We planned for 2 kids but ended up with 4

We had planned for two kids, but ended up with four 🙂
Destiny or fate? Some buddies even joked that I cannot afford to buy condoms haha.

The simple reason is we both love kids. For first time visitors, you may read more about our stories here.
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The first child always holds the most impactful memories.
I can still remember myself sobbing uncontrollably in the theater, bag full of mixed feelings. Anxiety about my elevation to fatherhood and concern about Missus’ suffering.

Read on, as I try to share our love for kids, and perhaps a tip or two for newly forged Dads.
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…40 weeks
The journey to fatherhood starts from the prenatal visits to our gynecologist (or gynae), hearing the soft heartbeat through ultrasound. She or he (the gynae) will be your most trusted consultant in the operating theater. Read about our gynae (Dr Madeleine) and pediatrician (Dr Koey) here.

The growing bump, the nausea spells, the midnight cravings and the cramps through the trimesters. And all the discomforts which pregnant Moms need to go through.
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The l-o-n-g wait after checkin
Bring some reading materials along, chat with the Missus to pass the time.
If she finds you nosey or if you are making her anxious, go for a coffee break.
Give her space.

Braxton hicks or contractions will grow with intensity and frequency.
Gynae might burst the waterbag if it has not already leaked.

Meanwhile, engaged in some Dads bonding along the corridor.
You will see them pacing up and down the corridor, share in their moment of glory.
The nurse might be measuring baby’s head circumference, weight and length, your 4D numbers for “Singapore Pools” 🙂

Treat the experience as a rehearsal before your own baby arrives.
Dads will try to appear strong but we all feel helpless in shouldering and easing our wife’s discomfort.

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The last 10 centimeters
As we watch the contractions interval shortens on the oscilloscope scope, the nurse will be asking whether the Missus prefer laughing gas, pain relief or epidural.

No Mediacorp dramas here, with Moms screaming at the top of their voice or barking at anyone in sight. Breathe in, breathe out, nurse will be encouraging the Missus to keep calm and regulate her breaths.

The nurses and sometimes midwife will be busy attending to a few wards, updating the Gynae when a baby is due. They will be the Missus’ best friend and can offer encouragements for the next few hours.

Please inform your Gynae beforehand if you wish to video the child bearing process.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4cm…
She is feeling the intense discomfort from the contractions. The husband’s arm might be bruised by now, from the Missus’ grip.

3, 2, 1cm. Full dilation
The Gynae appears. Dr Madeleine is our kids’ gynae, and it is always reassuring to see her in the operating theater.

Slowly but surely, we witnessed a lump of hair appearing at the vagina birth canal.
Everytime we see the contraction peaks, “Meng Choo PUSH“.

** Huff, puff, catch your breath **
Meng Choo PUSH again“, baby is coming. Repeat.

As the head slowly appears, anticipation mixed with anxiety made me teared.
So proud of Meng Choo, yet so excited to meet my newborn for the first time.

After a few more cycles of “Push, Huff, Puff and Push again“, the gynae performed an episiotomy. Snip, and the baby literally slide out!

(* Guys be-warned, this might be the moment when you ever see so much blood spilled!
I will let your imagination runs wild about the placenta.)

You can do the ceremonial cut (umbilical cord) before the nurse proceeds to clean and dry the baby.
Oh, a new born is full of “wrinkles”.
Then you hear it for the first time. Your own baby wailing 🙂

Every child is special, and I went on to witness three more deliveries from Meng Choo.
Is Meng Choo (and all Mums) awesome or not! Salute!

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(Big family Singapore)

Tips for Dads-to-be before they enter the operating theater:
– For those with multiple kids, arrange for your parents to take care of the older sibling/s
– (subjective) We will buy toys on behalf of the newborn, to assure the older kids that parents love all our kids. Hopefully they will feel less jealous and more welcoming towards new family member.

– The waiting room is cold, or maybe we are nervous. Bring a pair of socks for the Missus. It is a miserable feeling to have cold feet (literally), while we wait for one more centimeter of dilation

– Guys beware, it will be bloody when the baby pops out. Not every man can handle the sight of blood and some might faint (real story)

– The moment (can be hour or hours) before the child appears at the birth canal is the best time for you to show moral support for your wife. If need to, allow her to grip our strong arm (otherwise, we guys are practically useless in a theater haha)

– If you are documenting child birth, ask the Gynae for permission or opinion first. No need to photo or video genital area (I am conservative).

– Cutting ceremony, do indicate early that you would like to cut the ribbon (ie umbilical cord)

– If you intend to donate the child’s cord blood to a Public bank (Singapore Cord Blood Bank), you need to “register” your intent a few weeks before. Private cordblood banks can be activated within hours.

– Most importantly, stay cool. Be the man whom your wife can rely upon. Even when water bag has burst, stay calm and slowly drive to hospital. If in doubt, call the hospital hotline.

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Today, my eldest boy is already 12 years old, I can still remember him crawling under the table and wobbling to take the first few steps.

Parenting is an ongoing journey. We believed we are educating the kids, but the little ones offer an opportunity for us parents to learn and adapt too. Our resourcefulness and patience will be stretched to the limit, and there is no user manual for parenting 🙂

This post is part of the ‘Birth Stories’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other exciting birth stories please click on the picture below.
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If you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting birth stories, you can start with this one here by Sandra from SANses.com, where she chronicles her life as a mother of three, now staying in Sydney, Australia. Once a fancy-free girl, life is now chock-ful of quips, questions, dinosaurs, trucks and trains.

From pregnancy to handling newborns and now with three talkative toddlers, Sandra shares the joys and challenges of motherhood. Parenting, after all, is a road best travelled with good company and a healthy dose of humor and perspective! Her motto in life: Outsmart … or be outsmarted by the kids!
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The next parent on the blog train is Geraldine from MummyChuck. She is a Stay-at-home-mum to three boys, 4 years old Jaden and baby twins Jordan and Jonas. She blogs about family life, adventures and fun outings. Read about her birth story of her firstborn and how she feels 2 births and 3 kids later.
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* Click for more parenting insights from our blog. We have also shared the efforts distribution betwen 1 to 4 kids at this link :p

Where are the Daddy bloggers hiding?

Since 2010, we knew Daddy bloggers (爸爸部落格) are the exquisite rare ones in Singapore. There are so many Mummy bloggers. Along the way, a few Dads pop up over the horizon to stake a foothold in the blogging sphere.

We claim to have different perspectives from the Mums. Actually, Dads are a good excuse for the kids to go outdoor and get dirty (away from homework and housework).
Daddy even came out with the playful Tag “We bring you Fun!” for our blog motto.

The idea caught on, and people came to associate SengkangBabies as Cute, Fun and Adventurous. Our blog name “Sengkang+Babies” is not easily forgotten 🙂

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Then, on Monday, a cute Teddy bear appeared on some of the Daddies’ Facebook and Twitter profiles.

On Tuesday, more teddies appear, and “DM” logo appears.

This morning. “Daddy Matters” was born.

Think 11. Band of Brothers, Ocean’s 11, Soccer team, 11 Dads came together to form “Daddy Matters”. We share a common passion in blogging, photography and most importantly, we strive to be good Dads 🙂

Over two days, the idea for a Daddies-grouping was inseminated, the 11 Fathers identified (no Mummy involved), and our baby was delivered. In army lingo, “chop chop” (prompt).

Daddy Winston elaborates why “Daddy Matters” is no shortgun, we are here to stay, and share. Anyway, Daddy Andy is very happy to belong to this group of brothers. We support each other (no bromance ♥), and we always use Kopi as a metaphor for “agree to disagree”.

Why Daddy Matters :
http://www.DaddyMatters.sg
LIKE our Fanpage
– the Cool Daddies eleven
– Do pop by Daddy M and Kelvin‘s heartfelt confession too :p

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Image credits. The images above and “Daddy Matters” blog design are crafted by the talented Daddy Winston.

What if the man becomes a Stay-At-Home-Dad?

This week, Mummy (CEO and COO of SengkangBabies) is enjoying her Tom Yam in Bangkok with Boon Yi. Daddy has been delegated to keep the house in order until Mummy comes back.

A timetable tells us how Mummy runs our family with clockwork precision and efficiency.

Daddy can handle the kids relatively well, and he thought he understands how challenging it is to be a home-maker, that is until he steps into Mummy’s heels.

Making milk, showering, diapers, fetching the kids from school. Tasks are straightforward but it is a logistics-project to ensure everyone meet the timelines.

Between, we are not talking about house keeping, laundry and cooking yet.
HENG1 ah (lucky), 奶奶 is chipping in to help 🙂

… just imagine, how does nursing mums survive and thrive with lack of sleep? Dads can reduce some of Mummies’ stress, please read our Breastfeeding post.

If any parent ever wish to test their patience, try homework with kids haha. 陪读爸爸 is a tough job for Daddy. Mummy told Daddy to spot-check the student handbooks, in case kids decide to KENG1 (malingering). Yes, our kids are experts at bargaining and twisting their way out of homework and chores.

On the other hand, Mummy’s workload doubles whenever Daddy goes on business trips or even holiday reservist. Mindef can definitely help by allowing Dads to book in later (8 or 9am will be pro-family gesture) so that we can help to bring the kids to school. When Daddy last check, Singapore still need to make more babies.

Did you hear about the recent announcement that Daddies’ competence will be measured? What is BFI (Better Fathering Index) HUH? Daddy Andy need not be Singapore’s best Daddy, he just need to be the kids’ dependable Dad. Hopefully, the feeling is mutual :p

Daddy recommends…
All Mummies out there, book a 4D3N vacation with your girlfriends, and dump the husband behind. This is one sure way for the man to improve his parenting skills, and appreciate his 老婆 (wife) more :p

Here comes the dilemma, Daddy miss the kids when he is working, but to soak in all the family chores, and face the kids for three full days, is another story 🙂
Given a choice, Daddy would prefer to retain his Ministry-of-Fun portfolio, rather then to stay home and mind the kids.

Verdict : Will Daddy support Mummy for another 4D3N trip again? YES YES YES.

Daddy is amazed how Mummy bloggers still find time and brain-juice to blog at the end of the day! Daddy would like to take this opportunity to salute all the Stay-at-home-Mummies, your sacrifices are helping to build a stronger family! KUDOs !

For the guys out there, grab your Mrs, hug her, give her a peck, say some “sweet nothings”. If you need more parenting tips and gossips’ from Daddies’ perspectives, drop by Ai Sakura’s Celebrate Fatherhood series.
BlogFather Winston has a summary of everyone who has spoken out about the BFI.

… meanwhile, Daddy is counting down to reinforcement Mummy’s return.