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The FMH BirthPlace - One Family's Story


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’ lung function.

“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, six ounces.

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.”