A baby bonanza
By EMMA CORNFORD
FOR Nick Warren and Bianca Crockett, the decision to start a family was simple.
Since leaving Grafton in their early 20s they both lived elsewhere; Nick in Ballarat and overseas, Bianca on the Gold Coast and in London.
But they both came back to the Clarence Valley and have now settled down and had their first child, Layla Eve, who was born on December 22.
Layla was the first of four babies born within an hour at the Grafton Base Hospital. She was one of six born that day.
"When we came in the nurse looked at us and said 'looks like this is going to be a busy day'," said Nick.
"The two main nurses we had, Robert and Angie, were excellent and stayed with us for pretty much the whole time, but they were so busy that the other midwife would come in, check how we were then run out again to the next room."
But December 22 was not the only busy day for the maternity ward.
There was a 16.3 per cent increase in the number of births at the hospital between 2004 and 2005.
GBH acting executive officer Beryl Jordan said the number of births in 2005, 442, was the highest in five years.
"We've had two specialist obstetrician gynaecologists now for a while and they've been busy," she said.
"I can't tell you why (the rate has increased). It could be something to do with the Baby Bonus but it's a bit of a mystery."
Nick and Bianca said they were not sure why the birth rate had risen ? just that last year had been the right time for them.
"It was just time for us to start our family," said Nick, who joked that the couple had to start filling the seats of their 10-seater table.
"The Baby Bonus wasn't something that even crossed out minds," said Bianca.