DETROIT — A tiny preemie whose gravely ill mother had hoped to save her by shunning chemotherapy during pregnancy has died, a relative said Thursday.
Sonya Nelson said her niece, Life Lynn DeKlyen, died Wednesday evening at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Life’s mother, Carrie DeKlyen, died Sept. 9, three days after giving birth to her sixth child.
Relatives said Life had been doing better than expected after being born prematurely at 1 pound, 4 ounces (567 grams). Nelson told The Associated Press the baby had good and bad days at the hospital, but “took a turn for the worse” this week.
“We don’t have any answers,” Nelson said, adding “the cards were kind of stacked against her” after being born at 24 weeks and five days into the pregnancy — about “the earliest you can survive.”
“Maybe Carrie needed her,” Nelson said. “It is comforting for us to know that she went home to be with Carrie.”
Carrie DeKlyen declined to participate in a clinical trial or undergo treatment for the brain cancer, because it would have meant ending her pregnancy. Her husband, Nick DeKlyen, has said their decisions were rooted in their Christian faith.
The DeKlyens are from the western Michigan city of Wyoming. They have five other children who range in age from 2 to 18 years old.
“Our deepest sympathies go to the DeKlyen family during this time of sorrow,” hospital officials said in a statement. “Our team is saddened by the losses of Carrie and Life, and we hope their friends and family can find comfort and peace from their memories.”