Midnight baby times arrival to perfection
For some parents, the way 2017 started was one to remember as they welcomed not only a new year, but a baby too.
As the fireworks went off on the stroke of midnight, Athaba Saeed Al Mansoori was born at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
The first baby to be born this year, she arrived weighing 3.3 kilograms to proud Emirati parents from Abu Dhabi who have four other children.
"We are delighted that Athaba was the first baby to be born in 2017," said father Saeed Al Mansoori.
"It is a great beginning of the year with this exceptional gift."
Lotfiya Hussain Hassan’s little girl entered the world seven minutes after midnight. Lorien, who was quickly wrapped up in a pink blanket, weighed 3.2kg.
"I now have three princesses and one king," said the 35-year-old Palestinian mother of four. "Before my son, who’s 8, wanted a baby brother, but we told him, ‘you’re the king’. Now, he can’t wait to see her."
"I’m very proud and happy that she’s born on New Year’s Day," said Mohammed Sirhan, 39, a petroleum engineer in Abu Dhabi, as he gazed at his fourth child. The couple’s other daughters are aged 6 and 9.
By 10am on Sunday, nine babies – five boys and four girls – had been delivered at the Corniche Hospital in the capital.
Emirati Suhaila Abdullah Al Awanat, 32, gave birth to a baby girl at 2.16am. The parents have not yet named the girl, who weighed 3.07kg.
"I feel happy," Mrs Al Awanat said of her sixth child, five of whom are girls. "I was really hoping for this day."
Meanwhile, Zamzam opened her eyes for the first time at 4.43am, weighing in at 4kg.
Asma Al Tunaiji, 38, and her husband Abdullah, 39, were thrilled at their addition.
"It’s a nice surprise," said Mrs Al Tunaiji, on the birth of her sixth child. "We now have five girls and one boy in the family."
Proud but weary mother Thuraiya Al Busaidi, 29, cradled her daughter, Hind, who was born at 6.15am and weighed 2.49kg.
Mrs Al Busaidi arrived at hospital at 4am with her mother, Mozza, 60. Although the birth was difficult, she said it was worth it for her baby girl.
"It’s a lovely start to our new year, " Mrs Al Busaidi said. "Her sister, Maha, is so excited to see her."
Pakistani couple Adeela Zahid and Zahid Parvez also spent New Year’s Eve in the delivery rooms at Corniche Hospital. Their baby, Hashim, was born at 3.40am and weighed 3.41kg.
"We are so happy to have him on New Year’s Day," said Mr Parvez. "Everybody will be celebrating his birthday every year."
In Dubai, similar scenes of joy were taking place.
Rakhy and Ranjith Adat, who have called the city home for six years, welcomed their first baby on New Year’s Day at Aster Hospital in Bur Dubai. Anaya, named after a flower, was born at 6.11am, weighing 3.43kg.
"Her nickname is Ami, and we are extremely happy and excited to have her," said father Ranjith, 31. "I cannot describe the emotions that I feel, especially that we had a girl. I wanted a girl."
Five babies were born at Aster Hospital on New Year’s Day, while at Medcare Women and Children Hospital, there were seven arrivals.
Sanoob Nurden and Jismi Yousuf welcomed their second child, Afreen, at 5.35am, weighing 3.4kg.
Ms Yousuf, 29, works as a nurse at the hospital and was on duty when she started to feel contractions.
"I came to my shift and started feeling pain at around 11am, and so I called my husband and brother," she said.
"My due date was on the 7th of January, so I wasn’t expecting to give birth on New Year’s Day."