Doubly joyous day for 14 parents
Christmas Day was made doubly joyful for 14 new parents across Samoa on Wednesday who welcomed the arrival of Christmas babies.
Nine of the newborns were delivered at Motootua hospital.
A senior midwife at the maternity ward in Motootua, Tiara Tuulua, said delivering Christmas babies is a feeling unlike any other day as a nurse.
She delivered the first baby of Christmas morning (not just at her hospital but the entire nation), the fifth and the last of the day and she says having been able to deliver safely three lives on Christmas left her overwhelmed.
“I got excited when I called all other hospitals around Samoa and confirmed that [the first baby, she was] the first baby of Christmas,” she said.
At 1.49am Trina and Alaivaa Loli welcomed Ruth Maluifale Loli into the world as their second-born and Samoa's very first Christmas baby.
They chose the name Ruth for its Biblical resonance and to ensure that their new daughter would have a name that gave meaning to the family's relationship with God.
Her second name, Maluifale, was chosen as a reference to her father's work as a traditional healer, the trade which he plied to save the young family from poverty when they were first starting out together.
"This is God's reward to my husband for having faith in him with his work," Mrs. Loli said.
Ruth is the couple's second born.
"Our daughter being born on Christmas Day gave us hope that God is always with us [and] will always be," Mrs. Loli said.
"We were shocked with this gift of life and we'll forever remember this day as she's the first baby of Christmas this year."
Baby Ruth's birth also marks the couple's one-year anniversary.
They acknowledged the work of the nurses who were on duty for Mrs. Loli's delivery for the care they showed.
For Ms. Tuulua, the sense of gratitude was mutual.
“Their births are worth leaving Christmas with our loved ones at home for, because they give us the real spirit of Christmas which is what we need right now,” Ms. Tuulua said.
Despite the exhaustion from working through her holiday and pulling so many long shifts related to the measles outbreak, Ms. Tuulua said working on Christmas was one of the highlights of her professional career as a nurse.
Especially after enduring the measles epidemic, the nurses needed a source of inspiration and this was one one all the nurses in the maternity ward, Ms. Tuulua said.
Samoa's last baby born on Christmas Day was the child of Monshana Faletui and Farani Sialau.
Their baby Avatea Sialau arrived at 10.45pm. While her last-minute Christmas Day arrival suggested lateness, she was, in fact, days ahead of schedule - something about which Mrs. Faletui was thrilled.
"It's crazy how this was the actual date I dreamt for Avatea to be born on and it turned out happening though the real due date was the 29th of December," Mrs. Faletui said.
Avatea is now the youngest of three in her family at Leusoalii.
The arrival of the newborns on such an auspicious date was also celebrated at hospitals all around Samoa, including at Lalomanu Hospital; Tuasivi Hospital in Savaii; Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital; two at Tuasivi Hospital in Savaii; and three from Lalomanu.
The time of birth for each of Samoa's Christmas babies are as follows.
The first baby was delivered at 1:49 AM (Female) at Motootua, 3:35 AM (Male) Laloman, 6:57 AM (F) Lalomanu, 6:58 AM (M) Lalomanu, 8:14 AM (F) Motootua, 8:31 AM (F) Motootua, 11:37 AM (M) Motootua, 2:32 PM (M) Motootua, 4:00 PM (M) Tuasivi, 4:15 PM (M) Motootua, 5:30 PM (M) Tuasivi, 8:00 PM (F) Motootua, 8:20 PM (M) Motootua and 10:45 PM (F) Motootua. Another Christmas baby born in Savaii was home delivered, according to Ms. Tuulua.