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

Koref farm Johor

Over the Labour Day weekend, I brought Boon Kang over to Johor’s Koref Farm. Koref (Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm) is a family friendly organic farm in Kluang, Johor.

Boon Kang cannot wait to feed the fish or go rafting everyday!
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Koref Farm is located in Kahang, Kluang (居銮), and it is about 2 hour drive from Tuas Customs.
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Head East after Ayer Hitam and drive towards Mersing direction. Take note road contains a lot of bends. (From Mersing, coastal road 3.5 hours to Kuantan, or 5 hours to Terengganu).
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(Koref Farm map captured from Google Map)

Great nature, endless rows of palm trees, with mountain ranges in the background.
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Yes, we have reached our destination (GPS 2.249098,103.59515).
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This lake greeted us as we drove into Koref Farm compound. Your accommodation might be one of the chalets built over the water.

40% of your activities will be related to water. If kids love swimming, make it 60% 🙂
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Chalet D house 45 guests and Chalet C (house 35 guests). Chalet C offers only basic configuration.
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Fan, toilet, bed and mattress Checked. We need nothing else for the night. Each chalet D room can house 6 to 8 guests. (“Hotel” rates at this link)
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Dormitory and A-Frame accommodations.
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If you need something more challenging, try camping. This is normally preferred by students 🙂
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(Image credit Koref)

When it rains, everyone is cooped indoors but we chose to go paddling and running rounds around the obstacle course.
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Water depth at the lake is only 60cm, so almost everyone can enjoy water activities. Life jackets are available.
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Day break.
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I tried jogging on the first morning. At 6am, it was totally dark (cannot-see-fingers-dark). End up I could only pace up and down a 200m dirt track, as I was afraid of falling into drains or bumping into wild dogs or worse spooky banana-trees encounters :p

This is the view from one of the rooms in Chalet D.
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It can be warm during the days but you will need a blanket at night. Be prepared to handle houseflies in the day and “flying-ants” insects (in the thousands!) will swarm light sources in the evenings. Both are harmless.
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Cute idioms at every corner, telling guests to relax and enjoy nature.
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There were so many activities to keep us entertained.
Who needs TV and IPAD when our daily itinerary shouts FUN!

Obstacle course (Free) and flying fox (RM 10). Rafting is free!
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How does feeding the fish (RM 1 per pack) and cycling sounds (RM 7 and above)? You can pedal and get up close to the fish and prawn ponds, or paddy fields. (All the farm activities are listed here)
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Vast paddy fields, clear blue skies and white fluffy clouds.
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Swings which allow you to “slip” and leap into the lake! (Free)
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Common toilets.
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If you cannot live without aircon or must have 5 star buffet breakfast spreads, or you can only swim in turquoise clear water, Koref farm is not for you. But if you and family love the great outdoors and getting back to basics, Koref farm offers you an idyllic kampung lifestyle and loads of opportunities to bond with family.

No TV, no Facebook, no Instagram. Only the farm, animals and fun activities! Smiley faces.
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We believe Ah Ben agrees with us 🙂
We had work with him before (Ch8 人气满屋2) and was looking forward to catchup with this friendly host again.
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A pond filled with fish and arowanas. Be careful of the territorial male goose, he can be very loud.
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In Singapore, AVA is strict and does not allow feeding of poultry, and you cannot even touch the goats in Kranji farms. We must have caught at least half a dozen chicken and chicks in Johor! The arowanas are so used to human-feeding that they sometimes allow you to stroke them (just like a pet!)

Ducks, Goose, Chickens and we even spotted a brood of chicks! What a delight for urban folks to see live chickens running, instead of chilled poultry.
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Rabbits are fat, no thanks to constant feeding from children. Rabbits stewed or barbequed is not on the menu at Koref :p
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Photos of kids, and perhaps colleagues enjoying farming activities.
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Simple three meals, seafood prawns and fish are not available for our package. But we felt contented as it was a golden opportunity to teach Boon Kang to treasure every grain of rice. We had earlier witness how farmers toil under the hot sun.
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Organic produce, we heard Koref is Malaysia’s first organic farm.
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In our opinion, Koref might score 2 or 3 Stars for meals, but it garners 5 Stars for farming lifestyle!
Truly an unforgettable experience.
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Additional tips :
– we cannot share more activities yet, as we want you to wait for Ch 8’s 小农夫 (Fresh farmers) in July. Consisting of 13 episodes, each week a parent-child pair will bring you to one farm (Think 爸爸去哪儿 亲子 variety). 小农夫 (Fresh farmers) hopes children will appreciate the hard work behind farming.

– We first heard of Koref Farm from Cheekiemonkies (their review link), and we were eagerly waiting to enjoy our own Kampung lifestyle.

– These chalets are not for honeymoons, unless you like neighbours to hear your sweet nothings and smooching! Accoustic isolation is non-existent keke 🙂

– GPS for Koref Farm is 2.249098,103.59515

– Visitors can pay RM10 to enter the farm to enjoy the activities without staying overnight

– There is no safe inside the chalets, just lock the door. We felt very safe during our 3D2N stay.

– The other kids are jealous that only Book Kang gets to enjoy the rustic Kampung lifestyle. You can gather more fun facts about Koref Farm on their Website and Fanpage.

Check out some other bonding activities with my kids.
– Boon Kang 3D2N (Farm at Koref), our hiking explorations
Taman Negara with Boon Wee, 2D2N Broga Hill and Sky Mirror with Boon Yee

Kahang Farm photos
* disclaimer Our 3D2N stay is sponsored by the Producer
** Updated 2017Jun – Toggle Ch8 video link, we are Season 1 Episode 10

ps.. Follow our Instagram tag #SengkangBabiesJohor for more JB adventures