Jenna Bush Hager's Emotional Ectopic Pregnancy Experience

Before becoming a mother of three, former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager experienced an ectopic pregnancy and lost the baby. "An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of your uterus, most commonly in your fallopian tube," according to Cleveland Clinic. They "make up less than 2% of all pregnancies," according to UC Davis Health. Bush Hager said she didn't know what it was when the doctors broke the news to her. On an episode of "Today," she explained how she was young and excited about being pregnant — learning that there were complications was difficult for her.

Finding community has been an important step in healing from the experience. Hager met Amanda Bartolomeo, founder of the CorePlay workout and Hager's personal trainer, and discovered that they both had an ectopic pregnancy at different points in their lives. This shared experience deepened their bond. "I went through it," Bartolomeo told "Today." "Just reaching out and telling people around me what I went through, [I realized] how many other women have gone through it, and that there is such a community of women that can show up for each other."

From joy to grief

During an episode of "Today," Jenna Hager Bush recalled the joy and excitement she felt when she discovered she was pregnant for the first time. She was in California with her husband and friends, all of whom encouraged her to take a pregnancy test. She was thrilled to find a positive result. She ended up telling multiple people even though she had planned to keep it a secret. But, when she went to get the blood test that would confirm her pregnancy, the doctor delivered the disheartening news. "It was my first pregnancy," she said. "...I go to the doctor's office and she said, 'Yeah, you're pregnant, we gave the blood test, but we can't find the baby."

Bush Hager was alone. Her husband, Henry, had since gone out of town, and her sister was visiting Africa. She had to go into emergency surgery to end the ectopic pregnancy without anyone by her side. Her loved ones came back as quickly as they could — Henry made it back fast enough to join Bush Hager on the cab ride home. "At the time... it felt really hard," she said on another episode of "Today." "And we were young, and I don't know that Henry and I necessarily knew even the language of grief."

An isolating experience

Since her ectopic pregnancy, Jenna Bush Hager has welcomed three children. She felt guilty about being pregnant again with her third child while those around her were struggling with infertility. A friend encouraged her and reminded her that her pregnancy was a celebratory matter, and her mother gave her some words to hold onto. "Everybody gets their babies when they're supposed to," Bush Hager quoted from her mother on "Today." 

Now she's determined to set an example of what health can look like for her children. In this version, she doesn't rely on a scale, but rather focuses on what feels good for her body. In this pursuit of health, she met with her personal trainer and founder of the Coreplay workout Amanda Bartolomeo. Together, they shared their stories and found a common goal: to find their core. "When I first met Amanda, we started talking about finding your core and what that means metaphorically for women and, obviously, literally," Bush Hager told "Today." "I hadn't really engaged my core because I had six or seven surgeries — with C-sections, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy — so I had sort of lost that part of me." 

During another episode of "Today," Bush Hager said her ectopic pregnancy was isolating. She explained that, despite the pain, there was and is a silver lining. She noted that had she not experienced an ectopic pregnancy, she possibly would have never had her current children. "The point of this all is that there is joy and there is pain.