ABU DHABI // Jody Hussein timed her arrival to perfection.
The baby girl came into the world at exactly 12.01am yesterday, in the maternity ward at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
"It is really special to have the first baby born in the UAE in 2013, and it will be a great schoolyard story for Jody in a few years' time," said proud father Bashar Hussein, from Syria.
At Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi, the first new year arrival came at 1.10am - baby Hammad, weighing 3kg.
Several hours later, his Iranian mother Nadia Abdul Rahman, 27, was out of bed and busying herself caring for Hammad, her first child.
Although the birth was difficult, she said, it was worth it for her "beautiful gift" - which was all the more special for his birth date.
"I said I hoped he would come in the new year, and Allah accepted," she said, as mother and husband tended to the baby.
Hammad's father, 33-year-old Hossein Jamali, was equally overwhelmed by the joy of new parenthood. "I cannot tell you how special a gift this is," he said, cradling his son. "It is a gift to have him be the first baby of the new year."
A few doors away, and slightly wearier, Ameera Omar Salam took full advantage of her bed after giving birth to her daughter at 5.53am, the hospital's first Emirati child of the year.
Mrs Salam and her husband, Saleh Al Menhali, hopes their daughter will have her name chosen by someone special to them.
"We want Sheikh Khalifa to give her her name, because of the date," said Mrs Salam. "If I'd had a boy, I would have named him Khalifa. But, since I had a girl, I want Sheikh Khalifa to name her."
The family were happy their baby was born on January 1 because it is a "different" day, said Mrs Salam's sister, who lent a hand until the baby's father arrived.
By mid morning the hospital had delivered six babies, with a further 10 expected later in the day, said Roxy Fulton, the nursing co-ordinator.
But before the clock struck midnight, some parents were just as excited to have babies of 2012.