A mum -of-16 has delivered her own grandchild after her daughter went into surprise labour.
Jeni Bonell welcomed the baby girl on the floor of her dining room as the family waited for an ambulance to arrive.
The 52-year-old said the birth of granddaughter Zariella was a ‘special’ moment for the family – but took her by surprise because she is ‘used to giving birth to babies, not catching them’.
Jeni and husband Ray, who was also there for daughter, Brooke’s delivery have a total of 16 children, aged between 32 and seven.
Describing her granddaughter’s birth, Jeni, 52, told The Mirror : “I delivered her myself on the dining room floor. It was so special.
“To have that honour of holding my granddaughter when she entered the world was amazing.
“I didn’t have it on my bucket list but it probably should have been. I am used to giving birth to babies, not catching them.”
Jeni said Brooke had felt contractions earlier in the day and went to hospital, but she was sent home after medical staff told her she was still ‘too early’.
The family were back home later on when her contractions started up again and Jeni and Brooke were discussing going back to hospital when things escalated and she began to give birth.
Jeni explained: “Everyone else went to sleep and I stayed up with my daughter helping her breathe though her contractions.”
“Then she had some big contractions and things went full steam ahead. We did what we had to do.
“We phoned 000 and an ambulance was on the way. A lady was talking to us over the phone but it happened so fast I wasn’t concentrating on what she was saying.
“I have delivered 16 of my own babies so I got the gist of what would happen.”
After ‘catching’ her granddaughter, Jeni made sure the umbilical cord was not wrapped around her neck and checked that the newborn was breathing, before finally turning to face her husband.
She added: “I looked over at my husband with my mouth open like ‘what the heck just happened’.
“He was remarkable, he didn’t panic. He grabbed a towel and wrapped the baby up.
Jeni and her electrician husband Ray were left beaming from ear to ear after the birth on September 7.
The couple, usually spends around £232 on their weekly shop, are parents to Jesse, 32, Brooke, 30, Claire, 28, Natalie, 26, Karl, 25, Samuel, 23, Cameron, Sabrina, 20, Tim, 19, Brandon, 17, Eve, 15, Nate, 14, Rachel, 13, Eric, 11, Damian, 10, and seven-year-old Katelyn.
They are also the grandparents of Levi, two, Aurora, two, Remington, one, Xavier, eight-months-old, Robert, eight-weeks old, and seven-week-old Zariella.
However they have not always had such positive experiences with pregnancies.
The mum-of-16 revealed she has actually been pregnant 23 times – but suffered seven miscarriages.
She still marks the birthdays of each of her ‘angel babies’ by lighting a candle or having a moment’s reflection.
Jeni said: “If you have a big family you are more likely to face it a few times. I haven’t fallen pregnant again since our last loss when I was 46.
“Miscarriages are a taboo subject to talk about but so many people go through it. We have been very open and talk to our kids about it.
“We still celebrate those babies, they are still a part of our family. Each of our lost babies have an angel baby name.
“On each of their birthdays I will often have a little chat about it or light a little candle. It’s a little way of remembering for our family.”
At 52, Jeni says she has now accepted she will probably not have any more children due to her age – but is looking forward to welcoming more grandchildren.
She said: “We would love to have more but age is going to catch up eventually.
“We might have to wait for some grandchildren. We welcomed our first grandchild in 2019.
“We’ve said there’s no pressure on the kids to have children but if they had three each that would be 48 grandchildren.
“That would make a lot of fun for us. I hope there are always some little feet running through this house.”
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