Dragon baby in the making

The Straits Times

22 Jan 2012

Dragon baby in the making

While Some Couples Are Looking Forward To Their Child’s Arrival In The Year Of The Dragon, Others Are Racing Against Time To Conceive

Only 10 months after giving birth to her third child, clinic manager Claudia Chua, 33, is trying for another baby – a dragon baby, to be specific.

She is doing so to fulfil her mother-in- law’s wish of having a dragon grandchild.

‘My mother-in-law believes that having a third ‘dragon’ in the family will bring prosperity and harmony to the family. My husband and her are born in the Year of the Dragon too,’ she says.

‘I believe in respecting my elders and I will try to fulfil their wish if it is within my control.’

Ms Chua has two older daughters aged 16 and nine from a previous marriage and a 10-month-old son with her current husband, storekeeper Alex Lee, 36.

In fact, when she was five months pregnant, Ms Chua visited her mother-in-law in her home in Malacca and was chided by the elder: ‘Why didn’t you tell me that you were planning for a child. I would have advised you to plan for a dragon baby.’

With less than four months to produce a ‘dragon’ baby, Ms Chua is getting anxious.

But not her husband, who says: ‘My mother expressed her wish only casually. I will let nature take its course. When you want something, you may not get it, when you don’t want it, it may just come.’

They are among couples who say they are trying for a baby in the Year of the Dragon because of the auspicious traits such as luck, confidence and success associated with the animal zodiac sign.

Mrs Angie Lee, 30, an administrative officer who has a two-year-old daughter born in the year of the ox with her civil servant husband, says she is keen on having a dragon son as she believes the animal zodiac will ‘stabilise the family’.

But to avoid the competition, her ideal scenario would be to deliver the baby in January 2013, before Chinese New Year.

With her exacting requirements, she has stocked up on ovulation kits to help her determine her ovulation dates.
‘The kit will help pinpoint the exact date of ovulation. It’s a little more stressful this time because I’m hoping for a specific gender,’ she says.

And it is not just the women who want a dragon baby. The manager of a travel distribution firm, Mr Kelvin Woo, 36, believes that having a dragon baby will bring harmony and prosperity to the family.

He and his wife, property agent Julyn Seng, 33, are expecting their second child, a boy, on Valentine’s Day.
They have a 21/2-year-old daughter, Kirsten, who is born in the year of the ox.

Luckily for Mr Woo – and Kirsten – his wife conceived within a month of trying. ‘We were toying with the idea that if we did not get a dragon baby, we may stop at one child,’ he says.

Operations assistant Eugene Oh and his wife Angelina, both 29, are expecting their first child, a girl, in June. The couple, who got married last September, say they tried for a baby immediately because Mr Oh wanted a dragon baby.

‘The dragon symbolises the king so I hope my daughter will be successful in future,’ he says.

But for couples who have not succeeded in getting a dragon baby, some go to extreme measures.

Dr Peter Chew, a gynaecologist at Peter Chew Clinic for Women at Gleneagles Hospital, says a young couple – the wife in her late 20s and husband in his early 30s – who came to see him were so adamant about conceiving a dragon baby that they wanted to do in-vitro fertilisation immediately.

‘I told them that IVF is a tedious and complicated process. Why not try on their own naturally first since they are both so young. They did not turn up for subsequent appointments,’ he adds.

Similarly, Dr Cynthia Kew, a consultant at the obstetrics & gynaecology department at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, had a case of a first-time Chinese mum who asked to push back her delivery date by more than two weeks so she could give birth to a dragon baby.

‘Delaying the due date for more than two weeks will pose risks such as stillbirth, birth asphyxia in which the baby does not receive enough oxygen just before, during or just after delivery, and difficult labour for the mother, with excessive bleeding after delivery,’ she says.

In the end, the patient, while disappointed, accepted that the baby’s safety was of top priority.

Hospitals say they are gearing up for a 5 to 15 per cent increase in babies born this year compared to last year.

For instance, the National University Hospital, which has about 2,500 deliveries each year, is gearing up for about a 6 per cent increase in the number of deliveries.

Thomson Medical Centre is renovating its facilities and will add two more operating theatres to its existing four, and three more delivery rooms to its current nine.

Tomorrow, the first day of Chinese New Year, Mount Elizabeth, Gleneagles and Parkway East hospitals expect 10 to 15 deliveries each.

But for those who do not manage to conceive a dragon baby, fengshui consultant Raymond Lo, who is in his 50s and has been practising in his profession for more than 30 years, says the animal zodiac is only one of eight elements used in fengshui calculations.

According to him, the following year is a better time to have a baby.

He explains: ‘In the Chinese calendar, 2013 is the year of the water snake and we believe that every baby born then has people who can help him in his life.’