Toronto

Meet the Greater Toronto Area's first babies of 2019

When baby Fatima arrived early on Jan. 1, parents Mohammed and Dina Al-Ameri were surprised. They say they were expecting her to arrive in a few days.

Baby Fatima was born seconds after midnight at Scarborough General

Parents Mohammed and Dina Al-Ameri welcomed baby Fatima seconds after the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1 (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

When baby Fatima arrived early on Jan. 1 at Scarborough General Hospital, parents Mohammed and Dina Al-Ameri were surprised. 

Fatima wasn't just a New Year's baby — she was among the first in Canada, born just eight seconds into 2019.

But her parents thought she wouldn't be arriving for a few more days.

"I feel very excited and very special and very pleased to have this special baby girl," Dina said. "We didn't expect to have a child at this date."

Dina says that little Fatima was an easy birth, describing her as very quiet and very beautiful.

And her dad is equally excited to have her.

"I love girls. I was waiting for her for a long time," Mohammed said.

The family says they will be heading home Wednesday morning.

Baby arrives in Ajax minutes later

Parents Rathna Venkatesh and Mahendran Swamiappan also welcomed a baby girl on New Year's Day.

She arrived at 12:08 a.m. at Ajax Pickering Hospital via C-section at eight pounds, ahead of her Jan. 14 due date. 

Software engineers Rathna Venkatesh and Mahendran Swamiappan welcomed their baby girl eight minutes after midnight on New Year's Day. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Swamiappan said they weren't planning on having one of the first babies of the year but were hoping that she would be healthy.

The couple's eight-year-old son, Koushik, is also excited for the new baby, and they say he has been asking for a brother or sister for a while. 

"Last year, he was like, 'I'm all alone. It's not fair everyone else has siblings,'" Swamiappan said. "He was kind of urging us, so we thought of having another baby."

The couple says that they came to Canada about five years ago when Koushik was just two and a half years old and that they are happy to welcome their Canadian-born daughter to their family. 

"Our whole family is in India, and they're excited," Venkatesh said.

UNICEF estimated that 999 babies would be born in Canada on New Year's Day, with 74 in Toronto alone. It says about 350,000 babies will be born in Canada this year. 

Ripley's welcomes baby seahorses

But these parents weren't the only ones ringing in the new year with little ones. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada also welcomed their own New Year's babies when a herd of approximately 50 lined seahorses were born early Tuesday morning. 

The babies mark the aquarium's first births for 2019 and were born as part of its conservation and education program. 

The new seahorses were approximately the size of jelly beans, the aquarium said in a news release. 

The lined seahorses born on New Year's Day mark Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada's first births for 2019. (Supplied)

Seahorses are one of the few species where the males give birth. Male seahorses have a pouch on their stomachs that can carry up to 2,000 babies at a time. 

Depending on the species, pregnancies can last about 10 to 25 days.

The aquarium will make the seahorses available for public viewing later in January.