Earlier this month, model Chrissy Teigen shared the devastating news that she and her husband, singer John Legend, had lost their son, Jack, at 20 weeks gestation. Teigen posted a series of black-and-white photos on Instagram in an act of transparency rarely seen in regards to the loss of a child. Now, Teigen has gone into more detail about the complications that led to the loss of her son in an essay on Medium. Warning: Teigen’s testimony may be disturbing for some readers.
One of the difficulties Teigen experienced was hearing other people celebrating the life of a new baby who was born adjacent to her room while she was experiencing a painful loss. “Here we were, just wheeled down to a new floor, me covered in a thin blanket to hide, knowing I was about to fully deliver what was supposed to be the 5th member of our beautiful family, a son, only to say goodbye moments later,” she wrote. “People cheered and laughed right outside our door, understandably for a new life born and celebrated. You kind of wonder how anyone is thinking about anyone but you.”
Meanwhile, she had come to accept that she was going to need to be induced at 20 weeks — too early for Jack to survive. “I was previously on bedrest for over a month, just trying to get the little dude to 28 weeks, a ‘safer’ zone for the fetus. My doctors diagnosed me with partial placenta abruption,” she wrote, adding, “[T]his was my first abruption. We monitored it very closely, hoping for things to heal and stop. In bed, I bled and bled, lightly but all day, changing my own diapers every couple of hours when the blood got uncomfortable to lay in.”
Doctors attended to Teigen at home, and though they warned her of what was likely to happen, she said she clung to hope that Jack might still survive. But things eventually became so dire that her own life was at stake.
“My bleeding was getting heavier and heavier,” she said. “The fluid around Jack had become very low — he was barely able to float around. At some points, I swore it was so low I could lay on my back and feel his arms and legs from outside my belly.”
Teigen was given numerous blood transfusions, yet none of them helped. It became time for Jack to be induced, before her own life was lost. “Late one night, I was told it would be time to let go in the morning,” she recalled. “I cried a little at first, then went into full blown convulsions of snot and tears, my breath not able to catch up with my own incredibly deep sadness. Even as I write this now, I can feel the pain all over again. Oxygen was placed over my nose and mouth, and that was the first picture you saw. Utter and complete sadness.”
Some people harshly criticized Teigen for the photos she posted, though many more people applauded her for being so honest and open about pregnancy loss. In her essay, she explained why she felt it was so important to have the photos taken.
“I explained to a very hesitant John that I needed them, and that I did NOT want to have to ever ask,” she said. “That he just had to do it. He hated it. I could tell. It didn’t make sense to him at the time. But I knew I needed to know of this moment forever, the same way I needed to remember us kissing at the end of the aisle, the same way I needed to remember our tears of joy after Luna and Miles. And I absolutely knew I needed to share this story.”
She added that the photos were there for people that needed them — her, and people like her, who have suffered the loss of their children alone, in silence.
When it came time for Jack’s delivery, she said it didn’t take much effort to push him out because he was still so small. “I opened my legs and started to turn to face John and just like that, he was on his way out. The doctors yelled for a bit and… I don’t know what to say, even now. He was out,” she wrote. “My mom, John and I each held him and said our own private goodbyes, mom sobbing through Thai prayer. I asked the nurses to show me his hands and feet and I kissed them over and over and over again. I have no idea when I stopped. It could have been 10 minutes or an hour.”
Teigen wrote that his ashes are going to be planted with a tree in the new house they bought, specifically because it had a room meant to be for him. And she shared how lucky she felt to be showered with so much love afterwards, from random strangers in the grocery store checkout line to people handing her notes of sympathy. Teigen said their son will always be part of their family: “Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see.”
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