Stacie Crimm, who had been diagnosed with terminal neck cancer, decided to refuse chemotherapy so her unborn daughter could live instead.
Stacie Crimm, 41, from Ryan, Oklahoma, survived another five months before being forced to deliver her baby daughter Dottie Mae, weighing just 2lbs 1oz (940 grams), by Caesarean section – and even managed to hold her on one occasion before dying three days later.
Stacie Crimm‘s brother Ray Phillips told the Oklahoman: “This baby was everything she had in this world.”
Stacie Crimm called her brother in March when she received the news that she was pregnant after years of thinking she was infertile.
In the next days and weeks, the mother-to-be shopped for all the things her baby would need. Meanwhile, a serious worry began to gnaw at Stacie Crimm, as she was having severe headaches and double vision, while tremors struck every inch of her body.
Stacie Crimm began to tell her brother Ray of her growing concerns.
“I’m worried about this baby,” Stacie Crimm said in one text, according to the Oklahoman.
“I hope I live long enough to have this baby.”
“Bubba, if anything happens to me, you take this child.”
Stacie Crimm was no longer with the father of the baby and would have raised Dottie Mae as a single mother if she survived.
In July, Stacie Crimm visited a number of doctors and a CT scan revealed that she had head and neck cancer.
She had then to choose between her life and that of her baby’s and it was an easy decision.
Stacie Crimm’s brother told the Oklahoman that she refused the potentially lifesaving chemotherapy in the hope that she would eventually hold a healthy baby in her arms.
On August 16, Stacie Crimm collapsed at her home in Ryan, Oklahoma, and was rushed to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
At the hospital, specialists told her the invasive tumor had begun wrapping around the brain stem.
On August 18, the baby’s heart rate plummeted and Stacie Crimm’s heart stopped. Code Blue was issued and doctors decided a Caesarean -section was the baby’s only chance.
Dottie Mae was weighing less than a third of an average newborn. The little baby girl was swiftly taken to neonatal intensive care, while Stacie Crimm was placed in intensive care in another building.
“Sister was dying right there. She was gasping,” Ray Phillips told the Oklahoman.
“The human body fights death.”
Stacie Crimm fought back and managed to wrestle herself off the ventilator and sedation after a few days.
“There was still a lot of hope at that point,” said Ray Phillips’ wife Jennifer.
The cancer had affected one of the new mother’s eyes and destroyed the muscle behind it; had paralyzed her throat so that when she did talk, she was hard to understand. Stacie Crimm had tumors on her brain and she often became unconscious and had not been able to sign Dottie Mae’s birth certificate.
Stacie Crimm was too weak to be taken to her baby, and Dottie Mae 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,” Ray Phillips told NewsOk.
“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 Crimm stopped breathing and once again was resuscitated. Doctors warned her family that she was very close to death.
But Stacie Crimm had not yet held, kissed or looked into the blue eyes of Dottie Mae whose life she had chosen above her own.
Nurse Agi Beo worked with nurse Jetsy Jacob and talked to Neoflight, the medical centre’s neonatal transport team, about using a capsule-like ICU to safely move Dottie Mae to her mother.
“I knew all of this was going on in the background and I didn’t say nothing to her until I knew it was going to happen because I didn’t want to get her hopes up,” Ray Phillips said.
Ray asked his sister what she would think about seeing her daughter that day. Stacie Crimm’s eyes popped open and she began looking around to find her.
Shortly, the two nurses arrived with Dottie Mae and laid her right on Stacie Crimm’s chest. Mother and daughter stared into each other’s eyes for several minutes.
“Nobody said anything, it got real quiet,” Ray Phillips told NewsOk.
“I told my sister, <<You have done a beautiful thing>>. It was the perfect moment, that’s what I called it.”
Stacie Crimm died three days later, on September 11. Her funeral was on September 14.
Stacie Crimm obituary on the Dudley Funeral Homes website reads:
“Dottie Mae was the light of her life and her greatest accomplishment. She chose to give this baby life instead of taking treatment for herself.”
Dottie Mae now lives with her uncle Ray, his wife Jennifer and their four children in their Oklahoma City home.