Two Hong Kong mothers received a surprise and welcome gift as they delivered healthy babies within the first minute of the new year, the latest additions as part of a steady uptick in the city’s birth rate. The two infants were each delivered by natural birth soon after the clock struck 12am early today and sooner than their estimated delivery dates. A girl weighing 3.15 kilograms was delivered at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital in Happy Valley, and a boy weighing 3 kilograms, was born at Hong Kong Baptist Hospital in Kowloon Tong. VIEW MORE: Taiwanese research team develop app that can differentiate a baby’s crying sounds Queena Lam Yang Qinyang, 32, was surprised that her baby girl was delivered on New Year’s Day. The delivery had been predicted for mid-January. “I didn’t expect it,” said a smiling Lam. “I am happy. It was a bit fortunate she chose this moment.” Lam said that this, her first delivery was smooth and not particularly difficult or painful. “I had anticipated that giving birth would not be easy,” she said. “But it was still within the range of what I had imagined.” Originally from the mainland and now settled in Hong Kong, Lam said she wanted good health and happiness for her baby. She also said she would like to have another child and that her family would continue to stay in the city. READ MORE: Number of newborn babies rises in Japan for the first time since 2010 - but population still in decline Another baby, a boy named Jun, was delivered by natural birth at 12am to the Lui family at Baptist Hospital more than two weeks earlier than estimated. His father Lui Koon-ming and mother Chu Wing-lok said they were happy that their four-year-old elder son Ho-hong now had a new companion. “I had been hoping to have two children,” said Chu. “Both are boys. They can be playmates.” According to the Census and Statistics Department, there were 62,300 births in 2014, marking a 78 per cent increase in the birth rate compared to 34,902 in 2004. The city was known to have a low birth rate due to people marrying late and high costs of living. The city’s overall birth rate increased after 2005 due to an influx of mainland mothers entering the city to give birth in order to secure right of abode for their children. Baby births rose to a new height of over 90,000 in 2011 and 2012, but only around 60 per cent, or 50,000 babies, were born to Hong Kong parents annually. From 2013, the government implemented a ‘zero quota’ policy to ban mainland mother without a local husband from giving birth in the city, effectively bringing down the total number of births to 57,128 that year.