Woman who chose baby instead of chemotherapy dies

Carrie DeKlyen decided to forego chemotherapy to save her unborn child. She died a few days later.

Carrie DeKlyen decided to forego chemotherapy to save her unborn child. She died a few days later.

An American woman who sacrificed the chance to prolong her life in order to give birth to her sixth child has died, her husband says.

Nick DeKlyen said his wife, Carrie DeKlyen, died on Saturday (Sunday NZ Time), surrounded by family at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.

He said among his last words to her were: "I'll see you in heaven".

"We stayed by her until she took her last breath," Nick DeKlyen said. "It's in God's hands now."

Doctors removed Carrie DeKlyen's feeding and breathing tubes on Thursday (Friday NZT), a day after she gave birth to her daughter Life Lynn DeKlyen. The mother chose to forgo chemotherapy to treat her brain cancer, since it would have meant ending her pregnancy.

Life Lynn was born prematurely, at 24 weeks and five days into the pregnancy and weighing 567 grams. Nick DeKlyen said his daughter was doing better than expected in neonatal intensive care, gaining weight and "almost breathing on her own".

"She's going to be fine," he said. "She's going to be here for 4 or 5 months, but we expect her to be a healthy baby ... The doctor just said the timing (of the birth) couldn't have been more perfect."

The couple, who are from the western Michigan city of Wyoming, have five other kids who range in age from 2 to 18 years old. Nick DeKlyen said the family was strong in its Christian faith.

"My wife loves the Lord and she loves her children more than anything," he said on Friday (Saturday NZT).

"It's painful," he added. "But this is what she wanted. She wanted to protect this child."

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Since Carrie DeKlyen's cancer diagnosis in April, the family has been sharing updates about her and her pregnancy on the Facebook page Cure 4 Carrie. Posted on the page on Saturday (Sunday NZT) was a reference to a Bible verse, John 15:13, which reads: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."

 - AP

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