One week ago my first grandchild was born, beautiful Valentina, to my eldest daughter Zara and her husband Joachim. While you have nine months to prepare for the big day with many hopes, dreams, and expectations, nothing compares to the birth in real time. Life can change in an instant, reminding us what a miracle it is to bring a child into the world. I could not help but think back to the day Zara was born, and reflect on who I was then – a young mum so excited, and perhaps a bit nervous, to meet my new baby.

Yvonne Grandmother - Zaras daughter Valentina

Valentina, Zaras daughter

The arrival of a child means we take on new roles and in my case, my new role is becoming a grandmother which takes on a completely new meaning as opposed to being a mum of 5 wonderful girls. As a grandparent, I suppose I am now able to experience all the joys that come with having children but without the daily care taking. There is also the revelation seen from my daughters perspective, now that she has become a mother herself, she may start to understand the role of parenting and why I as her mother acted as I did as a parent during the fun and rough times and how difficult it is to make the tough calls.
Being a parent means sleepless nights on end and worry; however, it also brings unmitigated love and joy.
I am part of Valentina’s journey in a special way as her grandmother, but for Zara and I, we have added a new dimension to our relationship as mother and daughter and together we start a new chapter in our lives on an equal standing.

 

The Big Day
It is amazing to think just a week ago I was on my way back from Svendborg in Fyn after visiting friends Suong & Eric for their silver wedding anniversary celebration party. The celebrations went on until dawn had broken and little did I know, that Sunday 14th May was going to be a day we will celebrate for the rest of our lives, and the beginning of a new era for my husband and I to be officially known as grandparents.
I woke up somewhat not sober at 7:00am by a text message from Zara after the extremely generous servings of the best wines & spirits you can imagine being served throughout the night.
Soung & Eric’s celebrations are always OTT generously lavish so as you can imagine after a heavy night out about town, I was in no fit state to understand Zara’s words of concern. She thought she was experiencing early Labour signs but as it’s her first child, I told her not to worry, that the baby is not due for another 2 1/2 weeks but should probably start to count her contractions just in case.

We departed from Svendborg around 10:00am already reaching Copenhagen at midday. I dropped Lars off to a meeting he had pre-planned and then got my Chauffeur to head straight to Kødbyen to grab my hangover cure at Juicy Burger.
As I nursed my pounding headache, I was playing with the thought of what if, what if Zara really was in labour? I hadn’t heard anything since her text and it was already 15:00. Little did I know, important things were stirring in the UK with a beautiful new star about to be born.

 

Early Sunday morning account from Zara and Yvonne

Zara is in London and although we are miles apart her 7am was slightly different to mine , she was woken up by a flexing of the muscles in her lower abdomen and I was woken up with a thumping headache.

I know Zara is just coming out of her 38th week so of course this must be just a tremor, a little message from baby to mother. We call these random movements of flexing of the muscles Braxton Hicks – where the unborn baby is practicing birthing movements and preparing for exit through the birth canal.

Zara: “Don’t bloody Panic” says my innerself, “it’s too early for labour contractions, it’s only Braxton Hicks”. I’m not due f or another week and this baby is so warm and cosy in my womb that she’s probably floating happily around in oblivion, plus if she takes anything from her mothers diva-ish ways, she’ll probably also be spectacularly late. It’s known anyway for first time mums to deliver late so right now, I’m cool….cool as ice.

Yvonne: Whilst Zara is cool as ice, I am slightly perspiring with thoughts of Braxton Hicks, which I had to google once more to be reminded of what they were and how frequent they should be. It’s odd that after five births my memory had faded.

Zara: My husband Joachim is in the kitchen and while the smell of bacon and eggs lingers through the Sunday brunchtime air, I’m distracted by the occasional thunderbolts of my “Braxton Hicks” contractions not slowing down. For a moment, I flirt with the thought that I could actually be in labour and wisely send a text to my mother giving her the heads up that today may just be the day I join her into motherhood. ysc_zara

I can’t help but drift off and wonder what the birthing process is like. I set the scene of me arriving gracefully into theatre with the pleasure of wearing the latest SS17 collection designed by the British National Health Service; a floral imprint dress exemplifying the Hospital Chic Couture (Imagine if that actually existed); however, my imagination ceases and I rush out of bed and head towards the kitchen to indulge in a fantasy that I can actually see, taste and smell: my full English breakfast is served.

Yvonne: I am in less of a panic as now we are on wifi and all kinds of social media to receive updates as all must be well since I still haven’t heard from Zara.

Early Afternoon – Early Labour

Zara: The pain is growing stronger and by this point, I’m convinced that I’m experiencing what one would correctly call the early stage of labour, Stage 1. I gather that the smartest thing for me to do now is probably go in the bath and have a good all round shave, at least in the event I do go into hospital, everything is looking tip top. Once freshened up, the second smartest thing my inner self is telling me to do after my shave is to clean the house. Not so much of a bad idea as it would ensure that if I did give birth, my baby would come home to a clean and tidy home and furthermore, It would get my unproductive husband off the couch and away from the football doing something that actually benefitted us both. The time is now approximately 14:00hrs

Zara pregnant

Zara pregnant

Yvonne: A phone call at 15:30. I wasn’t sure this was it but I had eaten up my Juicy burger with Chauffeur at the wheel of my Mercedes 500 who had kindly driven us to Copenhagen from Svendborg. I asked politely if he would mind turning the car around and head straight to the airport, and to please drive fast. Zara’s text message had come through , she is about to go to the hospital, her contractions had stepped up.
During this high speed drive , I was on the phone to the travel agent Via Engencia , I had Lisbeth and Kirsten on the line to make a miracle happen as the time is now 16:05 and the only flight to London was about to depart, boarding had started as I pulled up to Kastrup Airport.
This is where determination starts with a sprint through the airport to gate D101 and as if being carried by destiny, I made it to the gate and caught the SAS 16:25 flight to London Heathrow!

Arriving at Barnet hospital was pretty short, from door to door, it took me just 2 1/2 hours to arrive and in the meanwhile Joachim texted me the details I needed – the 2nd floor birthing room 3 was my destination!

As I entered, I could not hear much going on behind the green hospital clinical-looking drawn curtain. I entered full of excitement, I had no idea what stage of Labour my Zara was at.
I jumped into the birthing room and the midwife looked at me said, ” friends are not permitted in the room , please leave the room, this is only for family members”, to which I replied, ” I am the mum”. The midwife gave me a double take and carried on with the important business at hand.

Joachim and I, Zara’s birthing partners, were ready to assist as the pushing had started. She was 9cm dilated … phew I actually arrived in the nick of time .
The midwife couldn’t have been more than 20 years old, she was a small very young looking girl with a strong Irish accent but she did have the authority to deliver the baby so with no more time wasted she prepared the room with the instruments, birthing tray and the most important utensils you need for delivering a baby
She asked zara if she was ready, laid out a few good breathing tips and gave a short account on how the birth would play out.

Midwife: Ok Zara, you have another contraction coming on for me now, try and give it your best shot!

Keep it coming, Keep it coming, Keep it coming, Keep it coming …. and PUSH!

….And another

Keep it coming, Keep it coming, Keep it coming, Keep it coming …. and PUSH!

….And another, Zara, C’mon, you can do it! We’re almost there!

Keep it coming, Keep it coming, Keep it coming, Keep it coming …. and PUSH!

And at the exact right moment, with the exact right push, our beautiful Valentina made her debut, continuing the circle of life!

Lars Grandpa

Grandpa Lars with Valentina, Zaras daughter

I am a GRANDMA!!

I am a GRANDMA!!

Valentina, Zaras beautiful daughter

Valentina, Zaras beautiful daughter, and MY GRANDDAUGHTER

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