SINGAPORE - Little Ethan Poon gave his parents a Chinese New Year surprise when he made his appearance at the stroke of midnight on Feb 5, making him the first baby here to be born in the Year of the Pig.
First-time parents Poon Yee Siang, 30, and Wong Ee Wen, 28, had been expecting their newborn to arrive a month later on March 3, but Ms Wong began experiencing unbearable contractions after a reunion dinner at her grandmother-in-law's house.
The couple, who have been married for two years, visited Mount Alvernia Hospital at about 10.30pm, thinking that they could get some medication before heading home.
"We came to the hospital thinking that it was just a routine check but in the end, I was already 5cm dilated," said Ms Wong, a mechanical engineer.
After an hour and a half of labour, Ethan was delivered naturally as the clock struck midnight. He weighs 3.27kg.
Ms Wong said that she had minor contractions for about 1½ days and the doctor had advised her to monitor the situation and go in for a check if necessary.
During the check, the doctor said that there was a 60 per cent chance that she could give birth in the week.
While they were having their reunion dinner on Chinese New Year eve, Ms Wong said that she had some painful contractions but these had been bearable.
It was only after they returned home did the pain intensified, and they decided to go down to the hospital, she added.
Little Ethan is a baby of several firsts. He is not only the first child of Mr Poon, who is a civil engineer, and his wife, but also the first grandson and first great-grandson of Mr Poon's family.
Upon hearing the good news, Mr Poon's parents were so excited that they rushed down to the hospital in the morning, the couple said.
Mr Poon met his wife when they undergraduates at the National University of Singapore and they got married after graduation.
They said they had not planned for Ethan, as they wanted to "let nature take its course".
Now, they are hoping to have another child in about two years time so that Ethan will have a sibling with a close age gap.
Mount Alvernia Hospital chief executive officer James Lam said: "We are very happy for Mr and Mrs Poon. I'm sure Mr Poon's family is especially delighted with this new bundle of joy."
Dr Lam, who presented the new parents with a Chinese New Year baby hamper, said: "We wish Ethan health and happiness always. We also wish all babies good health and a blessed journey in life."
Mount Alvernia Hospital said that other Chinese New Year babies born at the hospital will also receive a gift pack.