September 28, 2020
From Michael and Jennifer in 1975 to Olivia and Liam in 2020, Betty Nunez has seen thousands of baby names cross her desk. As the official birth certificate clerk, she has helped officially name most of the babies born at Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan for 45 years.
“Katherine is my favorite baby name, but I’ve seen a lot of sweet names and a lot of unusual names, too,” said Betty Nunez. “Some of the most popular ones I’ve seen are Kobe, Mia, Isabella, Angel and King.”
The birth registrar is responsible for collecting and verifying information for a baby’s birth certificate, social security documents, and paternity forms, a job Betty has done since 1975.
“Betty has been assisting parents, and their parents, and in some cases, even their parents with first moments and legal paperwork to start a baby’s life off right,” said Drea Field, RHIA, Director of Health Information Management. “Her name is probably on more than 160,000 birth certificates. She’s a true staple in the Women’s Pavilion and in the lives of so many San Antonians.”
While she is now an expert in birth registry, it is not something Betty planned to do as a career.
“I wanted to get into hospital coding. In those days we had books where we had to look up all the codes,” said Betty. “I’ve become pretty fond of doing birth registry. I didn’t expect to be here this long, but I love it.”
Betty started working at Metropolitan Hospital in downtown San Antonio before it became part of the Methodist Healthcare system. She said she has stayed because of the people.
“They all welcome you with open arms and kindness,” said Betty.
Her co-workers rely on her to make sure all the paperwork is complete and filed with the proper city and state organizations. She is a big resource for the team and makes people feel comfortable.
“Parents always have a million questions about social security, birth registration, paternity, and all the paperwork,” said Denise Spates, OB Manager at Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan. “Betty is so sweet and answers all their questions. It takes that pressure off the nurses, so we can really focus on taking care of the mothers and their babies.”
Betty said most people come in with a name in mind, but she remembers one mom who needed a little help.
“One woman, who had many children, had just added to her family again,” said Betty. “She didn’t know what to name the newest baby, so I gave her a list of names. She finally picked one that she liked. Sometimes it is hard to decide, but they always leave with a name.”
The babies leave with their own special name and Betty Nunez’s name recorded on their birth certificate, a special connection to a woman who loves being a part of each baby’s official start to life.