Ruby –  Crazy, Funny and Brave

So a few people who follow my blog have asked about Ruby and why she has hospital appointments in Southampton, apologies for those of you who do know, but there is a little update!

Ruby was born by elective c- section in March 2007 weighing in at a whopping  10lbs 11ozs, after delivery she was not breathing as she should and was whisked away, I can remember lying in the theatre begging for them to tell me she was ok, and them saying she needed a bit of help to breath but would be fine in a few hours, I can still  recall the empty feeling of not being able to hold her, and ringing my Mum to say I’d had her but hadn’t been able to cuddle her or have any skin on skin contact, some might say I had missed out on the initial bonding with my baby girl, but for those of you who know Ruby you know she is the most loving and tactile girl you could meet, never far from my side!

That evening Ruby was back with me, and my second journey through motherhood began, I remember looking at her thinking how could I be this lucky a second time, this beautiful bundle of joy, little did I know what would lie ahead of us.

Ruby wasn’t a particularly easy baby, she cried a lot, she cried night and day, there were smiley happy times don’t get me wrong, but it would happen that the days would become as long as the nights, and I knew there was something not right with her, call it mothers intuition, she had right from birth this horrible crackling sound inside her chest , where sometimes her voice resembled Darth Vaders voice , feeding would be hard as she would feed then be sick, with a mucus coming back with it,  I mentioned it to my health visitor who agreed that something seemed amiss, so I booked her in with my Doctor who was great and said to try some antiobiotics, now this happened several times, chest infections again and again each time the medicine would work, then it would all reoccurr, so my GP said about seeing a Paediatrician in our local hospital, which we did -intially they thought she had Cystic Fibrosis (waiting for the results were the longest hours of my life)  once they knew it wasn’t this they were quite happy and as much as they checked her over and looked at her, would say she was fine, they would just say we will see her again in 6 months.  We had endless trips to A and E for steriods or a nebuliser – I cannot tell you the nights I’d be on the road in the early hours to get her some help because she couldn’t breath properly.

The first 16 months  of her life were really hard, I felt like I was failing her, like no one, bar family and friends would listen to me, I remember sitting with my health visitor saying that I couldn’t cope, and that I was sure something wasn’t right with her,  to which she replied that she thought I had post natal depression and that Ruby was actually ok, she said I had to think that Ruby had been checked by professionals and they hadn’t found anything, but come on as parents  we know in our gut when there is something not right, I probably wouldn’t of admitted at the time I had PND but I was unwell with it (in denial), but that’s a story for another time lol.

I stuck to my guns and went back to my incredibly supportive GP, I cried and cried, telling her that as gorgeous as Ruby was, there was something wrong, even though she was reaching all her milestones, I knew she was struggling, I pleaded with her to help me, and she suggested that  we try another hospital, another consultant,  together  we decided on Poole Hospital, Dorset as Dr Gary Connett is a specialist respiratory paediatrician  who visited there once a week from Southampton General Hospital. 

This for us a family was a massive turning point,  I remember our first visit there as clear as day – I can relive the day moment by moment, we turned up and Ruby was weighed and measured, they then took her sats – I knew something was wrong when the Nurse left the room and got  a Doctor who then asked if they could take Ruby as her sats were really low and she would need some extra help, she was given a nebuliser, after this we met Dr Gary Connett who said that he thought Ruby really was quite unwell, he wasn’t sure why or what  was causing  her to be so  poorly  but he could identify a few things just from how her chest was rising and falling, her skin, her nails and her past history that I previously had explained,  no one ever wants to hear that their child is unwell especially when you don’t know what it is that is wrong, but just 5 days later, I watched Ruby be taken off to theatre I know I’ve had my fair share of crap but that moment was probably one of hardest, my heart was breaking, it felt like she was in surgery forever , and I felt such guilt (Mum guilt hits again) that she had to go through that and that I wasn’t with her.

The thing is even with her ailments and what she went through,  as she got older she would be so happy, smiley and trusting, and everyone loved her, she used to bring laughter to most situations and to be honest she still does.


Whilst in theatre Ruby had a Bronchoscopy, they also removed various cells from her lungs for testing to see if this was the area causing concern.

It took some weeks for the bronchial lavage cell counts to come back, I was at work when Dr Connett rang and I knew he would have some answers for me, I was so anxious as he explained  that the bronchial lavage washes had grown a group of Group A Streptococcus, Some strains of group A streptococci (GAS) cause severe infection. Severe infections are usually invasive, meaning that the bacteria has entered parts of the body where bacteria are not usually found, such as the blood, lungs, deep muscle or fat tissue, in Ruby’s case her lungs, he also said that he had a diagnosis – Middle Lobe Syndrome,  whereby recurrent infection can occurr in the right middle lobe, which has poor collateral ventilation and which is prone to recurrent aspiration and infection, this would explain why we had consistent improvements after antibiotics, but never sunstained due to only being short term doses, also this had caused a cough variant Asthma. 

Finally an answer, an answer that rocked us all, but meant we could help her and finally start treatment, and ensure she had a better quality of life.

He also informed us that severe GAS infections may lead to shock, multisystem organ failure, and death. (Early recognition and treatment are critical) So her treatment began immediately a continuous antibiotic, Bubble PEP Physiotherapy ( this is process to help remove a build up of phlegm/secretions from the lungs) she loves this – blowing through a tube to create a mound of bubbles, huffing and coughing! We also started two inhalers Flixotide and Salbutamol.

So this all started back in 2009, and here we  are now just last week having the six monthly check up in Southampton, Ruby still has the same wonderful consultant, Dr Connett, who treats her with so much care and respect, she thinks very highly of him and each visit they catch up like old friends,  He always wants to hear her latest footballing achievements!


Sadly this last visit wasn’t one of her best, within 15 mins of being there she was on a nebuliser, as her lung function was not as it should be, Ruby never moans, she carries on with life with such enthusiasm and as I mentioned before humour – that you can’t always tell when she isn’t firing on all cyclinders, however she has been struggling a bit the past few weeks, more tired, more out of breath so it was good that she had the visit to be observed and see what we needed to do next, not every visit is like that, most show her moving forward but every so often we take a step backwards , and I try not to let it worry me (who am I kidding) because I know she is strong – a warrior like her mother lol , for the next few months we have to up her meds, give more inhaler before sport, and when the cold winter weather hits, get back on the antibiotics, if you met Ruby you would be none the wiser to what is going on in the inside, she seems to have endless amounts of energy probably from the copious amounts she eats!!

It’s not been easy for her growing up and yes she will still now scare us half to death needing the odd  ambulance ride to A and E but you know what she will still be smiling at the end of it all, she never lets it get in her way of enjoying life, she is brave and beautiful with a twinkle in her eye, and Kevin and I couldn’t be more proud!

Our Children take us to places in our hearts we didn’t know existed! 

Have a happy and healthy week.

ASIBTAF 💕

Ruby’s Football trials (and tribulations!)

As some of you know, last week I took Ruby my youngest to her football trials, now Ruby started playing football about 2 years ago,  she just decided she would like to try it and started out in a local mixed team, she really enjoyed it but where she was new to the game she struggled, the other players had been playing for some time, the boys were really quite skilled and found Ruby just hampered their game, sadly people would make fun of her, either on the pitch or worse carry it on at School. 

We would say to her practice makes perfect Rubes, keep at it, but her confidence dwindled along with her passion of the game.  There was no changing the opinions of the boys, who would pass to one another,  and the other girls who could definately bend it like Beckham.  

I knew I had to do something, and via the internet I think it was,  I found an all girls development centre training under 10s held by Yeovil Town Ladies adult team, I emailed and explained Ruby’s situation and her capabilities, and was told to bring her along, the only drawback was it was held in Bridgwater (which is around an hour away from us) for us that was the best thing we could of done for her, she loved it it boosted her confidence, she made new friends and best of all she smiled throughout each hour and half training session, they could see she had potential and they built on it, we then became fans of Yeovil Town Ladies football team, attending each home game, Kev and I didnt even like football, however it would seem we do now,  Ruby has a definate soft spot for two players her coach Ellie Curson https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellie_Curson and another player Annie Heatherson https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann-Marie_Heatherson (more on her later).

We could see a definate change in her football skills, and in her confidence, and if she was happy, I was happy.   We moved her from the local team to an all girls team in a neighbouring town at around the same time, a recommendation from a girl from the development centre  who also attended and said it was a great team to play for. So Ruby began playing for Frome Town Youth girls team, again she loves this and tries her best, plays in tournaments or matches.

The development centre training ended at the end of the year and I will always be grateful for the kindness, care and enthausium they showed the Girls, it was definately the turning point for Ruby’s confidence, and the base of her football journey.

So back to the trial, I recieved an email about the under YTLFC 12 trials, I have and never would make Ruby do football, I always ask her if she would like to do it, I knew she would jump at the chance, but in the back of mind I did wonder if I should put her through that, no not because I don’t have faith in her or that I don’t think she is very good, but because I know that again some of these girls have been playing since they were 4/5 and plus Ruby is just 10 and the girls would be mixed ages up to 12, but nonetheless Ruby was determined to attend that trial, so I booked her in.

I mentioned earlier Ruby’s idol is a footballer called Annie Heatherson, Annie is good to Ruby, offering advice when needed, a hug,  or a photo opportunity, Ruby thinks of her as her friend, the evening before the trial, she offered Rubes a few words of advice and told her that even if she didn’t get it in it was good experience, I too had said that in this life if at first we don’t succeed then try and try again, which she seemed to understand.


The day of the trial, I literally felt sick to my stomach, not because of Ruby doing it, but because I wanted to protect her from the fear of rejection, she was my baby and I personally thought she was great lol,  I know we have to stand by and watch, knowing what we know inside ( I will never forget my Mum watching me do Hurdles in the rain for County I totally messed them up near the end slipping due to the rain I  ended up going over one and under another sliding the duration on my bum, but you know what aside from the humiliation I do remember her telling me how proud she was of me and how well I had done).  Ruby had a new found confidence where I think she thought she would get in, and as Mums we don’t want our child to feel the pain of not getting where they want to be, but at the same time you don’t want to knock their confidence or say I don’t think you good enough just yet.

Off she trotted a bit nervous, but not as nervous as her mother and played the best she could, she definately enjoyed it, and it was fun to watch,  there were all ages abilities and talents, from years 5/6 and I felt incrediably proud she was there.

Ruby came away from the trial full of excitement, and was looking forward to Fridays announcement of who would make the team, part of you hopes and prays that actually she was good enough and part of you knows she wouldn’t of made the grade, I did gently say to her, there were lots of girls there, you were all great, some looked older than you didn’t they?  To which she replied yes Mummy but I was thinking I’m going to be so upset if I don’t get in I think my heart will break! – and from that very moment I dreaded that email on Friday, I even discussed with Kev who would tell her, actually nominating him. 

The email came – and it was No she didn’t get in, I cannot tell you how much I dreaded her 3.30pm pick up, I collected her and she didn’t mention it, but I knew I would have too and when I told her  – I did watch her heart break a bit right there in front of me, she cried and cried, proper from the heart tears, I felt like the crappiest mother ever, every day I like to think I try the best for my girls and I felt like I had set her up for a fall, I could of prevented the upset and tears, by not entering her but she would go through life assuming that she could get into every team, the sadness showed that she was passionate about something, and that it was something she really wanted, we have all known what’s it like to not get where we wanted in life immediately, I reassured her it took me years to get into teams and then go further to County and Nationals with my various sporting achievements. 

The tears did flow for a while that evening as did mine in private  –  but after a pep talk face time from the Golden One Heatherson.  Ruby picked herself up and that smile was back, she said to Kev and I, if I don’t at first succeed then I will try and try again and Annie said as one door opens another one closes so you know what Mummy I WILL play for Yeovil Town Ladies one day.

That’s my girl 💕💪🏻 

ASIBTAF xxx