My daughter had been married for over a year to a wonderful man who she had been with for over 6 years when she announced she was pregnant. My initial reaction was one of shock followed quickly by dazed delight followed on by a selfish realization that I may not be so high up on my daughter’s care factor ladder once the baby was born. And let’s not forget that I’m way too young to be a granny, after all many women are still having babies at my age.
My selfishness lasted a couple of weeks but at the same time I was happy that my daughter didn’t have any problems falling pregnant and their life plans were coming together perfectly. I’m not sure why I thought she’d have issues falling pregnant given I had four pregnancies, albeit one ending in miscarriage, and three pregnancies occurring while using some form of contraception including one pregnancy after a tubectomy – go figure!
Although I was delighted for my daughter and son-in-law, I was still worried about how the new additional was going to affect my relationship with my daughter. We were very close even withstanding a surprise announcement after they returned from a trip to the UK.
“Guess what Mum, we’re married”.
She thought I’d be delighted to hear this news. “Think of all the money saved”, of which she was certainly right on that point. But I had enough big secret revelations in my life so I was considerably pissed that she didn’t tell me about their impending marriage before they went away. I questioned our relationship as I really thought we were too close for secrets that big and given it was only a year since the announcement I was still feeling a little dejected so I guess it was a reasonable concern about how a baby would impact our relationship even though she promised me that she would never keep anything a secret again. And she kept her word as I was the first person they told of the pending birth and at 20 weeks I was over the moon with finding out first (after them of course) that “it’s a girl!”
As promised I let them off the hook for the elopement with the news they were having a girl. The very next day I raced off to a boutique in Sydney CBD, where I was working at the time, to buy the best pink baby outfits money could buy. I’d been eyeing them off for a while and I was over the moon to be able to actually purchase them.
As the big day loomed my daughter and I had spent almost every Saturday shopping for baby furniture and clothes. I wasn’t worried about our relationship post baby anymore, I knew that I would play a very important role in my daughter’s and son-in-law’s life – that of a loving, doting nanni, providing support whenever needed, and giving them advice when asked and of course babysitter extraordinaire.
Well maybe I’ll give them advice even when they don’t ask!
On the 29th May 2008 around 7.30am, I got the phone call – “I’m in labor”.
OMG, this is it, I’m going to meet my granddaughter today.
My daughter and son-in-law, still feeling guilty from the elopement episode (or so I like to think) had asked me to be present at the birth and there was no way I’d say no. So after I received the call I had waited months for, I set off for the hospital.
One of the hardest things a mother has to deal with is when one of her own is in pain, and giving birth is twice the concern with two lives at risk, albeit a small risk. Then, after what seemed hours (in fact is was 5 hours), my beautiful granddaughter Matilda was born and I fell instantly in love. Not only was she beautiful, just like her grandmother (or so I like to think) she had the cutest little web toes just like her mother and just like me. It was a perfect moment looking down and seeing those precious little web toes. You see web toes are hereditary and it was my toes that set me apart from the rest of the family I was bought up in as no one else had them. To look down and realize my little family tree which starts with me is growing, and the toes reminded me of the biological link that I had with the four most precious people in my life – my children and now my granddaughter.
Immediately after the birth Matilda, being a quick delivery, was slow to arouse and cry so she was taken to neonatal care unit. My daughter herself had some issues so she and my son-in-law were busy with Drs and Nurses fussing over her so I went to the neonatal unit with Matilda. I couldn’t bare the thought that she would be in a big room on her own for the first few hours on earth.
I watched the nurse hook her up to monitors, they assured me it was routine and nothing to worry about and I wasn’t, I could see she was perfect. When the nurse left I sat next to my tiny Matilda and couldn’t believe what just happened – here she is, finally, my granddaughter and I had her to myself for a few hours. And there it began, my life as a loving, doting Nanni with my first babysitting gig.