Parents Who’ve Lost a Baby Understand the Importance of Chrissy Teigen’s Bereavement Photos

Photo credit: Chrissy Teigen/Instagram
Photo credit: Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

From Woman’s Day

Trigger warning: this post discusses infant loss.

Melanie Rodger was a 20-year-old soon-to-be mom living on a military base in Japan with her husband, as excited as anyone would be when they’re expecting. She had enjoyed a textbook pregnancy for 32 weeks, imagining all the future memories she would make as a mom to a newborn son. Then, during a routine OB-GYN appointment, her doctor started to show concern: at 35 weeks pregnant her belly was measuring about the same as it was at 32 weeks. Something was wrong.

“The OB called me on a Friday night, and we had tickets to see the new Harry Potter movie out in town at a Japanese theater,” Rodger tells Woman’s Day. “I remember the phone ringing right before we left and I thought, ‘Who would be calling on six o’clock on a Friday night?’ So I answered the phone and it was the OB I had seen that day and he had told me that they were more concerned than they’d ever been my entire pregnancy.”

Rodger had been diagnosed with “intrauterine growth restriction” — a condition in which a fetus grows smaller than it should be and, as a result, is at higher risk of low birth rate, decreased oxygen levels post-birth, problems handling the stress of labor and delivery, trouble maintaining body temperature, and high red blood cell count. Her doctor told her they would likely induce her at 37 weeks, but not to worry: at most an induction would require a week’s stay at the hospital and some steroid injections for her son so that his lungs could develop. The following Monday, Rodger was induced.

“I remember this rush of excitement, like ‘OMG it’s finally that time to have a baby and he’s going to be here. He’s going to be our baby,'” Rodger says.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Melanie Roger
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Melanie Roger

After 32 hours of labor, baby Bennett was born at 2:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Rodger wasn’t able to hold him, as he was rushed to the warming table and then quickly to the nursery. But still, she wasn’t worried. “When he was born alive and crying I didn’t think there was going to be any situation when he wasn’t coming home with us,” she says.

30 hours later, baby Bennett died.

So when Rodger saw the pictures Chrissy Teigen posted of her pregnancy and infant loss, she instantly knew how Teigen felt. The helplessness that follows the realization that there’s nothing more the doctors can do. The pain of having all your future plans — all the family outings, birthday parties, and lazy Sundays spent cuddling on the family couch — that you’ve conjured up in your brain suddenly vanish. The devastating emptiness and overwhelming sense of longing that leaves you almost breathless the moment you walk out of the hospital without a baby.

“I saw the first picture she posted, just looking down at her feet

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