First two babies of 2012 arrive neck-and-neck
Hong Kong's first two New Year babies arrived at the same time yesterday - just six minutes after the start of 2012.
But the births were both a bit of a surprise, with one sooner than expected and the other later.
Sze-nga arrived into the world three days early at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan to her parents Pak Chi-hung and Li Yuanna.
'Our friends always joked about it. They said our baby should arrive earlier, so she could be a New Year's baby,' Li said after the natural delivery.
'It's like a miracle. We're very surprised and overjoyed,' she said.
Meanwhile, at the Princess Margaret Hospital, the happy father, a Mr Wong, breathed a sigh of relief as his 3.35kg son finally arrived - 10 days late - by Caesarean section after three days of unsuccessful birth induction.
'It's a very surprising gift,' he said. 'I hope he will grow up happy and healthy.'
Pak, an engineer, and Li, a saleswoman, have been married for six years.
Li, from Hunan province, moved to Hong Kong a year-and-a-half ago and was treated as a local mother at the hospital.
She revealed that the new cap on non-local mothers giving birth in the city made it easier for her to reserve a hospital bed.
'We didn't think of having children in the first three years of our marriage, but seeing our friends raising their children, we wanted one too,' Li, 33, said.
They have not decided if they want a second child.
Pak, 34, went on a business trip in Hangzhou for the last two months of Li's pregnancy.
Li said it was a hard time for her as Pak was able to comfort and encourage her only through phone calls and video chats.
She gave birth after 13 hours of labour. 'It was very painful, but when I saw her face, I felt very touched.
'I told myself that it was worth going through all that pain to bring her into the world,' she said.
Li kissed her 3.37kg baby and said she hoped Sze-nga would have a happy, healthy and meaningful life. Pak said he wanted his daughter to be a cultured and gentle person, since Sze-nga means 'poetic and elegant'.
The city's third birth of 2012 was a 3.50kg boy born at United Christian Hospital, born 23 minutes after midnight, followed by a girl at Queen Mary Hospital 34 minutes later, weighing 2.73 kg.
Both sets of parents were locals ushering in their first child.
Meanwhile, more than 100 representatives from Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, searched for the year's first baby yesterday morning by calling round all of Hong Kong's hospitals.
After locating Sze-nga at around 7am, they visited the new parents and gave them a traditional lantern signifying the birth of a new child - largely to promote Lam Tsuen's well-wishing festival during Lunar New Year.
They invited the family to visit the village during the festival, event convenor Chan Chi-leung said.