16-year-old mother delivers grandchild on dining room floor before ambulance arrives


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 the Mirror she was “used to giving birth to babies, not catching them”.

She said Zariella’s birth was a “special” moment for her family, with her husband also helping out with the birth.

The couple, from Toowoomba, Australia, have a total of 16 children, aged 32 to 7.

Describing the birth of her granddaughter, Jeni, 52, told the Mirror: “I gave birth to her myself on the dining room floor. It was so special.

“To have this honor of holding my granddaughter when she came into the world was amazing.

“I didn’t have it on my bucket list, but it probably should have been. I’m used to giving birth to babies, not catching them.

Jeni’s children are between 32 and 7 years old



Jeni said she was talking to her daughter Brooke about returning to the hospital when things escalated and she started giving birth.

Brooke had already been discharged from the hospital to her home once that day because medical staff told her she was still “too early.”

“Everyone fell asleep and I stayed up with my daughter to help her breathe despite her contractions,” Jeni said.

“Then she had big contractions and things went really fast. We did what we had to do.

Brooke pictured with daughter Zariella, who Jeni helped deliver


Jeni Bonell)

“We called 000 and an ambulance was on the way. A lady was talking 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 figured out most of what was going to happen.”

After “grabbing” her granddaughter, Jeni made sure the umbilical cord wasn’t 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 ‘what the heck just happened’.

“He was remarkable, he didn’t panic. He grabbed a towel and wrapped the baby around.

Jeni and her husband Ray have now accepted that they probably won’t have more children



Jeni and her electrician husband Ray remained beaming from ear to ear after the September 7 birth.

However, they have not always had such positive experiences with pregnancy.

The 16-year-old mother told the Mirror she had actually been pregnant 23 times – but suffered seven miscarriages.

She always marks the birthdays of each of her “baby angels” by lighting a candle or thinking for a moment.

The couple opened up about their seven miscarriages



Jeni said, “If you have a big family, you’re more likely to face it multiple times. I haven’t gotten pregnant since our last loss when I was 46.

“Miscarriages are a taboo subject to talk about, but so many people experience it. We were very open and talked to our children about it.

“We always celebrate these babies, they are still part of our family. Each of our lost babies has an angel baby name.

“On each of their birthdays, I often discuss it or light a small candle. It’s a little way to remember for our family.

She said it’s important for people who have lost their babies to be able to tell their family and friends about it – and to seek professional help if needed.

Jeni admitted that she once left one of her children at home during the school run


The Bonell family)

Jeni has now accepted that she will likely not have any more children due to her age.

“We would like to have more, but eventually age will catch up,” she said.

“We may have to wait for a few grandchildren. We welcomed our first grandchild in 2019.

“We said there was no pressure on the children to have any, but if they had three each, that would make 48 grandchildren.

“It would give us a lot of pleasure. I hope there will always be little feet roaming this house.

Jeni typically spends around £ 232 in her weekly shop



Jeni is sad that nearly half of her children have now stolen the nest, leaving only nine at home.

However, she enjoys being a grandmother, which means she gets “all the hugs and the good stuff and can then hand them over to their parents.”

If more of Jeni and Ray’s children have children of their own, it could make Christmas even more difficult as the family is already struggling to adjust to everyone in the house.

Jeni said, “We used to sit under the Christmas tree and hand out presents.

“But last year there were so many of us here that we had to take out all the presents and sit at the back of the house and open them all over there.

The mother said she found it particularly difficult to teach her children at home during the lockdown


The Bonell family)

“We will be opening them again in the garden this year, because we have even more people – around 30 so far. “

Jeni and Ray are the 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 Katelyn, 7.

They are also the grandparents of Levi, two, Aurora, two, Remington, one, Xavier, eight months, Robert, eight, and Zariella, seven.

Jeni, who typically spends around £ 232 in her weekly shop, said it’s not always easy to be a mom to so many kids – and admitted she made mistakes like every other mom .

Last Christmas the family had to open their presents outside because there was not enough space inside


thebonellfamily_ / Instagram)

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Recalling a particularly memorable blunder, she said: “I left one of the kids at home once on a school trip.

“We arrived at one of the schools and I realized I had left one behind. Our children find it fun to answer on behalf of someone else when we make calls on the bus.

“We made a call that day and one of them answered for the other but they weren’t on the bus. After that I started looking at them to make sure they were there.

The mom struggled to homeschool her children during closures in Australia and now has a new respect for teachers.

“I taught grade 12 kids at the preparatory level. We didn’t have enough technological equipment, there weren’t enough computers to share, ”she said.

“Keeping everyone focused and motivated was tough. I now realize how much effort it takes to teach the little ones, but we got it. “

Jeni has also had to fight cancer during the pandemic after being diagnosed with kidney cancer earlier this year – four years after beating thyroid cancer.

Surgeons removed a tumor from her kidney in February.

She said: “I had open surgery and have an eight inch scar. It took months to get back on track but I’m fine now.

“I can say that I am cancer free at the moment. “

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