Written by Kendra Lanthier @kennylanthier
Photography by Amanda Hess @Beautiful_Reflections716
It was May 2nd 2012. The day felt like any other day. I woke up, and got ready for work. I was almost 17 weeks pregnant, and all I really wanted to do was snuggle in my bed just a little longer (Relatable right? Pregnant or not)! That day, I worked my normal 8:00am-4:30pm schedule.
I was happy as ever to be on my way home to my boyfriend. We had been together for 5 years at that time. He was my first and only love, and we had been together since we were 15 and 17 years old. He was my soulmate. After a long day for a full time working pregnant lady, it's safe to say I just wanted to be home with my best friend.
I hopped in my car, and I headed home on my usual path. I'm halfway home now. I'm at a red light, and my light hits green. As I am passing through this intersection, a person in their car blows the red light. My car gets hit, and everything goes black. The last thing I remember is gripping my wheel. I ended up in the middle of a parking lot on that corner. My car just missed a gas line, and several poles. I'm thinking "is my baby ok?" I'm completely shocked, a little banged up, but I'm alive.
The ambulance and police arrived. An EMT checked on me. When I told them I was pregnant, they seemed very calm in telling me that I've checked out okay, and they are sure the baby is just fine. They suggested I could go to immediate care if I wanted just to be safe. Of course I did! My boyfriend took me right away. We wanted to be sure the baby was okay. The doctor used the machine that detects the baby's heart beat. It took him a little while to do this process, and it felt like forever and a day!
Finally, he determined that he can hear the heart beat! I hear it too, and my heart beamed with joy and relief! I went home after that. All I wanted to do was eat, and decompress from this terrible day. My car was completely totaled. I thought that was going to be the worst part of this whole situation.
The next morning, I planned on going to work still. I woke up differently though. I felt like my body was telling me to go to the hospital, and my instincts were kicking in. Something didn't feel right. So, I got ready to go to the hospital with my boyfriend's mom. I told my boyfriend not to leave work and that I was just double checking on the baby. I assured him I would update him as soon as possible.
When the doctor came in the room, he had a very upbeat demeanor. He was surprised that I was there after explaining to him about the details of the car accident. He seemed fully confident and positive that everything was okay. He started performing the ultrasound. He was silent for a minute. He then proceeded to tell me that there was NOT a heart beat. There had to be a mistake.
They immediately sent me to another room with a different monitor and ultrasound machine. Same results. My whole world faded into nothingness. I screamed and wailed like a banshee. I couldn't even stand. I was screaming for 20 minutes straight. Then I called my boyfriend with the news of our loss. They hit me with more news that I didn't expect. They would immediately have to start inducing me into labor. I had to vaginally deliver my baby. DELIVER. I was so so scared. My heart was beyond shattered. I just wanted to die, and not exist anymore. Why? Why did this have to be this way? I asked them if they could just put me under, so I didn't have to go through this. I had no choice but to deliver the baby vaginally because of how far along I was in my pregnancy. I kept telling them "no, please don't make me". It didn't matter, I had to live through this. There was no escaping this.
That whole day, the nurse came in and gave me doses to induce my labor. By the middle of the night, it was storming outside. Lightening was flashing through the curtains, and rain was pelting the window. A storm within the storm. I started to feel something happening, wetness and pressure. We called in the nurse. She said it's time. My boyfriend was encouraging me, telling me that I'm the strongest woman in the world as the contractions and pushing started happening. He never left my side, but I had never felt this alone in my life. Then, it was over. My baby was really gone.
Shortly after, the nurse brought me a box. Inside were photos of the baby (I never looked at them), a bear, a blanket that the baby was on, and prayer cards. I left that hospital feeling dead inside and out.
Once we left the hospital, I stayed home for a while. I had my period really heavy and I had thick blood clots releasing for weeks. My belly was still big. I was constantly crying and panicking. My IBS symptoms (irritable bowel syndrom) was debilitating. I was picking my skin on my face, and arms so much that it looked like I had a skin eating disorder. I was calling into work "too much". I didn't want to have sex. I didn't eat well. I didn't leave the house except for food. I didn't sleep well for a long time period after that. It took a toll on my body, mind, and soul. Everything hurt. I had to break the news one by one to everyone I already told. Seeing pregnant women, pregnant women complaining, children, babies, the news, sad commercials, and just about everything people would talk about at work would touch a nerve. People were asking me if I was pregnant at work. My boss was pregnant at that time, and so was a co-worker. It was just really difficult for me to navigate this new world. My world stopped, but everyone's kept going.
It took me years to realize that I wanted to start living again. It took a lot of time and navigating my pain, but I knew I didn't want to live that way anymore. I wanted to be a wife, a mom, and have a family again.
The pain never truly goes away, but I learned that I could empower myself by taking care of myself. I didn't want meds from the doctor, and I wanted to heal naturally. I wanted to start loving myself again. I started off by taking care of my skin. My self care routines began to develop further. I became interested in organic & natural skin care, herbalism, and eating proper foods to help alleviate symptoms of IBS. Music has helped me throughout my whole life, and played a significant role in my healing process. These are just a few things that motivated me and propelled me into loving myself again. This process is so different for everyone. I encourage you to start with something little that makes you happy and healthy. Let it grow from there.
As a couple, what we went through pushed us apart for a while, but we never gave up on each other. I think a miscarriage has the potential to easily break a couple, but we overcame so many mental obstacles together. It was hard to talk to anybody else about my miscarriage at the time. I only felt comfortable talking with him about everything I was going through. It was overwhelming. I felt pressure to get well faster for him, but I learned that it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, love, patience, and kindness to yourself.
Getting to the point of allowing yourself to begin your healing process is a struggle in itself. Do not give up! You are worth it. You always are. Trust yourself, and you will find ways to heal little by little. I'm still healing from this trauma, and I can become overwhelmed very easily. I continue to work through my struggles, and I think that's sort of beautiful. Having that awareness that I'm struggling and it's okay. I understand some women do not have a partner or support system to get them through pregnancy loss. I encourage everyone reading this reach out to someone that is struggling. Or just be kind to a stranger. Hold the door open maybe, or offer a genuine compliment. Give a hug to a someone that you know really needs one, even if they don't ask. You never know what someone has been through. That small token of love to a tender heart can lift them up just enough to see a little light, and therefore grow.
Today, I'm a proud business owner, wife, and a mother to the most beautiful 3 year old boy in the world. My husband and I have been married for 3 years now, and together for 12 years total. Lots of life and loss, love and pain have happened in between those years. We lived on our own together since we were 15 and 17. We struggled before we knew struggle, and we wouldn't be who we are if we didn't struggle. We didn't have a support system as teens, but we had each other.
Life is literally a rollercoaster. If there's anything I want you to feel after reading this, it would be hope. Never give up on yourself. There is still so much goodness in the world, and ways to self love.
Create, be bold, don't forget to dance, give love, find love, and allow yourself to be loved. YOU got this.