Christina Perri says she’s grateful she opted to vaginally birth her stillborn over having a C-section: ‘I got to meet her and say goodbye’

Christina Perri speaks about her motherhood journey on the podcast
Christina Perri speaks about her motherhood journey on the podcast "Race to 35." (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Christina Perri is speaking out about her experiences with pregnancy loss.

The "Jar of Hearts" singer, 36, appeared on Monica Padman and Liz Plank’s fertility-focused podcast Race to 35, where she opened up about how she had a miscarriage in early 2020, followed by a stillbirth in November of that year, at 33 weeks.

Perri, who is mom to daughters Carmella, 4, and one-month-old Pixie with husband Paul Costabile, said that she wanted to expand her family after Carmella was born. She became pregnant in 2019, shared the news with family over Thanksgiving and celebrated with a special trip to Disney World. But that pregnancy ended after 11 weeks.

“I was really shocked. I was really heartbroken. I had to get through that,” she said. “But I wasn't hopeless. I think it's worth noting, I didn't think to myself, ‘Oh, I'm not going to try again.’ I thought to myself, ‘This is a genetic randomness.’ I'm not religious. I just believe in science and it being a random genetic abnormality and I was like, I gotta move forward. I didn’t think something was wrong.”

Perri shared that while she had a dilation and curettage (DNC) procedure, which removes tissue from the uterus, she decided against an autopsy on the embryo, which checks for any potential issues that led to the pregnancy loss.

When Perri got pregnant again a few months after her miscarriage, she was eligible for extra scans due to the high risk nature of her pregnancy — and, at the 30-week mark, she learned that there was “something wrong with the baby’s intestines.” In a 10-day window after that, she saw four specialists, and was told by all that the baby would need to be born early and have surgery, but that she would survive. But then, one evening at home after a morning of being monitored at a doctor’s appointment, Perri knew something was wrong, as she no longer felt the baby moving. She went to the hospital and met her doctor there, where she learned the baby inside of her had died.

That left her in the position of having to make an excruciating decision.

“The doctor said to me, ‘Christina, I’ll do whatever you want to do, but if you want to get home to Carmella sooner, you have to give birth naturally, like, vaginally. If you have a C-section, you’re going to be in the hospital for two days. If you have a regular birth, you can go home to Carmella. All I wanted was to go home, because I knew she would be expecting the baby to come home, because I had told her if mommy and daddy don’t come home again, it was because we’re going to the hospital to have the baby. I mean, it was heavy.”

Perri called the doctor “a hero” because ultimately, she was “so glad” that she was able to meet her baby and say goodbye. “We had 12 hours to process what was going on,” she explained, as, even though she was induced, the birth took a while.

“Paul and I bonded, probably the strongest bond we’ll ever have. We were able to talk to our families, we were able to make a plan with Carmella,” she said. “I’m really grateful for that reprieve … I have no judgment for what anyone chooses. I’m just really glad in that moment I chose to do it that way, and that Paul and I got to meet her and say goodbye to her, hold her, and have a moment with her to move on. I think that was important to our experience.” She hadn’t known the sex of the baby until she was stillborn, and since she was a girl, they named her Rosie, in honor of the earlier baby lost who would have gotten that name.

Perri noted that telling Carmella about what happened at the hospital the moment they got home was another challenge for her and her husband — but that the advice she gathered helped her tell the truth, and that, ultimately, Carmella provided surprising solace.

“In my head I was reading a script, you know? I was like, ‘Your body is really healthy and it works. Daddy's body is really healthy and it works. Mommy's body is really healthy, and it works and we're safe. And your little baby sister was born and her body didn't work and she died,’” Perri recalled. “Then we said nothing, and I'm not even breathing. Carmela just kind of looks at us. And she processes it for a second and then — talk about an empath — she literally looks me and Paul in the eye, and she says, ‘Don't worry mom and dad. One day you’ll have another baby and her body will work.’ We lost it … She is a gift.”

It turns out Carmela was right: Perri gave birth to a healthy baby, Pixie, on Oct. 22. In an Instagram post from the hospital featuring the singer looking at her newborn, she wrote, “She’s here!⁣ ⁣with a whole lot of faith, trust and pixie dust she has arrived safely. please welcome our magical double rainbow baby girl: ⁣pixie rose costabile.”

Days later, she posted a second Instagram post featuring Carmella holding her little sister, writing, “The moment we’ve been dreaming of for so very long: carmella & her little pixie.”

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