Governor warns expectant mothers may not have desired birth experience as ICU’s fill up

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Expectant mothers are told to create birth plans ahead of their due dates, but now, the governor is warning those plans may have to be thrown out the window as COVID cases continue to rise and hospitals near capacity.

“There are a lot of mamas who are depending on us so that they can safely deliver their babies in a hospital room that isn’t converted, isn’t in a hall,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a Thursday press conference.

Lujan Grisham went on to say that she had “no way” of answering mother’s worries about if they will be able to deliver in the hospital of their choice, within the next two to three months. “If the numbers stay where they are, I can say highly unlikely, in the environment that you were expecting, and if we crush it, highly likely, depends on how we do, and that starts right now,” said Lujan Grisham.

The governor’s warning came as a frightening surprise to two expectant mothers in the Metro. “It is scary hearing that from the governor that, that is a scenario that I could face,” said Caroline Hogeveen, who is expecting her second child.

“I would probably be like um, okay, where am I supposed to go because I was told I was supposed to come to the hospital. I can’t go anywhere else. I can’t go to a birthing center or anything like that due to the circumstances of my pregnancy,” said Victoria Rodriguez, a first-time mom who experienced complications with her pregnancy.

Rodriguez learned she was pregnant right before the pandemic hit New Mexico. Hogeveen found out in early May. “I knew back in May that my delivery in January was not going to be anything like what any mom would you know, visualize,” said Hogeveen.

Both women were sad their partner and husband, respectively, wouldn’t be able to join them for milestone moments, like doctors visits and ultrasounds. Though, Rodriguez and Hogeveen are hopeful they can still have them in the delivery room.

“We want it to be the experience they have anticipated and planned for,” said Wendi Strauss Pulse, the Executive Director of Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque.

Leaders at Lovelace Women’s do not anticipate capacity being an issue. “Right now, our labor and delivery unit is very separate from our intensive care unit. We would never be putting intensive care types into our labor and delivery unit. That would be only be labor and delivery mothers,” said Sherri Milone, the CEO of Lovelace Women’s Hospital.

Milone says they do have a plan in place to deal with surges and are able to handle all of their current patients, along with more from across the state, if need be. “We also take deliveries from across the state and we have seen those really increase a bit this year and so that maybe a little bit of what the governor is talking about,” said Milone.

Dr. Rebecca Vasilion, medical director of Presbyterian Women’s Care, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, tells News 13, “Presbyterian does not currently have any access issues for expectant mothers and their newborns. We are prepared with surge plans and fully anticipate having the same level of access during any surge as well.”

UNMH tells News 13 they are able to keep up with births. Lovelace Women’s says they are seeing an increase in the number of births, which is greater than normal for this time of year.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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