After a difficult year navigating the coronavirus pandemic, a family and the mother-baby unit at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital (HRH) are collectively celebrating after Thomas Simmons was born just 48 seconds after midnight on New Year’s Day.
“We were planning to have the baby next Friday, but it just happened and it was really fast. The whole delivery was just about four hours,” Thuy Vu, a Brampton resident, told Global News from her hospital bed hours after giving birth.
“It was really unexpected.”
Vu said she was taking a nap and at around 5 p.m. on Thursday, she said, she woke up after her water broke. She said she and her partner, Patrick Simmons, called their midwife who said Thomas was going to be born within 24 hours. But little did they know his birth would come so close to midnight.
“It happened really quickly after that,” Vu said.
At around 11:30 p.m., she said she was having difficulties pushing him out and that her doctor was preparing to do a medical intervention to help deliver Thomas.
“I was so ready to give up … and the very last push, he came out,” Vu said.
“His hands are really cute … tiny, tiny, cute, adorable hands,” Patrick added.
While all of Toronto’s hospitals didn’t publicly report the first babies born, it’s believed Thomas was the first delivery of 2021. At Mount Sinai Hospital in downtown Toronto, staff said the first baby was born at 12:18 a.m. At Scarborough Health Network’s three hospitals, a baby girl was the first to be born at General Hospital at 5:02 a.m.
Abi Chandrabalan, a registered nurse at HRH’s mother-baby unit, said the past year has been “exhausting” for staff who have had to keep the unit functioning while continually incorporating the latest medical precautions.
“Most of (each family’s) support system is not really allowed in, so I feel we’re supporting them a lot more,” she said.
Chandrabalan said with HRH likely welcoming the first New Year’s baby in Toronto along with the expanded rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to hospital staff, it feels like “a new page is being turned.”
“The whole year has been really difficult, so it’s kind of nice to end on a nice, sweet note that we do have the midnight baby, which is exciting. It gives a little cheer for the whole unit,” she said.
“The parents are really excited and I think they’re overwhelmed with how big of a celebrity he is already.”
Meanwhile, Patrick, who was in Texas for several months while Vu was pregnant, said he wasn’t able to come back to Canada until several weeks ago. He said he’s extra optimistic about what lies ahead.
“He’s definitely a welcome addition to the family. As far as hope for 2021, I at least had a lot of hope for 2021,” he said.
Vu said she can’t wait for Patrick’s parents to meet Thomas and is looking forward to the pandemic’s end.
“In general, COVID will be gone for good, hopefully. I think it’s possible because the vaccine is coming, so you see a lot of hope there,” she said.