NORFOLK, VA (WTKR/CNN) – A man's brush with death left him in a medically-induced coma and affected his memory, to the point where he didn’t remember his wife was nine months pregnant.
John Lancaster, 27, thought he had a bad cold when he started coughing in January, but when he couldn’t breathe Jan. 17, his pregnant wife, Erica, encouraged him to go to the hospital.
"She's my life-saver,” John said.
At first, doctors didn’t know what was wrong, and the 27-year-old’s condition only worsened. He was flown to Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, VA.
John doesn’t remember the flight.
"I remember having a cough, and then I remember going to the hospital in Elizabeth City, [NC], and then I woke up here,” he said.
When John regained consciousness, he says he also didn’t remember his wife being pregnant.
The 27-year-old was in a medically-induced coma for 18 days. During that time, doctors detected an undiagnosed heart condition that was affecting John’s lungs.
"Seeing him on the ventilators, that was just scary,” Erica Lancaster said.
Erica gave birth to the couple’s baby girl Jan. 24, the same day her husband had surgery to keep his lungs functioning on their own.
"After delivering her, an hour later, I made my sister wheelchair me down before his procedure,” Erica said.
Baby Kimber was born weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Ironically, her father works at 7-Eleven.
John is full of gratitude to his wife and newborn daughter, saying holding the little girl for the first time was “better than any medicine in the world.”
"They keep me wanting to push to get out and get better,” he said.
He also praised the team of doctors who saved him.
"They're rock stars. They really came together. They worked together to do great, and they saved my life,” John said.
Copyright 2018 WTKR, Lancaster Family via CNN. All rights reserved.