“Special girl” Nevaeh Eddy was just 6 weeks old when she died.
“Special girl” Nevaeh Eddy was just 6 weeks old when she died.

Mum sleeps beside 6-week-old baby, wakes to find her dead

Exhausted from caring for her dying mother, a Christchurch woman did not mean to fall asleep with her 6-week-old daughter in her bed.

Sequioa Eddy, 18, is still haunted by the morning in February when she woke to find her "special girl", Nevaeh, lifeless next to her.

"I still feel guilty for what happened. I know I shouldn't have had her in bed with me.

"She had her own bassinet. It was just the first time I had slept with her. She was just a mummy's girl and didn't go to sleep without mum.

"I woke up at 7.30 in the morning and she was still breathing, and then I woke up at 8.25am and she was dead. I woke up to her dead next to me.

"It was like when you wake up and you feel like you're still in a dream, but I wasn't.

"I tried to give her CPR three times but it didn't work."

Ms Eddy gave birth to Nevaeh on New Year's Day, the same day her mother and best friend, Tanya Eddy, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Six weeks later, her daughter would be dead, and two weeks after that, so would her 42-year-old mum.

"It's been such a struggle to come to terms with this.

"I can't change what happened ... but I can't stop wishing that I could. I sucked it all in and didn't cry, I didn't have time to. I do have my moments now and then."

Her first weeks as a mother were spent caring not only for her newborn daughter but for her dying mother and three younger brothers, 13-year-old twins and an 11-year-old.

"She [her mother] died in my arms six days after my daughter. It was sad watching her be in so much pain and I couldn't do anything.

"I was giving her showers and getting her dressed and feeding her."

She said Neveah's father went to prison shortly after she fell pregnant, and the first time he saw his daughter was after her death.

"I've had no support the whole way through from the time my mum passed away."

Falling pregnant aged 17 changed her life for the better, she said.

The Parklands woman said reading the coroner's findings into her daughter's death had been harrowing, compounded by the fact that since the tragedy, she has been struggling with post-natal depression.

In his findings, released yesterday, Coroner David Crerar said Nevaeh's death on February 12 was a stark reminder of the risks of co-sleeping and a "classical summary of what ought not to have occurred".

The coroner expressed his sympathy and condolences to the family, and hoped coverage of the story would highlight the risk of co-sleeping.

"It is hoped that the publicity provided to the circumstances of the death of baby Nevaeh will serve as a warning to others that the risks of co-sleeping are real."

Ms Eddy said she was also waiting for a Family Court decision that will rule on the custody of her siblings, whom she cares for with her older brother, Danyon Eddy-Kumar.

"I don't plan on having any kids at all after this. The whole thing, I just can't do it again," she said.

"I can't even hold a baby since I lost my daughter."

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