I will never forget the night Ruby was born. Some say there is no such thing as love at first sight. Well they obviously don’t have children, because the moment I saw Ruby, I was totally in love with her. This was also the case with Eliza. To have such strong feelings for someone you have only just met and who has only been on earth a few seconds, is a feeling that has to be experienced to be understood.
I remember the birth and my first hold of Ruby. Looking into her innocent eyes, at that moment I made a contract with Ruby, it was a pretty simple one, it was to do all I could to protect and help her. I believe all parents mentally make similar contracts the moment the see or hold their newborn children.
When Ruby started to have her initial problems at hospital I was shocked as she had looked so well when she was born and seemed happy. She breastfed almost straight away and seemed to be the classic healthy baby. My mind was dealing with a hundred thoughts and as many emotions when they transferred her to the high dependency unit. As her condition worsened and the outlook became more serious, I went into auto pilot. You just do what needs to be done. I never thought I would need to start fulfilling my contract so early.
When Ruby was transferred by Newborn Emergency Transport (NETS) to Westmead, I was so overwhelmed with what to do. I had a wife who was devastated that her newborn daughter was being taken away, a 3 year old who just wanted her parents and a newborn daughter who was seriously ill. What do you do??? I had to leave Danni in tears and take Eliza home and then try and get some sleep. All after having very little sleep and with less to come, I set the alarm for 5am and set off with Eliza to Westmead, racked with guilt that I hadn’t been there for Ruby all night. I arranged for my parents to pick up Danni from Gosford Hospital and bring her down as soon as she could be discharged and to drop Eliza off at Danni’s aunties. I later found out Danni’s parents had called into Westmead on the way from Melbourne and made sure Ruby was ok. This was such a relief, as Ruby hadn’t been totally alone.
The following weeks were a mixture of worry, sleep deprivation, relief and sadness all mixed in with some wonderful joyful moments. I had never before experienced such a time of turbulent emotions. Watching Ruby going to have major surgery at 3 days old was the hardest thing I had ever done. This was the first time I had cried since Ruby’s birth. Hearing her diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis after being told how well her surgery went just a few moments earlier, was like a kick in the guts. Rocking her to sleep for the first time was a fantastic feeling and wheeling her outside the first time was such a relief. Speaking to the CF team and getting all the relevant information and do’s and do not’s, as well as collecting all the medications just made me feel sadness for the future of Ruby. But when we left that hospital and arrived home I felt absolute relief and joy, as well as a determination to make Ruby’s life a beautiful, healthy and wonderful life.
Ruby looks well but she is sick. Her life has many medications and treatments already and without her enzymes she would waste away. Her future will hold many more challenges, it will also hold many wonderful moments and will be the best life we can possibly offer her. The support network of family and friends Ruby has are the best she could wish her. Her Mummy is the most wonderful mum in the world. The care she gives her, the research she has done, the diet she has worked out, as well as the love she provides are all Ruby needs and then some. This is whilst still providing the same caring and loving mothering to Eliza. Danni blows me away each and everyday.
As Ruby’s Daddy, I aim to fulfil my contract to her. I will be there for her at every part of this journey. I don’t know what the future will hold but I understand the realities of this disease and will ensure Ruby is never alone in this fight. I am not a doctor or scientist, so I can’t cure her but I can fight for her at every opportunity. I can help raise money for research and care and do my utmost to raise the awareness of CF. So when you think that maybe we are bombarding you with CF information and stories and if you think maybe we are a little too focussed on this disease, think about the ‘contract’ we all make with our children. Whether we make this contract consciously or unconsciously we all do it and I would hope, all fulfil it to the best of our abilities. Think how you would react if Ruby was your daughter.
Thanks to all our family and friends who have provided such wonderful support to us and Team Ruby. We love you all………