Apparently, his skull had never completely formed and his brain had grown outside of his head. It took a minute for it to sink in. I remember Keena asking me if the baby was going to die. It is amazing how much understanding a 6 year can have. I told her yes, the baby was going to die. She started to cry pretty hard. It hit her very hard. She kept sobbing, "I don't want the baby to die." We all felt that way. We left the Dr.'s office trying to digest the tragic news we had just received. I was going to have a son, but he would not live.
This all happened the weekend before Thanksgiving. We were scheduled to go to a specialist and get a second opinion. The specialist confirmed what the first Dr. had diagnosed. He outlined a little bit more what the baby's chances would be. He said that there was a 10% chance the baby would live until birth at full term. There was much less of a chance the baby would live through birth, and an even smaller chance he would live any significant time after birth. He also told us that any amount of time he were to live after birth, he would be in a complete state of vegetation. He would not be able to see, hear, breath on his own, eat, feel, nothing. He recommended that for Jodi's health we terminate the pregnancy. He then left the room for us to make our decision.
The decision came fairly quickly for me. As we know, we are here on this earth to progress and grow. If we would have gone full term, Jodi would have been put at more risk. I felt very peaceful about terminating the pregnancy, and allowing Austin to continue to progress. Jodi also felt this way. We asked the Dr. if we could wait until after Thanksgiving, as we were headed to Idaho right after the appointment. He agreed. They would induce Jodi on Monday November 19th.
We made it home to my parents house later that day. It was good to get away for a couple of days. It was nice to have family around for support, and to not really have to worry about much as we were still digesting all that had transpired over the previous week. While in Idaho, Jodi's grandfather passed away very suddenly. He had a massive stroke and died. He was in perfect health. The funeral was set for Monday. Jodi called and pushed the appointment back to Wed. the 28th.
After the funeral, we returned to Utah. On the night of the 18th, we went into the hospital so Jodi could get some treatments that you get when you are being induced. We were at the hospital for about 3 hours. The next morning we showed up at the hospital at 6 in the morning so she could be induced. At about 12:00 pm the nurse came in and said the Dr. had told her to increase the pitocin. Soon after the nurse "increased" the dose, her contractions stopped. About an hour later the nurse came in to tell us she had stopped the drip. They had discovered that Timpanogas Hospital was not allowed to do this procedure. To make a long story short, they sent us home, telling us they would try to see if the University of Utah hospital could do it. This actually turned out to be a blessing.
At this point we kind of started second guessing ourselves. Were we making the right decision, should we be going full term. That night the bishop came over, and we talked with him. Again, we felt a very strong spirit that we were doing the right thing. We were scheduled to go in Friday morning the the U of U. They said if something opened up they would call us sooner. At that point we called my mom to see if she could come be with the girls.
Thursday the 29th, the hospital called and asked us to be there that evening at 6:00. We left the girls and went in. The staff and dr.'s at the U of U were amazing. They treated us like royalty, and were very sensitive to the situation. Amazingly, we were both able to get some sleep that night.
In the morning of Friday the 30th, Austin Terry Garner was born. He was born alive, and while he didn't move, his heart was beating. As we held him, I felt prompted that the girls should be there with us. Jodi felt the same. I called my mom, and had her get Keena out of school and bring them down. This was their brother, and they had just as much right to meet him and know him as we did. The girls came in, and were so cute. He had a bag of skin, that came out of the back of his head. That is what held his brain. The girls didn't even care. They held him, they rocked him, the kissed him, and they sang to him and they loved him. EC did not want to let him go. Before it was time for them to go, she asked Jodi, "Can I sing just one more song to him?" She then sang the song from Barney, "I love you, you love me". It was very touching. I am so glad that we had them come to the hospital.
Austin lived for about two hours. The hospital made molds of his hands and his feet for us. There was even a photographer that volunteered her time at the hospital, and came in and took pictures for us. It was hard to say goodbye to Austin. I gave a couple of blessings over the course of this week. To be honest I can't remember what I said in which blessing, but I remember things that were blessed. I blessed Jodi in the Timpanogas hospital and I gave Austin a name and a blessing. I remember saying that Jodi had been called to give Austin a body. That he was an elect spirit and that he only needed a body as his work needed to continue on the other side. I also blessed her to know, that he would be spending time with our family, and would be present during family home evening and family prayer. He would also take care of her and watch out for her from the other side.
It has almost been 2 months since he past away. He is very much a part of our family. I remember soon after he died, I was trying to put our Christmas tree in the tree stand. It hit me, that I may never have a son to help me do stuff like that. I have never been one that absolutely must have a son. I love my two girls very much, and would be fine to have more girls. That being said, I do have my son, it will just be some time before I can be with him. The girls talk of Austin daily. Sometimes EC wants to set a place at the table for him. Occasionally one of the girls will say how they miss Austin. I miss him too, but know that he is not far away. It has been a great teaching opportunity for us, to build their testimonies of the plan that God has for us as a family. While I would not wish these events on anyone, I am grateful we have gone through them. It has blessed us as a family, and strengthened our testimonies. I know that because of Jesus Christ, we are an eternal family. I am very proud of our son, and am striving to live in a manner that will allow me to raise him and live with him forever.
Here are some pictures of our family: