A precious ruby

A New Year, a packed party, and the hope of better things to come...

Published by: Lynne Milford
Published on: 7th January 2010

Remember as a kid wanting that one special present for Christmas, the one you'd have done anything to get your hands on. That's how I'd felt about being pregnant - nine months of waiting for the best gift.
Thing was, I hadn't been able to hold mine. My daughter Ruby had been born with her bowels on the outside of her tummy and was in intensive care.
Me and my husband Sam, 21, spent every second beside her incubator. We'd no idea if she'd see Christmas, let alone New Year. 'I'd always imagined our little family sat at home around a decorated tree,' I sighed. 'Not sat in hospital.'
'I'd wanted to show her the Christmas lights, help her open her first ever present,' said Sam.
But Christmas was a blur, with me and Sam sleeping in two-hour shifts so there was always someone with her.
While we sat with Ruby in Sheffield Children's Hospital, supported by the Sick Children's Trust, our families were 70 miles away, celebrating.
'Merry Christmas, sweetheart,' I whispered. 'Promise me you'll help us see in the New Year, too?'
My tiny daughter kicked her little legs. 'It won't be much of a celebration without her,' added Sam.
'Or the rest of the family,' I sighed.
'We'll be here,' he said.
'But what about Mum and Dad and my sister?'
'I've got an idea,' Sam smiled. 'We can go in and see Ruby at midnight, then everyone can take turns.'
As midnight approached, we were milling around in the corridor outside Ruby's room, trying to work out the order of visitors.
'Since it's a special night, why don't you all come in,' said the nurse. As the clock struck 12, Ruby was surrounded by family.
She was in hospital until February. Now she's a normal one year old.
This year, we'll be celebrating the New Year with a big family dinner and toasting our future with Ruby.
Suzy Kavanagh-Mills, 20, Grimsby, Lincolnshire