A mother before it was time

DeWayne Bartels
Kendra Hutchinson checks on her son, Clayton Eric Jr. at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, where he and his sister, Keagan, are in the neo-natal ward of the Children’s Hospital. The twins, born about four months early, survived by the “grace of God,” according to their grandmother, Becky Hutchinson, of Germantown Hills.

Becky Hutchinson was sound asleep when a hand started to shake her.

It was about 1:30 a.m. March 20. Becky, a Germantown Hills resident, was at her daughter’s home in Bloomington for her granddaughter’s birthday. Clayton and his wife, Kendra, 28, pregnant with twins, were also there.  

Clayton was shaking his mother, a nurse at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, because Kendra was having pains in her abdomen.

“I thought I had the flu,” Kendra said.

Becky, after checking her daughter-in-law, also thought it was the flu.

They were both very wrong.


Kendra’s doctor in Palatine, where Kendra and Clayton live, told them to head to the hospital to have her checked out, just in case.

Kendra was 25 weeks pregnant.

“We got to BroMenn Hospital in Bloomington. The nurse took one look at Kendra and started calling people in,” Becky said.

Within about 10 minutes the medical personnel realized Kendra was in labor.

“Things happened very quickly,” Becky said.

“It was excitement and apprehension all rolled into one. We didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Kendra started receiving medicine to try to stop the contractions.

“It didn’t work,” Kendra said.  

It was about 2:30 a.m. and Kendra said she was still not believing what was going on.

“It was very scary. I kept questioning what they were saying. I kept hearing them saying contractions, but I wasn’t thinking I was in labor,” Kendra said.

“I was pretty nervous.”

The doctor at BroMenn wanted desperately to hold off the birth.

The doctor explained to Kendra that BroMenn was not prepared to care for such premature babies.

The doctor said Kendra needed to be at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

But, the babies were not waiting.

“They did a great job at BroMenn with what they had. They were not ready for this,” Kendra said. “That’s when it got really scary.”

The babies, a boy and a girl, were born at 3:33 a.m. in an emergency C-section.

The babies were stabilized.

The boy, Clatyton Eric Jr., was 14 inches at birth and weighed 2 pounds and 4 ounces. The girl, Keagan, was 13 inches at birth and weighed 1 pound and 10 ounces.   

“They were critical, but stable,” Becky said.

At 5 a.m. the babies were loaded into two ambulances and taken to the Children’s Hospital in Peoria. Becky was also headed to Peoria.


Kendra had to stay in Bloomington until later that day. When she was able to walk on her own she was discharged and headed to Peoria to be reunited with her children.

“I only got to see them for about 30 seconds before they were gone,” Kendra said. “I was pretty motivated to get out of the hospital.”

Becky and Kendra told their story in the lobby of the Milestone Building at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, April 26.  

Both were smiling.

“It was by the grace of God they are here,” Becky said.

Kendra added, “They are doing very well. We’re extremely blessed. The doctors call them feeders and growers.”

On April 26 both had grown three inches. The boy, now called CJ, weighs 3 pounds and 6 ounces. Keagan weighs 2 pounds and 8 ounces.

Kendra said she had no idea central Illinois had a hospital like the Children’s Hospital and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

“OSF has been such a great help to me. The people here are so awesome,” Kendra said.

For Mother’s Day, Kendra said, she wants only one thing.

“I just want to be here with them,” Kendra said. “They are my two little miracles. Being here with them and being a mom is pretty special.”