All of the mad nesting activity was leading up to a big occasion, the birth of our second child. We had always dreamed of having our children in the house we had built with the help of our wonderful friends and family. With Dylan’s birth it didn’t quite work out like that as the house wasn’t occupiable when he came along so he had to wait for a couple of months before enjoying the fruits of our labour. So with our second child we definitely wanted to be at home and when Natasha went into labour, all building jobs were dropped without another thought.
Natasha labored perfectly, with the kind of strength I will never understand but always admire as her finest moment. But things did not go well. When our son was born he was not breathing and had to be rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Before leaving the house we named him Leroy without a moment of uncertainty. We didn’t know what was happening but we had a sense from the start that he was a very strong little boy. What followed were days, then weeks of grief, worry and stress as we watched Leroy fight new challenges every day.
Slowly Leroy picked up, began breathing for himself and was able to take feeds. Unfortunately he sustained a considerable amount of brain damage during the last moments of birth and is left unable to swallow or control his own temperature, as well as a raft of other issues. So our life focus has changed completely to one of caring for a vulnerable but strong little boy. When we were able to bring Leroy home we realised that we had built a perfect place to heal and Leroy continues his gradual improvement. We need to provide 24 hour, 7 days a week care for Leroy. We are absolutely committed to Leroy reaching his full potential and have amazing support from friends, family and from the hospital.
My Dad decided that he’d use his considerable experience in project management (tunnels, bridges, dams, national museums) to push our build along. So he came over from New Zealand for a week and got to work getting tradespeople organised and details sorted. It’s not how we imagined our owner builder experience going but priorities change and right now the thought of a finished house looks very appealing. We can no longer be precious about being the ones to personally do all of the work to bring this house to completion. It’s still exciting to think of it getting there though.