SINGAPORE - As revellers celebrated the start of 2019 on Tuesday (Jan 1), two couples had extra reason to celebrate as the clock hit midnight.
This year's first New Year's Day baby was born at exactly 12am in KK Women's and Children's Hospital to Madam Tian Ning Ning, 31, a surgical nurse, and Mr Wang Mao Song, 33, a technician.
The girl, who has not been named yet, is the couple's first child and was born after about five hours of induced labour.
Madam Tian and Mr Wang were surprised to have the baby on New Year's Day as Madam Tian was expected to deliver her baby on Dec 30.
When she did not arrive, the couple made an appointment to induce labour on New Year's Eve as they were afraid that the delay would be bad for their child.
"When I was pushing the baby out, we were all looking at the clock and it happened to show 12am on the dot," said Madam Tian.
"I could hear people wishing each other Happy New Year outside the delivery ward."
Mr Wang said: "Since she was already over the expected due date, as long as she's healthy and good, all is good for us."
The two permanent residents married in 2012, and have been planning to have a child for more than two years. They struck up an online romance several years ago while Mr Mao was still working in China. He moved here to join Madam Tian when they planned on getting hitched.
The couple said they will wait for Mr Wang's parents to pick an auspicious name for their daughter, who weighed in at a healthy 2.7kg. They will receive a hamper of baby products from the hospital for having this year's first baby.
Just four seconds after Madam Tian and Mr Wang's daughter was born, baby boy Reyes Neo was delivered at Mount Alvernia Hospital to first-time parents Madam Lee Hui Ling, 26 and Mr Neo Ching Liang, 33.
The pair, who met at work and married in 2017, had thought Reyes would be the last baby of 2018, as Madam Lee, a permanent resident who works as a money changer teller, had been admitted to the hospital early on Monday morning.
Reye's birth was extra special for the pair, said Mr Neo, as Madam Lee had a difficult pregnancy. Doctors found a blood clot in her placenta in her first trimester and in her later stages of pregnancy the baby was found to have a high chance of miscarriage or being born with Down Syndrome. Reyes is their first child.
"When the baby came out healthy we were all very relieved and happy," said Mr Neo, a Singaporean casino supervisor, noting that Reyes weighed a healthy 3.1kg. "I just hope he will also grow up to be healthy and happy."
Other New Year's Day babies include Hayden Chai , who was born just two minutes after midnight.
The first child of lab analyst Chai Vui Choi, 36, and cashier Lee Yean Hee, 31, he was delivered at National University Hospital.
Madam Lee went into labour at 6am on New Year's Eve.
"She was very strong, persevered all the way - she didn't even take any medicine to help her," said Mr Chai. "I hope the baby will grow up to be a good and understanding kid, and eventually a good man."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.