My husband Tim and I are the children growing together, losing each other and then finding each other story. Our parents are best friends and we did everything together as a family. Through the years as we children grew, we went on with our lives and went our separate ways. I was 16 the first time I told Tim I loved him. He was serving in the military and it was the time of Desert Storm. He would not take the risk on beginning a serious relationship when he was on his way to war. So we parted ways.

Ten years later we re-connected but because of our different views at the time things did not work out, this went on for the next couple of years and then we drifted apart again. Then in 2006 we took a chance again, and everything aligned correctly. We were both in the same place and wanted the same things. We were married 8 months later and found we were pregnant 5 months after that.

On Christmas Eve 2007 it was confirmed that Austin Duane Shanks was on his way. We were so excited and so was Timmy, his big brother, Tim’s son from a previous marriage. Although Timmy was 15 at the time he so wanted a little brother. Christmas day 2007 was when we told everyone. It was the best Christmas present we could have ever gotten. I was so excited to tell everyone. I placed a note in a baby bottle and wrapped it as a gift from Santa. When my mom opened it she had no idea it was from me. When she realized it was me she was so excited. You see, I have wanted children for as long as I can remember and have not been able to get pregnant. But when Tim I finally came together, it was magic. The hardest thing was the waiting.

My pregnancy was uneventful. I never had morning sickness and no problems were detected. We had our 3-D sonogram Wednesday July 23rd and saw a lively beautiful boy. Then Friday night the 25th at 36 weeks I woke thinking my water had broken to only find blood. We were devastated to find that Austin had no heart beat. It was the worst day of our lives. Since they told us we could be in labor for hours we sent everyone home. Within 15 minutes of them leaving I was 10 centimeters dilated, so we called the family back. Our precious baby bean Austin Duane Shanks was born July 26, 2008 at 1:26 p.m., he weighed 3.8 lbs and was 17 inches long. Three days later I stood beside a hand dug hole to watch my son be laid to rest. I could not leave his graveside until they were finished. We created him and were lucky enough to be able to make sure he was properly said goodbye to.

As we continue on in our lives, Austin is still here with us and always will be. He is a missing piece of our family but one that will always be remembered and included. Until we are together again we carry him in our hearts every day and will never forget that even though he did not stay long, he has made a lasting impressions on everyone’s heart. One day we will have him forever and we will shower him with the love we hold for him. Until that day we visit his resting place each Sunday but talk to him every day. We have created a memorial rock garden for him and do special things to remember him throughout the year. We have not yet begun to attend family functions again but hopefully in time when our hearts tell us we are ready.

Tim and Charity Shank

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