Lilypie - First Birthday

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Tokyo Trip Day 3: Mt. Fuji 5th Station

It was another early day for us as we slept early the previous night. We did not go out for dinner last night as we were still full from the food at the Herb Festival. But after onsen we felt like having something warm to fill our stomachs. Luckily there were vending machines inside the hotel so we bought curry ramen cup noodles and some fizzy yogurt drinks.

After our morning onsen and light breakfast inside our hotel room, we took the free hotel shuttle to
Kawaguchiko Station. My original plan for today was to take the red/green retro bus around Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Saiko area. I wanted to visit the Wind Cave and Ice Cave. However, Mom seemed like she really wanted to go to Mt. Fuji instead. So seeing that it was just only 8.30am, I decided that we take the bus up to Mt. Fuji 5th Station and decide again later where to go in the afternoon. On hindsight, I feel lucky that we didn't visit Wind Cave/ Ice Cave as it would require a journey into the creepy Aokigahara forest!

The round-trip bus tickets going up to Mt. Fuji 5th Station cost 2100 yen per pax. The bus takes the
Subaru Line, a beautiful toll road meandering uphill amongst tall pine trees and at halfway, looks down upon a glorious sea of clouds.

Here we are at Mt. Fuji 5th Station! The elevation is 2300 meters above sea level. It was soooo cold up there, I thought I was at Genting Highlands. And I was only wearing shorts. Brrrr! The lodges here are actually shops selling souvenir items such as snacks, chocolates and also hiking items such as hiking sticks, waterproof jackets, hats etc. There are also restaurants but we did not eat there.

A mountain of Fuji-san toilet paper

We came to Komitake Shrine which was behind the shops. While taking photos, suddenly we realised that the main object which we came to see, was just right behind us!! The peak of Mt. Fuji!

I think I heard a description before saying that Mt. Fuji is like a very shy woman. It is always shrouded behind clouds and you are only able to see it if she wants to let you see it. We were so excited taking dozens of pictures of it and within moments, voila! It was covered by the thick mist again.

We spent some time walking around the area, and even walked a bit on the hiking trail. Mom was super excited because she likes hiking mountains. 

We took the bus downhill around noon. We wasted some time and energy walking around as we missed to take the retro bus directly from Kawaguchiko Station. At town, we stopped at a ramen shop and went in as we saw that there were many customers. We ordered ramen, fried rice and a pint of beer. It was delicious. Then we went to a fruit stall nearby and bought 2 crates of big peaches, cherries and plum and carried them on the bus back to our hotel.

Next, we visited the Kawaguchiko Music Forest. That's another story to tell.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

That day a child was born

To commemorate the special occasion of my baby's first birthday, let me jot down the memory of what happened on that special day, exactly one year back...

The day was July 28, 2014, a Monday. It was the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri so it was a public holiday and we didn't need to go to work. I woke up in bed around 8.30am, feeling a slight tugging in my underbelly. As I sat on the toilet, feeling the tugging sensations that were coming and going, I did not at all think that those were real contractions. In fact, I believed those were "false contractions" from a blog I had read somewhere before. We had scheduled a planned Caesarean-section with my doctor for two days later, July 30, so that baby would come out on the same day as her dad's birthday. (So that in future I wouldn't have to bake two cakes, hehee..) Jokes aside, the planned C-sec at 37 weeks was because baby was not getting sufficient nutrition and was not growing well inside the womb. Anyway, my mind was actually prepped for the BIG thing to happen two days later, and not today.

So the tugging went on the whole morning, like a little annoying and persistent period pain. It came and it left, at non-regular intervals when I tried to time it, so it only added to my belief that those were "false contractions". We went to eat chicken rice nearby our house for lunch. After that, I went to cut my hair short in preparation for the confinement. I still remember telling the hairdresser that I was ready to give birth soon but my tummy was still so small. At 3pm, hubby's friend came to visit us at our house and gave us a baby clothes giftset. 

After our friend left around 4.30pm, I started to feel that the tuggings were getting stronger. I called my mom.

Me:  "Mom, I think I am having contractions."
Mom: "Huh.. contractions are very pain, you won't be able to withstand it."
Me:  "But I can withstand wor.. it just feels like period pain."

Then I went to the toilet and saw that I was spotting. I told hubby and he said, let's call the doctor now. Upon receiving my phone call, my doctor said that those were birth contractions and urged me to rush to the hospital as soon as possible as baby was too small to withstand the stress of coming out through natural birth! The doctor also advised us to take town road instead of Greenlane route as it would be jammed.

All throughout the car ride I was nervous, wondering whether I had compromised my baby's health by not going to the hospital sooner. But I also comforted myself that contractions could last up to one whole day and the baby would still be okay.

It was about 5-ish when we reached the hospital. We went to register at the front desk. The hospital attendants put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me up to the delivery floor even though I was still feeling fine and the contractions were still only mild at that time. Our doctor had already arrived, she met us at the lift wearing her normal everyday clothes. At my hospital room, the usual things happened, (blur to me now..) signing documents, shaving, insertion of urinary catheter (ouch!!), taking of blood pressure... then I was wheeled into the operation theater. Too bad hubby could not follow me in as it was a case of emergency C-section.

A big burly Indian male nurse helped heave me onto the bed inside the operation theater and I was soon surrounded by nurses, midwife, my doctor and the anesthesiologist. I remember the anesthesiologist asked me what did I eat for lunch (I was told to fast before my planned C-sec) and I said chicken rice. He was like "Oh no, you're gonna throw up" and then he asked me to sit up straight and put an intrathecal in my spine. I started to feel very cold and my whole body started to shiver. They had put up a screen to cover my mid-section so I could not see anything that was happening down there.

I think the point where everything started to hit me real hard was when I overheard the doctor saying that my baby's stats were not looking good. I was feeling so alone without my hubby beside me to give me support and at the same time feeling so worried for my baby. At moments like this you turn to the Lord for comfort. I started praying... for my baby to be safe, to be born healthily, for her brain to not be in lack of oxygen, etc. I willed myself to surrender to the Lord and to place my baby's life in His hands. I knew that the Lord would deliver both of us safe and sound. Everything happened in a daze and I could feel the doctor pulling and tugging at my stomach's skin. After what felt like a very long time, I dared myself to ask the nurse/midwife standing beside me, "Could you let me know when the doctor has started?" Then she said, "Doctor started already.." But I couldn't hear anything. I kept quiet for a while until the midwife heaved me up and told me to push out the baby now. (Yes, C-section also need to help push out the baby..) Then I asked again, "Why is my baby not crying???" Then somebody answered, "Your baby is crying so loudly, can't you hear?" I strained my ears again. It was true, I could hear in the background of what sounded like the most beautiful and angelic voice in the world - my newborn baby was crying! Although not quite as loudly as I would have imagined, due to mucus stuck in her throat. I remember asking my doctor loudly in a mix of confusion and worry, "Is my baby ok? Is my baby ok?" Then the doctor replied, "Everything is ok." I started to feel waves of relief wash over me and started to cry joyfully inside. My prayers had come true, my child is safe. A few minutes after, the nurse brought my baby to my side for me to look at (just a blur...) and told me in Hokkien to check my name and ID on the baby's tag. Then they whisked my baby away to the warmer.

Everything about the delivery and the C-section happened so fast. The doctor closed me up and I was back to my room around 6.30pm.

And that is it. That day a child was born, our very own, little baby Hayley.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Hayley is ONE

Time flies... our little baby is now ONE years old!

When she was born, we counted the time by days. Then days passed into weeks, and weeks passed into months. And then there were only the occasional updates on social media. What I am trying to say is that we say that "time flies" but actually a whole year has gone by, with moments that you feel like the minutes tick by so slowly, and also moments that with the blink of an eye, are gone. 

Anyway, we had three birthday celebrations for our precious little girl. Her grandparents organized a luxurious birthday dinner for her in Melaka. She had a jelly cake. Then on her real birthday, I baked a simple ricecooker japanese cheesecake for her to eat. Last but not least, my mom baked her a yummylicious chocolate cream cheesecake in Ipoh last weekend. 

Oh my baby girl, Papa and Mama wish for nothing else than to see you grow up healthily. Wish that you will catch up with your weight gain, height gain and of course intellectual and other progress. We all love you so very much!

Hayley's birthday party in Melaka
Hayley's birthday party in Penang
Hayley's birthday party in Ipoh

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day at the beach

Both Hayley and her Daddy's birthdays are coming up soon... we had a special treat last weekend to celebrate the happy occasion.

We brought Hayley to Batu Ferringhi to experience the beach for the first time. She enjoyed walking on the smooth sand near the water. She was very excited to see the sea water lapping at her feet and rolling back into the tide. Our brave little girl kept wanting to go forward into the water. We were very happy to see that our little girl enjoys the beach!

During dinner it rained a little bit. Nevertheless we got to enjoy the beautiful sunset under the thatched shacks near the cafe.

We had some cocktails (his: a gin+lime, hers: ameretto+kahlua+bailey's) inside the lounge and took some pictures with the 3D art installations. We also had a game of electronic darts, very funny when we had to take turns holding the baby. :-)

Other things we did during the weekend:-
  • I baked again after a long hiatus. Just a simple recipe, no sugar, baked apple+blueberries cupcake for Hayley. She seemed to like it.
  • Brought Hayley to the Botanical Gardens to see her favourite monkeys.
  • Brought Hayley to church and it was the first time we sat in the creche room. She liked crawling on the playmat and cruising around the little furnitures while the sermon was going on. Also throwing the color pencils around.
  • Bought an expensive pre-walker shoe for her at Debenhams.
  • Hubby made Hollandaise sauce because he said we had too many eggs. I'm not quite a fan of it.
  • Totally forgot about Bon Odori happening on Saturday so Hayley didn't get to wear her yukata afterall :( But felt better because it was raining slightly that evening.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tokyo Trip Day 2: Mt. Tenjo Kachi-Kachi Ropeway and Kawaguchiko Herb Festival

Since it was a beautiful day outside, we took a short stroll by the lakeside from our hotel to the Mt. Tenjo Kachi-Kachi Ropeway. The area was blooming with all sorts of hydrangea blossoms, pink and blue, in various shades and sizes. Mom was happily chirping all the way about how beautiful the surrounding scenery was.

Mt. Tenjo Kachi-Kachi Ropeway

We bought the round-trip tickets for the Kachi-Kachi cable car ride, it cost 700 yen per pax. The view of the lake and the surrounding mountains from the top was awesome.

On the top, there was a little shop selling ice-cream, roasted ricecakes, drinks and souvenirs. We bought an iced peach drink and a blue Mt. Fuji popsicle. It was really refreshing as the day was quite hot. However, although the day was bright and sunny, clouds were blocking our view of Mt. Fuji.:-(

Supposed to see Mt. Fuji behind us but it was blocked by clouds :-(

There is a funny story about Mt. Kachi-Kachi:

①Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman living together peacefully.
②One day they found a raccoon eating the seeds that they just sown in the mountain. On the next They laid the snare to catch the raccoon.
③The caught raccoon apologized for what he had done so they forgave him. However the raccoon betrayed them and killed the old woman.
④A rabbit , a good friend of the old man and the old woman, promised to revenge him.
⑤The rabbit and the raccoon went to the mountain to gather the firewood. On the way they come back, the rabbit set a fire on the firewood of the raccoon's back and the raccoon got burned on his back.
⑥On the next day the rabbit and the raccoon went into the river however only raccoon's boat
sank because his boat was made of mud. The rabbit got his revenge!

We also hiked a slight way up the mountain (around 15 mins) to take a look at a shrine. However, it was not really a proper shrine... kinda disappointed. The view from among the forests was not too bad though. It was a good mother-daughter bonding moment.

When it was about time to alight from the mountain, mom found out that she had lost our ropeway tickets! However, someone at the ticket booth had found it and kept it for us. We were sooooo impressed by their Japanese honesty!

Kawaguchiko Herb Festival

While checking-in our hotel earlier, I saw a poster about the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival. Thus we took the retro-bus to Lake Yagasaki where the festival was held. Once we got there, we were awestruck by the beauty of the place! Rows and rows of lavender fields were in full bloom. I had always heard about how beautiful the lavender season is in Japan and I thank God that I got to see this wonderful view by chance. Other than lavender fields, there were also hundreds of hydrangeas blooming everywhere. We took millions of pictures until my camera battery died. Mom and I also shared a lavender icecream.

There was a live performance by a "natural artist" playing instrumental music on his keyboards. It was like a background soundtrack to the beautiful surroundings of lavender fields and Lake Kawaguchi. I wrote a few words describing the scenery in my Instagram video:

"Listen to the wind blowing
Through the lavender fields
Ripples on the lake
The music in the garden"