A new life emerges

IN the midst of the flood devastation a Laidley couple welcomed a new member of their family into the world.

When Leanne and David Harper woke up on the morning of January 10, they had no idea what was in store for them.

“It was a special day for my husband and I, a day we had been counting down to for the past 40 weeks,” she said.

Mrs Harper said she had gone to Ipswich hospital earlier in the day after experiencing back pain, but returned to Laidley that afternoon just in time to hear the flood warnings and evacuate their home.

“We sat down to watch the news and were devastated to see the destruction the rain had caused in Toowoomba and Helidon, and they were advising that anyone downstream of Gatton to leave,” she said.

“We got up straight away and started packing things we needed, like clothes, toiletries and food, packed up our dog and fled our home.

“We headed for David's parents in Rosewood and by this time I was having pain in my lower back every 4-6 minutes.”

She said her husband called an ambulance when her waters broke.

“It was all very distressing and I had to tell them every time I had a pain start and finish and the operator timed them.

“They were contractions and less than two minutes apart.

“When the ambulance arrived it took another five minutes to assess me before they put me into the ambulance and it was the longest trip into town that I have ever experienced.”

Mrs Harper said Nicholas Joseph Harper was born in just one hour and 17 minutes at the hospital at 1.20am, January 11.

Mr Harper went back to Rosewood early that morning to get some rest, but found he couldn't return due to rising flood waters.

“Later that afternoon I was told the street we live on in Laidley was evacuated as was the rest of Laidley,” she said.

“As I lay in my hospital bed and held my baby in my arms I had a flood of emotions.

“I was happy, excited and grateful for the beautiful healthy baby and worried, sad and disappointed that David wasn't there to share the special event with me.

“This is not to mention the worry I felt about our house and if we would have one to go back to with our newborn baby.”

Nicholas was found to have an infection and was placed in a humidity crib with a drip.

“It was heartbreaking to see our little baby so sick,” Mrs Harper said.

“I was discharged that afternoon and it was completely heartbreaking to go home without my baby.

“We went to and from hospital four or five times a day and in the middle of the night to see him.

“We were finally able to go home Tuesday afternoon.”

She said her baby was appropriately named.

“The name Nicholas means ‘victory of the people' and definitely think that our Nicholas is victorious,” she said.

“Being born in the midst of the biggest flood in Australia's history, it's nice to know that with all the heartbreak that has gone on, a new life was created.”

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