The model and actress shared details about the harrowing experience of delivering her third child, after days of receiving multiple blood transfusions in an attempt to compensate for heavy blood loss. The complications resulted from a condition called partial placental abruption, in which the placenta starts detaching from the uterus, which causes heavy bleeding and clotting in the pregnant woman and deprives her unborn baby of nourishment and oxygen.
Teigen’s husband John Legend and her mother, Vilailuck Teigen, were both by her side in the delivery room, providing support and then grieving together after she delivered Jack.
“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.”
“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.”
In her essay, Teigen went on to share that what has helped her most in the three weeks since she lost Jack has been the kindness of strangers. “I went to a store where the checkout lady quietly added flowers to my cart,” she wrote. “Sometimes people will approach me with a note.”
Teigen also shared that “for weeks, our floors have been covered in flowers of kindness.” She and Legend also read every note sent “with teary eyes,” even the virtual ones. “Social media messages from strangers have consumed my days, most starting with, ‘you probably won’t read this, but…’. I can assure you, I did.”
Also the mother of Luna (4) and Miles (2), with Legend, Teigen wrote she was deeply touched by the number of people who reached out to her, following the news Jack was stillborn. “Many shared incredible personal experiences, some shared books and poems.”
It was a comfort when people gave her permission not to reply to their thoughtful words and gifts, while she was deep in grief, Teigen added. “For me, the ‘no need to respond’ note was such a true relief. I thank you for each and every one of those,” she wrote.
In the spirit of acknowledging and sharing an experience that’s often hidden even though it’s so common (one in four pregnancies ends in loss), Teigen asked her mother and Legend to document their time in the delivery room.
Her husband “hated it. I could tell. It didn’t make sense to him at the time,” she wrote. “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.”
Teigen faced criticism from some social media users for documenting the loss of her baby. But she wrote in her essay she had no regrets:
“I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos. How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them.”
One regret Teigen does have is expressing her joy at this third pregnancy and documenting her experiences with such optimism, even as complications arose. “Stories leading up to this had been chronicled for all. It’s hard to look at them now,” she wrote. “I was so positive it would be okay. I feel bad that I made you all feel bad. I always will.”
She urged women to talk about pregnancy and infant loss, so they don’t have to go through their grief alone. “I beg you to please share your stories,” she wrote, “and to please be kind to those pouring their hearts out.”
Read Teigen’s full essay here.
Find Canadian resources to help with the grief of pregnancy and infant loss here.
WATCH: MOVING ON AFTER THE DEVASTATING LOSS OF A BABY