For 16 years Maternity Nurse Laura Chelmick has been part of the family to some of Monaco’s most high profile residents. Now, she says, it’s her turn to be mum.
Over the coming months, Biovault Family is joining Laura and her husband Ross in their adventure into parenthood. Laura and Ross hope to store their new baby’s umbilical (cord blood and tissue) stem cells with Biovault Family. An expert on paediatric health and development, Laura knows how important stem cell storage is. She and Ross are keen to spread the word that this service is safe for babies and mums and could be your family lifeline.
Laura, aka Nanny, aka Fairy Godmother
Imagine a world in which your baby arrives with a calm, dependable and resourceful woman. An expert in baby sleep, nutrition and development, she knows the answer to your niggling concerns: should I pick him up or let him cry? is she hungry or windy? are visitors good for him or overwhelming?
This magical woman’s very presence is a rush of relief that makes your new life as a parent feel manageable. She can take care of those night feeds, hold your baby whilst you take a shower (a mighty indulgence to most new parents) and even allow to you to work, exercise or socialise without being wracked by guilt that you’re a neglectful mother or father.
This knight-in-shining-armour is Laura Chelmick and whether you call her your nanny or nurse, she’s a lifesaver to the new and growing families she takes care of.
Now 8¾ months pregnant, Laura gives us the inside story on being a nanny to the children of Monaco’s super-rich. She explains why, after 16 years of looking after other people’s families, she had to get away.
What does being a maternity nurse involve?
You arrive when the baby arrives and stay for 6-8 weeks. Though in reality you often stay a lot longer. Sometimes 6 weeks can become 3 years because women begin to think, how can I be a mum without Laura! As a maternity nurse you give your life to the family and their needs, taking care of the baby during the day and night. It’s not all that tiring. You get plenty of time off and don’t have that adrenaline pumping around your body that mothers have. It will be interesting to see how things go when the baby is my own!
How did you and Ross meet?
We met when Ross was working on a super-yacht in Monaco. We were living similar lives where we were in this bubble and supporting other people in living thier lives. Ross has travelled all over the world, taking one-way tickets to Australia, New Zealand, living everywhere from rainforests to ski-slopes and picking up work along the way. It’s a fun, charmed lifestyle and very seductive. But it is someone else’s life and it was difficult for some of the families we worked for to understand that we were reaching a point where we both wanted something of our own.
What has your own pregnancy experience been like?
It feels like perfect timing. It wasn’t easy and for a long time I felt that it might not happen. I’d reduced my working hours to one week per month. I tried acupuncture, testing my temperature, all sorts. Then we said, let’s just chill out and it happened!
I’ve been so relaxed all the way through. I haven’t had any sickness, I’ve been sleeping 12, 14 hour nights! I stopped working early and started my new business, (the forthcoming foryouandyourbaby.com) and feel incredibly calm. In fact, when the baby kicks in the night, it wakes up Ross but not me! Ross is very chilled and ever since I’ve been pregnant I feel I’ve got this calm piece of him inside of me.
As a maternity nurse and mum-to-be, why are you storing your baby’s cord blood and tissue?
Cord blood is this magical substance and yet many people in my network haven’t heard of it. My brother and sister-in-law stored their baby’s stem cells and for me it has been a very organic journey.
Biovault Family are so different from some of the companies I met at the Baby Show. We found them very pushy. They kept chasing us. With Biovault it feels like they’re checking in on me, that they really do care.
This is my first go at motherhood and I want to give a page of my new website to show people how cord blood banking works and really help explain what the cells are and why we shouldn’t be throwing them away.
Are you concerned about delayed cord clamping?
No not at all. Nikki [Biovault’s lead advisor] and I talked about this at the start. She explained that the cord will be clamped at 1-2 minutes and that put my heart at rest. The baby will get everything he or she needs in this time. [1 minute is recommended by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NICE] Biovault gave us such confidence – the mother and baby and their health are paramount.
Has cord blood collection affected your birth plan?
No. We’re prepared for anything as at the end of the day we can’t predict what will happen, they baby will decide! We’re going to have a hospital birth. I feel that experience of coming home is a very special one I didn’t want us to miss out on. Just opening the door and our new life beginning…
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.