New Year bundles of joy

Liam Koh (left) and Abbie How are among the three babies born at the stroke of midnight on the first day of 2018. Madam Norfarizah Ambiak cradling her newborn baby, Nas Muhammad Niklas, as her oldest child, Nas Muhammad Nesta, strokes his little brot
Madam Norfarizah Ambiak cradling her newborn baby, Nas Muhammad Niklas, as her oldest child, Nas Muhammad Nesta, strokes his little brother tenderly.ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN
Liam Koh (left) and Abbie How are among the three babies born at the stroke of midnight on the first day of 2018. Madam Norfarizah Ambiak cradling her newborn baby, Nas Muhammad Niklas, as her oldest child, Nas Muhammad Nesta, strokes his little brot
Liam Koh (above) and Abbie How are among the three babies born at the stroke of midnight on the first day of 2018. ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN
Liam Koh (left) and Abbie How are among the three babies born at the stroke of midnight on the first day of 2018. Madam Norfarizah Ambiak cradling her newborn baby, Nas Muhammad Niklas, as her oldest child, Nas Muhammad Nesta, strokes his little brot
Liam Koh and Abbie How (above) are among the three babies born at the stroke of midnight on the first day of 2018. ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN

Three babies were born at the stroke of midnight on the first day of 2018, including the latest of three boys named after famous sportsmen.

Nas Muhammad Niklas - named after Bayern Munich star defender Niklas Sule - was delivered at Raffles Hospital right at the start of New Year's Day.

His brothers are named Nas Muhammad Nesta, after retired AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta; and Nas Muhammad Nadal, after tennis ace Rafael Nadal.

Their mother, Madam Norfarizah Ambiak, 35, said: "Actually we didn't plan to have a third one, but it happened... It's a gift from God. A child is a bundle of joy."

Coincidentally, Nesta is also a New Year baby. He was born at 1.13am on Jan 1, 2013, making him five now. In another coincidence, second son Nadal shares the same birthday - Sept 27 - as his mother, a senior executive at an insurance company. The three boys are named after famous athletes, as their father, Mr Nas Muhammad Nasta'in, 37, an assistant manager at the same insurance company, is an avid sports fan.

The stork also delivered at the start of the new year at Mount Alvernia Hospital and Thomson Medical Centre.

At Mount Alvernia, baby Abbie How, weighing a healthy 2.74kg, was born after 14 hours of labour.

Mr Lionel How, 30, had rushed his wife, Ms Justin Zheng, 29, to hospital on Sunday morning after she started bleeding slightly.

After getting an epidural, the rest of the labour was much less painful, said Ms Zheng, who works as a bank customer service officer.

Having the baby, their first child, at midnight was not something the couple had planned.

"We are very happy... The whole time I was looking at the doctor helping my wife give birth and, suddenly, the baby came out," said Mr How, an interior designer.

The other New Year baby is Liam Koh, born at Thomson Medical Centre.

Liam's mother, Mrs Koh, 32, a civil servant, woke up at 7am on Sunday with painful contractions.

She and her husband, Mr Koh Lam Seng, 34, a master's degree student at the National University of Singapore, then made their way to Thomson Medical Centre at 12pm.

"The doctors and nurses asked me to try a final push around that time (12am) and said if the baby was agreeable, he would come out," she said of Liam, who was three weeks early.

According to latest available figures, there were 29,337 live births for the first nine months of last year, down from 30,757 for the same period in 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2018, with the headline 'New Year bundles of joy'. Print Edition | Subscribe