The first two trimesters of Martha Gurzick’s pregnancy with twin
boys had progressed normally. But several weeks into her third trimester,
all that changed.
At a routine prenatal appointment in March, Martha had a Fetal fibronectin
(fFN) test to assess her risk for pre-term delivery. The test showed that
Martha was at-risk to deliver the twins early. A healthcare professional
herself, Martha knew that the results of an fFN test do not always predict
an early delivery with 100 percent certainty. However, in the event the
test proved accurate, Martha was given a shot of sterioids to help speed
up the babies’ lung development.
On the evening of March 28, 2015, Martha and her husband David Gurzick,
a professor at Hood College, were attending a retirement dinner at Coblentz
Hall for President Ron Volpe. Although the couple were concerned that
the twins might arrive ahead of schedule, they continued to tell those
who inquired that the babies were due “the day after graduation,” on May 17th.
However, at 2:00 A.M. the following morning, the beginnings of that possible
early delivery the fFN test had predicted became a reality. When Martha’s
water broke, the couple went immediately for FMH. The implications were
obvious: Martha would need to deliver the babies within 24 hours. And
at just 30 weeks and 4 days gestational age, the newborns were going to
need immediate care and support from the hospital’s Billy Miller
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
After checking into The BirthPlace, Martha was given an epidural. As sometimes
happens, the anesthetic slowed her labor down, allowing her obstetrician
to give Martha another injection of steroids to help with the babies’
“Before and during the delivery, David and I were surrounded by wonderful
care,” said Martha. “A team made up of staff from both The
BirthPlace and the NICU were right there—and everyone was fully
focused on the four of us.” Nineteen hours later, Chandler, the
older of the Gurzick twins, arrived at just over two pounds. Seventeen
minutes later, Alexander made his debut, tipping the scales at three pounds,
Because it was many weeks before Chandler and Alexander could go home,
the Gurzicks say that the care their family received after the delivery
was just as important.
“For eight weeks, the NICU was our second home,” said David.
“The staff embraced us fully, and welcomed us as an important part
of our sons’ care team. They taught us how to meet their physical
needs, and just as importantly, guided us in the best ways to comfort
and soothe them. By the time we were able to bring the boys home, we felt
completely prepared to take care of them.”
According to Mother-Baby Service Line Director Katherine Murray, in the
past, tiny patients like Chandler and Alexander Gurzick had to be flown
to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. hospitals for care. “This meant
that families were separated from one another and their support networks
at a very stressful time,” she said. “Having a Level III Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit at FMH has given families who deliver at The BirthPlace
the peace of mind that comes from knowing that this high level of neonatal
intensive care is available to their newborns on site in the rare event
it is needed.”