Eleven months into the longest year of my life, and I finally feel like there’s a light somewhere at the end of some tunnel (waaaaay out there, but still… at least I can see it now). This virus has been relentless in so many ways and I send my heart out to those of you who have dealt with it on a personal level. By the end of this pandemic, I think there’s a good chance that we will all know someone who has been terribly affected by this virus, who is struggling with their own health in the aftermath, or a family member’s health, or quite possibly someone who lost their life to this virus. And then there are all of those who have lost loved ones to all of the other things that can end a life, and the inability to say goodbye, to grieve with those we love — these are things that impact our hearts for so long.
I hope that even as the brighter days come, we stay keenly aware that we are not out of the woods and that we need to stay vigilant, to continue to keep the most vulnerable safe and healthy. With that, there are some pretty big changes in our State’s public health orders (PHOs). For many months, we have been following the red/green state requirements for travel and quarantine. And for months, every state has been red. This has been particularly hard for those who don’t have family here in NM. We are very aware of the sacrifices you have made to keep yourselves, as well as our small staff, healthy.
As of February 10th, NM has lifted the requirement for quarantine if you have traveled outside of the state or are visiting NM. It is strongly advised that travelers quarantine for 14 days and get tested, but it is not required. We have followed the state PHOs since they were enacted in March of last year, and we will continue to do so. We simply ask that you are mindful of who you come in contact with, and also consider having some quarantine time, and get a test.
Did you know you can get free at-home tests through the NM Department of Health? You can do that HERE, and the test will be sent to you in 1-2 days; then you do a quick Zoom, spit into a tube, send it back, and get your results in 1-2 days. While most of our staff are fully vaccinated, there are still so many people in and out of the center who are not and cannot be vaccinated. And we know most of you are not vaccinated, so your risk is still fairly high.
Another change is that we are not going to do temperature checks at the door anymore. If you have any symptoms of COVID, we ask that you cancel your appointment and reschedule only after you have spoken to a midwife to assess when it’s safe for you to come back. Please don’t put others at risk — even you think it’s just a cold. If you come to an appointment and you are symptomatic, we will reschedule you. In addition, if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, or if you have tested positive, you will not be allowed the center for 14 days. This has not changed.
We still require masks for all encounters, including during labor. You may still have a guest with you at your new OB visit and the first 2 weeks of your postpartum/newborn visits. You may still have 2 birth partners with you during labor and birth — whomever you choose, as long as they are at least 13 years old. We still are not allowing children in the center other than newborns that we are taking care of.
As the positivity rate goes down and vaccination rate goes up, some of these restrictions will be lifted. We just aren’t there yet. I am so thankful to all of the families in these past 11 months who have made this journey with us and the families who are signed up for care in 2021 embarking on their journey. We are doing our best to give you the empowering and spectacular birth that you are hoping for, and I hope that is clear.
In other news, we are, of course, getting many questions about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and during lactation. Check out the end of this article for some resources that we have found over the past few weeks that are trustworthy and give really good information, so that you can decide if vaccine is right for you. Our basic stance is this: if you feel that vaccination is right for you and you have no contraindications for vaccination against COVID-19, then you should get vaccinated. If you are waiting for more information, we support that. If you absolutely will not get vaccinated, no problem — that’s your choice.
HERE is the first article about 10,000 pregnant people who have been vaccinated. It’s not a huge number, but it’s a place to start. We want you to weigh your risks, benefits, and alternatives. Dar a Luz is here to support your choice.
Brighter days are ahead my friends! We have been in this together from the beginning and we will be for a while longer, but like most things, it’s easier when we are working together. Take in the sunshine on your face, stop and look at the bulbs that are starting to peek their way through the cold ground and know that we will be hugging again soon. I hope to see you all soon on the sunshiney patios as spring approaches and settles in.
In warmth and gratitude, Abigail Lanin Eaves, CNM Executive Director