Heroic mother dies to save her baby
Ask anyone what their definition of hero is and you’d probably get something that Hollywood has conjured up.
Images of Aragon, the one true King of Middle Earth wielding his sword high above Mount Doom, Captain Kirk commanding Starship Enterprise to another galaxy and beyond, Mad Max casually walking away from a futuristic Los Angeles, as it crumbles down in fire and mayhem…and William Wallace, blue faced and angry while leading an army to victory — all while wearing a skirt. These are the definitions of heroes that we have come to know and associate with.
Heroes who are carved out of fantasy and lore, heroes who are made — one retake after another on a studio lot somewhere…heroes who have no relevance to our lives whatsoever. But today, we found a real-life hero whose life is indeed worth making a movie out of.
Faced with the knowledge that only chemotherapy would save her from terminal neck cancer, newly-pregnant Stacie Crimm, made the ultimate sacrifice. The 41-year-old, who had been told by doctors she would never be able to conceive a child, decided to refuse the treatment so that her unborn daughter could live instead.
Stacie was able to survive for five months before being forced to deliver Dottie Mae, weighing just 2lbs 1oz, by Caesarian section – and even managed to hold her on one occasion before succumbing to the disease three days later.
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‘This baby was everything she had ever wanted in this world,’ Stacie’s brother Ray Phillips said in an interview with local newspaper, the Oklahoman.
It was he that Stacie had called in March when she received the delightful news that she was pregnant after years of thinking she was infertile. But strange things started happening to Stacie over the next couple of days.
Her happiness over the unexpected news was plagued with severe headaches and double vision, while tremors struck every inch of her body. She couldn’t tell for sure what was happening to her, but she was astute enough to be worried.
“I’m worried about this baby,” she wrote in a text to her brother.
“I hope I live long enough to have this baby,” said another message.
The messages grew more desperate as the pain grew worst; “Bubba, if anything happens to me, you take this child.”
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Stacie was no longer with the father of the baby and would have raised her daughter as a single mother if she survived.
A heroic sacrifice
Not able to prolong her fears anymore, Stacie finally went through a series of health checks and finally, a CAT scan revealed that she had head and neck cancer. The doctors told her that the cancer cells were rapidly progressing and that if she wanted to live at all, she needed to start the chemotherapy sessions as soon as possible.
Problem was, the chemotherapy will ruin the miracle baby she was carrying in her womb. She had to do what no would-be mother should ever have to – – chose between her life and that of her baby’s.
It was an easy decision.
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Ray told the Oklahoman that his sister waived the potentially lifesaving chemotherapy in hope that she would eventually hold a healthy baby in her arms. Then on August 16, Stacie collapsed at her home in Ryan, Oklahoma and was rushed to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Doctors said the invasive tumour had begun wrapping around the brain stem. Two days later the baby’s heart rate plummeted, followed by the courageous mum’s. Doctors and nurses rushed to her aid and decided a C-section was the baby’s only chance.
Dottie Mae arrived into the world weighing less than a third an average newborn. She was quickly taken to neonatal intensive care, while her mother was placed in intensive care in another building. Stacie fought back and managed to wrestle herself off the ventilator and sedation after a few days.
But the cancer had crossed one of her eyes and destroyed the muscle behind her eye. It had paralysed her throat so that when she did talk, it was hard to understand. Stacie was too weak to even be taken to her baby, and her baby was too weak to be brought to her.
“We’d show her pictures and she would cry and she would want to hold her baby,” said Ray.
“It was quite the ordeal. I felt helpless. I wanted to help her, I wanted to do what I could for her – we all did – but they had told us it was impossible for her to see the child”.
On September 8, Stacie stopped breathing and once again was resuscitated. Hospital staff warned the family that she was very close to death.
Seeing how close Stacie was to death, the nurses decided to let her hold the baby she gave up her life for. Stacie held her baby for the first and last time with the help of the nurses for she did not have the energy to do it on her own.
She died three days later. Her funeral was held on September 14.
Dottie Mae now lives with Ray, his wife Jennifer and their four children in their Oklahoma City home.
What Stacie did was truly heroic and a true testament to the unconditional love a mother bore bears for her child. Mothers around the world have applauded her decision with comments such as;
“I would have done anything for my son, from the day I found out I was pregnant until the day that I die.”
“I admire this woman for doing this for her daughter, and I would do the same in a heartbeat! Whether I had a choice or not!” by a reader of The Stir.
Candace from the US wrote on the DailyMail.com forum:
“I wish all people could value a child’s life as much as she has. Her daughter will one day be touched to know how much she was absolutely cherished by her mother.”
“Death cannot break the bonds of love.”
Another reader wrote on the same site; “At least Dottie will grow up know her mum was a hero.”
And we agree.
Pregnant Mom Sacrifices Life So Baby Can Live
Cancer-stricken mother dies three weeks after giving birth to daughter she saved by refusing chemotherapy treatment