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Garret and Maddie Armstrong of Mifflintown, PA, were awakened around 4:30 a.m. on May 13, when Maddie’s water broke. At 34 weeks pregnant with twins, the couple knew they needed to get to Geisinger Lewistown Hospital quickly.

When the parents-to-be arrived at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, they were whisked to the maternity unit, where nurses began administering IV fluids and steroids to Maddie to strengthen the girls’ premature lungs before birth. Because this was a high-risk pregnancy, the doctors and nurses decided to transfer Maddie to Geisinger Holy Spirit in Camp Hill, so the babies could be cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 

Fatefully, Bonnie Bowsman, nurse manager of Geisinger Lewistown Hospital’s emergency department, who also happens to be Maddie’s aunt, helped arrange the transfer. 

“We requested Geisinger Holy Spirit,” Ms. Bowsman says. “We knew they had great NICU nurses to provide all the care the babies needed. We also knew it was a quick commute.”

Along for the 45-minute ambulance ride with the Armstrongs was Darlis Varner, RN, who recently became a certified nurse midwife. She made sure Maddie stayed calm and knew what to expect.

Upon their arrival at the Camp Hill hospital, the Armstrongs were taken to their room in the Birthplace. Ruth Brown, RN, was Maddie’s nurse. “Ruth was wonderful,” Garret says. “She was very helpful and accommodating. She was here the whole time.” 

“It was a pleasure to take care of Maddie and Garret,” Ms. Brown says. “It was so exciting to see their anticipation in meeting their twin girls! I was able to focus my care on them, answer their questions and make sure that things went smoothly with the delivery. I was glad to be of service to their new family."

Dr. Lauren Winn, OBGYN, gave Maddie the option of having a natural birth or C-section and discussed the pros and cons for each. They were planning on a natural delivery; however, Maddie’s blood pressure began rising, so they prepared her for a cesarean section (C-section). “Everything happened really fast. They said we can take you back in 30 minutes,” Garret recalls. “It was a blur,” Maddie adds. “The anesthesiologist was very helpful, explained things and made me feel comfortable.”

Just 12 hours later, Marlow Jae – 5 lbs. 6 oz. – was born first at 4:42 p.m., followed four minutes later by Willow Rae – 5 lbs. 11 oz. Maddie was able to kiss her girls and Garret held them briefly before they were taken to the NICU. 

“We would definitely deliver here again. It was a 10 out of 10 experience,” Maddie says. 

Maddie and Garret thank Dr. Jay Bringman, OBGYN, and the staff at Geisinger maternal-fetal medicine who saw her every two weeks in Camp Hill. “They were extremely nice and took the time to get to know us. They even called the babies by their names before they were born,” Maddie says. 

Next steps:

Learn more about pregnancy care
Learn more about Geisinger Holy Spirit
Make a prenatal appointment