39ºF

Pregnant woman with terminal cancer hopes to give birth before death at U of M Hospital

Carrie DeKlyen battles rare brain tumor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Most patients go to the hospital believing they'll get better, but the family of a pregnant woman at the University of Michigan Hospital knows her chances of returning home are slim.

Carrie DeKlyen is a wife and a mother of five children. Back in April, she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Two weeks later, she found out she was pregnant with her sixth child.

"We have an amazing family," DeKlyen's sister-in-law, Sonya Nelson, told WOOD TV. "I don't know how families that do not have the support that we have get through a trial like this."

Doctors removed the tumor twice, but the cancer has returned, so they recommended terminating the pregnancy so she could try a clinical drug.

"This trial they said would have prolonged her life, medically speaking, even longer," Nelson told WOOD TV. "But they chose to continue with the pregnancy, so this is where we are at today."

Nelson was looking after DeKlyen's 2-year-old son, who likely won't get to see his mother again, but who might have a new baby sister.

"We're just a normal family," Nelson told WOOD TV. "Living, working, and then you feel like your life simply crumples before your eyes."

DeKlyen's family isn't giving up. She had a stroke and is semiconscious at the hospital.

The life expectancy for someone with her form of cancer is 15 months, and now her family is just hoping to keep her breathing for eight more weeks so doctors can deliver the baby at 28 weeks.

"We want her to wake up," Nelson told WOOD TV. "We would love for her to be able to see she gave the child a gift of life."