Shortly after discovering she was expecting her second child with rapper T.I., former Xscape member Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle was faced with the heartbreaking news that her pregnancy check-up had raised a red flag.
In a new interview with Essence.com, Tiny opens up about her pregnancy struggles, sharing that the sac that held her baby girl “was split in two and they had not combined by the time she had turned 16 weeks old.” With her daughter “positioned in the middle of those two sacs in her own sac,” Tiny was told to prepare for the “possibility that [the baby] could get tied up in her umbilical cord.”
Despite the doctor’s warnings, according to Tiny, the thought of losing the baby never crossed her mind. In fact, says the singer, her doctors informed her that all was well with her baby, as things seemed to be under control. A trip to the specialist the following day however, proved otherwise. “When I went to see the specialist, that’s when they determined there was no heartbeat,” explains Tiny, who delivered her stillborn daughter six months into the pregnancy.
Surrounded by family and friends to avoid her mind from wandering and being “so sad,” both Tiny — who found herself “very upset and depressed for awhile” — and T.I. spent the hours after the birth in the hospital room with their daughter Leyah Amore.
For the devastated mother, the idea of leaving the hospital without her baby girl was understandably hard to swallow. “Here I am in the hospital to have a baby, deliver it, but I’m going to go home with no baby,” says Tiny, who admits she continues to “keep [Leyah's] belongings near me — pictures and roses [from the burial].” While the songstress realizes that her form of grieving may seem “crazy” to others, she “just needed to be with” her baby girl.
“After Leyah was born, I kept her in the room with me the whole day. They placed her in the little basket and we dressed her in an outfit and had a blanket wrapped around her. They came and got her because her body went cold and I wanted her back so they warmed her body again and I kept her. Everybody came to visit her and then me and [T.I.] had our time alone with her.”
Continue reading for more on Leyah and the unexpected turn the couple’s relationship took.
While the family held a “beautiful” funeral service for Leyah, Tiny admits she rarely visits the gravesite — apart from “holidays and special days” — as the memories leave her “too sad.” Despite the heartache and immense grief from the loss of their daughter, Tiny and T.I. found their greatest comfort in each other, eventually announcing their second engagement. Tiny — whose “experience taught me not to take life for granted” — shares that the tragedy surrounding their daughter “definitely brought us closer in our relationship.”
In addition to Leyah, the couple are also parents to Clifford ‘King’ Harris III, 4, and Major Harris, 9 months. Tiny has daughter Zonnique Jailee, 12, while T.I. has Messiah, Domani, and Deyjah from previous relationships.