The prince and the warrior

Happy dad Raymond Woo, 34, and his firstborn Caelon Woo, born half an hour after the royal baby.

SINGAPORE - Believe it or not, more than 350,000 babies were born on the same day as Britain's royal bundle last Monday.

Among them, baby Caelon who emerged screaming for attention here. Can't blame him with the world so caught up in the royal baby frenzy. But Caelon's mother wasn't going to be scooped by Kate Middleton. Oh no, she wanted her baby out first.

New mum Celine Chan, a 34-year-old insurance agent, was at Thomson Medical Centre when news came through that the British royal family was about to have a new addition.

"I overheard the nurses talking and then my husband told me that Kate Middleton was also in labour at the same time. I thought to myself, maybe my baby will be ahead of the royal baby so 'game on'," she said, laughing.

Caelon Woo was delivered at 11.56pm - 4.56pm London time - about half-an-hour after the young prince. Missed by a royal whisker.

The royal baby, named George Alexander Louis, was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London at 4.24pm. He is the third in line to the British throne.

Prince William and his wife had, about 11am Singapore time, rushed to the private wing of the hospital without the usual fanfare, sirens and police outriders.

About 90 minutes later, the office at Kensington Palace issued a short statement and everyone was alerted.

Little fanfare

Ms Chan and her husband Raymond, also 34, and in the insurance industry, had also rushed to Thomson Medical Centre with little fanfare.

"I was only 1.5cm dilated at about 4pm when I was admitted," she told The New Paper. Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, who suffered from severe morning sickness early in her pregnancy, Ms Chan said her pregnancy was "rather smooth-sailing".

"Except for the terrible gastric pain in the second trimester, but that was easily solved when I was given probiotics," she said.

"My labour was about eight hours from the point when I was induced. I didn't think it was very long. "I heard there were women who went through 24 hours and that to me is long," she said.

There was a television set inside the delivery suite, but there was no announcement on the arrival of the royal baby that night.

"Initially we thought we had won this race, but we found out the next day that the baby prince was half-an-hour ahead," Ms Chan added.

And what of her baby's name? "We wanted something meaningful, strong and a little bit of us both for our firstborn so we picked Caelon, C for my name and Caelon rhymes with Raymond," she said.

While George has its roots in the Greek word georgos, meaning farmer or earth worker, Caelon is a Gaelic name that stands for warrior.

Would Ms Chan pick perhaps a king or princesomething for the rest of his name? "We have not picked his Chinese name and will be consulting the two sets of grandparents for that," the new mum said.

So yes, other mothers went into labour that day. And other babies were born. And which of the two babies is cuter? Ms Chan quipped: "My son has more hair."

Born on July 22, 2013

Around the world, an estimated 367,000 babies were born last Monday, the same day as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

And in Singapore, three babies were born closest to the royal baby's birth time.

One made his appearance 13 minutes earlier than the HRH George and the other, Caelon Woo, came into the world about half an hour later at Thomson Medical Centre.

The third and closest, at 11.33pm, was born at Mt Alvernia Hospital.

Here is a breakdown of the births at hospitals in Singapore:

Gleneagles Hospital: 13

KK Women's & Children's Hospital: 28

Mt Alvernia Hospital: 12

Mt Elizabeth Hospital: 3

National University Hospital: 7

Parkway East Hospital: 8

Singapore General Hospital: 3

Thomson Medical Centre: 25

juditht@sph.com.sg


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