Staying at home brings pandemic babies to Bay Area

As the Bay Area looks back on one year of COVID, many people are doing so with a new member of the family.

While overall, the birth rate slowed during 2020, thousands of babies were born in the Bay Area.

One couple in Dublin, who'd hoped to start a family for years, got pregnant last spring.

Nelson and Erin Geter welcomed Eden Avery Geter into the world on Feb. 17

The new mom says it's a dream come true.

"We were really excited to find out we were pregnant," said Erin Geter. "Us being pregnant during a pandemic didn't matter because it was something we had wanted, and we knew we'd accept this blessing when it comes, and it came -- in the middle of a pandemic."

California's birth rate dropped sharply in 2020 -- many say, largely due to the pandemic.

In one survey, a third of women said they were reconsidering getting pregnant, or how many children they planned to have.

But the Geters are part of a "baby boom" that's going strong at Golden Oak Midwives in Oakland.

"We definitely had a few 'Oops, didn't think we were going to have a baby' babies, " said Gewn Haynes, co-owner of Golden Oak Midwives. "But almost a year in, people want to continue their plan, if that was in their cards."

Aside from ultrasounds, some of the prenatal care went virtual in the early months of the pandemic, which only added to the usual concerns about pregnancy.

Nelson Geter said: "When Erin had anxiety over 'the baby's not moving,' I was the voice in her head to say trust the process and the care that you're getting and everything else will play out."

"You're sitting at home and there's not a lot going on," said Erin Geter, "I was giving myself things to worry about, and he'd bring me back to 'your body knows what to do.'"

Haynes says nearly all the mothers she saw this past year were more worried than usual.

"We have shown up even when we were anxious too and provided care to women and their families," said Haynes. "They were wonderful experiences even in spite of all the unknowns around COVID so I think that was truly inspiring."

The Geters had to wait a little longer than expected for the baby's debut.

Forty weeks came and went, and Erin was still pregnant.

"I started getting inundated with messages. 'Is the baby here? is the baby here yet?' And every message would send me over the edge and I'm like 'no, i'll tell you when the baby comes.'"

Eden Geter was born ten days after her due date at Alta Bates.

The couple followed all COVID precautions as outlined by their providers and the hospital.

"When we got to the hospital we had our own masks. They gave us masks to wear. We had masks on the whole time," said Nelson Geter, "I would tell her to pull her mask up and she'd say 'leave me alone i'm going through a substantial amount of pain right now.'"

With a one-month-old at home, the Geters are now reveling in all the new things each day brings.

Their parents live on the East Coast and are now vaccinated.

Eden/s grandparents are taking turns visiting.

"She's the first grandchild on both sides, so I don't think anything was stopping either set of parents from coming," said Erin Geter. "It's nice that the pandemic is more under control than it was a year ago."

The Geters say the pandemic has helped them have more time together at hom. Nelson can hold Eden between meetings because he's working remotely. So they say, in a way, Eden came at exactly the right time.