SINGAPORE – Madam Ong Ai Juan, 34, and Mr Shi Zhi Sheng, 39, were getting ready to visit Mr Shi’s parents’ at their house on Monday (Jan 31) night for their annual reunion dinner, but their plans were halted when little Ariele Shi decided she wanted to usher in the Chinese New Year instead.

The couple, who both work in finance, were unsure at first if they needed to head to the hospital immediately when Madam Ong started experiencing pain at 5pm.

The first-time parents said: “We didn’t know what kind of pain was considered labour contractions, but we thought it was best to go to the hospital just in case.”

Madam Ong, who had been looking forward to the reunion dinner to have a sea cucumber dish she had been craving, said that her mother-in-law also advised them to go to the hospital.

“She told me to just go get it checked, and that she would keep the dish for me so I can have it later,” she said.

Madam Ong was then admitted for delivery at around 7pm at Thomson Medical Centre.

“Everyone in the delivery suite was very excited, they were talking about whether she would be a baby ox or a baby tiger,” Mr Shi said.

Baby Ariele, who was initially due to be delivered on Feb 4, made her roaring entrance into the world at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday (Feb 1), marking the year of the tiger.

The couple, who have been married for 12 years, said that they look forward to bringing their baby girl home to let their family meet her.

Also celebrating the new year with their firstborn was Mr Hu Siyu and Ms Jaslyn Ang, both 27.

The couple welcomed their daughter Heather Hu at Gleneagles Hospital at midnight. Ms Ang was admitted to the hospital earlier on Monday and started having contractions at 6pm.

Over at Mount Alvernia Hospital, a baby boy was born at 12.03am on Tuesday to Mr Tan Jin Kiat, 47, and Ms Rose Nguyen, 27.

Ms Nguyen said that she had experienced slight pain and discomfort the whole day on Monday (Jan 31), but was hoping baby Bryan Tan would not come until Feb 2.

“We were hoping for him to be born on February 2 so that he would have a nice birth date, 02/02/2022, we didn’t expect that he would be born a day earlier on Chinese New Year instead,” she said.

The couple were having a reunion dinner with their family when Ms Nguyen’s pain started to become worse, and she had to take breaks in between eating.

“Our family was talking to the baby, saying: ‘Wait, let Mama eat dinner first please,’ but he wanted to come out to meet us already,” she laughed.

The couple, who have been married for three years and have a 16-month-old boy, went to the hospital at 9.30pm and was admitted soon after.

“The doctor was very excited during the birth, telling me to try and push as best as I can so that Bryan would come out at midnight,” Ms Nguyen said.

Text: Syarafana Shafeeq/ The Straits Times