Our Birth Story After Stillbirth
Our daughter, Eden Cove Rooney, was born on November 28, 2022.
She was born breathing. Screaming and full of life.
Praise God. After 37 weeks and 2 days of waiting.
Pregnancy after child loss is intense. My anxiety during Eden's entire pregnancy was high. Constantly poking her to ensure she was alive. Constantly needing validation that she was moving.
I guess that's what stillbirth will do to you mentally. And emotionally.
The progress and healing that you thought you had somehow seems gone. When we found out we were expecting another baby, it had only been a little over a year that we lost our son, Noah.
Were our hearts healed enough to celebrate this new life? God was ready but were we?
We were terrified of the possibility of losing another child..
As our pregnancy progressed, we knew each day was a reason to celebrate her life. Each movement was a reminder to pray over her in my womb.
The closer we got to the gestation that Noah was when he passed, we became more nervous. More anxious. More fearful. More prayerful. More hopeful.
The mix of conflicting emotions is hard to put words to.
Wanting to choose hope but still so guarded. Wanting to believe in redemption but still hesitant that the Lord would do it for us.
But the Lord was faithful. And I could see His hand in all of the little details surrounding her birth.
Because Noah was born sleeping, and we were labeled as a "high risk" pregnancy, we had the option to be induced at 37 weeks with Eden.
I never thought I would make it that far with her but we did.
A few weeks before our November induction date, Sheri, the labor and delivery nurse for our first son, Roman, announced that she would graciously be our doula for Eden.
This was a God-send. Not only did she want to announce the opening of her doula business with the birth of Eden but she wanted to offer her services to us free of charge.
The day before Eden's induction we got word from our personal hospital connections that their inductions were days behind. I prayed that wasn't the case.
Thankfully, Sheri had some connections of her own from having worked in that hospital years prior. The night before Eden's induction she received confirmation that labor and delivery was all caught up on inductions; surprisingly.
November 28, 2022
5:00am: I called the hospital to see if they had any rooms available. The lady on the phone was as nice as could be and told me to arrive in a few hours.
7:05am: We arrived and got checked in for our induction. The entire car ride I was hesitant to have to visit the hospital's triage room.
That was the room where we learned Noah's heart wasn't beating anymore. That was the room where we learned our son had died.
Thankfully, we completely bypassed that room and got checked in to a labor and delivery room immediately.
8:30-9:30am: Our day-time labor and delivery nurse, Katie started my labs, IV and admission paperwork. I was ready to know how far I was dilated even though my body was showing no signs of painful or steady contractions at this time. Brian prayed over our nurses, doctors, and every hand that would assist in bringing Eden safely earth-side.
9:35am: Doctor Jones arrived to performed my cervical exam. She would be the doctor to deliver Eden, and she, also, the one who delivered Noah the year prior. Her cervical exam showed I was 4cm dilated, 75% effaced and had fetal station of -1. We discussed a plan of care and decided to start Pitocin, non-aggressively, to see if my body would react to it without the full dosage. Breaking my water after four hours was another possibility.
Doctor Jones shared with us that our room, room 123, was her favorite labor and delivery room. Full of natural light and the same room she gave birth to her daughter.
10:13am: Pitocin started at the lowest dosage, 2mg. It increased by 2mg every 30 minutes.
11:38am: I began stretching in bed using the side lying release method on my right and left sides. Then switching to the throne of queen's position. Sheri told us that all of these positions encourage Eden to come further down into the birth canal.
12:00pm: Sheri checked in with Kristina, the labor and delivery nurse who delivered Noah. Weeks before our induction Kristina reached out to us and said that she would be honored to be apart of Eden's birth and our redemption story. Kristina planned to come to the hospital, just for us, once I was in active labor.
1:30pm: By this time, the contractions were becoming noticeable. Not painful, yet. I spent time rocking on the birthing ball while Sheri brushed my hair to help me relax. The gospel music playing in the room often drowned out the increased Pitocin. I was now up to 10mg.
2:20pm: Dr. Jones came again. We discussed the plan to get an epidural and move on to break my water.
3:00pm: Our hospital has a bereavement room for families that have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth. In this room, there is a large tree on the wall.
The tree is full of leaves with names of babies that have passed away.
The last time we were here, one of our nurses added a leaf for Noah. They call this tree the Tree of Life. Our nurse, Katie, asked if we wanted to see Noah's leaf. I suggested going after Eden was born since I was all hooked up to wires; but Brian was persistent on going then, so he went alone.
Moments later Brian came back. With his eyes full of tears he said, "that was the room I called my mom in to tell her Noah passed away." We sat, cuddled up on my hospital bed and cried together.
I wish people knew that life after losing your child doesn't get easier. The thing with grief is that it finds its way into every crack and crevice of the human spirit.
3:35pm: I started fluids in preparation for my epidural. My pain scale was a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10.
4:25pm: The anesthesiologist arrived to give me the epidural. While in the room he starts to make small talk and ask what we do for work. Brian proceeds to tell him that we lost Noah a year ago and started a ministry in his honor. How it is our passion to connect with other bereaved parents and share the hope of Jesus.
The anesthesiologist then tells us that his real passion is outside of the hospital. He shares about his ministry that builds tiny homes for the homeless. How he and his wife considered doing mission work in Africa for some time but now they pour their heart into our local community.
We were encouraged by his faith-based ministry and asked the name of it so we could eventually volunteer. "Eden's Village", he proclaimed. Brian and I were taken back and told him Eden was our daughter's name, who was about to be born.
Yet again, God was in the details.
4:30pm: I was already feeling no contractions. Our nurse, Katie, put in my catheter.
5:45pm: Doctor Jones returned for another cervical exam. By this time, I was 6cm dilated, 90% effaced and still had a fetal station of -1. She then broke my water.
6:00pm: Eden's baseline was 135-140 beats.
7:00pm: Change of shift nurses and, now, Kristina had made it here to be with us.
7:30pm: I was starting to feel more pressure vaginally and, now, increased pain. I requested a cervical check to see if I was further dilated. I was extremely uncomfortable even with an epidural. I didn't remember Roman or Noah's birth being this uncomfortable.
7:39pm: This time when Doctor Jones checked me I was 9 centimeters dilated, 100% effaced, and had a fetal station of 0.
8:19pm: Significant increase of pressure and I felt ready to push. I needed another cervical check to confirm I was fully dilated. Doctor Jones confirmed 10cm dilated, 100% effaced and a fetal station of +1.
8:25pm: I started to push.
8:55pm: After the first 30 minutes of pushing, I was exhausted. I felt like I was making no progress. Contractions were minutes apart and Eden was in the birth canal but every push seemed harder and harder.
I was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally.
9:12pm: After close to an hour of pushing, our sweet daughter, Eden was born. Weighing 7 pounds 9 ounces and 21.5 inches long.
Having an uncanny resemblance to her brother Noah.
I was taken back at first sight.
The facial features and the dark hair reminded me so much of my boy.
I asked for the doctor to lay Eden on my chest as soon as she was delivered.
My request. Don't clean her off. Don't wrap her up. Just give her straight to me. Lay her right on me.
Her birth felt like the most redemptive day of my life. Through the pain, emotionally and physically, I pushed through.
Brian cut her umbilical cord through the tears and for the next hour, what they call the sacred Golden Hour, Eden, laid on my chest and just cried.
Holding her and hearing her cry lifted every bit of anxiety that I experienced while being pregnant.
Many times during Eden's pregnancy, I wasn't sure I could make it.
Physically I was well but emotionally and mentally, I was not.
I can't tell you the number of times where I would wake up in the middle of the night, full of anxiety and wonder, and pray myself to sleep.
Eden will never replace Noah. I miss him in ways that words cannot explain. But I do feel like God giving us the gift of a daughter has healed a tiny bit of my heart.
This article was written by Moria Rooney, Christ-follower, wife, mother, and Founder of the ministry, Mother of Wilde. Moria is based out of Wilmington, North Carolina and has been married to her husband, Brian, for 8 years. Together, they have three children - Roman, Noah (in heaven), and Eden. Moria is passionate about pouring hope and healing into the loss community through her ministry