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Pregnancy center receives new technology

Since 1996, members and volunteers of the Expectations Women’s Center have been providing support to couples or single parents who are expecting the unexpected with such items as baby clothes, diapers, formula, counseling and other resources in the Williamsport area.

The center “seeks to educate the community on healthy relationships, pregnancy options, pregnancy health and parenting” while it “serves five counties through their locations in Williamsport and Lewisburg,” according to its office.

Continuing with its mission and, thanks to the donations from local organizations, the center recently was able to purchase an ultrasound machine, a GE LOGIQ F8. According to the GE Healthcare, the LOGIQ F series provides healthcare professionals with “enhanced image contrast (which) helps (healthcare providers) distinguish between tissue types (as well as) the ability to image both superficial and deep anatomy, with excellent penetration.”

Technicalities aside, this new piece of technology is going to greatly benefit the center’s patients.

“We are thrilled to have this as a tool for men and women to see the pregnancy,” Pam Burkholder, executive director, said.

In a statement released by the Center, ultrasounds will be preformed to “to determine viability, cardiac rhythm and gestational age.”

Betty Brubaker, who serves as the nurse manager for the Center, explained that by offering the ultrasound, members are able “to work with women who are facing a pregnancy decision.”

She, assisted by Hannah McDowell, will be performing the ultrasounds. Brubaker explained that the an ultrasound scan can see if there is a heartbeat, how far along the baby is, or a chance it could end with a miscarriage or if there is something life threatening such as an ectopic pregnancy.

McDowell, who serves as a volunteer nurse and is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Expectations Women’s Center, said not only is she trained in the proper use of the ultrasound machine, but she is also a trained as a midwife.

“It wasn’t a pre requisite for the (volunteer) position,” McDowell said. “But when I studied midwifery (nearly thirty years ago), my dream has always been to use that education in a pregnancy support center such as this.”

She explained it is a passion to be “able to educate women about what’s going on with themselves and with their babies and help them to see that it is a gift of God that they’re carrying.”

She added by doing so, they are able to observe the fetal development as it can become a normal healthy pregnancy.

The findings are then signed off with a medical director, Dr. Julia Redcay, who is an OB/GYN with Evangelical Community Hospital.

Should there be a concern or an emergency, they are immediately sent to the emergency room or their healthcare provider.

According to Burkholder, the Center will still continue to offer the usual assistance it has in the past, and she said there is a need. It was estimated that Center volunteers and members will work with about 60 to 70 clients per month.

She explained that some of the clients “come to us pregnant” and are offered education on how to navigate the pregnancy, then continued classes are offered on the proper care of a baby from newborn to young school age.

Burkholder said parenting and relationship classes are offered to their clients, should a class be completed, they are able to earn coupons and in turn be able to shop for baby clothes and items in a store that has been set up in the Expectations center.

When asked if all clients work with Expectations from pregnancy to birth, she said it varies. She explained that some of the clients embrace what the Center can offer, while others will only work with the Center for a short period of time.

“We do things individually because then we can really get to know our clients and know what their needs are. We get to know what their challenges might be and (how) to help them sort through and to find the best resources to connect,” Burkholder said.

In order to provide these services, she said the Center receives both monetary and other donations. She mentioned there is always a need for diapers, wipes, gift cards and personal care items for both men and women.

However, she said the biggest donation that the Center provides for their clients isn’t just ultrasounds, classes or resources, its main donation to the public is compassion.

“When someone walks in the door; and they leave a little more helped than they were, when they first walked in; and they realize that they’re not alone – that’s a success,” Burkholder said.

She added, “No matter what decision our clients make (before or after they come in to the Center), we see our role is to offer our clients a compassionate, non-judgmental, safe place for them to be heard and to understand all their options.”

Ultrasound services are provided by appointment only. For more information about Expectations Women’s Center, visit their website at expectationswc.org or call (570) 321-8240.

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