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Covenant Hobbs celebrates first baby

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Andy Brosig/News-Sun

Within hours of opening its doors last week, Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital saw its first birth — christening its new Women’s Center in a big way.

Aida Lucero, 25, was visiting family in Hobbs from her home in Mexico when her child decided she was ready to enter the world. Baby Noah was born at 4:40 p.m. Thursday. She weighed in at 9-pounds upon arrival.

“It’s a very efficient system” in the new Women’s Center, Lucero told the News-Sun, speaking through a translator. “I loved it the way my mother could be here with me for the birth. It was way easier.”

The old way of having babies was to go into one room for labor then, as delivery neared, be taken to a second room to welcome the newborn into the world. Mothers and babies were then separated, with the woman shuttled to a recovery room while the newborn was taken to a nursery to be ‘oohed’ and ‘ahed’ over by family and friends through a large glass window.

The new Women’s Center at Covenant Hobbs Hospital uses a different approach, one that actually started in the old facility, the former Lea Regional Hospital which Covenant took over in January 2021.

Now, women are assigned a “birthing suite” when they arrive at the hospital, a single room where they go through labor, delivery and recover. And, instead of being relegated to a crowded nursery with other newborns, the babies stay in the room with their mothers.

“The functionality hasn’t really changed that much,” said labor and delivery nurse Monica Cabello. “The rooms are bigger … and everything is new and works accordingly.”

Fellow Women’s Center nurse Katelyn Blankenship agreed.

“We had a similar model (at the old hospital),” Blankenship said. “I think it’s a nice workflow. We’re still kind of figuring it out as far as how simple it is, but I think in the end it will be easier” for both patients and staff.

And Lucero, though the first expectant mother to do so, said she was impressed by the process. After arriving in the emergency room, where she was evaluated and admitted, Lucero was moved to the birthing suite.

While there, staff talked to her about vaccinations and other things she needed to know about “to be ready when the baby arrived.”

Nurses were checking on Lucero throughout the day leading up to Noah’s birth, evaluating her level of pain and how close she was getting to delivering.

When it was time for Lucero to deliver Noah, all the necessary monitoring equipment was moved into place right in the birthing suite. Supports for her legs were extended from beneath the bed and Lucero was ready for the next step in the process.

About the only real hiccup in the process came about because Covenant Hobbs Hospital was deep into the process of transitioning facilities. Lucero and her mother initially went to the old hospital, the former Lea Regional Medical Center, and were directed to the new facility by staff who were waiting for just that reason.

And there was a language barrier, Lucero said. But it wasn’t insurmountable.

“There were about four or five nurses,” Lucero said. “I couldn’t tell you their names. I was in a different mind process at the time. But even though they didn’t speak any Spanish I know they were trying to comfort me.”

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