Stacie Crimm’s life changed dramatically when she learned she was pregnant, as she was filled with joy and excitement about the prospect of becoming a mother. However, Crimm’s world was turned upside down when doctors gave her the news that she had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer.
Concerned about the effect chemotherapy would have on her baby, she refused the treatment or the suggestion to have an abortion. Ultimately, her decision had her sacrificing her own life to save her child, in what many see as a selfless and heroic act.
From the story:
“You’re not going to believe this,” she said.
She laughed and cried all at once that day in March as she explained that five pregnancy tests showed she would be having a child. It was a joyous surprise at age 41 but even more so because she’d been told she would never be able to get pregnant, said her brother, Ray Phillips.
But even as she shopped for clothes for the child she longed to hold in her arms, she knew something was not right.
She sent 159 text messages about her pregnancy to her brother in the months that followed. Many were joyful but then the bone-chilling messages came in during the predawn hours. She said severe headaches and double vision tortured her while tremors wracked her entire body.
“I’m worried about this baby,” she texted.
“I hope I live long enough to have this baby,” said another message. “Bubba, if anything happens to me, you take this child.”
Mold exposure from a remodeling project led to her cancer and the next stage of the decision-making process.
Now she had to choose between her life and her baby’s life. Phillips said she agonized only for a while before deciding against taking potentially lifesaving chemotherapy in hopes that she would soon hold a healthy baby in her arms.
Crimm collapsed at her home in Ryan and was rushed to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City on Aug. 16. Doctors said that the invasive tumor had begun wrapping around the brain stem, slowing squeezing the life out of Crimm.
But on a beautiful sunny morning two days later, Crimm felt good enough to sit on the edge of her hospital bed to visit with her brother. He returned to his medical equipment business in Edmond with a lighter heart.
At noon, the baby’s heart rate plummeted. Then Crimm’s heart stopped 90 minutes later. With “code blue” issued, doctors and nurses rushed to resuscitate her and decided it was best to take the 2-pound, 1-ounce baby, Dottie Mae, by C-section.
Phillips raced back to the hospital, where the baby was in neonatal intensive care and the mother was in intensive care in a separate building.
“Sister was dying right there. She was gasping,” he said. “The human body fights death.”
Last week, Ray Phillips fulfilled his last promise to his sister. Healthy, 5-pound Dottie went home to live with Ray and Jennifer Phillips and her four new siblings.