Scott and Jessica Creecy, of Meeker, hold steady jobs that helped make it comfortable to start a family by having their first child, Henry, on Thursday at Yampa Valley Medical Center. Other families have chosen to hold off until economic conditions improve.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Scott and Jessica Creecy, of Meeker, hold steady jobs that helped make it comfortable to start a family by having their first child, Henry, on Thursday at Yampa Valley Medical Center. Other families have chosen to hold off until economic conditions improve.

Steamboat's hospital sees decrease in number of births

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By the numbers

Year Births

2010 321

2009 402

2008 430

2007 431

2006 429

2005 363

2004 386

2003 384

2002 331

2001 355

2000 332

1999 259

Favorite baby names of 2010

Yampa Valley Medical Center is touting 2010 as a good year for originality when it came to naming babies.

Of the 171 boys names reported to the hospital, five were Nicholas. The hospital’s rankings include alternate spellings.

Four boys were given the second most popular name, Mason. Five sets of three boys shared the third most popular names, Kale, Henry, John, Logan and William.

Of the 146 girls names reported to the hospital, there was a three-way tie for the most popular name, with three girls each sharing the names Isabella, Kaylee and Rhiley.

<p>Babycenter.com lists Isabella as the second most popular name of 2010. Sophia came in at No. 1. For boys, the website ranks Yampa Valley’s favorite, Nicholas, at 21, with Aiden coming in first.

“I think you can see we didn’t follow the national trend,” hospital spokeswoman Christine McKelvie said.

The hospital also kept track of the most popular names by their first letter. For boys, there were 19 J’s, 17 M’s and 14 L’s. For girls, there were 23 A’s, 17 M’s and 13 K’s.

May was the busiest month in 2010 with 38 births. YVMC’s busiest month on record was October 2007, when 59 babies were born.

The most deliveries on a single day in 2010 was five on May 18.

“We love being busy,” said Tracey Fortson, assistant director at YVMC’s Family Birth Place.

— At the peak, “Brahms’ Lullaby” could be heard throughout the halls of Yampa Valley Medical Center about 430 times a year.

When hospital staff members heard the music, they knew another baby had been born.

“People just start to smile when we hear it,” said hospital spokeswoman Christine McKelvie on Friday, standing in the Family Birth Place next to Scott and Jessica Creecy, who welcomed their first child, Henry, on Thursday.

The music still is played throughout the hospital every time a child is born, but it has not been happening as frequently. YVMC averaged 430 babies a year from 2006 through 2008. There were 321 babies born at YVMC in 2010.

The number of births last year represents a 25 percent decrease from the three-year average. The lower number can be linked to, like many things, the recession, and it was something the hospital had planned for in its budget, McKelvie said.

“It makes sense to have a decrease when people don’t think they can afford it,” said Scott Ford, director of the Routt County Economic Dev­elopment Cooperative. “Health care is horrendously expensive.”

Child care also is expensive. A 2010 survey of local child care providers showed that it costs an average of $63 per day for full-time infant day care, said Stephanie Martin, with First Impressions of Routt County.

National studies further linked birth rates to the economy.

“Birth rates in the United States began to decline in 2008 after rising to their highest level in two decades, and the decrease appears to be linked to the recession,” states an April 2010 Pew Research Center analysis of state fertility and economic data. “There is a strong association between the magnitude of fertility change in 2008 across states and key economic indicators including changes in per capita income, housing prices and share of the working-age population that is employed across states.”

Local physicians also have noticed a decrease and offer some explanations.

“I’ve had families say very specifically because of the economic times, they’ve decided to wait in having another child,” said Dr. Brian Harrington, a Yampa Valley Medical Asso­­ciates family physician who is one of a few doctors who deliver babies at YVMC. “It totally makes sense to me that the overall numbers are decreasing.”

The decrease also could be attributed to families that have moved to find work outside of Steamboat and had children elsewhere, Harrington said.

The recession did not keep the Creecys from having their first child within a year of getting married.

“We were definitely planning on having a family,” Jessica Creecy said. “It just happened a lot quicker.”

The couple from Meeker is fortunate in that both parents have steady jobs. Jessica Creecy is the office manager at the Elk Creek Ranch, and her husband is the executive chef.

“Financially, we’re stable,” Scott Creecy said. “That was never an issue.”

They will see where they stand once the financial commitment becomes clearer.

“I never really thought of money as a reason for not having a child,” Scott Creecy said. “We’ll play it by ear as far as possibly having another one.”

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