One hospital, two Christmas babies, and a whole lot of joy

Baby Charlie in the arms of dad Choong Yong Thai and mum Chua Si Qi. The baby's grandparents, Mr Choong Yin Shin and Madam Tay Sai Gek, hurried to Mount Alvernia first thing on Christmas morning to welcome their new granddaughter. Charlie is the firs
Baby Charlie in the arms of dad Choong Yong Thai and mum Chua Si Qi. The baby's grandparents, Mr Choong Yin Shin and Madam Tay Sai Gek, hurried to Mount Alvernia first thing on Christmas morning to welcome their new granddaughter. Charlie is the first Christmas baby to be born in Singapore this year.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Mount Alvernia Hospital welcomes two newborns, a boy and a girl, at the stroke of midnight, four seconds apart

The stork delivered two Christmas babies - a girl and a boy - at the stroke of midnight this year, both at Mount Alvernia Hospital.

Baby girl Charlie, who weighed a healthy 2.75kg, is the first child of bank officer Choong Yong Thai, 31, and his 29-year-old optometrist wife Chua Si Qi.

Ms Chua was in labour for about four hours on Christmas Eve, before giving birth naturally to Charlie on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Straits Times on the phone from the hospital, Mr Choong said his wife had been due to deliver on Dec 30.

"If anything, we thought she might be a New Year's Eve baby," he added.

Ms Chua first experienced contractions at around 4am on Christmas Eve, but the contractions eased during the day.

However, later in the evening, just as the Singaporean couple were deciding whether they should order dinner in, Ms Chua had another round of contractions.

They headed to the hospital at around 8pm.

Mr Choong said that they do not usually celebrate Christmas, but there will now be a reason to celebrate every Dec 25. He added: "This is the best gift that we can possibly receive for Christmas."

Just four seconds after baby Charlie gave her first cry, Mr Ibrahim Mohamed Ridwan, 36, and Ms Canete Eunice Sara Clave, 27, welcomed Mohamed Hanif at the same hospital. Hanif was delivered naturally after five hours of labour.

The baby boy, who weighed 3.27kg, is the second child of Mr Ibrahim, who works in the operations team at an oil and gas company, and Ms Clave, a Filipino housewife. The couple also have a two-year-old son.

EARLY SURPRISE

If anything, we thought she might be a New Year's Eve baby.

BANK OFFICER CHOONG YONG THAI, on his baby girl Charlie. She was due on Dec 30.

Mr Ibrahim told The Straits Times that the couple were excited to welcome their baby son "after waiting for nine long months".

They settled on the name Hanif, as they felt its meaning embodies their hopes for their newborn son.

Said Mr Ibrahim: "Hanif means 'being upright and religious'. So we hope that he will grow up to be a strong and religious person, who is of good character."

Mount Alvernia Hospital's director of nursing Shirley Tay presented both parents with hampers and gifts, including breastfeeding products and diapers.

Ms Tay said: "We are always delighted when we deliver a new baby into this world... We wish all babies good health and a blessed journey in life."

Little Eleanor Luna Wirawan was also born on Christmas Day. She was delivered at the National University Hospital at 2.42am.

She is the second child of Indonesian parents Malvin Surya Wirawan, a 37-year-old finance manager, and his wife Khoo You Yun, 33, a housewife.

The couple, who are Singapore permanent residents, were surprised to see the same anaesthetist who helped them with their first child six years ago.

Over at Thomson Medical Centre, the first Christmas baby - a girl - was delivered at 3.43am.

She is the third child of Singaporean parents Renee Wong and Mark Lim, both 41.

Madam Wong, a manager, was expected to deliver on Christmas Eve.

Mr Lim is an associate lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2018, with the headline 'One hospital, two Christmas babies, and a whole lot of joy'. Print Edition | Subscribe