By Dave Andrusko
Half-way through their compassionate and thoughtful story about the passing of a much beloved wife, mother, relative, and friend, the Detroit Free Press’ Ann Zaniewski and Elissa Robinson, wrote, “Nick and Carrie were married for 17 years. They met at church, when she was 10 and he was 12.”
Without that knowledge, it would be difficult to appreciate the reason behind and the beauty of Carrie DeKlyen’s decision to give up her chance to prolong her life against the onslaught of a viciously malignant brain cancer in order to save her unborn baby girl.
Mrs. DeKlyen died Friday morning, two days after giving birth to Life Lynn DeKlyen, who weighed 1 pound 4 ounces. “Nick said he and his wife came up with the name before Carrie got sick,” Mr. DeKlyen told the Washington Post’s Kristine Phillips. Life Lynn is reportedly doing well.
As we reported last week, in April Mrs. DeKlyen underwent brain surgery in an attempt to stave off for at least a rapidly growing brain cancer. When the couple subsequently discovered the glioblastoma multiforme had returned, they also learned Mrs. DeKlyen was pregnant with their sixth child.
Mrs. DeKlyen, 37, “chose to forgo clinical trials and chemotherapy to treat brain cancer, since it would have meant ending her pregnancy,” the New York Daily News’s David Boroff reported.
“That’s what she wanted,” Mr. DeKlyen told Phillip. “We love the Lord. We’re pro-life. We believe that God gave us this baby.”
Their tragedy was compounded in July when Mrs.DeKlyen suffered a massive stroke from which she never regained consciousness. She was 19 weeks pregnant at the time.
For several weeks she received her nourishment through a feeding tube and was on a breathing tube. By the time Carrie was 22 weeks pregnant, Phillips wrote,
her baby wasn’t growing fast enough, weighing only 378 grams, or eight-tenths of pound. To survive birth, the baby had to be at least 500 grams, just a little more than a pound, Nick said.
Another two weeks went by. Good news came: The baby weighed 625 grams. The bad news was the baby was not moving.
Nick said he was given two options. He could do nothing and hope the baby starts moving and continues growing. But doing nothing meant his child could die within an hour. Or he could authorize a Caesarean section. Nick chose the latter.
Life Lynn DeKlyen, was born at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Mrs. DeKlyen lived briefly after she was unhooked from life support.
“I sat by her the whole time. I kind of held her hand and kissing her, telling her that she did good,” Mr. DeKlyen told Phillips. “I told her, ‘I love you, and I’ll see you in heaven.’ Early on Friday morning, Carrie opened her eyes, Nick said, then closed them again. She clenched her hands tightly, then slowly, she stopped breathing. “
Sonja Nelson is Mr. DeKlyen’s sister.”I want people to know she gave of herself for everybody,” she told the Detroit Free Press. “In her last days, she gave of herself for her own child.
“We are proud of her.”