Lookback at 2016

The last few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind. But as per my annual custom, I want to take some time to reflect on what a year 2016 has been, and what has happened in the past 12 months.

WORK

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work

I left BFM (again) early this year. It was a good one year of part-time arrangement with them, but I decided to leave this year as, on top of my TV3 engagement, my church offered me a part-time role as well. After weighing my options, I decided to go for my church’s offer instead of staying on with BFM.

And so far, I am enjoying my role at church. I’m helping out with the creative department, so I get to be really involved in the drama ministry – in conceptualising, training, and directing. I enjoy this a lot, because now, beyond just acting, I get to have hands-on in the entire storytelling process. I also get to stretch my capability by producing videos with the media team. It was something I openly told my pastor that I did not know if I could do, as I didn’t think I was a very creative person in that sense. But I’m learning on the job! Apart from that, my role also requires me to write a lot: scripts, devotional materials, etc. So far, I really have no complaints, and I’m very blessed that my pastor decided to offer me this job.

Besides TV3 and my church, I’m also open to other freelance job opportunities. This year, I am very fortunate to have gotten a few blogging jobs and partnerships. I got to work with Kidzania, MOF, Robataya, Lazada (and here) and Sothys (and here). It’s not a lot, but those are all great opportunities.

I also did one emcee job with Publika, and one voice-over job with Omesti. It’s been an interesting year!

BLOG

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I decided to re-launch NatalieSia.com this year, due to several reasons. Some reasons can’t be revealed just yet. But overall, I was feeling like I was at a crossroad, and one of the ways I wanted to ‘start the phase’ was by redoing my blog. I also had a new direction for where I wanted my blog to go, hence, the re-launch. (Unfortunately, my old posts also disappeared, but it’s OK! Let’s start fresh!)

This year I had my first viral post. While writing the post ‘8 Years After I Do’, I was actually going through quite a challenging patch in my marriage. I was reminding myself about my vows and my commitment, and how a marriage should be built. Interestingly, a lot of people connected with that post, and it was shared massively on Facebook. I think I had over 90,000 views on that post alone! It was crazy! But I feel so grateful that something I wrote could be of help to somebody.

BOOKWRITING

One of my biggest highlights for 2016 was writing and publishing my book, ‘Alexa: A Mother’s Journey of Love, Loss and Hope’. After procrastinating for so many years, it is really a big accomplishment for me! Though now, as the book is being sold, I admit I am feeling nervous and a little bit vulnerable. I don’t know how it will fare, but I just want to be able to be of whatever help I can be to mothers who go through similar experiences.

Right after I finished writing my own book, I was approached to be a ghostwriter for two books. I have never been a ghostwriter, but I thought, it would be a great learning experience. It also came at a good time to help with our finances and fund my book-printing!

TRAVEL

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After not traveling abroad for a while, we finally flew this year! We went to Seoul, South Korea for the first time, and it was also our first time flying with Amy.

A few months after that, the hubby and I had a biking trip to Hatyai! It was a fun holiday. Biking trips are torturous and fun at the same time haha.

Then, I got pregnant, so, no more flying and no more international holidays.

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To compensate, we had trips around Malaysia. We went to Port Dickson three times! Twice with my in-laws, and once with my elder sister and her family. We also had a roadtrip to Penang, which was definitely not as enjoyable as our trips to PD.

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And then, just before we ended the year, the hubby took Amy and me down to Malacca with him for his working trip. It was an impromptu decision. His project site was in Malacca, so he was required to go down for support and work. But he would be traveling on my birthday. 🙁 So he thought, since I was off from work during this last week of December anyway, and my mother-in-law was going to Taiwan, why not Amy and I follow him down?

I said brilliant! We could just chill in the hotel, because I also needed to get work done anyway. In the end, my father-in-law joined us and everything was good.

LEISURE

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I got to act in my church’s Easter stage drama, ‘Sometimes‘, earlier this year. It was an emotionally demanding role, but, as with most difficult roles, it gave me such satisfaction as an actor.

Oh, I also got to go for my first watercolour painting class with my pastor! I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint, so this was a memorable experience. I hope I’ll be able to improve and learn more, and be able to paint better soon!

PERSONAL

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At the start of the year, we decided to move in with the hubby’s parents. It made sense financially, and also gave us great help with Amy.

This year was also a year of ups and downs for my marriage (well actually, which year isn’t? haha). There were a lot of strains and challenges and tension, and the biggest explosion came about just before Christmas! Thank God, we were able to talk things out and solve our issues and end the year on a stronger note.

We also had a big scare when Amy experienced her febrile fit. It was her first hospitalisation, and it definitely shook us all.

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And of course, the most important thing that happened in 2016 was: I got pregnant with baby number three! He will be born in just a few weeks time, and I really cannot wait. Praying and confessing every day that he will be born alive and well, healthy and strong, normal and happy.

***

So that was my 2016 in a nutshell. I can’t wait to start planning and setting goals for 2017. We have a lot of hopes and plans for next year… praying very hard that they will come to pass.

What about you? How has your 2016 been?

 

Love,

Nat

Amy and febrile fits

It was the most terrifying night ever.

We had just returned from Port Dickson the day before. Everything was fine, except that Amy was beginning to have a little runny nose and a little cough. We didn’t think much of it, because little kids have runny nose and cough all the time.

However, on Tuesday night, as I got Amy ready for bedtime, I noticed that her cold was becoming worse, and so was her cough. I told my hubby that I’m worried she was going to develop a fever.

As she watched her iPad videos, her eyes began to tear, and I thought it was because she was too tired. I encouraged her to lie down and sleep, but she didn’t really want to lie down, because, I presumed, it was hard for her to breathe with her blocked nose. So I got her to lie on a pillow, sideways, with her head slightly elevated.

When I touched her body, it seemed to be a little warmer than usual, but nothing that warranted concern yet. In any case, she fell asleep quite promptly. In retrospect, I should have taken the ear thermometer to measure her temperature.

About ten minutes after she fell asleep, I decided I should sleep too, as I was exhausted. I turned off the room lights, and got settled down. The first thing I noticed was that Amy was breathing harder and faster than usual. Yes, it was because of her cold and her blocked nose. But still, I couldn’t rest and was wondering how to know if she was wheezing. At this point, I was worried that she might develop asthma or something.

Then suddenly, her heavy breathing stopped. She was completely quiet. And in the darkness, I saw one of her hands (the one closest to me) shaking in mid-air. In that first second, I thought she might be scratching herself. But it didn’t seem right.

Immediately, I rolled off my bed to turn on the lights, and when I turned back to Amy, I was horrified.

She was lying on her back, facing the ceiling, with her eyes opened and her hands in mid-air, and she was twitching.

Immediately, I knew that she was in a seizure but I did not know what that meant and what I should do. I panicked!

I quickly lifted her up to a sitting position while calling her name multiple times, and then yelled for my hubby. He rushed into the room and I told him she was having a seizure. But I think by the time he came in, her fits were over. It only lasted a few seconds.

But then, we were washed over by another worry: WAS SHE BREATHING?

Because even though the fits stopped, she became totally unresponsive and lifeless. My hubby carried her up and we kept calling her name and tried to wake her up to no avail. We woke my in-laws up, but nobody knew what to do and everyone was in full gear panic mode.

At this point, my hubby noticed that drool was flowing out of Amy’s mouth, but we still didn’t know if she was breathing. We tried to perform CPR, and was wondering if we should call the ambulance.

But I decided that we should just drive to the hospital, because the ambulance would take a while, and the hospital was just near our house.

We rushed into the car, and my hubby drove like a mad person to the hospital. Throughout the journey, I held on to Amy and kept calling her name, trying to wake her up. I tried to do CPR, but then I realized she was moving her head away from me every time I tried to blow into her mouth. Then I began to hear her breathing.

That assured me a little, but we were still scared. All we could do in the car was pray and pray and pray, and I spoke life and health into her again and again and again. And I kept telling her, “Amy, you must be strong. You must be well.”

The moment we reached the hospital, we ran into the emergency department, and the medical officers took over. I told them this was the first time Amy had fits. They asked if she had fever, and I said the last I touched her body, she was a little warm but I did not measure her temperature. When they took her temperature, it was 40 degrees!

Immediately, they administered medication, stripped her, and sponged her with a wet towel.

And then, she opened her eyes, and began to cry.

The sweetest sound ever!

Still, although she was crying, she was not moving, so I was still worried! Two things in my mind: Did the seizure have any effect on her? Even if it didn’t…. did the high fever leave any damage??

She kept crying as she was being sponged, while I kept talking to her and comforting her. Then when the medical officers tried to put in the IV drip into her hand, she started struggling and KICKING them with all her might!

That’s my girl!!! That means she’s OK!!

But at this point, I still had one worry: her eyes, although opened, didn’t look quite focused. Did the fever affect her sight?!

So I tried to ask her, Amy, where’s mummy?

Amidst her crying, I saw her eyes jerk over to my face when I asked her that. That was when I finally breathed a sigh of relief.

My little girl was OK.

After the medication and the sponging, her temperature soon reduced. She was admitted for the IV drip, further tests and observation. Her fever kept coming back, and we had to monitor it closely because we wanted to avoid her getting into another fit. In the end, the tests showed that she had some bacterial infection, so she needed antibiotics. But other than that, she was fine. Three days later, she was finally discharged.

What we found out was she had febrile fits, a seizure or convulsion that is caused by fever. Apparently, it’s quite common in young children aged between 3 months and 5 years. It normally happens because the child’s temperature went up too high too fast, and it’s the body’s way to protect the brain (or something like that).

So, generally, febrile fits are harmless, although absolutely terrifying to see.

And apparently, once the child gets febrile fits for the first time, there is a high chance that she may get it again if her temperature goes up too quickly again the next time.

Here are some things to do if and when your child gets febrile fits:

1. DO NOT PANIC

Of course, my whole family totally went into panic mode. But the most important thing is to stay calm so that you can continue the next course of action.

2. Note the time of onset of fit

It’s important to note roughly how long the fit lasted, because doctors would want to know. I’ve been told that most fits should last about 30 seconds to 1 minute, even though they feel like a lifetime. Anything longer than 5 minutes might need medication and medical help.

3. Loosen the child’s clothing, especially around the neck.

4. Turn the child to the side, on a lying position.

This is to let whatever drool or vomit flow out of the mouth, because when they are in a fit, they cannot swallow and might choke.

5. Do not insert any object into the mouth.

We’ve heard some people say they put a metal spoon or whatever into the mouth of a person who is having a fit because they were scared that the person might bite his own tongue or something. But the medical officers told us, NOTHING INTO THE MOUTH.

6. Do not give any fluids or medication during the fit.

Take the child’s temperature, and if it’s very high (like in Amy’s case), sponge her down with a wet towel. Wait till her fit is over before administering medication.

7. Wait for the fit to be over.

The child might lose consciousness after the fit, due to tiredness.

8. Bring the child to a doctor to check on the fever.

As mentioned earlier, a child who has gotten febrile fits for the first time would most likely get it again, as her body might be unable to regulate temperature properly. Therefore, if and when the child has a fever, it is very important to be diligent in monitoring the temperature. For Amy’s case, the moment it is above 37.5, I must administer medication already, because it might spike up to 40 very quickly, and that would bring on a fit.

The good news is that febrile fits are generally harmless, and most children outgrow them by the time they turn 5 years old.

I am praying and hoping that this would be a one-off and that Amy will never ever ever ever get it again. Because, even though now we know that it is generally harmless, and we know what to do, IT IS STILL SUPER SCARY.

I am so going to sign up for first-aid courses for infants and children after this.

 

 

Love,

Nat

My ‘me’ time

UPDATE: The contest has ended. Winners will be announced on my Instagram and Facebook page! 

I’m giving away another Sothys goodie bag worth RM424 to FIVE lucky readers! Read till the end to find out what’s in the goodie bag and how you can win one!

I recently read about a scientific study that apparently found that mothers enjoy parenting less than fathers. One of the reasons was because fathers equate parenting with fun and leisure activities (like playing with the kids), while mothers equate parenting with more work: feeding, bathing, teaching, cleaning, etc.

The study also said mothers report more fatigue, especially since even their rest time (day and night) is constantly interrupted by the kids.

I was like, tell me something I don’t already know.

Motherhood has totally changed my life. From being a carefree girl who could do anything I wanted at any time, I now have another little life under my responsibility, and a thousand and one things on my mind.

It is in a mother’s nature to give herself up for her children. Perhaps it is due to the bond that started when the foetus was conceived in her womb. I don’t know. But no matter how tired she is, a mother would never turn away from her child’s needs.

Yet, another article warned that some mothers could become too overwhelmed that they sink into serious depression. There are so many news stories about mothers who hurt their own children, or take their own lives, due to the unchecked emotional stress.

Therefore, I make it a point to have my own ‘me’ time. Sure, the ‘mummy guilt’ may nag at me sometimes, but I need to carve out some time just for myself to make sure that I remain sane.

I do believe that to be able to take good care of my child, I need to first take good care of myself. Happy mummy, happy baby.

(Actually, happy mummy happy family. We hold such powers.)

And the ‘me’ time doesn’t have to be super elaborate. Here are some of the things I do.

#1 Make time for hobbies and interests

Before I sleep at night, I like to wind down by watching some movies or YouTube videos on my phone. One of the series I’m really enjoying right now on Netflix is “Elementary”, which is a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Love love love it.

I also like to read, although I have not been reading as much as I would love to (blogs and articles are not really counted). Recently I have started on the Harry Potter series! (I know, I’m so slow) I also love Mitch Albom, and am finally reading his famous ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. Love it. (Yes, to make up for lost time, I’m reading two books at the same time…)

One hobby I have recently picked up is painting! I’ve always wanted to be a painter. But I still don’t know if I am able to be consistent in practising and painting. It is challenging in terms of time and preparation (and skill *coughs*), but, where there is a will, there is a way right?

#2 Hang out with friends

As much as I love listening and speaking to Amy, I still need my adult conversations. It’s especially helpful when I hang out with fellow mummy friends, because we get to share our experiences and gain support, amid all the toddler tantrum madness.

And it really helps to know that you are not the only one going through the craziness. Somehow, knowing that another person has similar experiences, or that they go through similar emotions, boosts my ability to handle whatever challenges that come my way.

There are also some occasions where I just enjoy spending time with people without ever talking about kids or parenting. It’s nice to explore the other aspects of me, instead of just my role as a mom.

#3 Pamper myself

Ooohhh, this is like a world without end. There are so many ways to pamper yourself!

When I need a quick and relatively affordable fix, I go for sweet stuff. Give me cakes and ice creams and desserts, and my mood will be instantly lifted!

I also love spas and massages, but I’m so picky with the type of massages that I get, that I find myself not going for spas as often any more.

Mani/pedi sessions, on the other hand, can work wonders in making me feel that I have loved myself well. Haha! Somehow, there is something about having beautiful, neat nails that makes a girl really really happy.

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And of course, facials. I used to struggle a lot with my skin, and at the peak of my bad skin condition, it really affected my confidence and self-esteem. With the right facial treatment and skincare, my skin has improved a lot over the years, and every time I get to go for a facial, I feel so good.

But facials alone can’t guarantee good skin forever. I have to make sure I am diligent with my own skincare routine at home to maintain my skin condition too. So every time I get my hands on a good skincare product, I feel extremely loved (by myself haha).

As I wrote before, Sothys had kindly sponsored me four boxes of their Essential Ampoules, and boy, these little ones seriously do a good job in pampering my skin!

As a mom, I now probably have a maximum of 10 minutes for my skincare routine (actually usually it’s less than that. With a toddler banging on the toilet door demanding for mama to come out). Luckily, these Sothys Essential Ampoules are intensive goodness packed in quick convenience.

All I have to do is make sure my face has been cleansed and toned, before dabbing the essence from the Essential Ampoules all over my skin. Then I just have to finish it off by applying my moisturiser, and I’m done!

And the results speak for themselves. Even without going for facial treatments for the past few months, my skin has shown so much improvement. Plus, being able to end a long, tiring day with a good skincare routine with power-packed products makes me feel very pampered.

Sothys and I want to pamper you too!

We are giving away another goodie bag to FIVE lucky readers. This goodie bag includes:

Sothys Treatment Voucher x 1 (worth RM100)
Complimentary SkinScope x 1 (worth RM80)
Sothys Product Voucher x 1 (worth RM50)
Product Sample x 1
Sothys Cleansing Milk 40ml x 1 (worth RM116)
Sothys Essential Ampoules x 2 pieces (worth RM78)

All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me:

How do you spend your ‘me’ time? 

Don’t forget to put down your email address too. This contest closes on 16th December 2016, and is open to Malaysian residents only. Winners will be announced on my Instagram and Facebook page, so do follow me there OK?

Good luck!

 

 

Love,

Nat

 

Logitech: music anytime anywhere

This post is in partnership with Lazada.

I love this Logitech X100 Wireless Speaker.

It was one of the products that came in Lazada’s Box of Joy a few weeks ago, and I have been putting it to good use. In fact, my hubby has been fully utilising it too!

It is compact and lightweight, making it so easy to carry it around. The best part of it is that it’s wireless, so you don’t have to be lugging around cables after cables. And for such a small speaker, the sound quality is really quite good!

Even if you’re not a gadget expert, don’t worry! This speaker is super user-friendly. There were no complicated setup steps to follow. All I had to do was turn it on, pair it with my phone through bluetooth, and that’s it!

As Christmas is around the corner, this could make a great gift (especially for the practical men in your life). You can get this exact same one that I have here, or go for other colours.

Lazada’s Online Revolution is still ongoing, with unbelievable offers/discounts/promotions, so now is the best time for you to do your last minute Christmas shopping with them!

Have fun!

 

Love,

Nat

Alexa: A Mother’s Journey of Love, Loss and Hope

Details on how to purchase a copy is at the end of this post. 

Update: The first batch is already sold out! Thank you so much for your support. I am humbled and grateful. I am in the midst of planning another batch of printing. This new batch will probably be out in January 2017, but I am still taking in pre-orders 🙂 Thank you once again!

Finally.

After three years, I have finally done it.

I have finally written a book about my journey with Alexa.

Since three years ago, I knew that I wanted to write this book, but I had always been putting it off. This year, I decided to just sit down and get it done.

Many times while writing, I wondered if it was a good time, because, I was already pregnant with baby number three. Revisiting the memories while expecting another baby might not have been a good idea.

Many times while writing, I broke down and cried. And many times while writing, I was suddenly seized by fear, and I had to take a pause to lay hands on my belly and pray for baby number three.

Yet, I found myself telling myself, that if I do not do it now, then when?

And so, I continued writing.

After finishing it, I took the longest time to re-read, edit and proofread. Because every time I looked through the words, memories would come flooding again. (In fact, my hubby told me he still can’t bear to read the book because of the emotions it stirred up within him. I totally get it.)

Some of the things that I shared in this book were in my previous blog, but that blog has since been taken down (revamped, actually, and the old posts gone…). Some other things, though, were never shared on my blog or anywhere else, and are unique to this book.

I do feel quite vulnerable, revealing my toughest time and baring my feelings in a book to be read by all. But then again, I do hope that this book will be able to help another person who may be going through a similar situation.

Every mother of a lost baby is afraid of forgetting that baby. I guess this book is also one of the ways for me to ensure that the memory of Alexa lives on forever.

The book will be out for sale by mid December in limited copies. So many of you have written to me to pre-order it, and I am overwhelmed and thankful! [Update: This first batch of books have already been sold out. Thank you!]

The next batch of books will most likely be ready in January 2017.

To pre-order or to purchase a copy, please refer to below:


The book, ‘Alexa: A Mother’s Journey of Love, Loss and Hope’, is RM29.90 each.

Shipping charges are:
Within Semenanjung Malaysia – RM7
To Sabah & Sarawak – RM11
International shipping – please email hello@nataliesia.com

To place an order: 

  1. Kindly transfer the full payment (book price + shipping fee) into my bank account:
    Natalie Sia Hui Chiu
    Public Bank 3-1804819-14
  2. Drop me an email at hello@nataliesia.com with your payment receipt as well as shipping details:
    Your Name
    Your Address
    Your Contact Number

Thank you so much for your support throughout these years, and for your prayers and love for me and my family. I am very very blessed to have you with me on this journey.

Love you guys!

 

Love,

Nat

First watercolour painting class

I’ve always wanted to pick up watercolour painting.

Since I was a child, I loved art. I spent hours sketching and drawing on any paper surface I could fine (including school textbooks and telephone directory books).

Painting was the next thing I wanted to master, but somehow, the art classes in school did not help me much, and I wasn’t able to go for any additional art classes. So, discouraged and disheartened by my painting results, I kinda gave up.

Then, I grew up. With the busy schedule and other priorities on my mind, I had forgotten about my love for art. Yet, whenever I see a good piece of painting, my heart stirs.

Recently my dear pastor, who is one super talented artist, decided to organise a watercolour painting class, and he asked if I would like to be part of it. I jumped at the chance!

At the class, I honestly felt quite lost because I was the only student with no background whatsoever in watercolour painting (or even any other painting actually. School experience not counted). But I went home feeling so accomplished because I got to learn about the basics and concepts of watercolour painting. That’s the first step to achieving my dream of being a painter! 😉

Can’t wait to practice more, and I’m looking forward to future classes!

 

Love,

Nat

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