Content warning: this article discusses miscarriage.
Supermodel Chrissy Teigen has opened up about the tragic loss of her son Jack when she was 20 weeks pregnant in a heartbreaking new essay for Medium.
In the refreshingly honest piece, the 34-year-old details how she and her husband, musician John Legend, bade farewell to their baby boy shortly after he was born on October 1.
“My mom, John and I each held [Jack] and said our own private goodbyes, mom sobbing through Thai prayer,” she wrote.
“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.”
Chrissy, who shares four-year-old Luna and two-year-old Miles with John, goes on to reveal how she was diagnosed earlier on in her third pregnancy with ‘partial placental abruption,’ a serious condition where the placenta partly separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.
She experienced an abnormal amount of bleeding and was put on strict bed rest for a month in order to “get the little dude to 28 weeks, a ‘safer’ zone for the fetus”.
The bleeding became ‘heavier and heavier’ and Chrissy was admitted to the hospital where she received ‘bags and bags of blood transfusions’ in an effort to keep her baby alive.
Sadly, Jack’s condition was so severe that he was unable to be saved, and Chrissy’s life was at risk as well.
“After a couple nights at the hospital, my doctor told me exactly what I knew was coming — it was time to say goodbye. He just wouldn’t survive this, and if it went on any longer, I might not either,” she wrote.
“Late one night, I was told it would be time to let go in the morning. 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.”
‘I needed to share’
The Lip Sync Battle host explained why it was so important for her to document her miscarriage with photos which she shared on social media that same day.
“I had asked my mom and John to take pictures, no matter how uncomfortable it was. I explained to a very hesitant John that I needed them, and that I did NOT want to have to ever ask. 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.”
The moving images prompted an outpouring of grief and condolences from Chrissy’s fans online, however, there were some who felt such an intimate moment should be kept private — not that she cares.
“These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me,” she said.
Chrissy added that she’s been incredibly touched by the kindness she’s received from strangers such as the checkout operator who ‘quietly added flowers’ to her cart.
“The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers.
“I beg you to please share your stories and to please be kind to those pouring their hearts out.”
She concluded the essay with a touching tribute to her late son and a big thank you to all those who have supported her and her family during such a trying time.
“Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see.
“Thank you so much to every single person who has had us in their thoughts or gone as far as to send us your love and stories. We are so incredibly lucky.”
A terrible loss
After several days in hospital battling to maintain her third pregnancy, Chrissy took to Twitter on October 1 to announce her and John’s devastating loss.
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” she wrote in a caption of her sitting heartbroken on a hospital bed.
“We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough.”
In a Tweet an hour later, Chrissy shared her distress at leaving the hospital.
“Driving home from the hospital with no baby,” she wrote.
“How can this be real?”
Everyone from celebrity pals to fans reached out with touching words of support, many thanking the star for being brave enough to share a loss that is often kept private.
“My heart breaks for you,” one woman responded. “Every mom’s worst nightmare.”
“Thank you for sharing this experience,” another wrote. “You are bringing light to what has long been shrouded in darkness.”
The cookbook author also shared that she and John had decided on a name for the baby, calling him Jack.
Chrissy paid tribute to her baby who she said would ‘forever’ be a part of their family.
“We will always love you,” she wrote online.
Chrissy’s pregnancy updates
Chrissy had been regularly updating fans on the baby’s progress on her social media accounts after she was hospitalised due to bleeding that had been ‘going on for a month’.
Chrissy earlier revealed she had issues with her placenta and compared baby Jack’s plight to being stuck in ‘ the sh**tiest house’.
“In the simplest of terms, my placenta is really, really weak,” she wrote at the time. “I feel really, really good, the baby is so healthy, growing stronger than Luna or Miles.”
“But basically he’s the strongest, coolest dude in the sh**tiest house,” she continued. “His house is just basically falling apart. It didn’t have a good foundation, to begin with.”
“Yeah, it is scary, “she admitted. “But in the way that there's just really nothing to do.”
Chrissy announced the pregnancy in August in husband John’s music video for his song Wild.
The pregnancy was a surprise after she underwent IVF with Luna and Miles.
She also revealed that she had a false-negative pregnancy test before having breast implant removal surgery in June.
With additional reporting by Penny Burfitt.
For support on miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death you can visit Sands.