Couple loses newborn daughter days before 1-year wedding anniversary

Courtesy: Nowell family

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Murfreesboro couple only got to spend less than seven hours at home with their newborn daughter before waking up in the middle of the night to find the infant not breathing.

Three-day-old Neriah passed away Sunday. Her cause of death still remains unknown.

She was Stacey and Dillon Newell’s first child together, and her death comes at a time when they should be celebrating another milestone – their one-year wedding anniversary.

Photo: WKRN
Stacey and Dillon Newell lost their daughter three days after she was born. (Photo: WKRN)

Neriah was born on St. Patrick’s Day via C-section. The couple said her birth was one of the happiest times of their lives.

“Everything was normal, she was perfectly healthy, there were no complications,” Stacey Newell said. “We were very excited to get home.”

That day though ultimately ended up being one of the saddest days of the Newells lives.

Stacey had just finished breastfeeding her Neriah Sunday night and the two fell asleep in her bed.

“[I] woke up hours later,” Stacey said. “I felt odd because she didn’t wake me up and I found her and she was not breathing.”

The new mother quickly started CPR.

“By the time I got to the 22 compression the police had arrived,” she said.

The mother said performing CPR is hard enough, but to have to do it on her newborn baby was even harder.

Paramedics took the infant to St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital where doctors were not able to revive her.

“To find out that she was alive a little while longer before we got to the hospital where she passed away, means I gave her life twice,” Stacey said.

“She was more than anything I ever wanted,” the tearful mother added. “We were so prepared. I can’t tell you how prepared we were. We had everything, literally everything from clothes to bottles, and everything.”

Photo: WKRN
The couple will celebrate their 1-year wedding anniversary on March 24 – their daughter’s initial due date. (Photo: WKRN)

The couple said its hard being in their apartment, so they had family and friends remove all the baby items.

“I can’t even stand to look at it, and when we are at the house we can’t even go in the bedroom anymore,” Stacey said.

Dillon Newell said despite the short time with his daughter he is thankful for it.

“It was the happiest couple of days of my life,” Dillon Newell said.

Neriah’s original due date would have been tomorrow, March 24, which also happens to be the couple’s one year wedding anniversary.

“Happy one-year anniversary love, but it’s not really happy,” Dillon said while comforting his wife.

“She was our light,” Stacey said.

Murfreesboro police told News 2, they are investigating the case as an unattended death.

Police did request an autopsy be performed, and are awaiting the results from the State Crime Lab.

Family members have set up a GoFundMe account to help the couple with funeral expenses.

Click here for more information or to donate.

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