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Mother chooses to have baby instead of cancer treatment

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A mother of three had a difficult decision to make. Cara Combs was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma while she was pregnant. She decided to go against her doctor's advice to have the baby. A sacrifice that may have cost her life.

Combs found out she had cancer at 23 weeks. Her doctors advised her to have the baby immediately.  She wanted to wait to give the baby a chance to survive.  This meant postponing her cancer treatment.  She was going to start after the baby was born.

This is Cara Combs Facebook status update from November 13th:

"I feel it's time to post this because I know a lot of information is going around. Last week I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. I am also 25 weeks pregnant. I can't begin treatment while pregnant so I have some tough decisions to make. Against the advice of my oncologist, I am choosing to delay my treatment for three weeks in order to get the baby to 28 weeks. There is no good decision here. We will both be fighting for our lives and I feel incredibly guiltily about that. I saw a dermatologist last year and she didn't find anything concerning. Even my oncologist can't find the source. At 38 you don't expect to find out that you are dying. It definitely puts things into perspective. All I can say is enjoy every minute with your kids and don't stress about little things. The baby will probably be born the first week of December and I will start treatment 48 hours later. I know we are in for some big upcoming battles. Thank you for all of the support we have received so far. It is very much appreciated!"

The family went to have their photos taken on December 4th.  Emily Lucarz says this was good timing because Cara Combs went into labor the next day.   The family's photographer writes:

"Welcome to the world baby Shaylin. "Shay". Arriving today 2 lbs, 1.2 oz, she is doing amazing. They are even going to try and take out her breathing tube this evening to see how she does. "

Cara passed away early on December 8th.  She did get to meet the baby. Her husband posted this update to their GoFundMe page.

"I wanted to let everyone know that we lost Cara Walters Combs this morning. I don't have to tell you how great of a person she was. She will be missed by all. I always knew she was destined for greater things. We all have a perfect angel looking over us. She was the strongest person I ever met and the best wife and mother. She sacrificed everything so her legacy could live on. Thank you all for your support and prayers. She was my everything and always will be."

Cancer may have had a role in her death.  Combs needed a life-saving treatment after the Shay was born.  She couldn't get a transplant because of her cancer diagnosis.

Emily Lucarz Photography posted these pictures to Facebook with this caption:

"Heaven gained a new Angel this morning. Cara was an amazing wife, mother, daughter and sister. She sacrificed everything so her new little one could live on. She was truly an amazing person and mother. Many prayers and hugs for her family during this difficult time, and continued prayers for baby Shaylin (who is doing well, thanks to Cara)."

Over 200 people have donated to the Combs family GoFundMe page. They are still just short of their goal of $25,000.

The original goal of the fundraising effort:

"We have decided to set up a GoFundMe account so that the family can continue to provide as much normalcy to the kids as possible during this difficult time. We appreciate everyone’s love and support."

You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/zxaxzq68