The countdown that ushered in the new year also led up to the birth of what appears to be the Bay Area's first babies of 2016.
A baby boy was born right at the stroke of midnight at Eden Medical Center in the community of Castro Valley, according to Sutter Health spokesman Clayton Warren.
The boy, who was named Edward James Pierce, weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces and was 20 inches long.
His mother, Michelle Beames, and father, James Pierce, are Hayward residents. For awhile it seemed that Edward would be born a few minutes shy of 12 a.m.
But their child knows how to make an appearance, the pair quipped.
"The second hand, as soon as it hit that 12, he was out," Beames said. "I was like, 'Are you serious?' Like literally 12 o clock. That, to me, was God."
Doctors induced labor at 8 a.m. Thursday because Beanes was five days past her due date.
The new mother was glad, however, that Edward didn't have to share his birthday with Christmas. She was excited for her son to be treated to fireworks on his birthday every year for the rest of his life.
"I'm overwhelmed with excitement," said Beames whose 5-year-old son was waiting anxiously to meet his sibling. "He's perfect. I'm in love already."
Meanwhile, Pierce recalled how Beames stuck a note on a coffee machine that said he was going to be a father. He wasn't able to fully digest the news, though, until the first ultrasound.
The first-time father also admitted to feeling "helpless" while Beames was in labor, but focused on offering her support.
"I never thought in a million years that I would be a father so this is really, really amazing," Pierce said.
Peggy Sandfort, a nurse at Sutter Health, was on duty when the expectant mother arrived at the hospital on New Year's Eve. They joked about the possibility of the child being the New Year's first baby, she said.
Sandford also said that the hospital where the first baby of the new year is born earns bragging rights.
"I think hospitals might be just a little competitive to see who gets that first baby," she said. "It's a fun way to start the new year, with a beautiful new baby."
Another boy was born 22 minutes after midnight at Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center, according to Kaiser Permanente spokesman Karl Sonkin.
That baby, who has not yet been named, weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces and was 18 inches long. It is the family's first child, Sonkin said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the babies were born 22 minutes apart.