Last year, not long after Mother’s Day, my eldest daughter told me she had a late Mother’s Day gift for me and showed me a positive pregnancy test – it took a moment to realise that my baby was having a baby! I was momentarily stunned, I hadn’t been expecting it but I was thrilled of course, and as I was nearly six months pregnant myself at the time we laughed about how our babies would grow up together, auntie and niece/nephew due just 5 months apart. Unconventional of course, but then that’s usually us!
Nothing really prepares you for how you will feel when your daughter is expecting, it’s such a mix of excitement and worry. I knew Jess would make a fabulous mum, she already had a stepson Cam who lives with them full time and a new baby was very exciting. But as I was pregnant myself and then of course went through labour, it was all so fresh in my mind, which was both a blessing and a curse! In one way it was really helpful, I was up to date with all the latest medical advice and baby gadgets and could empathise with all the pregnancy discomforts as I had so recently been through it. However I also kind of envied the more ‘normal’ grandmas who hadn’t given birth themselves for twenty or thirty years or so and had the benefit of time to blur the details!
Jess had a lovely straightforward pregnancy without any problems (other than my constant texts, ‘have you taken your folic acid?’, ‘what did the midwife say your blood pressure was?’, ‘what time’s your scan?’ plus about a billion ‘how are you today?’ and ‘I hope you’re taking it easy’ texts!!), luckily she felt really well throughout and pregnancy really suited her. We were all excited when she discovered she was having a little boy and couldn’t wait to meet him. By the end she had a pretty impressive bump and was told to expect a pretty hefty baby (despite her being a very petite 5ft1 and size 8!)
There is no denying that Jess is a tough cookie and I knew she would be amazing during labour but still, the thought of your child going through the pain of childbirth is hard (yes she might be 26 years old, but she is still my little baby!) As her due date came and went and the days ticked by it became difficult not to be in a constant state of anxiety! She began to start every phone call with ‘No mum, I’m not in labour!’ instead of the more conventional ‘Hello’ as she knew my heart was in my mouth every time I answered her calls! Eventually, with no sign of her little man making an entrance by himself, she was given a date to be induced, a Monday morning in December. However, after 5 years of winters with barely any snow, the very final weekend of her pregnancy saw a forecast of very heavy snow for us. As she lives about a thirty minute drive from the hospital, this wasn’t great timing. She was understandably worried that if baby did decide to come by himself she wouldn’t be able to get to hospital. Fortunately we live only 5 minutes from the hospital, so the chances of getting there from our house seemed much more favourable so she decided to stay with us to be on the safe side. In the end, there was no last minute spontaneous start to labour but at least she headed into hospital on Monday morning as planned without too much problem, rather than being unable to make it, which would have been the case had she have stayed at home.
Hugging your daughter knowing that the next time you see her she will be a mummy with a baby of her own is a very strange feeling and waiting for news updates was tough. Although the snow had been an unwelcome stress factor in the days leading up to it, once Jess was safely inside the hospital I was quite glad of it as it meant snow days had closed Sienna’s school and the school where Dave works too so we were all at home together nervously awaiting news and distracting ourselves playing in the snow! I knew from experience that being induced was a very slow process so I wasn’t expecting to hear anything for a while but it wasn’t easy.
The minutes ticked by slowly with little news and it was late that evening when Jess was finally having contractions. By 8.30am the next morning she was well on the way at 6cm dilated and I was hopeful that she would have her baby in her arms by lunchtime. Knowing that your daughter is in the throes of labour is really really stressful, and I definitely had a newfound respect for what my parents and Dave’s parents had gone through while waiting for news when I was in labour!
Lunchtime came and went with no news of a baby, and while I appeared outwardly calm this was merely a carefully constructed illusion as after 2 days of waiting for news I was a complete panicky wreck on the inside! A phone call from Raj, Jess’s partner, came mid afternoon – still no baby but Jess was coping well and was at 9cm dilated but progress was now very slow and if baby wasn’t here in an hour a Caesarian would be needed. Time seemed to slow down even more, anxiety levels rose until finally, just after half past five Raj called again – he was here, Sony Ethan, born by c-section, weighing in at 8lb 13oz, mum and baby were safe and well. The relief was overwhelming!
Only an hour or so later and I was holding him in my arms for the very first time, it was love at first sight of course! A whole new chapter for Jess, now a mummy, but also a whole new chapter of my life too, life as a Nanna!