-Stacie Crimm gave birth by Caesarian on August 18 as heart rate plummeted
-Mother met baby girl Dottie Mae just once as she battled in intensive care
-Three days later, on September 11, Stacie died in Oklahoma hospital
-Her brother and his wife will now care for the girl, who weighed 2lbs at birth
By Laurie Whitwell
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Trade: Stacie Crimm, right, refused chemotherapy for cancer so that her unborn baby Dottie Mae, left, could survive
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 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 Caesarean section - and even managed to hold her on one occasion before succumbing to the disease three days later.
Sacrifice: Dottie Mae will now be cared for by Stacie's brother Ray Phillips and his wife Jennifer
'This baby was everything she had in this world,' Stacie's brother Ray Phillips told the Oklahoman.
It was he Stacie called in March when she received the unfathomable news that she was pregnant after years of thinking she was infertile.
'You're not going to believe this,' the mother-to-be had told him in a mixture of laughter and tears, according to The Oklahoman.
But over the next days and weeks, as she shopped for all the things her baby would need, a serious worry began to gnaw at Stacie. She was having severe headaches and double vision, while tremors struck every inch of her body.
She began to tell Ray of her growing concerns. 'I'm worried about this baby,' she said in one text, according to the Oklahoman. 'I hope I live long enough to have this baby,' said another message. 'Bubba, if anything happens to me, you take this child.'
Stacie was no longer with the father of the baby and would have raised her daughter as a single mother if she survived.
At her family's encouragement, Stacie visited a number of doctors and in July, a CT scan revealed that she had head and neck cancer.
Emotional: The moment Stacie was able to meet her baby daughter before she passed away. Also pictured are her siblings Ray and Elizabeth
Tiny: Dottie Mae was delivered four months early by Caesarean section, weighing just 2lbs 1oz
She had to do what no would-be mother should have to - choose between her life and that of her baby's. It was an easy decision.
Ray told the Oklahoman that his sister waived the potentially lifesaving chemotherapy in the 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, the Oklahoman reported.
Two days later the baby's heart rate plummeted, then Stacie's heart stopped. Code Blue was issued. 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 of an average newborn.
She was swiftly taken to neonatal intensive care, while her mother was placed in intensive care in another building.
'Sister was dying right there. She was gasping,' Ray told the Oklahoman. 'The human body fights death.'
Stacie 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's wife Jennifer.
Loving mother: Dottie Mae was able to meet her mother before Stacie died three days later on September 11
Part of the family: Stacie's brother Ray Phillips has taken Dottie Mae into his home with his four children after the baby's father left his sister
But the cancer had affected one of her eyes and destroyed the muscle behind it,
It had paralysed her throat so that when she did talk, she was hard to understand. She had tumours on her brain. She often became unconscious and had not been able to sign Dottie Mae's birth certificate.
Stacie was too weak to 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,' Ray 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 stopped breathing and once again was resuscitated. Hospital staff warned the family that she was very close to death.
But she had not yet held, kissed or looked into the blue eyes of the baby whose life she had chosen above her own.
Nurse Agi Beo, herself a mother, could not bear to think of Stacie's emotional pain and decided to do something about it.
She 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.
Special unit: Dottie Mae had to be transferred into an ICU module so she could be taken from intensive care 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 said.
He asked his sister what she would would think about seeing her daughter that day. Stacie's eyes popped open and she began looking around to find her.
Soon the nurses arrived with Dottie Mae and laid her right on her mother's chest. The two stared into each other's eyes for several minutes.
'Nobody said anything, it got real quiet,' Ray told NewsOk. 'I told my sister, "You have done a beautiful thing". It was the perfect moment, that's what I called it.'
Stacie died three days later. Her funeral was on September 14.
Her 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 Ray, his wife Jennifer and their four children in their Oklahoma City home
'I think she's a miracle. I just want to do right by her and do what Stacie asked,' Jennifer said.