When Carrie Deklyen found out she was pregnant, she had a dream where she was rocking a baby girl. And now, she’s doing so in Heaven. Two weeks before the news of her pregnancy, Carrie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. And since the treatment would require her to abort, the brave mom of 5 refused chemo in order to give her unborn baby a chance at life.
Carrie loved being a mom. She and her husband Nick already had 5 beautiful children together when she got news of her cancer. Doctors diagnosed Carrie with a glioblastoma in April — an aggressive and rapidly growing malignant brain tumor. With treatment, doctors estimated she may be able to live another 5 years.
Making A Choice
Doctors urged Carrie to enroll in a clinical trial at the University of Michigan. And that was the plan until the bittersweet news of her pregnancy arrived. The treatment would mean she’d need to terminate her pregnancy.
It’s something the brave mom of 5 refused to do. And while the idea of life without Carrie terrified Nick, he wanted her to follow her heart and her faith.
"The doctor said if you don't terminate this baby, Carrie, you will die," Nick said. "But it was Carrie's decision and I said ‘What do you want to do?' She said, ‘We're keeping it.' "
Nick and Carrie met at church as kids and became childhood sweethearts. They’d lived nearly all of their lives together. So, this was a big decision.
"She's my only and I'm her only,” he explained. “We've never had anyone else so it's hard to imagine life without her.”
But like Carrie, Nick had no desire to terminate the pregnancy. They made the decision to trust in God’s Will for healing, whether it be here or in Heaven.
Sadly, Carrie’s condition worsened quickly. She underwent 4 brain surgeries to remove the tumor, but eventually suffered a stroke. She would never get the chance to rock her baby girl in this life. Unconscious, she was placed on life support.
Mom Of 5 Refused Chemo To Give Life
Life and death go hand in hand. Carrie knew full well her decision meant death for her. But because of her faith in the Lord, she also knew goodbye is only temporary.
"She's going to miss us, but she knows this life is so quick and we'll see each other again in Heaven," Nick said of his wife’s decision. "Knowing that gives her hope and, I know it's crazy, but I support her decision."
WATCH: Mom Of 5 Refused Chemo To Save Unborn Baby
So, before things got too bad, she and Nick chose the name ‘Life’ for their unborn baby girl. This is why the brave mom of 5 refused to save herself — she wanted her death to bring Life, no matter how short lived.
"We gave up all of Carrie's treatment to give Life a chance to survive," Nick said.
After her stroke, Carrie slipped into a vegetative state and doctors put her on life support. It was tough on her family, but they took comfort knowing this was what Carrie wanted.
Doctors hoped to wait until Carrie reached 28-weeks pregnant before delivering her baby. But as her health declined, so did her baby’s. So at 24 weeks — the earliest a baby can be born and expected to survive — doctors delivered Life Lynn Deklyen via c-section.
Soon after the delivery, doctors took Carrie off of life support. Her family started saying their goodbyes, taking comfort in knowing Carrie was comfortable and "in God's hands until He calls her home."
Three days after the delivery, Carrie slipped away. She was 37 years old. She was surrounded by family, and Nick kissed her forehead, congratulating her on bring Life into the world. One of the last things he told her was “I’ll see you in Heaven.”
“I know I'll see her again, not in this life, but after my time is up I'll be with her again in Heaven," says Nick, who will now raise the children on his own. "She made the decision to give Life a chance at life. And I couldn't be more proud.”
Reunited In Heaven
While Carrie’s fight ended, Life’s was just beginning. The premature girl was born weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces, and experienced a series of ups and downs. Nick even got to hold his little angel.
Life Lynn was a tough, little fighter. But like her mom, her healing waited for her in Heaven. It’s a devastating loss. But even so, this family remains faithful in trusting Jesus.
And for Nick, Life’s passing brought to mind the dream Carrie shared with him after finding out she was pregnant.
"Now the dream she told me is now making sense," he said. "I never thought it would be heaven, but I know that is what she is doing. She is rocking her daughter in heaven."
What Could’ve Been
Had Carrie proceeded with treatment, sure — she would have bought herself a little more time on this earth. But it would have been borrowed time coming at a hefty price. If Carrie aborted, Life never would have been given a chance. Her siblings would never meet her and Nick would never hold his youngest in his hands.
So, while this isn’t exactly the outcome the family had hoped for, they still find peace in knowing it’s what Carrie wanted.
“She made the decision to give Life a chance at life. And I couldn't be more proud,” Nick said.
Family has rallied around as Nick adjusts to being a single parent while mourning the loss of his wife and baby girl. It’s difficult to understand such losses, and that’s when faith is so vital. And this beautiful family is setting a shining example of how to grieve with hope and trust in the Lord!
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