I would like to think of my book as a birthday present for her.
When we were still in the planning stages of the book, the hubby told me that I would have to go all out to promote it, since I was self-publishing.
I told him at that time, that I didn’t know how to promote it. For one, this book is about a story that is so close to my heart. In fact, it is a story about my heart! Because I was so raw and open in the book, I feel very vulnerable and nervous about others reading it.
Secondly, this book is not like a happy book that I can promote along the lines of “Christmas is coming! Still thinking of a perfect gift for your loved ones? Grab this book today!”
And finally, I’ve never been good at promoting anything especially when it comes to myself (for talent jobs) or anything that I am selling.
But I figured I got to do it anyway. Because, what is the use of writing and publishing this book, but not letting people know that it exists? And how would it help people if they do not know that it exists?
So recently, I was on BFM to talk about the book. I felt quite calm about it because I used to work on BFM and I know the person who was going to interview me. At the same time I was quite nervous because I didn’t know what he would ask me and how I would feel talking about it. In any case, I am glad I did it.
I confess: iNanny is my favourite Nanny. And I’ve always felt that she has been quite a good nanny because:
1) I get a tantrum-less toddler for at least 30 minutes;
2) I get to do my own things for that 30 minutes;
3) it stops her from jumping all over the couch or climbing the stairs nonstop or throwing her toys all around the floor or destroying something;
4) she learns a LOT from the videos, i.e. ABCs, nursery rhymes, language, planets and the solar system, etc.
However, lately I’ve been imposing a new rule of no gadgets during sleep time, whether afternoon nap time or bed time. Because there are no gadgets, the sleep routine now consists of book-reading and storytelling.
Amy has a very good memory. She can memorize the words on every page of the books we read to her, and can even recite stories that I made up (but of course, that meant I had read and told her the stories again and again and again and again and again…).
Recently, I caught her reciting a story that I often told her, only she has slightly modified it (those with exclamation marks were shouted at the top of her lungs. The more exclamation marks, the louder it was):
Amy’s story #1:
One day, Papa Night Owl saw Little Night Owl, and said “Night Owl, it’s time to go outside.”
Night Owl said, “I don’t want to go outside! I wanna eat orange!”
Papa Night Owl said, “I don’t want to eat orange! I want to go out!”
Night Owl said, “I don’t want to go out!! I want to stay in the room!!!”
Makes no sense, unless you’ve been listening to the conversations we’ve been having in our house. Haha.
Amy’s story #2 (in reference to Peppa Pig):
There is Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig, Peppa Pig and Baby George.
Baby George cries all the time.
Baby George dowan to be happy.
Amy’s story #3:
Where is Baby Alistair?
Is he behind the door? No!
Is he under the bed? No!
Is he at the playground? No!
Baby Alistair cries all the time.
She cracks me up!
I can learn a thing or two about creativity from her. In a child’s mind, nothing needs to be logical or rational, and that is the beauty of imagination. Often, that is also how great stories come about! I’m looking forward to hearing more stories from her!
It’s been the longest and shortest one month ever. I don’t really know how to explain, but, some days I felt that the month was really going by slowly because I felt as though Alistair has been with us forever. Yet, other days I felt that the month has zoomed by so quickly because I felt as though Alistair has just been born!
Being a mother to these two is a great privilege. The hubby and I still sometimes say to each other, “I can’t believe we have two kids now.”
It’s been a challenge, definitely, juggling these two. They both need me equally, but there’s only one me. My heart sometimes feel heavy for Amy, because she now has to share mama’s attention. Sometimes, she has to wait. Sometimes, she will only have me until her little brother cries for milk.
Just last night, it was her bed time. My mother-in-law was ready to put her to bed, but, after changing into her pajamas, she ran out of the room to look for me. I was breastfeeding Alistair. Amy looked at me, put a hand on my arm, and said, “Mama sleep? Mama sleep with Amy?”
My heart melted. My little girl still wanted me to sleep with her. But now, she has to learn to wait. She has to learn to be a big sis.
At the same time, I also feel (a little) sorry for Alistair. Unlike his sister, he does not get to enjoy the full attention from everyone. I spend a lot of time playing with him and bonding with him, but it is so different from the time I spent with Amy. He will never get the exclusive time and attention. I mean, even his toys and stuff are mostly hand-me-downs. Haha. Welcome to being the second in the family, my son.
The star of the party was too busy asking for milk and trying to sleep to pose for the camera.
My little one. You are so precious to me. I thank God for you, and I pray that you will be blessed all the days of your life. May you grow up to be a great young man, with strong values and fear of God. May you be full of joy and hope and faith. May you be strong yet gentle. May you reach your potential and live your destiny.
I love you my little man. I am so proud to be your mama. You are the perfect addition to our family.
When I was pregnant with Alistair, I constantly wondered about two things.
Firstly, will I be able to love both kids the same? What if my love for Amy lessens? Or what if I could not love Alistair as much as I love Amy? Would I be unfair to them? How would I be able to give them equal time, equal attention, equal love?
(I have no answer yet for any of the questions above.)
Secondly, how am I going to introduce Alistair to Amy?
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I told Amy about it. However, as she was barely 2 years old at that time, she knew nuts about what I was talking about.
As my belly grew, I constantly talked to Amy about baby Alistair. I told her there’s a baby inside mama’s stomach. Soon, she was able to repeat that: “Babyyyyyy inside mama’s stomach.”
In the last few months, she was even able to remember that baby inside mama’s stomach was baby Alistair, and she would sometimes voluntarily caress and kiss my belly.
Yet, I doubted that she understood the reality of it all.
A few months before Alistair was due to be born, I started planning the best ways to introduce them and to help Amy adapt to the new addition to our family.
Unfortunately, the first moment of introduction was kind of spoiled. I had envisioned a nice, intimate setting where Amy and her papa would come visit Alistair and me in the hospital, with just the four of us, and she could have that magical moment of meeting her brother.
That only happened in my mind.
I delivered Alistair in the morning, but by the time Amy was brought to the hospital to visit me, it was night, and I had a lot of visitors with me in the room at that time. So when her papa carried her into the room, she was extremely shy to see all the visitors. She was happy to see me, but didn’t dare to run over to me. And I could only do a quick “Look Amy, this is baby Alistair! He’s your brother!” while all the other visitors looked on.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated my visitors coming to see us. I was just disappointed at the timing that Amy came in to see her brother.
We also did a gift exchange. While I was still pregnant, Amy and I sort of chose a toy for baby, and I wrapped it up for him. Unbeknownst to Amy, I also wrapped a gift for her “from baby Alistair.” So at the hospital, we did the gift exchange. Honestly though, I don’t think Amy knew any of the significance. She was just happy to get a present and couldn’t wait to open it up.
So anyway. The reality really hit when Alistair and I returned home. I guess Amy suddenly realized that this baby is here to stay, and he has brought about change in the family. She now has less attention, and more people are fussing over the baby.
She has been nice to Alistair, but her tantrums have escalated. She is suddenly even more opinionated and stubborn (and she was already very opinionated and stubborn before this), and would go into uncontrollable screaming and crying over small things (and sometimes over nothing). We try to be patient, but sometimes she does get on our nerves. Yet, I remind myself that she is just a 2-and-a-half-year-old. It’s tough for her to suddenly have to share mama and papa.
At the same time, some of her reactions have been really cute.
She saw me breastfeeding for the first time, and gave me such a look of shock, horror and disgust. (I was like gee thanks Amy, you were a breastfed baby too okay)
I told her baby is drinking milk. And she said, “Baby drinking milk. Amy dowan milk,” while shaking her head vigorously. So I said baby drinks from mama’s breasts while Amy drinks from bottle because Amy is a big girl now. From then on, she loves to say “Baby drink milk from mama’s nen nen. Amy drink from bottle!”
We took out the baby cot in preparation for baby, and Amy became super interested in it. She has been asking to go into the cot, and said she wants to lie inside the cot like baby. And when we put her in, she would just enjoy herself inside.
She sometimes still points to my tummy and say “babyyyyyyyy”. Then I would explain that there’s no more baby inside my tummy, and that baby Alistair is already out. And I would show her Alistair. She would look confused and just walk away.
Well, life has certainly become more interesting now with a toddler and a baby. I have no confinement lady, so I’ve been hands-on with Alistair since the day we returned from hospital. My parents-in-law are helping me out with Amy as well as with cooking and some housechores. But whenever I can, I will spend time to play with Amy, or change her diaper, or put her to bed.
Needless to say, I’m exhausted! And sometimes I wonder if I would be able to finish this month of confinement in one piece. But then again, I would never trade this for anything else. And actually, I found that I could really enjoy Alistair’s newborn stage this time round. (During Amy’s time, I was freaking out as most new moms would haha)
Every day I remind myself to enjoy Alistair’s every milestone, and also not to miss Amy’s development. They grow up way too fast.
What a beautiful start to 2017 it has been. My dear boy, Alistair Jianlei Yong, has been born.
Due to the history of my stillbirth with Alexa, my doctor and I had already agreed that we would induce delivery for this pregnancy, just like how we did for Amy. So throughout my pregnancy with Alistair, I knew that I would be delivering at my 38th week.
The weeks building up to the induction were a little bit stressful and tense for me. While I was less fearful compared to when I was pregnant with Amy, I was still unable to totally let my guard down. The tiny question of whether I would be able to bring my third baby home still nagged at me.
Also, this time round, I found myself a little bit more apprehensive about the whole process of labour and delivery. Perhaps it is because I already knew what to expect – the pain, the needles, the stitches, the NOT pushing and then the pushing…
Well. I did find that the entire experience this time round was a little more difficult and traumatising. Let’s start from the beginning.
Just as the clock struck midnight on January 10, 2017, I was admitted to the labour ward for my induced delivery. At this point, my dilation was already 2-3 cm, so I was quite hopeful for a quick labour! The nurse said I could start the induction at any time, but weirdly, I was a bit hesitant. I guess it was because I knew that once the process was started, there was no turning back or pausing, and the pain will begin!
But anyhow, I knew it was all inevitable, and another part of me really wanted to have baby Alistair out in my arms as soon as possible too. So at 2.45am, we started the induction by inserting half of the tablet (don’t know what it’s called) to soften my cervix.
As only half was inserted, as opposed to one full tablet during Amy’s time, I found that the process progressed a little slower. My contractions started becoming regular, and started to build up at 4am, but they were still very bearable. I could even sleep a little here and there until 6am.
At 6, the nurse came in to check on my dilation again, and she said the words that totally demotivated me.
“It’s still the same.”
What?! By then, my contractions were starting to be very painful and they were very regular, coming in at every 2 minutes.
So, even though my dilation was still 2-3cm, but because my contractions were so regular and so intense, the nurse decided that it was time to prepare me for delivery. They had to insert the “line” for IV drip (just in case of emergency) in my wrist, which was one of the things I dreaded because I really really really hate needles.
And then, my worst nightmare happened.
The needle went in, but couldn’t be totally pushed in. The nurse said it was a short vein, whatever that meant. So she had to take it out and look for another vein. She got another nurse in to help, and they found another vein. Again the “line” went in, and by then I already wanted to faint because I could feel everything and I really really really hate needles.
They told me my vein was a little small, so they would be inserting some fluid to wash out the vein a little bit. A few seconds later, they said, the vein seemed to be too small because the fluid was not going in. So they had to take it all out again and look for another vein!!!
I was in distress by this time. Not only were my contractions kinda killing me, but the entire needle experience was really making me upset.
They finally found a cooperative vein on my right hand, and the “line” was finally settled in. But then when the nurse checked the monitor (we were monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions all this while), she said there was an episode where my baby’s heartbeat dipped. So she had to connect me to the oxygen mask and drip me up for hydration, to ensure that baby could get all the oxygen and hydration he needed.
Listening to that made my heart fall. My husband and I were suddenly quite anxious. Will Alistair be OK??
The nurse told me that it could be due to various reasons. It could be head compression, cord tangled around the neck… Or it could be just that I was anxious or stressed and it affected the baby. So I had to not be anxious or stressed.
Listening to that made me even more anxious and stressed.
The nurse gave my doctor a call to give her the update, while I continued to lie down on the delivery bed, battling my contractions and trying very hard to stay calm and relaxed.
At about 7.20am, my doctor walked into the room and told me everything was fine. Immediately, I felt assured. I asked her about the baby’s heartbeat dipping, but she said it was OK since it was only one episode and since then baby’s heartbeat was more than fine.
My contractions were still coming in at every 2 minutes and the pain was really intense by now. My dilation was almost 5cm, so my doctor gave it a little stretch to help things move along faster, but it was oh-so-painful!
She seemed very happy with my progress and said my delivery will be a quick one. I asked her, how quick?? She said, I would probably deliver at about 9.
I looked at the clock and my heart sank. 9?! But it was only 7.30am then, and my contractions were already getting unbearable!
At 8am, I finally asked for the painkiller injection (that I took both during Alexa’s and Amy’s delivery). I also told my husband to keep time, because I was extremely sure that after the jab, I would give birth within an hour, just like my previous deliveries.
Sure enough, within that one hour my contractions shot up and I began to have the crazy urge to push. The nurse said I was 8cm, and I was like, nooooo… I really wanted to push. So she helped stretch me as well (though I really didn’t know how), and then called for my doctor to come in.
Within minutes, my doctor appeared and told me I could push when I next feel the urge to. Those were the sweetest command I heard all night!
So I pushed! And pushed and pushed with all my might. But then, after a few pushes, when I could feel baby crowning, my doctor told me to hold it and stop pushing. I could feel my pelvic bones opening and baby’s head coming out halfway and the pain was crazy and my whole body was dying to push and I had to HOLD.
The NOT pushing is always the hardest in delivery. Not the contractions. Not the pushing. It’s the NOT pushing.
And I had to do it three times! Push push push… OK hold… Push push push, OK hold…
I later asked my doctor, why did I have to hold? She told me it was to let the baby’s head ease out on his own, to prevent me from tearing too much.
Anyway, even though it felt like eternity to me, the pushing only took a few minutes because by 9.14am, my handsome boy Alistair was placed in my arms.
While stitching me up, my doctor kept telling me that my delivery was really fast. She said I could have another four children.
I looked at her and went like, “Are you crazy? I need time to forget this whole painful experience first.”
She laughed and said, “Yours was really fast. Oh you blessed woman of God.”
I am blessed. Thank You God for another bundle of joy. Until now, I still can’t believe that I have been given another child. My little Alistair.
His name, by the way, is a Scottish variant of Alexander, which holds the same meaning as Alexa – defender of man.
Thank you everybody for your support and prayers for me and with me throughout this pregnancy. I truly do not take for granted that I have so many of you cheering me and my family on. 🙂 We are very very blessed.
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.