Labor and Delivery

Wow, my labor and delivery experience was nothing like I expected. All the reading, classes, and shared stories from other moms were helpful in preparing me for a typical child birth scenario, but my experience was far from the norm. No one could have prepared me. I wish with all my heart that I enjoyed the birth of my children, but unfortunately I was dealt a bad hand and can’t empathize with the beautiful birth stories so many women rightfully have. Here’s my experience.


I didn’t really have it. At least not in the way most people think of labor.

I had what is called back labor. I felt EVERYTHING in my lower back. I had back labor throughout my pregnancy but it definitely was worse the night before I went to the hospital. No one ever told me about back labor and when I mentioned this to my doctor at routine check-ups, I was reassured that pregnant woman have back pain due to their heavy front load–especially women with twins. Yeah, I don’t think that was exactly what I was having. This pulsing pain kept waking me up, night after night, but I simply endured it. It felt like an ancient torture device, slowing cranking both sides of my back in different directions until you snap. Well, I didn’t snap but it felt like I was going to. I swear, I could feel my bones physically stretching apart. Charles can even vouch for this. One night during my second trimester he told me he could literally feel my body expanding. Ouch!

Honestly, in retrospect it wasn’t too bad, I just wish I would have known then what it was.

I knew something was wrong on the evening of September 13th when my normal back pains increased, nausea set in, and I began getting the chills. We were watching Night Of The Creeps that night but I was sure it wasn’t the film bringing my symptoms on. I began watching my fever steadily increase throughout the night and knew once I hit 100º that I needed to go to the doctor. We got to my Obstetrician first thing in the morning. My doctor then sent me to the hospital where I had an ultrasound that revealed that Hudson had broke his water. It was recommended that I have an emergency C-section since it was clear something was wrong, yet unclear what it was. I was prepped and sent to ER within 30 minutes.

Mackenzie Before Delivery

Mom Before Delivery


I got reeled into the operating room where about 5+ people were getting everything ready. I wobbled onto the operating table and sat upright—ready for the spinal. The anestisologist asked me some questions, none of which I remember, and prepared the needle. They had this down like clockwork. The shot was injected within minutes and I didn’t have time to think about how Charles wasn’t with me or how much I wanted to cry.

Once I was laying down, confirmed that I could not feel any pain (You can feel all the tugging and pulling though. Weird!), and the staff of 12+ was ready, Charles was finally let into the room. He sat down in a chair right next to me, shielded from the activity by a wall of sheets.

Prior to surgery, I was terrified of getting the dreaded spinal. But honestly, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. I can’t even remember if it hurt. What I do remember is how cold I was. I have never been so cold in my life. My jaw was chattering out of control and I keep telling Charles that I needed more blankets. He was holding me down since my body was convulsing and I could tell that he was upset since he couldn’t comfort me.

Within what seemed to be 5 minutes, I felt a weight of pressure removed from my belly. I asked Charles, “Is one of the babies out?” He replied, “Yes, Ellisa” and I replied back to him that I didn’t hear any crying. Less than a minute later I felt more weight removed from my belly and after hearing a welcome-to-the-world cry, I knew my son had been born. A nurse showed me Hudson as they whisked him away. I remember smiling at the sight of him yet wondering why they didn’t show me Ellisa. I had no idea what was going on.

Dad Preparing for the Birth of His Twins!

Dad Preparing for the Birth of His Twins!

Charles followed the babies while I was taken to an unfamiliar room. I really don’t remember what exactly happened next. I believe someone woke me, possibly Charles, and handed me a phone where a doctor explained to me what was going on. I can’t recall understanding much of what the doctor told me that day. All I could comprehend at the time was that Ellisa was born with a bacterial infection and that they had her on every, and I mean every, antibiotic known to man. She had spots covering her entire body and she wasn’t breathing on her own directly after birth (that’s why I didn’t hear any crying). Her one minute Apgar score was 3 and her 5 minute Apgar score was 5. Most babies have scores of 7-10 the first 3 and 5 minutes. To me it sounded like she caught something minor, it was being taken care of with antibiotics, and everything would be fine in a couple weeks. It was only days after that the reality of what was going on really set in.

Ellisa Three Hours After Birth

Ellisa Three Hours After Birth

Here’s the scoop: Ellisa was born with a bacterial infection, listeriosis, (from contaminated food I ate!). That infection lead to bacterial meningitis which then caused her current and life long condition, hydrocephalus. She had grade III bleeds (grade IV are the worst) in both left and right ventricles of her brain. The doctors told us that brain damage had been permanently done but to what degree they can’t determine until she begins to develop. Thankfully there was no “obvious” brain damage done but it was repeated regularly that we should expect to see some impairments along the way–anywhere from infancy to adulthood. We were told that her neurological damage would range from mild (delayed developmentally in reaching milestones) to severe (mental retardation/cerebral palsy).

What a blow! I worked so hard at staying healthy during my pregnancy that all I wished for was to deliver two healthy babies. I never would have dreamed that a docter would be telling me that my little girl might end up never walking or talking. Who does? And all of this because of some contaminated food I ate?

WARNING: Symptoms of listeria are similar to the flu and normal pregnancy symptoms. If you have any concerns, demand a blood test!

I knew that having twins was a high risk pregnancy and was prepared for the complications of that, but this had NOTHING to do with a multiple pregnancy. This can happen with ANY pregnancy. I strongly believe that Hudson is the reason we didn’t lose Ellisa that day. Twenty two percent of cases of perinatal listeriosis result in stillbirth or neonatal death. If it wasn’t for Hudson breaking his water and sending me into pre-labor, I might not have gotten to the hospital in time. My symptoms were nothing more than a fever, nausea, and back pain. Strange how everything seems to happen for a reason.



Once I was taken to postpartum, that’s when everything started to set it. For the next 5 days I concentrated on visiting my babies in NICU, pumping milk (this was a blessing and kept me focused), recovering from surgery, and trying to make sense of what was going on. With the support of Charles and my family (particularly my father who was there with me every day), I made it through my hospital stay with minimal tears and as much joy as one can have given the circumstances.

Pumping Milk to Stay Focused

Pumping Milk to Stay Focused

I still long for the perfect birth when you can hold your healthy baby the second after they are born, spend every moment with them during their first 3 days of life, and bask in the joy of your creation. That following Sunday Charles and I went home empty handed.

2 Responses to “Labor and Delivery”
  1. kchripczuk says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. My twins are 9 months old and I’m trying to get up the courage to start a blog and, eventually, share my birth story. I benefitted so much from reading about twins births when I was pregnant.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It was very touching and made me teary eyed. I have been curious as to some of the details but didn’t want to pry. I hope for the best for Ellisa.

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