I had suffered from high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy. It normally hovered around 140/90, however, at my usual weekly check up with Dr Ganter on Wednesday 13th April 2005, it had climbed to 150/95. In addition to this, I had quite bad oedema and had begun getting headaches. Dr Ganter diagnosed me with pre-eclampsia and recommended I be induced.

Dr Ganter offered to induce me this same night, but could see I hadn’t been prepared for what he was telling me and that I was a little shocked, so he offered to monitor me for a few days and if things hadn’t improved or worsened, then he would look at inducing me as soon as possible.

Dr Ganter made an appointment for me at the hospital on Thursday 14th April 2005 to have Nicholas monitored, and to run a few tests on me. These tests showed Nicholas was fine, but my condition hadn’t changed, so he requested I return to the hospital on Saturday morning for the same tests to be run. At this time, he advised me that if things hadn’t improved then he would like to go ahead with an induction the following night (which just happened to be my birthday!). I readily agreed to this, and was happy as it gave me a few days to prepare myself mentally.

I was a little worried that Nicholas would arrive on my birthday and would have to “share” his birthday with Mummy, which I didn’t want, but Dr Ganter assured me that it would be highly unlikely that this would happen. He explained to me that he would insert the prostaglandin gel into my cervix on Sunday night and that this would help to ripen it ready for labor Monday morning when my waters would be broken.

My condition hadn’t changed on Saturday morning, so I was booked into the hospital Sunday night to be induced. Anthony and I arrived around 7pm, got settled into our room, and then I was taken to the labor ward at 8pm, where Dr Ganter inserted the prostaglandin gel. He advised me that my cervix was already quite soft and ripe, so the gel would just speed things along a bit.

Both Nicholas and I were monitored for an hour to ensure we did not have any adverse reactions to the gel, and then we returned to our room around 9.30pm. I slept fitfully, as the gel brought on mild cramps, rather like period cramps all night, plus I was a little too excited to sleep knowing I would finally get to meet my son the next day.

About 7am on Monday 18th April 2005, we had a light breakfast and then I was taken back to the labor room at 8am, where Dr Ganter artificially ruptured my waters with an instrument that looked like a crochet hook. I immediately felt a gushing sensation as the amniotic fluid leaked out of me. This continued to happen all day, mainly when I would change position or when Nicholas moved further down the birth canal.

I was then hooked up to an oxytocin drip to bring on the contractions. Dr Ganter said he would come back at lunchtime to check on my progress. I told him that hopefully Nicholas would be on the way by then and he laughed and said if that was the case then I’d be a candidate for the Guinness Book of World Records!

My contractions stayed quite mild until around 11am when the midwives, Jenny and Noelene, upped the dosage on the drip. From then on, the contractions started to intensify, so I readily accepted the gas when it was offered. It seemed to assist at first, by just taking the edge off the contractions. It made me feel light headed and my speech slurred, like I was drunk.

Dr Ganter returned at lunchtime and gave me the bad news that I was only 1cm dilated. He had the midwives turn the drip up to the full dose and told me he would be back at 4pm, and expected me to be well on my way by then. I found it very disheartening to know I had to endure these intense contractions for another 4 hours!

By 2pm I was exhausted, and couldn’t stand the pain anymore, so I requested an epidural. Dr Cooper arrived at 2.30pm and administered the epidural, which took about 20 minutes to work. Once it took effect, I was in heaven and I told Dr Cooper that he was an “angel”.

I spent the next two hours resting and enjoying the pain free contractions. Dr Ganter returned about 4.30pm and upon examination found me to be 9cm dilated, which was great to hear. He told me he would be back in an hour and by then I would be ready to start pushing.

I spent the next hour with the midwives doing some light pushing and trying to work Nicholas down the birth canal. By the time Dr Ganter returned at 5.30pm, I was ready to get serious with the pushing. I was starting to tire and get very emotional and I just wanted him out of there no matter what.

Dr Ganter advised me that the epidural would be turned off so that I could feel the contractions again and know when to bear down at the right time. After about half an hour of serious pushing, Dr Ganter did an internal check and advised me that Nicholas was not budging, and he may be stuck. He recommended he assist me with either the forceps or the vacuum, to which I readily agreed. Dr Ganter chose the forceps, as he needed to turn Nicholas, and the vacuum wouldn’t do this.

I can honestly say that having the forceps inserted was easily the most painful experience of my life. I was in such agony that I felt like passing out. Poor Anthony became very emotional at seeing me in so much pain. He must have felt so helpless. He later told me that he always wondered how he would cope emotionally if anything ever happened to me, and that it was at this moment he realized how deep his love for me was and all he cared about was me and my safety.

Fortunately, once the forceps were in, the delivery was rather quick. From memory, I think I only needed three or four contractions to push him out. I remember Dr Ganter saying that I still needed to do 90% of the work and he would do 10% pulling so as not to hurt me or the baby. Unfortunately though, it seemed like the contractions were slowing down and even though it probably wasn’t, it felt like twenty minutes between each one.

Nicholas Leonard Rousell was born at 6.10pm on Monday 18th April 2005. He was immediately placed on my chest, and Anthony later told me that my first words were “Oh, my God!”. I looked up at Anthony who had tears streaming down his face, which of course set me off! Dr Ganter asked Anthony if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, but he said “No, you do it”. He told me he was so overwhelmed by everything that his main concern was me.

We had the midwives take some photos of us with Nicholas whilst he was still on my chest, then he was taken from me and put on oxygen in the humidicrib, as it appeared he had some fluid on his lungs.

Dr Ganter then told me that as his head was coming out, Nicholas had turned his face at the last minute, and the forceps scraped across his left cheek, leaving an almighty bruise. Dr Ganter was visibly upset that he’d bruised our baby, but I assured him it was not his fault and all that mattered was that Ncholas was alive and healthy. He told me “The little bugger just slipped!”. Thus, Nicholas earned his first nickname “Bruiser”.

After all that excitement, I then had to concentrate on delivering the placenta. I was given a needle to bring this on, and Anthony still didn’t leave my side the whole time. I asked him if Nicholas was okay and told him to go and see. Whilst I was delivering the placenta, which was a weird sensation, Anthony assisted the midwives with cleaning Nicholas up, and he got to cut his umbilical cord off close to his body where they put the clamp.

I suffered a small tear whilst delivering, so Dr Ganter sewed me up, and from what I am told I was given two internal stitches and three external stitches. As the epidural had nearly worn off, I was given a local anesthetic to numb the pain of getting the stitches, but I don’t think I would’ve even blinked an eyelid after the pain I had just been through!

I then asked Dr Ganter if I could see the placenta, which I have a funny feeling he may have dropped on the floor accidentally. I wanted to see the amazing part of me that had kept Nicholas alive for 39 weeks. I also got Anthony to take a photo of it for me, which he thought a little strange!

The midwives cleaned me up as best they could and I was then wheeled back to our room, as my legs were still numb from the epidural. Nicholas remained in the humidicrib until the pediatrician, Dr Mellick arrived to check him over and make sure he was alright. He was then brought back to our room about 7pm. Dr Mellick advised us that he was fine, and told me to give Nicholas about an hour to recover from the birth, and then try him on the breast.

Back at the room we ate some dinner, as we were absolutely starving, and we then started ringing everyone with the good news. Dean had already rung four times during the day, and Simone had phoned once. Both our mums’s were very anxious for some news and were relieved to hear from us. I don’t think anyone, including myself, had expected the labor to last so long. My waters were broken at 7.45am, and he was born at 6.10pm, and it was a very long and exhausting day, so visitors were very much out of the question that night!

About 8pm, I got to nurse my little man for the first time and he took to the breast like a fish to water! Just like his Daddy!
Finally, we were a family!

And that is the story of Nicholas’s birth!