Four babies born at midnight in the New Year

SINGAPORE - Four babies were born in hospitals here at the stroke of midnight in 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 elder brother is named Nas Muhammad Nesta after retired AC Milan centre-back Alessandro Nesta, and his second brother 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's a gift from God. A child is a bundle of joy."

Coincidentally, both Niklas and Nesta are New Year babies.

Nesta was born at 1.13am on Jan 1, 2013, making him five now.

In another stroke of 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 in the same insurance company, is an avid sports fan.

Madam Norfarizah Ambiak's and Mr Nas Muhammad Nasta'in's three boys are all named after famous athletes as their father is an avid sports fan. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The stork also delivered at the start of the new year at Mount Alvernia Hospital, Thomson Medical Centre, and KK Women's and Children's Hospital

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

Mr Lionel How, 30, had rushed to the hospital with his wife, Ms Justin Zheng, 29, 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.

Baby Abbie How, weighing a healthy 2.74kg, was born after 14 hours of labour. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

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 Lionel How, 30, an interior designer.

The other two new year babies are Liam Koh, who was born in Thomson Medical Centre and a baby girl, whose name was not known, born in KK.

(From left) New Year babies Abbie How, Liam Koh and Nas Muhammad Niklas. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Mrs Koh, 32, a civil servant, woke up at 7am on Sunday due to painful contractions.

She and husband Koh Lam Seng, 34, a master's student at the National University of Singapore, then made their way to the medical centre at 12pm.

Koh Lam Seng, 34, with his son, Liam, who was born at midnight on the first day of the year at Thomson Medical Centre. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

"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 baby Liam, who was three weeks early.

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