A 16-year-old mother helped deliver her daughter’s baby on the dining room floor while waiting for an ambulance.
It was a first for Jeni Bonell, who told Spiegel that she is used to giving birth to babies, not catching them.
She said the birth of Zariella was a “special” moment for her family and that her husband also helped during the birth.
The couple from Toowoomba, Australia, have a total of 16 children between the ages of 32 and seven.
Jeni, 52, described the birth of her granddaughter to The Mirror: “I gave birth to her myself on the dining room floor. It was so special.
“Having the honor of holding my granddaughter as she entered the world was incredible.
“I didn’t have it on my bucket list, but it probably should have been. I’m used to giving birth to babies and not catching them. “
Jeni said she spoke to her daughter Brooke about going back to the hospital when things escalated and she started giving birth.
Brooke had already been sent home from the hospital once that day because the medical staff had told her that she was “too early”.
“Everyone else went to sleep and I stayed up with my daughter and helped her breathe despite her contractions,” said Jeni.
“Then she went into some major contractions and everything was going at full steam. We did what we had to do.
“We called 000 and an ambulance was on the way. A lady spoke to us on the phone, but it happened so quickly that I didn’t focus on what she was saying.
“I gave birth to 16 of my own babies, so I got the gist of what was going to happen.”
After “capturing” her granddaughter, Jeni made sure that the umbilical cord was not wrapped around her neck and checked that the newborn was breathing before finally turning to her husband.
She added, “I looked at my husband with my mouth open like I was telling what the hell just happened.
“He was remarkable, he didn’t panic. He grabbed a towel and wrapped the baby up.
Jeni and her electrician husband Ray beamed from ear to ear after giving birth on September 7th.
However, you haven’t always had such positive experiences with pregnancies.
The 16-year-old mother told The Mirror that she was actually pregnant 23 times – but suffered seven miscarriages.
She still marks the birthdays of each of her “angel babies” by lighting a candle or thinking for a moment.
Jeni said, “When you have a large family, you are more likely to come to terms with it a few times. I haven’t gotten pregnant since our last loss at 46.
“Miscarriages are a taboo subject, but so many people go through it. We were very open and talked about it with our children.
“We still celebrate these babies, they are still part of our family. Each of our lost babies has an angel name.
“On each of your birthdays I will often have a little chat about it or light a small candle. It’s a little reminder for our family.”
It is important that people who have lost their babies can talk to their family and friends about it – and get professional help if necessary.
The Bonell Family)
Jeni has now accepted that due to her age, she is unlikely to have any more children.
“We would love to have more, but age will eventually catch up,” she said.
“We may have to wait for some grandchildren. In 2019 we welcomed our first grandchild.
“We said the children weren’t under pressure to have children, but if they had three each it would be 48 grandchildren.
“That would be a lot of fun for us. I hope there are always a few little feet walking through this house.”
Jeni is sad that almost half of her children have now flown the nest and only nine are at home.
However, she enjoys being a grandmother, which means that she “gets all the cuddles and goodies and can then give them back to her parents.”
If more of Jeni and Ray’s children have children of their own, Christmas could make it even more difficult as the family is already struggling to accommodate everyone in the house.
Jeni says: “We used to sit under the Christmas tree and hand out presents.
“But last year we had so many of us here that we all had to take presents outside and sit in the back of the house and open them all outside.
The Bonell Family)
“We’ll be opening them again in the garden this year as more people are coming – around 30. so far.”
Jeni and Ray are parents of 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.
Jeni, who normally spends around £ 232 on her weekly groceries, said mothering so many children isn’t always easy – and admitted that like any other mother, she made mistakes.
thebonellfamily_ / Instagram)
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Recalling a particularly memorable mistake, she said, “I once left one of the children at home while on school leave.
“We got to one of the schools and I realized I had left one behind. Our children find it funny to answer on someone else’s behalf when we make roll calls on the bus.
“We made a roll call that day and one of them answered for the other, but they weren’t on the bus.
The mother found it difficult to homeschool her children during the Australian lockdowns and she now has a new respect for teachers.
“I have taught children from grade 12 through prep. We didn’t have enough technological equipment, there weren’t enough computers to share, ”she said.
“It was tough keeping everyone involved and motivated. I now know how much effort it takes to teach the little ones, but we made it. “
Jeni also had to fight cancer during the pandemic after being diagnosed with kidney cancer earlier this year – four years after beating thyroid cancer.
In February, surgeons removed a tumor from her kidney.
She said, “I had an open operation and I have a 20 cm scar. It took me months to walk again, but now I’m fine.
“I can say that I am free of cancer at the moment.”