18 April 2023

4D3N Taipei, Taiwan.

This post is super long overdue. I just couldn't get into my blogging mojo since we came back from the trip. I feel like it is now slowly coming back, and I am excited to get back to updating everything here. 

So, I don't really remember what was the reason for this trip, but the whole idea of going on a short trip was Adrian's idea. Shocking right, I know. I thought it was a trick question when he asked me if I wanted one. My eyebrows were raised, but I said yes in a heartbeat. Hah. 

The initial plan was to go somewhere in Malaysia so we could bring the kids, but Adrian wanted a trip for just the both of us. It was really sweet, but I was hesitant at first. I could not leave Adam because he is just a baby. 

However, it didn't take that long for me to agree with Adrian - to not bring kids with us. Hah. 

I'm the best mom in the world or what? 

The answer is yes lah please. Take care of myself first then only I can take good care of my children ma. Self care, self love all important okay please. Leave your judgemental attitude outside this space please. Heh. 

So, once we decided it was only 2 of us, the options became bigger and we decided to go out of the country. He wanted Japan but we could only be away for 4 days. That was the maximum number of days I could handle without being with Adam. So we put Japan back into "pending for future" box. He insisted at first, but going to Japan for less than a week is nonsense la please. 

I thought of Maldives, but it is quite far and to go for 4 days only also macam waste of money and not to mention it's going to cost a bomb. So, obviously we threw that idea away. 

Somehow we got to Taiwan and the weather at that time is winter-ish, and it's not expensive to fly there. So, we immediately book our flight tickets. I was in-charged (self-appointed heh) of booking the accommodation and went with CitizenM. Read many good reviews of this hotel, and it's modern style suits me, so I decided to proceed with it. Read more on the other post okay. 

Flight ticket was RM3,130 for 2 adults with China Airlines. I am thankful that we didn't have to use AirAsia because I will be honest - I prefer normal airlines for like destinations that require more than 2 hours of flying. I need that kind of comfort. Heh. 

China Airlines that time was the best price and although not the best timing, it was still a good experience. 

We got to the airport at brunch time so we could check in early and chill at the premium lounge. Adrian has 2 different credit cards that allows free access to lounges worldwide, so yay me. 

It was so nice to sit down with each other with no distractions and not rush our conversations. It was really a romantic moment in that corner seat during our lunch. He had to work after that, so I watched Netflix and Dashing Diva-ed my nails. 

We are also the best partners to travel together because I like aisle seat and he likes the window seat. So much win. I sanitised as much as I can when we boarded the plane, because I just did not want to take any chance. Then, we asked for a pillow and blanket each, and yes I took the pillows and blankets home. We paid for it, so please take them home. 

I've always imagined that they would reuse the same pillow and blanket and put them in a new plastic cover and give it to someone else. You never know right. So, please take home and wash and use heh. I also will never miss mealtimes on board. Something about dining in the plane that completes the travel experience. So usually, I will eat first then only sleep (if the flight is a long one). 

We took the train from the airport to Taipei's Main Station and walked to CitizenM. It was probably about 10-minutes walk. It was such a nice walk because it was quite cold and windy. It was about 11pm by the time we checked-in so we didn't like waste time in the room. We literally dropped our luggage and walked to Ningxia Night Market. It was one of the closer ones, and they open till very late. 

We got there and managed to grab quite a lot of different foods. Then, we walked back to our hotel, and crashed early because we booked a one-day tour the next day to Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, Shifen and Golden Waterfall. 

If you ask me, I would highly recommend you to go for this tour if you have not been there. Those places are really beautiful and pretty! 

We got back to Taipei at about 5pm. Showered and changed and headed out again for a different night market. This time, we went to Ximending Night Market, and loved it! 

Also, we were told to stay at Ximending for our first time to Taiwan and the people were right! Ximending is fun to stay at. 

We spent the next day exploring Taipei city on our own - free and easy. It was our last day there, so we tried to eat as much new foods as we can. Definitely went home with a food baby. Hah. 

We also managed to buy a few boxes of local pineapple cakes, local snacks and drinks. I wanted to get more but we didn't have enough space in our luggages. So, that will do. 

The flight home was also a pleasant one. China Airlines did not disappoint. I think they improved a lot, as compared to before MCO. I've heard a lot of negative reviews on them before, but looks like they are not that anymore it seems. 

Overall, it was such a nice getaway with the Mister. We ate a lot yes, but we also did a lot of self-reflection. 

One particular topic that we spent time talking was on our parenthood. We reviewed (sounds so formal) but yes, we did some reviews and gave honest feedbacks to each other on how far we have come on our parenthood journey. 

We agreed on certain things that we would intentionally stop doing, or continue or start doing them. Many people always ask if we do the whole 'good cop bad cop' thing, and to be honest we don't. 

We always align with each other, so that the children know they cannot try to outsmart us. Hah. But still got wan la please. They are smarter than we think. Hah. 

We also talked about our marriage which I felt was so important, and fun. Like I said, it was really nice to be able to focus on each other 100%. Okay maybe for Adrian, it was 80% la, because he was also busy catching his Pokemon there. Heh. 

I don't mind more short couple trips like this one. Thankful for our families and friends for stepping in to take care of the children. They are our heroes, hands down!

To end this post, here is a collage of all the foods that we ate in the span of 4 days and three nights in Taipei. We will see you again, Taiwan :)

Till our next travel, bye now!

15 April 2023

CitizenM Taipei North Gate Hotel at Ximending, Taiwan

We wanted a hotel that is close to Taipei's main station and has a great view of the city - like floor to ceiling expectation kind of thing. But hotels with great view of Taipei 101 is ridiculously expensive and since we would be making most of our time exploring Taipei, it makes no sense to spend a lot in our accommodation. 

I read about CitizenM in one the random blogs that I read, and I immediately loved it! 

It's the whole vibe that this hotel gives - very modern and chic and pretty to look at. They don't have the floor to ceiling window but they have like a huge window that sees a part of Taipei city, and I don't have sell my kidneys to stay three nights there. Heh. 

I paid a total of RM1,200 for three nights (King room with city view) through Agoda, and although the room is smaller than we expected, it's perfect for two people to stay. If the kids came along, then really not enough space liau. 

I love the self check-in and check-out system. They have a receptionist there at all time, but it's still a do it by yourself thing. Ohh, and the hotel smells uniquely amazing! 

In the room, everything is controlled by an iPad - lighting in the room and toilet (got different ambiance all some more), TV and all techy stuff. 

I already mentioned about the window, and really it was the selling point for me. I love having my bed right next to the window like this. In fact, if my future room can be like this, it's like one of my biggest wins in life. 

A girl can dream. But since my house now got no city view, go holiday sure try to get heh. 

I would definitely stay in this hotel again (without kids), but when we go back to Taipei, we would most definitely try another hotel, because we love experiencing new hotels :)

Here's a short video of our room tour. Short video because like I said, it's a small room. Hah. 

Enjoy and please visit Taiwan if you have not - it's a beautiful city. Read more on my other post thank you hehe. 

Till next staycation, bye now. 

03 April 2023

My Skin Biopsy Test Result is Out.

Many people did not know this, but growing up I have always been very happy and proud of my skin health. They are not the healthiest, but they also do not have patches and scars. They are quite dry but they were okay. They were pretty to look at, for me. 

I am sorry if it sounded like I am showing off, but I really am not. I am being real here. No cover ups. So when I had to endure this 'medical condition', it was devastating. I was struggling to accept it - which is something you all already knew if you followed me on IG. 

This is the most recent photo of my legs that Adrian had taken. The rashes now are very active on my legs and arms, and thankfully the ones on my neck started disappearing. Got one went to my ear lobe but also disappearing so yay. 

For those who do not know the story, here's a summary for you. 

I was pregnant with Adam last year when one day, a few tiny water-filled-bumps started appearing on my body. They were itchy and painful. It was at the beginning of my third trimester. My dermatologist and I (and many of you) were convinced that this is a pregnancy-induced-eczema and the rashes and bumps would disappear once Adam comes out. However, that is not how the story ends. Hah. 

Since then, I have gone to 4 different skin specialist, dermatologist and even went for a Chinese medicinal sifu. I wanted to get confirmation on the given diagnosis, and all said it was eczema, though they were giving me different trigger points. At first, I was sure that it's hormonal related, but now that I am seeing my fifth dermatologist, whom I will continue with - I am now sure that it is not hormonal related. She spent some time explaining to me on my condition, which I appreciate a lot. 

Adam is almost 4-months old and these rashes seemed to be still very much attached to me. 

So, that's the story. 

About a week ago, Dr Khoo Siew Swan from Adventist Hospital had recommended for a skin biopsy test to confirm her diagnosis, so that she could get me on a new set of medications that will work on my skin condition. 

The skin biopsy test's results came out today, and I have this condition called, "Acute Spongiotic and Psoriasiform Dermatitis". 

It's eczema, but mine is slightly more aggressive. 

She couldn't really tell me what could trigger my eczema, because it could be anything! But in my case, she believed that it could most likely be stress related. I laughed because then I told her that it could be true. When I go for holidays, the itch didn't seem as bad and as triggered. Then she laughed and said this. 

"I can write a holiday-prescription letter for you so you can send to your husband!"

Don't you think she is the best doctor in the world? We had quite a good laugh in her office today. Oh, and she also removed my stitches and allowed me to record them heh. We best friends or what? :) 

So, now that we know that we are fighting against eczema, she prescribed me with 3 tablets of Methotrexate (a type of immunosuppressant) for 2-weeks, followed by a blood test after that to check liver function and all. I will also continue taking steroid pills for now. Cannot continue take for long. 

I am also currently taking Zyrtec (anti-histamine) twice a day (morning and night). Some nights when the itch gets really bad and frustrating, I would take Atarax instead because it makes me drowsy and sleepy. 

I also found out form Google that this condition is usually (it's a possibility) also because of nutrition-deficiency, so guess who needs to be hardworking again in taking the Isotonix supplements heh. And because I want maximum absorption, I truly trust these Isotonix products. I was selling them, and now a bit quiet liau because I got other things to focus on heh. 

I have been taking the Isotonix OPC-3 twice a day and it helps me so much in maintaining my energy to last the day, especially after I started working! The best antioxidant supplement in the market thank you. Time for me to start taking Vitamin D and Calcium too. Luckily got in isotonic form. Heh. 

I just started work again after my maternity leave, and I remembered vividly that there was a time (about 3-weeks long) when I felt so defeated and it was so easy for me to cry. I could be brushing my teeth, and crying the next minute. Or I could look at Adam and cry. Some days, I would wake up with my heart beating faster than normal. Some other days, I would avoid eating because I feared it could trigger new rashes. 

But enough is enough. It has already taken over my physical body, I decided that it would not take my emotions and fighting spirit. It was affecting Adrian and my kids. It was affecting my parents, sisters and grandmother. 

My grandma would call me everytime she sees something on TV that she feels could help. One of the calls I remembered was after she watched a documentary on honey and the wonders honey can do. When my ah ma believes in a product, she really believes in a product, and very easy to convince her wan. Hah. 

Anyways, she called and asked me about the rashes and tried to convince me to eat honey hah. During that call, I was holding my breath so hard because I was literally wiping away tears from my eyes. I didn't want her to worry about me, and she sounded so worried. There is just something so comforting about her voice. But it was that call that made me realize that I need to beat this - mentally first, then the physical victory will come. 

Also, I am so thankful for you guys - the constant checking in, praying with and for me, and for cheering me on. Some of you don't even know me personally, but you reached out and DM-ed me anyways, and so many of you did not hold back in sharing your experiences and remedies with me. I tried most of them (if not all). Managing skin disease is expensive! Hah. So I cannot be getting all the different kinds of creams that you all suggest okay. But thank you for all your recommendations! 

It was a very lonely journey at first because no one could understand the pain and frustration, but you guys (friends or not), made it bearable, so thank you, thank you. I may not reply you and most likely it's because after reading your message, I got distracted by the kids and had forgotten all about it. 

But I'm not being rude okay. I have three kids now, please understand hahahah. 

Till next update, bye now. 

02 February 2023

How Life Has Been Since Adam Came.

It has been almost two months since we became a family of five, and here are some updates that nobody asked for. Heh. 

Many people asked if it's easier now that we already have experiences with Alex and Sofia. Our answer is yes and no. 

Yes in the sense we already know what to expect and how to manage certain situations because really got experiences already with the first two. Also, the midnight feedings feel a lot easier now with Adam because we did it before and we already knew how hard and challenging it would be. It is still difficult but a lot easier now. 

What is tough is the part where we need to now handle 2 toddlers and 1 infant and they literally get our hands so full, especially when all three of them fall sick or at the cranky mode. That is when it gets really tough! 

1. Happiest I have ever been
Yes, I am confident that ever since Adam came, I am at my happiest point in my life (for as long as I can remember). 

Of course I have had many happy moments in my life (like getting married to man of my dreams), but when I see my life now - a loving, supportive husband with three healthy children, I cannot not smile and be really thankful. 

When I say happy, I don't mean that I do not still struggle in mothering them. I do, everyday. But there is joy in it somehow. 

2. The perfect night routine
We could never figure out the 'perfect' routines when it comes to who takes which shift and what works best since Adrian and myself are working parents. But we finally got it right and seems to be working so far (I hope). 

I haven't started working yet, but I like the arrangement now. Of course the ideal arrangement would be Adam sleeping through the night, from 12AM to 7AM would be perfect. Hah. 

Adrian now does the first night feeding, which is usually at 12AM, and then I will do the rest. If Adam wakes up at 7AM, then my MIL would help us feed him, while I get Alex and Sofia ready for the day. 

3. The amount of milk Adam is drinking
We started giving Adam 2oz of milk, and increased it to 3oz, and now he is drinking 4oz. 

Oh, and he is no longer taking any breastmilk because this milk factory sudah tutup. Heh. I am currently still taking the steroid medication to fight these rashes off, so yeah. Formula milk to the rescue! 

4. Adam is a little chatterbox
At just 2-months old, he can respond to your conversation - I kid you not. 

Try talking to him and you will notice that he will try to respond to you by making sounds and smiling. Oh, he is such a smiler (is there such a word? heh). 

5. End of maternity leave
Technically, I still have a few days left, but I have decided to start work on 1-Mar because to be honest, I miss working so much. I know I will miss spending the entire day with the kids, but I need to also go to work so my sanity remains intact. Hah. 

But yes, I will miss the kids for sure. 

So fast 90 days of maternity leave is coming to an end. That also means Adam is growing up way too fast and before we know it, he is going to be a toddler, and I may want to get pregnant again with another kid - kidding! 

6. FAQ - want another kid after Adam?
The answer is a definite no. 

You may think that we will revisit the idea in the future, and to be honest with you - as of now, our answers are a 100% no because the chances for the rashes to occur again is like super high, and the frustrating part about this whole thing is I am still having it and I am no longer pregnant. 

And it's so traumatising because I still see the scars and marks all over my body and the itch is still here. So no more kids thank you. Or at least no more getting pregnant. 

If we really want more kids, we would most likely go for adoption heh. Serious wan. 

Stay tuned for a new post - confirming that we do not want to get pregnant again. 

7. Alex, Sofia and Adam's dynamic
It's really still quite hard to say, because Adam is still too young to actually spend time with Alex and Sofia. All Adam does is drink milk, sleep and poop - and repeat. 

In the beginning, Sofia has a hard time adjusting to the new change, but she is so much better now and taking really well her role as the big sister. The first place she will go to when she wakes up in the morning (everyday without fail) is to Adam's crib to say good morning. It is the sweetest thing ever. 

There was one time when Adam was still in his car seat, and Sofia wanted to give him a kiss. So, she leaned forward and put her hand on top of Adam's stomach, and when she lean towards him, she sort of "went on top" of him and Adam cried! Poor Sofia, because she just wanted to kiss him. Hah. 

8. Our favourite newborn diaper brands
If you ask me of my top favourite for diaper brands, I would still say Applecrumby - hands down. 

But they are not exactly price-friendly, at least not for newborn diapers. Newborn changes diapers so often that it does not make sense to spend that money on Applecrumby's newborn diapers. Of course I have some stocks at home for when we travel or when we go out the whole day, because it's really leak-proof and so so comfortable to the skin. 

We don't change Adam's diaper that often anymore (it used to be like 8-10 pieces per day because of hos much he poops), but now maybe about every 4-5 hours.

Our current favourite diaper brands for Adam is Drypers and Mamypoko - more affordable. Heh. 

9. Adam can sleep through noises and bright lights
Another 'criteria' in our parenting style. 

We enjoy having people over to our house at anytime of the day (usually at night), and we really want (need) our children to be able to adapt to sleeping even when it's noisy. We trained Alex and Sofia when they were newborns, so it only made sense that Adam goes through the same 'training'. 

It's a success of course. Adam can sleep through loud noises and even when it is bright, he also can sleep through wan. Actually, we didn't really have any 'training' method. 

We just intentionally place him at places with noises since newborn and let him sleep. 

We also love going out so of course this 'style' has been super useful - we love it. 

10. We don't carry Adam to sleep
Yes, you see that right. As tempting as it is, I made it a strict rule to everyone that they shall not carry Adam to sleep in their arms. I have to do this because I don't think I would have the energy to do that (especially at night) with two toddlers at home. I would crash really fast considering Alex and Sofia are still quite clingy to me. 

Carry Adam to talk and play with him - for sure please do that. But the moment he is about to fall asleep, we will put him down on the bed already. 

At first, it was tough because he would cry but I am a very persistent person (so is he actually hah), but happy to report that it has been a successful thing. Adam can now fall asleep on his on without needing to be carried. Sometimes, he still cries for a while and we would carry him for a while and then put him down. Just repeat the whole process till he gets it. Hah. 

So yeah, there it is. We have been really busy, but our hearts are so full. 

Till next update, bye now. 

20 January 2023

The Birth-Day Story of Adam Koay!

It has been more than a month since we brought Adam out to this world. It still feels surreal, but we are truly enjoying every moment we have with him now. 

The experience of carrying Adam was a lot more different and tougher than when I was carrying Alex and Sofia. If I can rank them from the easiest to the hardest, it would be Alex, Sofia and then Adam. I truly enjoyed being pregnant when it was Alex inside me, and with Sofia, I constantly struggled with acid reflux and horrible backache and with Adam, no need to say liau. The worse for sure - backache, rashes on the entire body (which did not actually go away even after he is out) and other usual pregnancy things. 

Third trimester was the beginning of everything tough carrying Adam inside. I was diagnosed with a more serious case of GDM and had to be on medications because even with diet control, my blood sugar would still spike up. I think even if I don't eat anything, the readings would also be higher than normal. 

So, my doctor recommended (or demanded really) to bring the baby out when he is at 38-weeks. I was given 2 steroid injections to strengthen Adam's lungs so he would be healthy and ready to meet with world at 38-weeks. I remembered feeling all sorts of different emotions because as much as I want him to come out earlier, I also wanted to be sure that he was healthy and strong enough. I would not be able to take it well if he has to be put on tubes and stuff. But the risk of keeping him inside me for more than 38-weeks were bigger and I am not a risk taker in this kind of things. 

On 9-December-2022, we checked into Island Hospital in the morning and did all the required things like taking a swab test (just for me). We requested for a single room so that Adrian could spend the nights with me, but they were fully booked. So we were given a double room. We then put in a special request (urgently) for a single room in case someone checks out that noon. 

Once we got to our room, the nurses did everything that needed to be done like shaving, taking blood pressure, give me some liquid up my bum-bum so I can empty them tanks and tracking Adam's heartbeat. I was super excited to get him out because I was still very much scratching everywhere, and it has been the toughest 38-weeks of being pregnant with him. 

While we were waiting for them to wheel me into the OT, we were still so focused in getting a single room. To the point Adrian kept walking out of the room to see if anyone would check out, and kept telling the nurses to keep up on top of the list. Hah. 

Someone at the end really did checked out, and they moved us to a single room. The downside was there is absolutely no view in our new room. After moving in, we requested (again) to change to another single room with view if someone checks out. Hah. We are thankful that the nurses didn't go crazy on us. They were very nice and accommodating heh. 

In the end, we didn't manage to get a new single room with view because no one checked out. Still thankful we got to stay in a single room la. 

When it was time for me to go in, we found out that the hospital's new policy now is that daddy is no longer allowed to go in during the C-Sec procedure. It was implemented after MCO. Adrian was pretty upset because we really thought he could be inside with me when they bring the baby out. 

We wanted it so badly, that he went to Dr. Eric's office to get clarifications. Hah. But Dr. Eric confirmed what the nurses had told us, so no choice la. He had to wait outside.

I was getting a lot more nervous the moment we separated at the front of the OT's sliding door. I remembered feeling super cold and while waiting for them to inject me with the epidural, I looked around and noticed that the OT's lobby was filled with so many patients. Memang good business this hospital. 

Once I got into the main OT, everything happened really fast. My blood pressure was dropping to a point I was feeling really nauseous, but the pressure picked up and I felt normal again. Dr Eric came in, and cut me open and Adam came out screaming heh. 

After cleaning him up for a little bit, the nurse brought him over to my face and I gave him a kiss. I stayed in the recovery room for a little bit before they wheeled me into my own room. Everything happened so fast! I remembered not feeling itchy anymore, and in the span of 3 days, some obvious scars disappeared too! 

But now that I am writing this, it is with so much sadness and frustration that new rashes appeared again, and I am back to seeing different skin specialist. It's really one tough battle, but I know we will get there one day - when no more rashes and no more scars be terrorising my body anymore. 

The most popular question now is how much did it cost to go for a Caesarean procedure at Island Hospital with a single room? The answer is FOURTEEN THOUSAND RINGGIT. 

Crazy right? 

Now, because GDM is considered as one of the complications that could occur in a pregnancy (as recognized by my work insurance policy), Allianz have confirmed that they would cover the cost of the procedure and stay, so yay! 

Anyways, thank you all again and again for always praying with and for us. We are beyond thankful for each one of you. 

We celebrated Adam's fullmoon by sending a box of yellow glutinous rice and chicken curry (the usual traditional style) from Li Er Cafe Penang. We love the bamboo box packaging as compared to the usual box kind. Of course they cost more but hey, packaging is everything. Heh. This time, we brought all three kids along while we go around Penang Island distributing them boxes. Thankful that my mother in law and sisters helped with some boxes. 

So yeah, everyone please meet our third born. 

Adam Koay Wey Jie
Hairy and loud

Till next time, bye now.