elisa’s fourth birthday

it is that one time of the year I look forward to every year because I get to plan a party for her!

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this year, we threw her a pool party. We invited our close friends over, ordered some food from Qiji and had a great afternoon by the pool.

bday5sambal sotong and beef rendang

 I would have prepared a feast if I had the time but having a newborn at home, it is wiser to just order. BUT, me being me, I did prepare two dishes to go with the nasi lemak we ordered from Qiji.

Old habits die hard 😛

For her birthday, Elisa requested for two things…

one – a pinata. This is easy.
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bday4everyone had a go in destroying the pinata. After the unbreakable one I did last year, this one is more kids friendly 🙂

two – a pandan gula melaka cake (ala Cedele). Not easy. bday3chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting & pandan gula melaka

Why two cakes you may ask? Because i messed up the cake I had initially planned to make for her! 😦

So I threw the wrinkly cake plan out the window and got her the pandan cake from Cedele instead. Well, she didn’t mind one bit, she was actually very pleased! Upon realising how small the pandan cake was (bad judgement on my part), I knew I had to either buy another cake or bake her one OR risk having C nagging the crap out of me! Guess which option I chose? Bake of course! Old habits die hard, remember?

Hence, two different cakes 🙂

bday2with the pals she grew up with 

Thank you once again for celebrating Elisa’s fourth birthday!

Til’ her 5th birthday!!

 

 

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travels: pullman arcadia phuket

we moved to another resort during the second half of our trip just to get a change of environment. The downside of staying in two resorts in one trip is you tend to compare the former and the latter.IMG_3208IMG_3210

At Amatara, it was peaceful and quiet. Remember I said we had the pool to ourselves most of the time? And over here, there’s a crowd everywhere – the pool, at breakfast, at the buggy pick-up point. Well, that’s the difference between a big chain hotel and a boutique hotel.
IMG_3201Naithon beach

But overcrowding and somewhat lack of service aside, this place is actually quite beautiful – well-maintained grounds, gorgeous pool with a breathtaking view of the ocean and a stunning beach.IMG_3207IMG_2976IMG_3024

The kids club is equally good. They have a range of activities to keep the kids occupied. We abandoned Elisa (at her request) at the kids club every afternoon for some couple time (read: happy hour) at the pool nearby. IMG_2903IMG_3049fish feeding
IMG_3058hair braiding, face painting, picture frame making
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This resort is really near the airport and if you don’t mind the crowd, this is a perfect place to stay if you are in Phuket for a short getaway and they have stunning sunset to boot 🙂 IMG_3073

 

travels: amatara phuket

We went to Bali when Elisa was one year old and we didn’t like (i think we need to give it another try!). The next year, we went to Phuket and ever since then, it has became our yearly vacation spot. Short flight, stunning beaches, gorgeous hotels and amazing food. I mean who doesn’t like Thai food?

After being stuck in the peak hour traffic, we were welcomed with this view when we stepped out of the car. Holiday mode on!IMG_2143

And our stay was off to a great start when the hotel generously upgraded us to a pavilion! Look at the silly girl!IMG_2150

Every morning, after Elisa is done with breakfast, we sent her to the kids club – a brilliant idea from the hubs. The minders engaged her with arts and crafts while we enjoyed our breakfast. Win-win!
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We spent the next couple of days lazing by the pool and basked in the sun. Most of the time, we had the whole pool to ourselves! That’s the upside of a wellness resort – everyone is at The Retreat doing their thang, you hardly see them around the resort! Speaking of which, my MIL is there doing her thang now 😛IMG_2405IMG_2403IMG_2734

The best gift she received from the hotel was the blue bracelet she’s wearing which entitles her to free ice cream throughout the resort. She will never forget to put it on every morning! IMG_2563Life is good when you can have ice cream wherever and whenever you want.

When it was time to leave, Elisa was all teary eyed. We can totally relate because it was so difficult to leave this gorgeous place! But, papa told her that we will be back someday and I’m sure we will!IMG_2752

 

 

a love letter to elisa: you’re FOUR years old

Dear Elisa,

Writing to you is always the hardest; I’ll always end up an emotional mess. Looking back at the past years; the happy, the sad, the hair pulling, the heart-warming moments makes my heart ache and stomach twist. Our lives have been taken over by the mundane daily tasks that we might have neglected you. I was watching you play the other day and it struck me how little time we spent together ever since I started work. I wished I had spent more time with you and cuddle you a little bit more. You have grown so so much.

The past one year has been a year of change. You were promoted to a big sister and what can I say? You are an AMAZING sister! You dote on your didi so much; he is the first person you asked for when you wake up. It used to be me but not anymore! You always asked to carry or hug didi but sometimes you can get a tad enthusiastic, you end up squeezing him.

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I’m not going to lie but you were quite a handful when baby arrived, you were very needy and extremely whiny. This is totally expected as your status as the only child has been revoked. We did what we could to make you feel not left out; papa brought you to Universal Studios, I did school run whenever possible and we tried to spend as much time with you as possible. It took us all a while to get used to this new addition to the family but you surprised us by how fast you adapted. I’ve heard stories about some kids taking almost one year to finally accept their younger brother/sister.

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Right now princesses are your life. Every day without fail, you will drape yourself with baby’s swaddle and pretend to be a princess. Well, Queen Elsa to be exact. For your birthday, Ah Fu got you a Frozen dress amongst many other presents. You were over the moon! You asked to put it on immediately and there you were, twirling from one end to the other with the widest smile on your face.

Also, Uncle Peter bought you a collection of Disney princesses’ story books. Those books are the most well-read books. Every single night, you will pull one book from the shelf and ask us to read to you much to our chagrin…“Princess again?”. Just the other day, I was reading Beauty and The Beast to you and you amazed me by finishing off each sentences with the exact words as in the book. I read to you so many times you actually memorised it!

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You have a competitive streak in you. You want to be first in whatever you do. And if you don’t get to be first, you will throw a tantrum and be sad about it. Elisa, mummy wants you to know that it is okay to lose once in a while. In life, there will be winners and there will be losers. It’s good to be competitive but if you do not succeed in whatever you are doing, do not be disheartened. Keep your head up and just keep on trying!

My dear, you have a wonderful sense of humour. Just like your papa, you always make funny jokes and make me laugh. Nowadays, you are talking like an adult with hand gestures and all. Even your teachers commented how mature you are when you speak. Sometimes, you surprised us by your witty comebacks that left mummy and papa totally speechless! Haha.

You are such a blessing and a joy, my silly girl!

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I wonder what will four brings us? I hope it will be nothing short of magical.

We love you more than anything!

 

❤️
mummy

letter to ed

Dear Ed,

I was over the moon the moment the pregnancy kit showed two lines. You have no idea how much I longed for you. And now that you are here, our little family is complete. Thank you for coming into our lives! And thank you for reminding me of what its like to be a mother to a new born again.

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one week old

You gave us a scare after you were born. The nurse noticed that you had irregular breathing and you had to be admitted to special care nursery for monitoring. Our hearts sank when we were told about this although we were told it is nothing serious. At that moment, I knew nothing matters but your health and well-being. They ran some test, did an x-ray and everything seemed okay. Your breathing went back to normal after a while. Thank you God for keeping you safe!

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one month old

Three and a half months since you came into our lives and it has been nothing short of amazing. I kept telling everyone what an easy baby you are; I hope I don’t jinx it! All you do is eat and sleep. Wait! Aren’t these what all babies do? Haha. But really, you are such an easy baby.

The most amazing thing about you is, you sleep trained yourself when you were about two months plus. You see, with your sister, I had to carry her or nurse her to sleep. So I was mentally prepared for that. But with you, all I have to do is to leave you in the cot. You will talk, grunt, complain and eventually fall asleep! The first time you did it, I thought it was a fluke. And you did it again, again and again. Keep it up!

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two months old

Oh, you chatty little fella! Your goos and gaas are the cutest. You are always babbling away and always try to strike a conversation with us. I can talk to you all day…well, except when you are nursing or in the middle of the night!

You have grown so much since your newborn days. So many people have mistaken you as a six month old. I was looking at your photos the other day and I do miss your lightweight newborn days. Well, not exactly lightweight considering you were almost 4 kilos! Haha. You were able to fit nicely into my arms then but now, it’s a struggle.

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three months old

You excel in tummy time! You never complain when we put you on your tummy and at two months old, you were able to lift your head up!! Now at three and a half months, you are rolling from back to front. And you do it so effortlessly!! Do you know most babies only roll over from 5 months onward? Sigh. Go slow, little Ed!

That being said, it is such a blessing to be able to watch you hit all the milestones, albeit a bit too fast for my liking. Now, please slow down. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up! Let us enjoy your babyhood a little bit more!!

❤️,
mummy

 

continued…ed’s birth story

0730am
Called my regular gynae and only to have him replied on WhatsApp…

“Taking off. Reaching at 6pm. Tell them to hold the labor for me”

“I’m already 9cm dilated. Can’t wait for you”

0745am
A beeping sound came one and I was told that the epidural has finished. The nurse asked if I would like to have more epidural but it is very likely I won’t be able to finish it (=waste money). So, a more economical choice is make do without epidural.

0815am
Dr Tan, the replacement doctor came. He broke my water bag and told me to push. Tried as I might but the push was not sustainable, baby kept sliding backwards. He can’t use suction either, as baby’s head was quite high.

“I’ll leave her alone and hopefully baby’s head will come down. If she still can’t push later, we’ll have to do a c-sect”, I overheard him telling the nurse.

WHAAAAT?? C-sect??? The first thing that came to my mind was money!! $ka-ching, $ka-ching. I’m not going for c-sect! That’s not my plan.

Shortly after Dr Tan left the room, I had the urge to push. I told the nurse and very calmly, she said “okay, let’s try”. And try I did.

Everything that took place next was quite a blur. I was in a lot of pain and had to remind myself to breathe. But that didn’t stop me from comparing how different the situation was on that day and during Elisa’s birth. It was a one man show as compared to Elisa’s-there were 6-7 people in the room; nurses were urging me to push, a lady doctor was pushing my tummy. There was a lot of commotion, it was like a marketplace. I remembered telling C, they were very very noisy. And this time, it was too quiet! Haha!

C was very supportive throughout. He kept urging me on. I don’t remember how many pushes I did and the last time I pushed, the nurse said she could see baby’s head and she asked me to stop pushing!!! She shouted to her colleague “Call the doctor!”

Are you freaking kidding me???? Stop pushing? I’m not taking a dump, you know?

I did try to stop pushing but who are we to go against Mother Nature, in this case a little boy who is so eager to see the world.

“I can’t! I need to push!!!!”

“Okay, push gently. The doctor is coming”

“How to push gently?????”

“I really can’t!!!! I NEED TO PUSH!!!”

“WHERE IS THE DOCTORRRRRRRRRR???”

C said I screamed so loud that my face turned so red he afraid I will explode. He said he has never seen me in this state before. Childbirth is hard, husband!

I was at the verge of spewing expletives. I can feel baby crowning and the burning sensation was horrific with a capital H. At that very moment, I decided to just push. The nurse manager came in and gave the nurse the green light to deliver the baby (this is according to C. I was in pain to notice anything. All I know was I needed to get baby out pronto!) With just one push, I felt his shoulder glided past (best feeling EVER) and the next thing, his cries filled the room.

Half a minute later, Dr Tan came…”Oh, she has delivered the baby”. Yes, I did! He proceeded to cut baby’s umbilical cord (Until today, I’m not sure why C was not asked to cut the cord. Maybe because I did not inform them earlier? But I thought it’s a normal practice to invite baby’s dad to do it?).

The nurse placed baby on my arms and I burst out in tears. My tears just kept flowing, I was sobbing quite badly. C as well but not as bad as me lah. It was such a heartwarming sight, I wished someone had captured that moment! They then whisked him away for checks and to be cleaned. C went along to take a good look at him and took some photos.

“Baby’s weight is 3.984kg” said the nurse.

I was expecting 3.5kg or thereabout. I actually trusted the doctor! Haha.

I delivered the placenta and Dr Tan stitched me up. After all the checks were done, the nurse carried baby over for some skin-to-skin contact. We took some photos and I tried to let baby latch on. He managed to suckle but it wasn’t a proper latch. The nurse left us alone to enjoy the moment with our newborn.

The nurse brought the baby to the nursery and I was wheeled to the maternity ward. After I settled down, C went back home to rest.

12noon
I tried to get some shut eye after lunch. Just when I was about to doze off, I received a call from the nursery. I was told that baby was having irregular breathing and he needed to be sent to special care nursery for monitoring. My heart sank and I couldn’t sleep after that.

The paediatrician came to update me about baby. They ran some test and everything seemed normal but they will still keep him in the special care nursery for monitoring.

5pm
C came with my mum and Elisa. She was so happy to see me!
The nurse arranged for an aunty (don’t know what’s her job title) to wheel me to the special care nursery and up to today, I am so angry at myself for not telling her off!

Elisa was walking next to me, holding my hands (she asked to hold my hands) while the aunty pushed me in a wheelchair. I’m not sure where she is rushing to, the aunty was pushing me at full speed!! And poor Elisa was literally running next to me, she had problem catching up!! I felt so sorry for Elisa and I am still very angry at myself for not speaking up!!

Anyway, when we reached the special care nursery, Elisa was asked to leave because children are not allowed. Again, I am pissed at the aunty because I’m sure she knows children are not allowed and yet she did not say anything. She quickly pushed me into the nursery and left!! I had no chance to explain to Elisa. C had to quickly bring her out while me and my mum went to see baby. I remember I was crying very badly in the nursery. The nurse consoled me thinking I was crying because of baby. But actually I was crying because I miss Elisa! And the sight of her squatting outside the glass door waiting for me broke my heart.

Knowing that baby is doing well and he is in good hands, I asked to leave. I knew my first-born needed me more than baby. She stuck to me the whole evening and I couldn’t be happier to be able to hold her properly and smothered her with kisses.

That night, I spent the night alone in the hospital. I barely slept as I had to be up every two hours to pump milk and I was worried about baby. And hungry!

Morning came and we gotten the all clear for baby to be discharged together with me! We went to pick Elisa up from school before heading home. She was thrilled to finally see her baby brother!

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So, that’s the birth story of Ed. I certainly did not expect my gynae to be away on holiday and to have a nurse to deliver Ed (although we talked about it with my friends a lot of times). I did not expect Ed to have respiratory distress and had to be monitored in SCN. There were a lot of things that did not go as how I had pictured it to be. But you know what, they don’t matter. At the end of the day, what matters most is baby’s wellbeing. And he is doing great now 🙂

 

 

ed’s birth story I

Finally, got down to pen down Ed’s birth story.

23rd April
It was a pretty typical Sunday evening. We went to the park prior to dinner at our favourite hangout joint. While walking at the park, I felt some mild contractions. It came and gone.

During dinner, the contractions came again. It was irregular. I was thinking to myself, could this be the onset of labor or is this what they called Braxton Hicks? I brushed it aside as Braxton Hicks and continued stuffing my face with fries and beef burger. Soo good!

When we reached home, I got Elisa ready for bed. Read her some books and took some photos with her, all the while having contractions. Slowly it dawned on me I might be in labor but I wasn’t 100% sure. With Elisa, my water bag broke. So up until this point, I didn’t know what real labor contractions felt like.

8.30pm
After putting Elisa to bed, I joined Chris in front of the TV. I started timing the contractions and they were coming about 8 mins apart. The contractions were strong but not crazy strong. And then it stopped. Half an hour later, another wave of contractions hit, with the same duration and frequency.

9.30pm
The contractions went on and there wasn’t any biggie; I was able to walk and talk. Then I received this notification.

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I was aiming for the frequency to be three to four mins apart before doing something. Since it wasn’t anything near, I did nothing 🙂

10pm
Plonked myself in front of the tele for the FA Cup semi-finals between Arsenal and Man City and got myself a plate of cheese. This time, the contractions were quite regular and had increased to 6mins apart and it started to get more and more painful, clenched teeth and squeezed eyes shut kind of painful.

1130pm
As the match progressed, so did the intensity. C was really extremely generous to offer his hands, I think I squeezed his hands a bit too hard when the contractions hit. And he never complains once 🙂
C suggested that I call the hospital and seek advice. I gave them a call and was told to get to the hospital as they can’t tell much on the phone.

After some considerations, we decided we should head to the hospital BUT after the match #priority. And the match went into extra time. GREAT!

1230am
I continued to time the contractions. They were still 6mins apart and then I received this notification! Call an ambulance?!?! No need so drama lah! 🙂

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FULL TIME! Arsenal is in the FA Cup Finals!! Yayy!!

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And it’s time to go to the hospital! We quickly pack our bags, gave Elisa a kiss, handed her over to my mum and off we went. But first, photo for posterity’s sake.

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0100am
We arrived at the labor ward shortly after 1am. Before I could say anything, the nurse on duty asked “Are you Elaine?”. Yup, that’s me 🙂 She performed a VE on me and I was already 3cm dilated.

“Does this means I will give birth today?” I asked.

“Yes. We will have to admit you. The doctor will come by to check on you later.”

0120am
I was ushered into the birthing room. “Ahh…this looks familiar” I told C.
I changed into the ugly robe, hopped onto the bed and got hooked up with all the devices whilst C was unpacking all the unnecessary stuff. He then changed into his pyjamas (long pants, sweater, socks and eye shades! he is more prepared than me!!) and made himself comfortable.

I tried to force myself to sleep only to be woken up by contractions. They weren’t that bad, I rated them 5/10 on the pain scale. I could only watch as C getting all comfy on the couch.

The nurse asked if I needed epidural.
“No, I don’t intend to get one. Thank you”

**I had told C before that I do not intend to get epidural this time round. I want to know what a drug-free childbirth is and I think I can take the pain.
“Don’t be a hero”, that’s what he said.

0230am
A doctor came to check on me and I was still 3cm dilated. What? Still 3cm? I was hoping it to be 5 or 6 or maybe 7. I thought second childbirth will be faster? Okay, fine!

He said at the rate things are going, I’ll probably give birth in the morning. And I was told that my gynae is away on holiday and he will be back later that day!! What??? I didn’t know that!!

Okay, fine!!!!

0245am
I know I mentioned I didn’t want an epidural but after giving it some thoughts, I was quite inclined to get one. Reason being, the dilation is s.u.p.e.r slow and the contractions were getting stronger. According to the doctor, I’ll probably have to wait until the morning. Although I can still take the pain, I’m afraid I’ll be too tired to push by then. And I needed to get some sleep.

The contractions were getting stronger and it’s getting quite painful-clenched teeth, gripped bed-railing kind of painful. Just as I was in the middle of a strong contraction, the nurse came in. Very good timing!

“I need an epidural, please!”. I felt a little disappointed asking for epidural but God knows how many more strong contractions will be coming my way #loser

“Okay, I’ll get the anaesthetist”

0315am
The anaesthetist came to do her job. I’ve done this before but I was quite nervous during the catheter insertion. Maybe because I was worried the contraction might hit during the insertion? I held the pillow tightly and tried to distract myself from thinking too much. To be honest, I was scared! Luckily, no contraction came during the insertion and the epidural was safely administered.

0445am
4cm dilated and contractions were 3mins apart. I laid in bed trying to sleep. But I could still feel the contractions, though not painful but it was uncomfortable.

0500am
The pain was getting more dreadful despite the epidural. The dosage was increased and I felt an immediate relief.

0530am
The same doctor came to check on me. I was 5cm dilated and fully effaced. He took a look at my tummy, touched here and there, then he said baby’s weight should be around 3.5kg. Ahh..ok. Slightly smaller than Elisa.

I tried my best to sleep but I was drifting in and out. It didn’t help that the nurses kept coming in to check on me.

0645am
Still 5cm. There nurses came to prep the room for delivery. C woke up from his sleep, changed out of his pyjamas and got ready for what’s to come.

To be continued….