A Michigan baby, whose mother declined cancer treatments in an effort to save the newborn's life, has died, her family announced on Facebook.
Life Lynn DeKlyen passed away Wednesday evening, her family said. Her mother, Carrie DeKlyen, passed away earlier this month shortly after giving birth to Life Lynn, her sixth child.
“Carrie is now rocking her baby girl,” the family wrote on Facebook. “I have no explanation of why this happened, but I do know Jesus loves us and someday we will know why. The grief we feel is almost unbearable, please be praying for our family.”
The family also shared a Bible verse:
A mother’s sacrifice
Carrie DeKlyen, a 37-year-old mother from Wyoming, Michigan, and her husband, Nick, were married for 17 years before her death. They met at church when she was just 10 years old. He was 12.
According to WDIV-TV, Carrie began having headaches in March. In April, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A month later, she discovered she was pregnant.
In an interview shortly after his wife’s death earlier this month, Nick DeKlyen told the Detroit Free Press that they were told Carrie could try chemotherapy or a clinical trial that would almost certainly prolong her life. But both options meant she would have to terminate her pregnancy.
"Me and my wife, we are people of faith," Nick DeKlyen said. "We love the Lord with everything in us. We talked about it, prayed about it.”
"I asked her, 'What are you thinking?' She said, 'All the treatments, I'm not doing any of them.' We went back to the surgeon. He said 'If you choose to do this, you will not live another 10 months. I promise, you will die.' Even with everything on the table, my wife chose the baby," he said.
In June, at just 19 weeks pregnant, Carrie slipped into a coma. Doctors said they were unable to save her, but honored her wish to try to save her daughter’s life by keeping her on life support.
"We’re pro-life," Nick said. "Under no circumstance do we believe you should take a child’s life. She sacrificed her life for the child."
Doctors monitored Life Lynn’s progress, waiting for her to grow. But they realized she had stopped growing, so they delivered her on Sept. 7 at just 24 weeks and five days. She weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces at birth.
After Life Lynn was born, Nick and Carrie’s doctors decided to remove her life support.
"I want people to know she gave of herself for everybody,” Nick's sister, Sonya Nelson, told the Detroit Free Press. “In her last days, she gave of herself for her own child. We are proud of her."
Carrie's story was featured on EWTN's Pro-Life Weekly prior to her death:
Another tragedy, but still hopeful
The family said Life Lynn was doing well in the days following her birth, but took a turn for the worse last week. She died Wednesday.
Nick said his wife was at peace with their choice.
"She chose to have the baby. That’s what she wanted, and I supported her," he said. "She had the baby, and now it's time to go home. She's going to heaven. She's going to be healed."
Nick said he knows he’ll be reunited with Carrie one day.
"This life is so quick," he said. "I’m 39. It feels like I’ve blinked; I don’t even know where my life went. Before I know it, I’m going to be an old man. I’m going to pass away, and I’m going to see her again. I understand that. That gives me peace."
Nelson told The Associated Press that “we don’t have any answers” as to why they lost her niece as well, adding that she understands “the cards were kind of stacked against her” since she was born so early.
“It is comforting for us to know that she went home to be with Carrie,” Nelson said.