New Year babies make perfect start to 2017
Early arrival leaves parents stunned and delighted on a special night to remember
Delighted mums and dads are getting used to sleepless nights and changing nappies after welcoming in 2017 with the arrival of a new bundle of joy.
One Co Londonderry couple was caught completely off guard when their daughter, Mia Moore, made an appearance five weeks earlier than expected - being born at 10.23am yesterday.
Mum Cheryl went to the maternity unit at Altnagelvin Hospital from her home in Ballykelly when she started to experience pain in her tummy on Saturday afternoon and was stunned to learn she was in labour. With little Mia weighing in at a delicate 5lb 11oz, 25-year-old Cheryl and her partner Jason Patton (28) - already proud parents to 13-month-old Marcus - have had to borrow some baby clothes to dress the tiny tot.
Speaking last night, Jason said: "It was a different New Year's Eve than we were expecting, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
"Cheryl only packed her hospital bag a few hours before she ended up going to hospital.
"We're all a bit stunned, none of us were expecting it to happen so soon. Mia has been getting blood tests done and they're being kept in overnight to be monitored as Mia was five weeks premature, but as long as everything is all right we are hoping they will both get home tomorrow at some stage."
Cheryl and Jason weren't the only people to ring in the New Year in one of Northern Ireland's maternity units. Belfast couple Mairead Irvine and Cormac McCloskey welcomed their second son, Odhran, at the midwifery unit at Lagan Valley Hospital at 12.06pm yesterday.
The first baby of 2017 is believed to be Ruben Bercea, who made his arrival into the world at Belfast's Maternity Hospital 23 minutes after the clock struck midnight on New Year's Day.