When shutdowns began in the United States back in March, almost immediately there were titters and murmurs of the baby boom that would materialize nine months later. All that free time for cohabitating couples to stay home alone together, surely, would result in overflowing maternity wards come December, the speculation went. At the same time, others wondered whether worries about the devastating effects of the pandemic would cause some couples to put their plans to conceive on hold, leading to a “baby bust” in December and January.

In some cases, like Dobson’s, the former is precisely what happened: Her husband, tattoo artist Aaron Walker, 31, went into self-quarantine several days before Florida’s stay-at-home orders went into effect March 30. He was suddenly home with Dobson all day every day, “and it happened, like, that week,” Dobson, 27, said with a laugh…

The National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doesn’t expect to release the nationwide birthrate data for late 2020 (and settle once and for all the whole “boom or bust” question) for another six months. But what’s clear now is that the first wave of pandemic babies — covid babies, coronials, pandemi-kids, whatever you want to call the micro-generation of children conceived, carried and born during the covid-19 crisis — is making its way into the world, and their parents have experienced pregnancy in a way that few others in modern history have. Their nine-month journeys toward parenthood have been lonelier and more dystopian but at the same time more private and physically comfortable than those of people who embarked on the same adventure as recently as last year.