Friday, February 14, 2020

Marriage is Hard: Ours Included.


"Marriage is meant to keep people together, not just when things are good, but particularly when they are not. That is why we take marriage vows and not wishes"

When I say yes (three years ago) to marrying the man who is now the father of our two minis, I know I am saying yes to a lifetime with him. That being said, here is something quite personal that I would like to share because the reality is what it is and if I don't share it, then what is the point kan of this blog? 

We all know marriage is hard - but marriage becomes harder when we decided to become parents, right after getting married. We gave each other very little time to enjoy the only-two-of-us-season and this is not at all a complain. We wanted it. We wanted to start a family and with Alex, it was just lovely. 

It was challenging when Alex came into our world with some unrealistic expectations and first time having to sacrifice sleep night in and night out. 

But when Sofia came, marriage is not just hard, it was in the top list for my daily prayer. Our marriage needed help or some kind of intervention. 

I knew deep inside something was not going right in our relationship with each other and no - I am not talking about being tempted by others kind of not right - more like we were just keeping our distance to avoid getting into more disagreements that will for sure lead to arguments (be it silent or loud kind). And because of that conscious distancing away, I felt disconnected with him. It was sad. I was sad - on top of being tired physically. 

Ever since Sofia came like about 2 months ago, we both have been having more bad days then good days with each other. 

Bad days = disagreements and usage of sarcastic words that led to arguments and not nice feelings.
Good days - none of the above

So yeah. It was really hard. 

Of course it crossed my mind to go to a professional marriage counselor to iron things out. We have been to 1 when we first got married and like I always say to my close friends, everyone who is in a relationship should meet with a marriage counselor at least once because it's really an eye opener. So, we both are very open to going for another one. 

We did not in the end because we knew exactly what the problem was during our most recent argument - amazing what you can find out when both are angry - just as long as no nasty words are said. 

It really bottles down to meeting another new set of expectations and handling the stress (due to lack of sleep and time etc) and how we must sit down and realize that marriage is hard - not bad. 

We thought that second round of being a parent is easier because we have got the experience d ma right. WRONG. 

Having a second one means everything also doubled and time is halved. Make decisions also must think & discuss a few times because now it involves TWO minis. 

And every baby is different - means we cannot handle Sofia like how we handled Alex because they are both really different babies altho came from same two loves. Hah. 

We are slowly getting more good days now because we are slowly becoming more patient with each other and always trying to see from each other's perspective. 

Here is one example of how a good day can be turned into a bad day. 

I realized that often times, I needed to remind him to help me wash the milk bottles and parts of my pumping things, but he always just leave the milk bottles at the sink and it will drive me crazy. I cannot stand seeing the bottles at the sink not washed and I ended up having to wash them myself and day in day out, I find myself becoming more bitter towards it. So when we finally "argued" about it, he became more aware. Let's hope he doesn't delay in washing them bottles anymore. Heh. 

So yeah. 

There were so many times when I asked him (and him to me) if he still loves me at the end of a day. We don't even hold hands when we sleep anymore - okaylah to be fair, it is mostly because we sleep at different time now. I will fall asleep with Alex first and he will spend time with Sofia outside. Heh. 

So, since today is Valentine's Day, here is a little something for you, lifetime lover of mine. 

"I did not realize the amount of pressure that comes on us when we decided to start a family and expand it in the 3 years of being married - okay 4 years this September. And I have been letting myself getting upset with the littlest thing that doesn't really matter and if I may, I'm going to blame it all on the lack of sleep really. Because it really is. Me having very little sleep makes me a cranky wife. You know that for sure. So thank you for still holding the fort and loving me at the end of the day with milk stains all over me and probably smelled like milk too. 

Marriage is hard. parenting is also hard. And together, it is super super hard. But I am glad you are the one I got to do it with. Doing life with you - tick. 

I love you ever since we started and I will love you for the rest of my life. Yes, you better live longer than me. Heh. There are so many things that annoys me but every day, I will TRY to choose to close my eyes and walk away from it (like you always wanting to press my blackheads or when you don't hang your towels).

I cannot wait to go back to work partly because now night shifts are divided into two! HAHA. 

Bottom line is I love you and no matter how hard times are going to get, we will make it through. We will always be able to look back at it and laugh like noobs. 

I valentine you, Adrian Koay. Always will and always have. 

To marriage and to us. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Birth-Day Story of Sofia Koay.

Our second born baby girl is finally one-month old! 

It felt like forever for her to reach one month and for us to finally bring her out and about. Maybe because it is tougher to stay home with her (and our firstborn almost-toddler) for an entire month. I crave to go out and I did but not for long because of breastfeeding - yes this time I am going to do it for at least 6-months. All the best, me. Heh. 


Anyways, both Adrian and myself are beyond thankful that Sofia is an easier newborn compared to when Alex was a newborn. He had colic and would cry whole night - refusing milk and everything. Sofia on the other hand, loves drinking milk (obsessed with latching on hah) and do not have colic - so we never had to deal with that kind of stress. 

Also, both of them did not have jaundice (we prayed really hard since we found out about the pregnancies) even though we were told by doctors and nurses that people with type O blood has the highest risk of their baby having jaundice. Oh wells.  

Okay - so let's get to the birth-day story of our second-born, Sofia Koay. 

Oh wait - here is the link to Alex's birth-day story if you did not already read it. Heh.

Many people shared with me that usually second pregnancies right - the baby will come out earlier than the first pregnancy. So we were sort of prepared to have her make her grand exit earlier. But this girl - drama like the mother - did not come out earlier. Or on the expected date of arrival. 

Okay maybe before that, I should pen down which hospital we decided to go to in the end because that will  lead the decisions made after that and all. 

When we first found out that we got pregnant again earlier of 2019, we waited till about 2 months before making an appointment to see Dr Soon at Adventist Hospital. Then, we were also making appointments to the Klinik Kesihatan.

When we were with Dr Soon, he was telling us that the second birth will most likely be a c-section also since the first one is of that. We were a bit bummed out when he told us because I wanted to try for natural birth this round - after experiencing such a long recovery with the first birth. But when we visited the Klinik Kesihatan which then referred us to GH for few more visits, we were told that we can try for a natural birth first and if really cannot, then a c-section will be performed.

To cut the story short, we decided to deliver this baby at Penang General Hospital because they let us go for natural birth - in fact they encouraged natural birth. With Dr Soon, he was like 90% leaning towards c-section already so we kinda stopped visiting him towards the end of the pregnancy. 

The expected date for Sofia to come out (at week 40) was on 16 December but there were no signs of her wanting to come out so when we visited my gynae at KK, she gave us another week (max) and if still no signs, then I will have to be induced on 23 Dec (so close to Christmas oh my).

With everyone around me sharing on how being induced is another level of pain itself, I was scared. I was so reluctant to be induced and really prayed so hard (thank you to those who prayed alongside us!), that Sofia will come out naturally before 23 Dec and without having to be induced.


Then Sunday (22 Dec) comes and I was supposed to check into GH already to get prepared for next day's induce procedure and all. BUT SOMETHING HAPPENED!

On that very Sunday at 630AM as I was waking up to get ready for the check-in, I felt the first wave of contraction and I was like, 'Yes!'


Then, came the second and third and before I know it, the contractions kept coming. That's when we know that Sofia is going to come out today and that also means NO NEED TO BE INDUCED! We were celebrating so hard on our way to the hospital. Prayer answered!

It was already about 8AM by the time we reached the hospital. I was asked to enter the examination room alone (no spouse allowed) and there, I changed into the hospital gown and doctor (and 3 housemen) checked and I was about 4cm dilated.

Soon after that, I was asked to go into the maternity ward (accompanied by the mister) and got myself a bed by the window with a view of the carpark (oklah, quite a win). By then, more MOs and Housemen came and checked.


Since there were nothing much left to do except for waiting, Adrian left the hospital and went to church for the Christmas Celebration Service and I tried to catch some sleep. It was hard because the contractions were becoming more often and the pain was slowly becoming even pain-er (heh).

When Adrian came back at about 1PM (I think), we asked for one of the doctor to come and check the dilation because the contractions were becoming crazier. I was 6cm dilated and the doctor immediately did the necessary to get me wheeled to the labor room (located at another building).

Adrian was not allowed into the labor ward so he waited outside and I was inside (along with another mother in labor). Different doctors and housemen came and check (it is a training hospital afterall - no idea how many people looked at my ahem already to be honest, heh).


One of the houseman (got to know that his name is Leonard at the end) was supposed to break the water bag but he tried 2 times and failed (and I some more cheered him on because everytime he goes into my vajayjay, it hurts like mad so I actually do want him to succeed in breaking that water bag!) - but nope - so the MO/Specialist (not sure which one) came and did it while teaching him.

LONGEST WATER BAG BREAKING SESSION EVER.

Anyways, by then it was too late to get epidural so I had no choice but to endure the rest of the labor till 10cm dilated.

I remembered not long after that, I was already pushing with every contraction that came because it's just it. I cannot NOT push if you know what I mean. It felt like I was taking the biggest poop of my life. I legit asked the nurses to check if any poop came out because I pushed so many times and so hard. The steel on my bedside probably got dented too.

When one of the nurse came to check, she showed a slight-panicked face and told the rest of her crew to bring over the cart or whatsoever! She said, "Baby dah nak keluar dah!"

I was like, "SERIOUS?" That's not poop?"

She went on and commented that I was a good pusher. Ahem. Heh.

Then I remembered seeing Leonard rushed to my bed and more nurses came and everyone counted with me and asked me to push and all. And guess what. The main midwife/nurse even asked if I want to hold and pull the baby out myself when her upper half is out.

I said, "NO THANK YOU!" - I was in a slight panic mode I think. Thinking back, I should have done it. Ish.

Guess what one more time.

I CLOSED MY EYES THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BIRTH EXPERIENCE. 

Yep, I saw the nurse took a pair of scissors out and that's it. Eyes closed till after baby is out.

I felt two snips and pushed some more and then before I know it, Sofia finally came out and was crying loudly - not as loud as when Alex were out though.

"A very healthy baby girl" - so I heard.

The nurses continued to get the placenta out and did the stitches and all. I felt the stitching because I had some extra tear apparently so when she was stitching up the outer part of it, I was in absolute pain but Sofia was on me already at that time, so I just focused on her.

So yeah.


By 5pm-ish, I was back to the maternity ward and by 630pm, I was walking around and sitting up already. Natural birth has got its benefits for sure.

I spent the night there alone with Sofia by my side (baby stays with mommy the entire time at GH) and got discharged the next day at 3pm. It was really such a quick birth experience compared to the one we had with Alex. Super thankful that both Sofia and I did not have to stay longer than a night because I was still too tired (physically) and having to care and feed Sofia all by myself in the hospital was hard.


Now, one of the most frequently asked question on this entire birth experience is how much did it cost to give birth at Penang General Hospital.

We paid a total of RM33 for natural birth (no epidural) two days one night stay at Penang GH!

THIRTY-THREE RINGGIT MALAYSIA.

Cheaper than my monthly phone bill what is this.

I thought it would probably costs like RM100 or something - but when Adrian told me the price, my jaw dropped, really.

When we did the c-section procedure to bring Alex out at Adventist Hospital, it costs us RM11,000!

Yep, you see that right.

ELEVEN THOUSAND RINGGIT MALAYSIA!

Although it is not the same kind of birth procedure, but I am sure that at GH, it will probably cost less than RM300 for a c-section.

Private hospitals are over-charging wei - I cannot even.

RM11k versus RM33.

So much win for the second-born please.

So, that's how Sofia made us a family of four - and as much as we would like to extend the family tree, we will be taking at least 2 years for the uterus to heal before number three happens.

We cannot thank all of you enough for keeping us in your prayers - be it during the pregnancy and after Sofia came out. Thank you for all your prayers, gifts, and encouragements. It is very possible that I may have forgotten to thank you personally but please know that we appreciate all of it.

Also, this round we decided to give Ayamas Full Moon Set Package instead of the usual yellow rice with curry chicken. For Alex, we gave cupcakes and muffins kind of set.


We have received many comments from you guys that the Ayamas chicken was really yummy and we felt that it's really value for money - half chicken (flavor: percik) with 2 eggs and 2 angkus.

So, thank you again for all your blessings to our little girl.

Everyone, meet our second-born.


Sofia Koay Yi Jia
3.4 kg
Hairy (like her brother)
Loves drinking milk 

Friday, December 20, 2019

7D6N Hungary & Croatia with Contiki!

Super outdated post I know - haven't been able to find the right time and blogging mojo to pen this one down till now.

No idea if its going to be a long one but here goes - gonna write as much as I can remember.

It was some sort of internal Top Seller Contest by my company to motivate us to sell tour products of Contiki to as many people as we can.



When HQ sent out this motivation email, I remembered thinking and knowing for sure, "Aiya, cannot get wan because I'm in Corporate Sales and not Tours and I don't specifically sell tour products" - so it was read email and done.

Never came across this at all anymore.

Then, I became in-charge in organizing a 2-days travel talk for Contiki (first Contiki talk in Penang) and really, the team managed to sell more than 10 pax. It really is the team effort and I would never have done it without them.

Needless to say, I was so shocked when I saw my name in the email - chosen to go alongside with a colleague from HQ on this trip - everything paid for. It was insane. I could not believe it.

I was excited yet at the same time, I was nervous about how I was gonna feel leaving Alex for a week (never been away from him for so long before please).

Of course I still say yes - an opportunity like this very hard to come by okay.

It was later on after the company had confirmed my flight tickets and all, that I became pregnant and the morning sickness was rolling on me so badly - lasted the entire trip yes.

Anyways, we decided to go on with it provided I skip all 'too active' activities there.

So, that is how this story begins. Hah.

ELEVENTH OF MAY
Penang-Doha via Qatar Airways 851

It was the hardest goodbye at the airport please. I should be feeling happy going on a holiday in Europe with all expenses paid for and all that - but my heart was the heaviest having to leave my two boys for a week. Who knew that being a mother changed my passion for travel? Only if I had to travel alone la that is - cannot imagine travelling without my babies anymore after this trip's experience.


TWELFTH OF MAY
Doha-Budapest via Qatar Airways 201

After spending a total of almost 20-hours of travelling (13-hours flying and 7-hours on transit), I was ready to get into bed and skip whatever program that Contiki had planned because my body was just ready to crash and I was not gonna risk the pregnancy.

But of course, this had to happen:

  • the car that I have booked online a week prior to this trip overlooked our reservation and totally forgot about us (me and my KL colleague) so we ended up taking the airport shuttle service called miniBUD and only paid half of the online booked car (blessing in disguise). 
  • Then, the driver of this miniBUD dropped us at the wrong side of Budapest and went off and never came back so we had to grab a city taxi to get two lost Asian girls to the correct side of Budapest. Insane adventure please. We were supposed to reach to our hotel on the green side of the map but instead, we were dropped off at the red side - yes we considered walking but with the big luggages we had, no way man. 



  • We got to the hotel only to find out that we are not able to check into our rooms until about 330PM because the rooms were not ready. Other agents from other countries were mostly already there but just chilling at the lobby. I was half dead by then. 
It was also Mothers' Day and I got too emo looking at photos and videos everyone was sharing via WhatsApp. First Mothers' Day and I was not around PFFT. Heh. 

After giving us like 30-minutes to settle into our rooms and freshen up, we had to meet up again for a kick-start meeting and then after that, tour begins. 


We had a walking tour around Budapest - followed by dinner on a cruise along the famous Danube River. Not super excited about the walking tour because I was really just so exhausted but thought I shouldn't miss it anyways. 


Crashed on my bed like a baby the moment we got back to the hotel and slept like a log perhaps. 

THIRTEENTH OF MAY
Budapest


Daily breakfast provided in the hotel so I ate whatever my stomach could take and ready to see what day two brings in Budapest. 


We were brought to the famous-must-see-must-go: Szechenyi Baths. If you ask me honestly, its really just probably another term for public swimming that you have to pay for. It is probably really nice during the cold season because the water is warm. It's called hot baths okay but we tried the water and that is not hot please. They have to go try Japan's onsen to know what hot really means.

Reven and I did not change into our swimsuit and get into the water because really, macam normal je - like normal swimming place. We sat at the side and lazed and people-watched.

My morning sickness kicked in and I fell asleep there at the Bath for a good 20-minutes while Reven continued to people-watched. Thanks Reven for taking care of me really! I was such an aunty during this trip - promise I am lot more fun when travelling okay.

Then, it was me time and we decided to wait for Wilson (Singapore) and Yaaseen (South Africa) and some others and walked together to wherever they had planned to explore. Better to follow the usuals than to walk on our own and missed out on some must-see right.


We went back to the hotel and rested before the evening plans by Contiki for a Goulash Cooking Demonstration Session and a visit to the Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar. Surprise surprise that I skipped the entire second half of the day's plan because I was really nauseous and not feeling great. I had cup noodles for dinner and went back to sleep till the morning.

These photos were taken from Reven and from my presentation heh.


FOURTEENTH OF MAY
Plitvice Lake, Croatia

We said goodbye to our hotel and en-route to Croatia - checked in to Hotel Bellevue after hours on the road. It was cold so it was pretty nice and cozy in the bus.


Because it was raining the whole day (and drizzling when we got there), they have decided to close the entrance to the bottom side of the National Park (boo!) because it was too wet and slippery and the water was getting higher and rougher. Such a bummer because that's where it gets really pretty and amazing.

So we only got to walk on the top side of the national park and looked down and still be amazed because it was really such a wow sight to catch. A must visit at Croatia for sure.

I didn't think I would get so amazed but the sight of it was really just breathtaking.


We had a simple 3-course-dinner and I was ready to crash (again) on the bed. I fell asleep so fast every night because of all the energy used and I think the baby inside also sucking all energy from me by just growing well inside.

One thing I know of this baby is she does not like European food, at all. Heh. Good thing I brought a lot of cup noodles - no choice ya.

FIFTEENTH-SEVENTEETH OF MAY
Plitvice - Makarska - Hvar - Split

The day that I feared the most is finally here - to go on-board the Katarina Line boat and spend the next few days on the boat itself.

Yes, everything also do on that boat.

So, I have motion-sickness, sea-sickness and on top of that all, I came bearing morning-sickness too! Imagine my excitement when I saw that the boat is not as huge as I wished it to be (yay not). I prayed (really hard).


They paired me with Minji this time (no longer with Reven) because Minji was also pregnant so we got the upper deck room (slightly bigger) and Reven got the lower deck.

Once on-board, we ate and freshen up and made our way to  Makarska with a swim stop on the way. So, they just find a really nice spot and stopped the boat and most of them just jumped into the water. Us Asians? We sat and watched! Hah.

The water was ice cold apparently so none of us jumped. I obviously could not jump into the water so I basically sat and took videos.

So for the next few days, everytime we leave a town to another town, they will stop somewhere for swimming and chilling. And we ate mostly on-board the cruise - with the freshest ingredients that the Chef will get from the town.


We arrived at Makarska about noon time and docked and went down for a walk - nice weather with postcard view everywhere - it's like living in a postcard seriously. Too beautiful!



We had the pirates/sailor theme for our farewell Captain's dinner and I survived until after appetizer and then I went up to my room and crashed. The morning sickness got the best of me add with some hints of sea-sickness. I died. Heh.

I woke up after an hour and yes, gobbled down my last cup noodle and then crashed again while the rest of the crew went out to party.

Thankful that the bed was really soft and comfy.

EIGHTEENTH-NINETEENTH OF MAY
Split-Vienna via Croatian Airlines 444
Vienna-Doha via Qatar Airways 184
Doha-KL-Penang

And the day finally came when we all said our goodbyes to each other and return to our reality. I was excited to go home because I was just having such bad home-sickness but totally not looking forward to the long hours of travelling.

I was supposed to spend 13-hours of flying and about 6-hours of transit in total to reach Penang but due a passenger's medical emergency from my flight to Doha, some of us missed our connecting direct flight to Penang and Qatar Airways graciously gave us meal vouchers (please next time give room for us to rest better) to compensate for the 'loss'.

Because of the timing, I had to wait an extra 5-hours at Doha Airport for my next flight to KL and then to catch another domestic flight to Penang. It should have been a direct from Doha to Penang but oh wells.

I remembered calling my mom at Doha Airport (it was midnight in Doha) and after talking to her on the phone, I cried and crashed in the restaurant's couch while hugging all my loose bags. I was just so exhausted and hungry. Thank God I got a whole row to myself on the flight back so I could lie down straight and be a boss. But then not long enough so I switched to the back middle row to occupy 4 seats all to myself. Hah.


Imagine the happiness when the crazy bunch came and surprised me at the airport and brought me to Pelita immediately! I went to bed so happy please although husband and son not around that night! Heh.


Thank you Contiki for this lovely trip - I am very sure that I would have enjoyed it more if not for the morning sickness! Grateful to have made friends from other countries - though not super close ya.


If you are aged between 18yo - 35 yo and you like to see the world and making new friends, you should consider going on at least one Contiki trip in your life - before you turn 36yo! It could be a life-changing experience for you and you may even find your soulmate there who knows!

Talk about international love hah.

But on a serious note, put in your bucket list: go on a Contiki trip (to anywhere!)

Till then, bye now.