Updated: Aug 30, 2019
In less than two months, Jeddy will be turning one. A joyous occasion, we know. But there's been something on our chest that we've been wanting to let out, but didn't have the courage to do so, until now. We've been following up on some posts on social media about the nightmares some families encountered with their confinement nannies, so Shannon and I decided that we should let the truth come to light about our nanny too.
This post is way overdue, because it took Shannon and I a long while to get over it. Thankfully, our nightmare's over. But still, looking back at the photos of the ordeal brings tears to our eyes. This posts contains some rather traumatic photos, viewer's discretion is advised.
1st August 2018; The Birth of Jed!
After 40 torturous weeks ( 老婆, 你辛苦了), Jed was ready to see the world! Shannon had initially opted for a natural birth. 4 hours into the wait, there was a drastic drop in Jeddy's heart rate during Shannon's contractions. At this point, the nurse immediately called the Doctor in and told us that we had to make a decision in 2 minutes; either continue waiting for the dilation and risk losing the baby, or opt for an emergency C-section immediately. And of course, without hesitation, we chose the latter.
At this point, all the nurses were already pushing Shannon into the operating theater. I was told to wait at a corner and was asked to don the scrubs. In about 5 mins, the nurse came back and told me to follow suit. By the time I entered the OT, Shannon was already cut open, the blood didn't bother me, but the way they tugged and enlarged the cut looked painful; and that did bother me. I asked if she felt okay, and she told me she felt like someone was punching her. She was even joking and laughing with the doctors before she was knocked out by the spinal anesthesia. :O I sat anxiously beside her while the doctors and nurses did their thing, and within 5 mins, Jeddy was out and crying! Everything happened that quick! To be honest, it was just too sudden for us to even react. Of course there were tears of happiness in our eyes, but we didn't dissolve in tears like how we expected ourselves to.
The moment I placed my eyes onto Jed, I knew that I'd give him my heart and soul. His first cry, first smile and first yawn, I will never forget.
4th August 2018; Going Home!
That warm fuzzy feeling we felt in our hearts each time we laid eyes on him made us beam with happiness throughout our entire stay at the hospital. We enjoyed bonding with our newborn a lot, it was just like getting to know a tiny beautiful innocent child God has appointed us to guide, to protect, to love, and to be responsible for. He was like an angel, our angel. We were full of gratitude and couldn't wait to bring him home!
Time flew by quickly and it was Day 4, we were finally able to bring him home! Everything back home was already prepared to welcome our little boy. Jeddy was a really smiley baby, always so curious and those big sparkly eyes of his made everyone adore him.
And of course, the nanny. This was when our nightmare begun.
She was recommended to us by a friend, who also had her baby taken care by the nanny. We were told that she had 12 years of experience as a confinement lady, and was fully booked all the way till the next lunar new year. We figured that she should probably do the job just fine. Figured wrong.
We actually met up to chat with her and made our deposit of $500. She charges $3000 for 28 days of work, which was a pretty standard rate. But we trusted her too quickly as we've seen how healthy and Michelin our friend's baby was, and thought she was up for the job. Honestly, no one would have known what could happen, so we don't blame our friend for recommending her nanny to us.
But since day 1 of working with us, she has never followed our instructions. She would never listen to us and would always disallow us from carrying our own baby. She would always tell us to ignore his cries and do things her way. We wanted a milk warmer, but she didn't want to use one. My friend specially prepared tonics for Shannon, she didn't want to use them. There were herbs from sponsors, she didn't want to prepare them according to instructions. We bought a bunch of premium milk bottles, she wanted to use a specific brand. She would rather prepare Jed's milk using formula milk because it was easier, instead of using Shannon's breast milk which was in abundance, and even leaving those not stored in the freezer to turn bad. It was tough on Shannon to keep pumping throughout the day and night, and all of her efforts went down the drain completely, just because she was lazy.
She was really nosy as well, poking her nose into our private family matters. She also asked Shannon's mom to buy her skin care products because hers was depleting. She claimed her previous client had bought for her, so were we suppose to supply her with those? Mind you, those were not cheap at all. And all these happened within 4 days of staying with us.
Really, the list could go on. But none of us voiced out her behavior as we just wanted her to do her job for that 28 days, which is to simply take good care of Shannon and Jed.
This is our first child, and I've got to admit that we've got no experience on how to handle a baby. But what angered us most was that she is always overfeeding Jed. Our pediatrician recommended a maximum of 60 ml per feed, but she feeds Jed at least 120-150 ml each time. Reason? She wants Jed to sleep longer so that she can rest more. Pfft.
We figured that since she has more experience, we'd do things her way. We thought, since our friend's baby has gone through the same thing under her care and was doing great, we decided to trust her. But we trusted wrong.
We were too kind and nice towards her. Total regret. She was too complacent, authoritative, and took advantage of our kindness and made us feel as if we are overly-worried parents.
8th August 2018; The Real Nightmare begins.
Jeddy's check-up for jaundice was due, and this was his first time heading out. Since he's too young to be out, we did a quick lunch before his check-up and headed back home after that. Glad his jaundice test results were all good. I'll be honest, it was tiring for the first time bringing a baby out. There were a lot of getting used to. By the time we were back home, all Shannon and I wanted to do was to catch up on some rest.
Dead of the Night:
It was in the middle of the night, and Jeddy suddenly started wheezing. Not the typical kind of wheezing, more like a squealing piglet. He tried crying, but he seemed like he was out of breath, and he just cried, different. Shannon instincts told her that something was very wrong. As parents, it was so difficult to watch. We asked the nanny if he was alright, and guess what she said? She told us, word for word; He's faking it, he will be okay in a while. No kiddin'. I mean c'mon, he was only freaking 8 days old. How could an 8 day old baby be fake crying or fake squealing?
So, I asked that if there's a possibility that his nose was stuffed? I could go get a bulb immediately. She stopped me, she didn't allow me to go. She said he's faking it, if I want to waste my money on a bulb, go right ahead, the stores would be closed anyway. And to hell with her, I did, I went to buy one as fast as I could.
I came back with the bulb, tried it on Jed, but nothing came out. At this point in time, his wheezing got way worse, and his cries became muffled. So, Shannon and I decided to take him to the hospital. Guess what? She stopped us. She said to us again, word for word; He's faking it, he's okay, you don't need to bring him to the hospital. I'm experienced and you should trust me, I've seen it happen before. She told us to relax and not to be paranoid.
Shannon tried carrying and comforting Jeddy, but she felt that his body, head and neck were feeling much warmer than usual. The nanny told us off again in mandarin, "He's just warm and perspiring, your house is very ill-ventilated and warm." Shannon was so mad as her motherly-instincts told her that something was amiss with Jed, but the nanny would just argue and try to convince everyone that nothing serious is happening to Jed, and that Shannon was just freaking out.
Worried and frustrated, Shannon broke into tears and insisted we needed to go to the hospital. We expected the nanny to stop arguing and to just help us prepare the things we would need for Jed. Guess what? She said to us in a tone which didn't sound very pleased since we didn't listen to her; "If you all insist to go, then up to you...". She then slowly helped to pack his diaper bag without any sense of urgency and went back to sleep. We couldn't care less about her nonsense anymore and just kept praying nothing bad would happen to our baby. He is too precious to be taken away from us just like that.
At this point, I was already burning with anger. If she was a man I would have took her down where she stood. I brought out the thermometer just to prove our point, and alas, just as we suspected, Jed was burning, at 38.3 degrees! Newborns don't usually have fever, unless something is seriously wrong. But that wasn't the worst thing, Jed started turning purple; His freaking face started turning purple! And we were really freaking out. The nanny, then used her mouth to suck the mucus from his nose, but it didn't help much; he still seemed to be breathless. So, we rushed him to KK Children's Emergency hospital immediately.
Crack of Dawn
By the time we arrived at KK hospital, it was in the wee hours of morning. The doctors and nurses in A&E, upon seeing Jed, rushed him to the ER immediately. From the look on their faces, we could tell that something was seriously wrong, but the doctors couldn't confirm what was wrong with him. Subsequently, Jed was admitted to the ICU. They didn't want us to worry, so all they said was don't worry, they will do their best. Honestly, we both cried; It was the worst day of our lives. All we could hear were his screams when the doctors started the drips and blood-tests. We could only wait outside, and it was heart wrenching. Josh and I had each other to hold on to, but Jeddy was fighting this war alone in the ICU. We wished we could be there by his side.
9th August 2018
By noon, they did the necessary scans and could give us a report; Jed had aspiration pneumonia, with milk in his lungs. And the only possible reason that it could have happened, was that he had choked on milk. And why? Cause the nanny overfed him. Even the doctors were shocked by the amount he was fed and disgusted by the nanny's method of force feeding. All because she was lazy. By this time, they had put Jeddy up on drips. I'm not too sure how many it was, but there were at least 3 to 4 drips, and it was so painful to watch because he was so small and fragile.
10th August 2018
And this wasn't the end of things. Jed wasn't responding to the drugs. His fever wouldn't subside, his oxygen levels kept dropping. His right hand was so swollen from the drips, that they had no choice to start the drips on his legs instead. At this point, there were at least 7 or 8 drips on him. The doctors also said that they might have to drip him through the temple of his head, but we insisted them not to.
Our hearts never felt so broken before. We couldn't bear to see him in such pain anymore and we hadn't slept a wink. There was nothing we could do but to trust the doctors and nurses. We decided to go back home to get some rest since Shannon was still on her confinement and to get to the bottom of things.
By the time we got home, the nanny was silent, just using her mobile in the living room. No apology, no concern for our baby. Even the confinement meals/drinks were not prepared for Shannon, bottles and pumps left unwashed. We were fuming mad. She already had her things packed and was ready to leave, she was only waiting for the green light from us. Shannon's mom gave her a red packet and told her to leave, but we shouldn't even have bothered about the red packet. She left with tears, real tears or not, we don't know. She kept insisting that it wasn't her fault, but I bet she knew she was the cause of it.
Deep down, we knew something was amiss. Overfeeding couldn't possibly be the reason why Jeddy had aspiration pneumonia. We checked the teats of the bottle, and true to our suspicions, she had cut the teat of the bottles, large enough to fit a straw through. The milk flow was way too fast for Jed. And Jed was only a WEEK old.
I should have burnt that witch.
11th August 2018
Things didn't get any better; His oxygen level still kept dropping. It was confirmed that it was an infection, caused by the milk. The mask that he had on were changed to tubes through his noses. One to feed him, and one to give him air. This was the last that we heard him cry, because the tubes went right past his voice-box, leaving him unable to cry. He wanted to cry from the pain, but he couldn't make any sound. His eyes were swollen like a toad from crying the past few days. We tried to stay strong, but the tears just kept rolling down.
Never in our lives did we feel such heartbreak.
Just as we thought it couldn't get any worse, his chest started bulging. The pneumonia had lead to pneumothorax, a hole in his lungs. The bugle was so bad that even his organs were moved to the left. At this point, they had to insert a tube through his chest to remove the excess air. Jed has lost a lot of blood from all that procedures, his blood count plunged and he needed a blood transfusion.
Jeddy was an innocent baby, but just our luck that we entrusted our baby to the wrong person. He never deserved to go through any of these pain. Almost every other hour, Shannon was crying. And when she cried, I had to hold everything inside of me to stay strong for her. When she finally gets to sleep or stops crying, the thought of Jed just brings tears to my eyes. I felt like I failed him, as a father. I was angry at everything, at the doctors, the nurses, even at God. I felt that He was so unfair for Jed. It was that heartbreaking.
Then that day, I prayed. I told God that I would submit Jedaiah to him, I would leave him to His hands. Whatever His will and plan was for him, I would lay my hands off it. Serve the Church, bring him Home, I left it all, to Him. With that, we hung our crosses by his bedside, with his little Lion. There was nothing else that we could do, but wait.
14th August 2018
This post isn't a testimony, neither is it evangelism. But by the grace of God, the hole in his lung healed in a matter of days.
By day 7, he was transferred into the high dependency ward. His oxygen levels were stabilizing, and the air tube was finally removed. He was now able to cry, even though he's a little hoarse from the tubes.
And in another day, he was now able to drink milk from the bottle! 1 week without milk from the mouth, his mouth was parched!
After a torturous week, we could finally hold him in our arms again.
16th August 2018
At last, all the tubes were gone and Jeddy was transferred into the normal ward. I couldn't be more than happy to take up first shift while Shannon got back to confinement back at home. And Jed's really a night owl. 4:04am? Sleep not found.
17th August 2018
Finally, the day came when we could bring Jeddy home once again! This was perhaps our happiest day since Jeddy came into the world! Because he was unable to drink through his mouth and could only feed through his nose, he lost a ton of weight. He still looked really fragile at this point in time, but we know that he's glad to be back home!
At the end of the day, all I can say is, never trust anyone with your child. And if you think your instincts are right, it probably is. Never be afraid to voice out and have your confinement nanny do things your way. Don't think she's good enough? Fire her. In fact, you should only hire nannies from agencies! Even the most experienced nanny could make your child suffer for life with a single mistake. Our confinement nanny was a witch that abused our kindness and had no remorse for what she's done. Fortunately by the grace of God, Jeddy is all big and healthy now!
For goodness sake, if you're currently hiring this nanny, please; fire her immediately.
Even though Jeddy probably won't remember what happened, he's already permanently scared from the incision through his chest. They say that the strongest hearts have the most scars, that is why you are Leonhart; Strong, Brave, Courageous, Valiant.
To our dearest son, Jedaiah Leonhart. If you ever read this in future, know that Life is unfair, but Daddy and Mommy will always be there. And we promise to turn all your scars into stars. Love, Daddy and Mommy.
To the Doctors and Nurses ( KK Hospital) that saved his life and took care of him, we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
To our friends and relatives who had prayed for Jed fervently and to those who came down to visit him, we thank you for your faith and prayers.
To the other patients' parents whom we've talked to during that 10 days, thank you for the encouragement and support. We wish your children are also doing great now.
Last and most importantly, we've to thank our dear parents especially Shannon's mom who took over the job of the confinement nanny during Shannon's confinement.
Above all, we thank God for giving us the chance to still be Jed's parents.
We hope that through this post, new and inexperienced parents can learn from our mistake of being too trusting towards our confinement nanny, and the consequences of over-feeding. Please go ahead and share our story with your loved ones especially parents-to-be! We do not wish for any baby to go through what Jed did. God bless you guys!