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Parenthood

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It’s been quite some time since I wrote about my own personal life and yay, I’m officially a father of one now! Jacqueline gave birth to Mikayla at Mount Alvernia Hospital nearly a month ago, and truly, it is a special moment that we have all been waiting for. 

The Beginning… 

We experienced our first miscarriage in July 2018 and after that difficult episode, we sought Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment to optimise our chances of conceiving. 

Our TCM Physician 

To prepare for pregnancy, we visited Dr Chong at Ban Choon Wah Medical Hall and through his patience and the Chinese herbal medicine that he prescribed to us, Jacqueline was able to conceive naturally on September 2019 (1 year 2 months after the miscarriage). If you have difficulty trying to conceive and you are looking for alternative treatments, we will definitely recommend Dr Chong. To conceive, it takes both hands to clap; so Dr Chong will treat both husband and wife so that the chances of conceiving is at its optimum level. 

The Chinese herbal medicine cost us $130 per visit and consultation fees can be given at your own accord in a red packet/angpow. Overall, I think we visited him about 5-6 times. 

Our Gynae 

Our Gynae is Dr Chen Chern Yi and Jacqueline has been her patient ever since she had to remove a fibroid in 2017. Our overall experience with Dr Chen has been insightful and pleasant, and she is also a very skilful and knowledgeable doctor. Just so you know, Dr Chen has got two clinics; one at Novena and the other at Punggol. 

In terms of cost, the antenatal package that Jacqueline took up cost about $2K and that does not include the tests (NICE non-invasive prenatal test, Vitamin D deficiency test), jabs (whopping cough and common flu vaccination), vitamins (Vitamin D) and supplements (DHA). 

Although the costs are slightly on the pricier side, we decided to go the private route to save time. After all, time is money and the more time we save, the more money we can earn back. 

Mikayla’s Name 

Many people ask why the name, Mikayla?  

Before we knew the gender of our baby, my wife and I agreed that if the baby is a boy, his name will begin with J (Jacob), the initial of her first name; and if the baby is a girl, her name will begin with M (Mikayla), the initial of my first name. 

So yes, when we have a baby boy next time, you can be sure his name is going to be Jacob. 

For some unknown reason, the names, Jacob/Mikayla came to us naturally and it resonated strongly with us. Hence, the chosen names. 

The meaning of the name, Mikayla

“The name, Mikayla, is the phonetic version of the Hebrew Michaela and a feminine form of Michael, an archangel who carried out God’s judgments and is known as the patron saint of soldiers. The name is associated with power and strength.” 

Mikayla’s Chinese Name 

Mikayla’s Chinese Name when translated to English means Universal Love and this name was specially chosen after a consultation with Master Yuan from Yuan Metaphysics 

Some Chinese Metaphysics (CM) Practitioner specialise in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bazi Reading, and Taichi; while others may choose to specialise in Feng Shui, Amulets Making, Property Selection, and Chinese Name Selection. If you are looking for someone to do Chinese Name Selection, I highly recommend Master Yuan because this is an area that she is extremely talented in and passionate about. 

Master Yuan’s approach to name selection is akin to that of song-writing. While there are many software out there that can generate a list of names based on one’s Bazi, Master Yuan takes name selection very seriously and she is very passionate about her craft. 

Preparation for Mikayla’s Arrival 

Singapore went into a state of partial lockdown a.k.a circuit breaker since 7 April 2020 and thankfully, Jacqueline and I had the foresight to buy all that we needed to prepare for Mikayla’s arrival.  

Here are the stuffs that we bought before the circuit breaker to prepare for Mikayla’s arrival: 

Baby Cot: Beblum Lavo 5, SGD$229 

There are many brands of baby cot in the market but we chose the Beblum Lavo 5 Baby Cot because it is versatile and can be repurposed for many other different uses when Mikayla grows up. 

What we really like about the Beblum Lavo 5 is that it is easy to assemble and it does not require any tools. 

Diapers: Merries (Newborn), SGD$68.75 for 240 pieces (about SGD$0.30 per piece) 

For diapers, we bought Merries and so far, we are quite satisfied with it. We will probably consider Offspring once we used up the Merries diapers that we bought but really, we don’t have any issue with Merries. 

Cabinet to Store Mikayla’s Clothing: Ikea’s MALM Chest of 6 Drawers, SGD$169 

We love putting our furniture together and Ikea’s MALM Chest of 6 Drawers is relatively easy to assemble. Tools such as a screwdriver will be needed but other than that, it’s really straightforward and not some rocket science.

Parenting Station: Combi Fealetto Auto Swing, SGD$759 

The Combi Fealetto Auto Swing is really great to use. When we’re not putting Mikayla in the baby cot, we actually put her in the Combi Fealetto Auto Swing so that she can nap in the living room. 

One of the coolest feature of the Combi Fealetto Auto Swing is the 4-speed auto-swinging function and the 7 different lullabies in 4-volume levels that can help the baby to be comfortable and fall asleep. 

The Combi Fealetto Auto Swing can also be used as a high chair for dining when Mikayla grows up. 

Stroller: Combi Mega Ride Stroller, SGD$559

The Combi Mega Ride Stroller is definitely not ideal for overseas travel as it is quite bulky and not so portable. If you are driving a hatchback or sedan car, you might have some difficulty trying to put this stroller into the car boot. 

For us, it didn’t really matter since we don’t own a car and we wanted a stroller that is durable and rugged.  

What we like about the Combi Mega Ride Stroller is the one-touch folding and opening feature which allows us to easily open and fold the stroller with one hand while holding the baby in another hand. 

Wet Wipes: Korea Angeur Wet Wipes, SGD$17.98 for 800 pieces (about SGD0.02 per piece)

Although we like the scent of the Korea Angeur Wet Wipes and its wallet-friendly price, we might make the switch to Jeju Island Wet Wipes, another wet wipes brand that is rather popular among parents. 

Breast Pump: Hegen PCTO™ Double Electric Breast Pump, SGD$450

We have heard so much about Hegen’s products from fellow influencers and naturally, we decided to go with the flow and got the Hegen PCTO™ Double Electric Breast Pump. It is really simple to use, intuitive, and Jacqueline enjoys using it. 

Milk Bottle: Hegen PCTO™ Complete Starter Kit PPSU, SGD$150 

For new dads like me, Hegen’s products are really simple and easy to use. There aren’t many components and parts to deal with and they are pretty straightforward. Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with the Hegen Milk Bottle. 

Cuchen UV Steriliser, SGD$599

A gift from Jacqueline’s friends, we found the Cuchen UV Steriliser super useful because it saves us a lot of time from sterilising the milk bottles after washing. It can also be used to sterilise accessories such as cutlery too. 

The Cuchen UV Steriliser comes with Medical Grade UV LED that enables a more thorough sterilising with no hidden corners. It also comes with alert indicators to remind us to replace the UV lamps and LED. 

Again, this is simple and easy to use because of its one-touch easy operation. 

The Day of Mikayla’s Arrival… 

Mount Alvernia Hospital

We woke up at 5am so that Jacqueline can have a light breakfast before heading to the hospital for the admission process. Due to COVID-19, I was not allowed into the Operating Theatre (OT) but I am glad that I was able to accompany both Jacqueline and Mikayla, by staying overnight at the hospital to be with them. 

When it was time for Jacqueline to be pushed to the OT, I was quite anxious and I was pacing up and down the corridor. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I had a lot of thoughts going on in my mind. 

When the midwife came out and called my name; she was pushing the hospital baby cot with Mikayla inside and the midwife offered to help me take some photographs with Mikayla. As Jacqueline was still in the OT being sewn up by the doctor, I followed the midwife to the nursery to complete the registration process. 

We chose the Single Room in the Maternity Ward so that Jacqueline can have all the rest she needs and I can also likewise stay overnight to accompany her (FYI, only single rooms allows an overnight companion). 

The room was really spacious and comfortable and there is an in-room mini-fridge which I use to store the snacks that I brought along for our “staycation”. Although there’s a desk for working; I don’t think anyone would have time and be in the right state of mind to take out their laptop and work. 

If you intend to stay overnight as a companion, there is an additional charge of $92.45 (GST inclusive) per night and it includes 4 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, tea-break, and dinner). 

Although we were given the opportunity to have Mikayla room-in with us, it felt a little awkward as Jacqueline was not able to move much due to her wound and the whole realisation of, “I am now a dad”, took a while to sink in. 

I tried to learn as much as I could from the nurses; from carrying Mikayla to swaddling her. 

If you are planning to deliver at Mount Alvernia, we recommend that you get the Alvernia Ladies Card which cost $68 for a 2-year membership term.  

Some of the awesome benefits of the Alvernia Ladies Care are as follows: 

  • $100 off total bill for single room (this benefit alone covers the cost of the card) 
  • Complimentary 12-month Personal Accident Plan Coverage for member, newborn, and spouse. 
  • Free 1 set of My First Skool uniform and mattress cover for each child enrolled. 

In total, our total bill (hospital stay, surgery, medical consumables, and etc.) amounted to nearly $9K (this is the remaining amount that we have to cough out in cash after deducting approved delivery expenses from my MediSave account).  

Jacqueline and I are indeed thankful for the wonderful team of doctors, nurses, and lactation consultant who have showered us with the best care and concern. Their words of encouragement were heartwarming. 

Just before we left the hospital for home, we presented Mikayla at Mount Alvernia Hospital’s Chapel for a short prayer service and this is truly a special moment that I think only Mount Alvernia Hospital offers. 

Moments of Life App 

I really like how the government is going digital. It really makes everything convenient and saves us a lot of time too. In fact, I was able to collect Mikayla’s Birth Certificate at the hospital and I need not make a trip to the Immigrations and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) Building at all. From the app, we can also apply for the Baby Bonus, view immunisation records, and many more. 

Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding is very tough and painful at the beginning. On the 2nd day after the delivery, Jacqueline experienced engorgement and she was in quite a lot of pain. She almost wanted to give up breastfeeding but the nurses kept on encouraging her not to give up and they did their best to help her relieve the pain. 

Even though breastfeeding can be quite time consuming and physically draining, Jacqueline is now pretty much used to the routine and that helps a lot. It’s almost like guard duty because the baby needs to be fed every 3-4 hours. 

Newborn babies feed round the clock so it really helps if the dads get involved and help with changing the diapers or even playing with the baby so that the mums can get all the rest they need. 

The 1 Month Confinement Period 

There are a lot of myths, do’s and don’ts for the 1 month confinement period and not all mums practise it because it can be quite expensive. The confinement herbs alone cost at least $700-$800 a month. 

For us, we gotten the 30 Days Exquisite Confinement Package (SGD$568) from Lao Ban Niang and this doesn’t include other Chinese medicinal herbs (cordyceps) and other ingredients (rice wine, black vinegar) that we purchased separately.  

Confinement Nanny 

As most of the confinement nannies in Singapore come from Malaysia, it is really difficult to get a confinement nanny during this period due to COVID-19  

Thankfully, we managed to get Aunty Jenny (how we usually address her) from Star Confinement Nanny.  

Aunty Jenny (as we would normally address her) has more than 10 years of experience and she has travelled to far-flung places like New Zealand and Australia to work as a confinement nanny. She cooks really well and is very knowledgeable in caring for newborn babies. From her, we have learnt how to change diapers properly, how to help the baby burp, how to bathe the baby, and also picked up a few tips and tricks from her. 

It cost us more than $3k to engage a confinement nanny and this does not include the 2X red packet/angpow that we give (one on the first day of arrival and the other on the last day of work) to her and the household groceries. 

Summary 

Well, this is a super duper long post and the purpose of this post is to document our new journey stepping into parenthood. 

There is a lot to consider when starting a family and the expenses can amount to quite a lot of money. This is why it is important to save up and be prudent on what we spend on. Where you can save, save; where you must spend, spend.

There are also a lot to learn as a new parent and information can come from so many different sources (grandparents-to-be, friends, colleagues, Internet, even confinement lady) that they sometimes conflict with each other.  

As parents, we want the best for our children and sometimes, we got to trust our own instincts as to what’s relevant, what’s useful, and what’s age-appropriate. When it comes to your child’s well-being, always seek a medical professional for advise. 

As an educator myself, I too have my own mindset as to how I will want to teach/educate my child and that itself will affect my parenting style as well. However, that’s probably a topic for another day. 

You will probably be seeing more posts about parenting on our blog soon. 🙂