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Former Singapore actor Joshua Ang has opened up about his nightmarish experience with a confinement nanny, whose negligence allegedly caused his baby son to end up in hospital.
Ang, famed for his role in Jack Neo's I Not Stupid in 2002, married to air stewardess Shannon Low on March 3, 2018. The couple welcomed their baby son Jedaiah on August 1 in the same year.
In his blog post titled 'The Day We Almost Lost Jed', Ang shared how their nightmare began when they hired a confinement nanny, who had been recommended to them by a friend.
The nanny supposedly had 12 years of experience and charged a fee of $3,000 for 28 days of work.
However, according to Ang, the nanny could not follow instructions from Day 1.
He said the nanny was "lazy" and "nosy", and alleged that she:
Disallowed the couple from carrying Jed
Ignored Jed's cries and 'did things her way'
Did not want to use a milk warmer or tonics that Ang's friend had prepared for Low
Did not want to prepare herbs from sponsors accordingly to instructions
Wanted to use a specific brand for Jed's milk bottle instead of the premium ones that the couple had bought
Used formula milk instead of Low's breast milk "because it was easier"
Asked Low's mother to buy skincare products for her
However, everyone kept mum as they just wanted the nanny to perform her duties, which was to take care of Low and Jed.
Ang wrote: "But what angered us most was that she was always overfeeding Jed. Our paediatrician recommended a maximum of 60ml per feed, but she fed Jed at least 120-150ml each time.
"Reason? She wanted Jed to sleep longer so that she could rest more."
Thinking the nanny had more experience, Ang and Low decided to "do things her way".
But things went downhill quickly in the wee hours of August 8, when Jed suddenly began wheezing "like a squealing piglet". He also started crying, but sounded different and out of breath.
"We asked the nanny if he was all right, and guess what she said? She told us, word for word: 'He's faking it, he will be okay in a while.' No kidding," said Ang, adding that the nanny also tried to stop him from buying a nose bulb.
However, even after using the nose bulb, Jed's wheezing worsened and his cries became muffled.
Ang and Low decided to bring Jed to the hospital, but were apparently stopped by the nanny, who continued to insist that the baby was "faking it".
She also supposedly told the couple to relax and not to be paranoid as she "had seen this happen before", as well as blamed Jed's temperature on the house being poorly-ventilated.
A thermometer found that Jed was "burning" at 38.3 degrees and he started turning purple.
Ang recounted: "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."
Jed was finally rushed to KK Women's and Children's Hospital and subsequently admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
The blog post continued: "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."
On August 9, Jed was diagnosed with 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," said Ang.
"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."
The couple's ordeal continued on August 10, with Jed being unresponsive to drugs and his fever persisting. His oxygen levels were also falling.
Ang said: "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."
When the couple eventually returned home, they found the nanny "silent, just using her mobile in the living room."
"[There was] no apology, no concern for our baby. Even the confinement meals/drinks were not prepared for Shannon, bottles and pumps left unwashed," shared Ang, who said the nanny "already had her things packed and was ready to leave".
The nanny left in tears after getting a red packet from Low's mother, but not before "insisting that it wasn't her fault".
Ang, who still felt that something was amiss, added: "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."
Things did not improve for Jed on August 11 as his oxygen levels continued to fall.
Ang said: "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.
"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 bulge 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."
Fortunately, the hole in Jed's lung healed by August 14.
Jed, whose oxygen levels were stabilising, was then moved into a high-dependency ward.
After eight days, the couple could finally hold Jed in their arms again.
The baby was transferred to a normal ward on August 16 and had all his tubes removed.
On August 17, he was finally allowed to return home with his parents.
Ang, who said it took him and his wife "a long while to get over" what happened, hopes that other parents can learn from his ordeal and be aware of the consequences of over-feeding.
He advised: "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."
"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."
— Joshua Ang
Read the full blog post here or view more photos in the gallery.