Woman who chose baby instead of chemotherapy has died

This October 2013 family photo shows Carrie DeKlyen and husband Nick DeKlyen in Grand Rapids, Mich. Carrie DeKlyen sacrificed the chance to prolong her life to give birth to her sixth child. Doctors removed Carrie's feeding and breathing tubes on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, a day after her daughter, Life Lynn, was born at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. DeKlyen chose to forgo clinical trials and chemotherapy to treat her brain cancer, since it would have meant ending her pregnancy. Their daughter was born prematurely, at 24 weeks and five days into the pregnancy and weighing 1 pound, four ounces. (Michelle Werkema/Courtesy of Sonya Nelson via AP)

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan woman who sacrificed the chance to prolong her life in order to give birth to her sixth child died early Saturday, her husband said.

Nick DeKlyen told The Associated Press that his wife, Carrie DeKlyen, died 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, 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 1 pound, four ounces (567 grams). Nick DeKlyen said his daughter is 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 is strong in its Christian faith.

“My wife loves the Lord and she loves her children more than anything,” he said Friday.

“It’s painful,” he added. “But this is what she wanted. She wanted to protect this child.”

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 Saturday 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.”