‘I Am Jazz’: Why Was This Moment One of the ‘Scariest’ In Jazz’s Family’s Life?

19-year-old Jazz Jennings of TLC’s I Am Jazz went through many ups and downs on the way to her final gender confirmation surgery.

The trans rights advocate and LGBT influencer first came out publicly as a trans girl when she was just six years old in an interview with Barbara Walters. After starting on puberty blockers on the advice of medical professionals when she was 11, Jazz had her first bottom surgery in 2018.

Jazz’s parents, Jeanette and Greg Jennings, and her older siblings, especially twins Sander and Griffen Jennings, have been there for her every step of the way. But after Jazz’s third bottom surgery to correct complications from her previous procedures, Jazz’s parents and her brother Sander said one terrifying moment left them more afraid than ever for the teen activist’s safety.

On the Feb. 3 episode of I Am Jazz Season 6, “Ex-Factor,” Jazz woke up from her third procedure in New York City. That’s when a harrowing moment in her hospital room rattled her whole family.

Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings | Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

Jazz’s family was terrified after her third surgery

When Jazz woke up from her third gender confirmation surgery (completed by Dr. Marci Bowers and Dr. Jess Ting), she appeared to be in deep distress. She looked like she was having trouble breathing and couldn’t control her movements, causing her family to panic.

“We need a nurse now!” Jeanette exclaimed as she rushed to find help for her daughter.

Jazz’s mom told TLC producers that she’d never felt so afraid for Jazz before. “I am freaking out,” she declared. “Is she choking? Can she breathe? Can she not breathe? I’ve never felt that before, where I’ve looked at my child and I’m like, ‘Oh my god.’”

Jazz’s 21-year-old brother Sander, a master’s student in digital strategy at the University of Florida, agreed that Jazz’s pain left them all horrified. “Season premiere ended on a crazy cliffhanger,” he tweeted before the second episode. “I promise you that moment was one of the scariest moments of my life.”

Luckily, a nurse appeared and calmed Jazz down slightly before the doctor arrived. “You’re breathing too fast. Are you in pain?” asked the nurse, as Jazz grimaced in agreement.

Shortly afterward, the doctor arrived and administered medication for Jazz’s pain relief.

“I feel a lot better,” the I Am Jazz star said as she visibly relaxed.

“I’m so glad the doctor has Jazz’s pain under control,” Jeanette told TLC producers, clearly relieved that the worst was over. Still, she wondered what was coming next. “That really threw us for a loop and that is over, but we’re going, now what?”

The young activist’s recovery was harder after her third procedure was more difficult

As Jeanette predicted, the I Am Jazz star’s rollercoaster to recovery was far from over. The teen recovered quickly after her previous two procedures, but the aftermath of her third surgery was far more painful.

“She didn’t look like she normally does,” Jazz’s mom admitted. “I really hope this isn’t a sign of other strange things happening.” She added that her daughter was “wiped out” and they all hoped her journey to her final gender confirmation surgery was finally over.

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The Jennings family was disappointed by some of the results

While Dr. Bowers explained that Jazz’s surgery was successful, the Jennings family didn’t get everything they hoped for out of the third procedure. The results were ultimately mixed, leaving the door unfortunately open for yet another surgery in the future.

Still, Dr. Bowers told I Am Jazz producers, “We’re very happy with this.” She explained, “We corrected the scars that were so disfiguring and we were able to expose her clitoris.”

As Jazz examined the results, she seemed relieved that many of the painful complications of her previous procedures had been corrected. “It actually looks like a vulva,” she said, looking at herself with a hand mirror. “So much better.”

However, Dr. Bowers broke the disappointing news that they hadn’t been able to achieve one of the goals of Jazz’s third surgery. “They weren’t able to create little minor labia,” she explained. “That’s why we raised the possibility of another surgery.”

Jeanette admitted that she was concerned this would mean a fourth visit to New York in Jazz’s future. “I’m a little bit bummed that they weren’t able to create labia minora,” she confessed.

As it turned out, Jazz did ultimately head out for another procedure a month later. But all’s well that end’s well, no matter how difficult the journey is. The I Am Jazz star recently shared that she couldn’t be happier with the results of her gender confirmation surgery and that she felt her body and mind were finally in sync with one another.