Sonya Nelson announced Wednesday evening that her niece, whose mother refused chemotherapy to give the baby girl a chance of surviving, passed away two weeks after birth. Carrie DeKlyen was diagnosed with brain cancer in April before she knew she was pregnant with her sixth child. Named Life Lynn DeKlyen, the premature baby was born three days before her mother died Sept. 9.

As her blood pressure and oxygen levels collapsed, Life passed away at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Nelson told The Associated Press the baby had been doing better than doctors had predicted, following her birth at 24 weeks and five days into the pregnancy, which occurred while her mom was in a coma. Life was born at just 1 pound, 4 ounces (567 grams).

Carrie DeKlyen with her family. Image Credit: People
Carrie DeKlyen with her family. Image Credit: People

“Our deepest sympathies go to the DeKlyen family during this time of sorrow,” hospital authorities expressed in a statement, as reported by ABC News. “Our team is saddened by the losses of Carrie and Life, and we hope their friends and family can find comfort and peace from their memories.”

She refused her treatment to save her daughter

The 37-year-old mom had experienced extreme headaches before she was diagnosed with the terminal disease. She had one surgery to try to remove the tumor and another to drain the liquid from her brain, but both failed to increase her chances of surviving.

Based on her Christian faith, Carrie DeKlyen declined to undergo treatment for the stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme. There is a 10 percent chance of surviving five years after detecting this aggressive form of brain cancer. Since the first months of pregnancy are the most critical, the chemotherapy would have disrupted Life’s organ development and ultimately killed the baby girl. Carrie decided to go through radiation treatment in hopes it would allow her to give birth to a healthy child.

Image Credit: Christian Today
Image Credit: Christian Today

The family was warned that Carrie might not survive the delivery given that she was weakened and her life depended on a machine to help her breath. The goal was to get the mom to 27 weeks pregnant before having her daughter but on September 6 doctors were forced to perform an emergency cesarean section in an attempt to save them both.

Doctors had to remove Carrie’s breathing and feeding tubes on September 9 because her body could no longer handle the damages caused by the brain tumor, which did not stop growing. She had been unresponsive since the end of July as a result of a stroke, which led to a medically induced coma as doctors hoped the swelling in her brain would go down.

Nelson made the announcement of Life’s passing in a Facebook post. She wrote that she knew Jesus loved her family and would someday reveal them the reason of this suffering. The Friday before Carrie died, her husband Nick DeKlyen said his wife’s desire to protect the baby was directly linked to her relationship with the Lord.

The DeKlyens, who are from Wyoming, Michigan, have five other kids between the ages of 2 and 18.

Source: ABC News