Christina Perri Recalls Dissociating During Daughter's Birth After Past Trauma: 'I Was Terrified'
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Christina Perri
Christina Perri is being vulnerable in sharing the story of daughter Pixie's birth.
The "A Thousand Years" singer, 36, appeared on the Informed Pregnancy podcast to talk about her history with pregnancy losses and how it impacted her experience birthing her now 3-month-old baby girl.
Prior to Pixie's birth, the singer suffered a miscarriage in 2020, and later that year she also shared that she had lost her daughter Rosie during the third trimester.
As Perri explained, her experience was off to a rough start when she went to the hospital for fetal monitoring four days before she was scheduled to get induced and after conversations with her medical team, came to the decision that they wanted the baby "out rather than in if something's wrong."
"I was already a part of the miscarriage club, and then I became a part of the stillborn club, and now I'm a part of the NICU mom club. And I honestly just want to stop joining clubs," Perri recalled thinking. "I really just want to coast a little, and stop being so enlightened, and stop being given these experiences to grow, you know. I just want to chill for a second."
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Not only was the couple unprepared, but Perri's doula was unavailable, leaving Perri and husband Paul Costabile, with only each other for support.
"I was so disappointed and upset. Poor Paul because he didn't plan on being my support person. I mean, obviously, he planned on being in the room, but we were like so ready to do this with Setha, and me, and him, and just this other vibe. And I kept crying because my birthing ball, I didn't bring it because I thought the hospital would have one, and they didn't have a birthing ball," she shared.
"I just kept crying because it wasn't what I wanted. And then, I was texting my mom group — I think I mentioned before how paramount my mom friends are in our group chat — and they're going, 'Christina, you're not upset about the birthing ball. You're traumatized. You're about to have a baby. You're scared she's not alive. This is not about the birthing ball.'"
"And I'm like, 'No, it's about the birthing ball. I need my birthing ball.' Because I thought I was going to labor longer without the epidural, or I thought I wasn't going to take any drugs. And then, here I am on fentanyl."
While she remembers feeling "excited" to meet Pixie, she couldn't help but remember the losses that preceded her, admitting she "disassociated a little bit."
Noting that she "did go fast" with 11 hours of labor, she noted it didn't happen the way she'd planned.
"I wanted to be squatting. I was on my back. I'm telling you, every single thing I wanted to do, I didn't do or didn't go my way. I definitely wanted to get up and get on all fours, but I had the IV in my hand because my veins burst. I just want you to imagine, just like a sitcom at this point. Everything that hopefully was going to go well just didn't."
"And I was going along with it, like I said, I didn't disassociate in the most unhealthy way, I just sort of let go. Because I couldn't hold on ... I had two options, so I just went with it. And all of its bad vibes. I just didn't like the vibe."
Trying to explain the experience, Perri noted, "The body remembers. I was in that memory and in that triggered state of, 'The last time I did, this my daughter was dead.'"
"The joy someone should feel when they take the baby out and give the baby to you, I didn't feel it. I was terrified. I mean, I don't think I was breathing. I don't know when I breathed, honestly. And Paul was hysterical. He was trying so hard not to be hysterical, by the way. He's holding my leg, and he's in my face, and he's crying," she recalled. "And I hardly remember it because you know I'm also terrified. And I just want it to be over. I just want it to be over. I just want it to be over. I think I pushed so freaking hard and fast because I just wanted it to be over."
She remembers Pixie being "really blue and white" and grunting, noting "she went through the birth canal too fast."
Pixie's stay in the NICU was full of challenges, but her graduation brought the couple a great sense of relief.
"When your baby goes to the NICU, the only great thing is they check for literally everything. So, you know that when the baby graduates the NICU, they've checked everything," Perri shared.
"The only good thing about when we were discharged is we felt like Pixie was ready to come home. But they just kept finding things. At first, it's her breathing and her grunting. And then, it was her hematomas on her head, and then it was her jaundice levels, and then they told us we could leave."
The mom remembered the pure happiness that came with telling their older daughter, 5-year-old Carmella, that her baby sister was coming home.
"We told Carmella we were coming home with the baby, which by the way, just for a moment of joy, we got to FaceTime Carmella and show her little sister. Oh, she is so, so, so excited and so cute, and she just is obsessed with her. It was the moment of joy we needed."