Baby born to Wyoming mom battling cancer dies

Carrie DeKlyen
Left: A courtesy photo of Life Lynn DeKlyen, who was 1 pound 4 ounces at birth. Right: a courtesy photo of Carrie DeKlyen with some of her family.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The baby born to a terminally ill Wyoming woman who decided against experimental treatment so she could maintain her pregnancy has died.

Fifteen-day-old Life Lynn DeKlyen died Wednesday night at a hospital in Ann Arbor.

It’s a story of tragedy and a test of faith. Carrie DeKlyen already had five children when she learned in April she had terminal brain cancer. She found out she was pregnant two weeks later. During the pregnancy, DeKleyn told family members she had a dream about rocking a baby girl.

Life Lynn’s birth gave her family hope. That hope continues despite her death and the death of her mother.

“Looking back at it now, she is rocking a baby girl. She’s just rocking her in heaven,” Sonya DeKlyen Nelson, DeKleyn’s sister-in-law, said.

Months ago, doctors offered DeKlyen an option: A clinical trial may help her fight the cancer longer, but she would have to end the pregnancy. DeKlyen said no to the treatment. Doctors managed to keep her alive before delivering Life Lynn 24 weeks into the pregnancy. Born Sept. 6, she weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces.

DeKlyen was taken off life support three days later.

Life Lynn died Wednesday night.

“Born at 24 weeks, the cards are typically stacked against you. … And they just couldn’t get her blood gas levels where they needed to be and her body just could not fight anymore,” Nelson said.

The family has endured so much tragedy — the kind that might cause some to shake a fist at God and ask why.

“To be honest with you, sometimes I want to do that,” Nelson said. “I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.”

But from the beginning, the family has relied on their faith. They shared their story so others may find comfort in it.

“We believe there is a purpose for this story,” Nelson said. “What that purpose is yet to be seen. But I do believe there is a purpose. I don’t believe God would put us through this for nothing. “

Nelson says the story has attracted the attention of some Hollywood producers. The family is open to having their story told, but only if the right message is conveyed.

“We have only spoken with people we feel are trustworthy,” Nelson said. “We’ve been very, very careful with who we’ve spoke with.”

DeKlyen had five other children ages 2 to 18. The family has created a GoFundMe page to help their father, Nick DeKlyen, raise them.