THE COLONY - Less than an hour.
That's how long 52-year-old Mark Aulger got to see his daughter, Savannah, before he died.
The Colony father had recently learned that he had survived colon cancer, but his wife said months of chemotherapy badly deteriorated his lungs.
"It was basically like his lungs were soaked in concrete," Diane Aulger said. "They couldn't inhale or pass oxygen throughout the body, he was in essence, suffocating to death."
In January, his condition worsened, and he was admitted to the hospital.
Doctors said his lungs were badly scarred and he was given just days to live.
His 31-year-old wife, who was eight months' pregnant, was induced two weeks early on January 18 so Mark would be able to see his unborn daughter.
"He got to be the first one to hold her, [and he] held her for 45 minutes," Diane Aulger said.
Those few moments together are all he got. Mark fell into a coma a few days later.
Savannah is the couples' third child together, and Diane has two other children from another relationship.
But Diane Aulger said all the kids treated Mark like their father.
"My ten-year-old said, 'Is dad asleep?' [And] I said 'No, he's in a coma,'" Diane said through tears. "He said, 'Is he going to make it?' I said, 'No,' and he screamed. My eight-year-old screamed and cried, 'I'm not going to have a daddy.'"
Mark died on January 21, five days after his daughter was born. He spent his final moments in a coma.
His family was by his side, his infant daughter Savannah under his arm and holding his wife's hand.