A few years ago Oobi Mum Laura Drysdale found out that her baby suffered a stroke whilst she was pregnant. This moment changed her and her gorgeous bubba Ruby’s world. Laura is now an amazing advocate for bringing awareness to Cerebral Palsy through highlighting the struggles and triumphs that Ruby and her family go through day to day. Laura is also a great supporter of Oobi and the Big Oobis are proud that Alex’s designs add a splash of uplifting colour and cheer to Laura and her family’s life. We’re all full of admiration for Laura and the milestones Ruby’s achieving. Here is Laura’s heart felt story… thank you for sharing Laura xx Love the Big Oobis xox
My journey as an Oobi mum started with nappy covers! Seriously? Yep, nappy covers! You see I have three little girls. I have always wanted a little girl to dress up and My husband and I were blessed with three! I really loved dressing them and I wasn't particularly fussed about the brand, so long as it was fun and cheerful and would last handed down three times. When my youngest, Ruby, was born she was six weeks early, but seeing as her sister Emma had been five weeks early, we weren't that surprised. She was in hospital for three weeks and other than having "normal" premmie issues like apnoea and maintaining her body temperature, she seemed pretty healthy.
We didn't notice anything was wrong with out littlest poppet until she was supposed to be meeting milestones. Ruby took longer to smile (and when she did it was lop-sided), and took longer to hold her head up. When she learned to roll she could only roll in one direction. When she finally learned to sit at 8-9 months, she always fell to the right. Her right hand was always in a tight fist and her right toes were always scrunched up. We went to a few appointments, saw some specialists and when Ruby had an MRI, it was discovered that our precious little girl had suffered a stroke while I was pregnant with her. We were shocked. I didn't even know babies could have strokes! Ruby's stroke left her with right hemiplegic cerebral palsy and sensory issues. And this is where Oobi comes in!
Ruby has limited movement and sensation on her right side. Her doctors suggested letting her play without pants on because the more she felt things on her legs, the more she would be aware of them. So I went on the hunt for some super cute nappy covers! Which of course I found in the super cute colours of Pop Dots, Pink Forrest, and Red Dot! But what's this? The brand's name is Oobi? And the prints come in all different styles to suit all three of my girls?? Oh my, well from then on I was all for Oobi! Being on a limited income, setting up our family business, I didn't have much money for Purchasing Oobi, but I still managed to build up a cute collection for our girls and it was my favourite brand to dress them in. My girls got comments everywhere! Which was nice, because Ruby wore a leg brace to help her learn to walk, so having someone comment about the cute outfit she was wearing rather than the AFO leg brace, was a nice change.
Ruby learned to walk at 19 and a half months old. She wore an AFO leg brace to help and she did lots of therapy to help her use her fisted hand but she wasn't improving. It was about that time that we heard of a treatment in the USA called ACQUIREc therapy. They put a cast over the "good arm" and work for hours with the "bad" hand making them more aware of it and helping them use it. A mum posted a video online of her daughter who just like Ruby, couldn't use her right hand, but at the end of the month of therapy could use a fork and spoon, and get food into her mouth, using that hand. She could even point! Dave and I looked at each other and we knew. We just HAD to get Ruby to the USA to try this treatment, no matter what it cost!
Well as it turned out, it did cost. And it cost a lot. The whole trip (therapy, accommodation, transport, flights etc) was going to cost $23,000. But we had to do it! So we started thinking of ways to fundraise the money. Immediately I thought of the girls gorgeous Oobi clothes. Some of them were highly sort after, but looked so cute on the girls that I dismissed the idea of selling them and came up with other ways. I made and sold relish, hair bands and some other crafty things. I sold as many of our toys and cute clothes that I could get away with. In the end I decided to sell the girls Oobi. Every single item except for Ruby's pink apples Sunday suit. It all went, even the rosettes. I contacted Oobi and they kindly donated two Caitlin dolls for the cause. One for Ruby to keep, and one to sell in the auction. Well as hard as it was posting all our Oobi off to the lucky winners, it helped us come up with the funds and inspired me to run another online auction. Lots of local businesses donated items and with the funds raised from that, we came up with all but $5,000 for the trip. We took out a loan for the rest and booked Ruby in for treatment. How exciting!!
When Ruby was two, Ruby and I travelled with my mum to the much awaited therapy trip in the USA while Dave stayed at home working and looking after Madelyn and Emma as we couldn't afford for us all to go. The therapy was nothing short of amazing! Ruby learned to point, she learned pincer grip (picking a pea up with finger and thumb) and she learned other skills. She wore her apples sunday suit often over there and got lots of comments about how cute it was (spreading Oobi awareness in the USA, woooooo!). After one month and 120 hours of therapy we came home and Ruby amazed all her specialists! They couldn't believe her improvements!
Life got back to normal and we set about paying off the loan, keeping our eyes peeled for Oobi bargains to start our little collection again, as well as continuing Ruby's treatment that is available here. That includes daily physio and OT as well as Botox to help her muscles relax.
Ruby is now three. Her cerebral palsy is from brain damage caused by her stroke, so it won't get worse. The effects of it does however and the main one of that is how tight her muscles are. She is growing so much, and the trouble with that is (she outgrows her Oobi!!) her effected muscles can't grow as quickly as her bones do. The skills she has learned are becoming more difficult for her as her muscles get tighter and tighter. She desperately needs treatment in the USA again but we just can't afford it, and I'm unable to organise that amount of fundraising again. It was overwhelmingly huge! So Ruby goes to physio and OT here as often as we can get her in. She wears her gorgeous Oobi dresses like her Jessie dress and her Luella, as dresses are so much easier for her to wear over her AFO, and all her specialists comment about how lovely she looks and of course we tell them all about Oobi! Although we're only able to own a few Oobi pieces, we are slowly building up more of a collection.
Oobi has become a little part of Ruby and her journey with cerebral palsy. A lot of her milestones she made in her Oobi. She became more aware of her legs from wearing the Oobi nappy covers and she stood by herself in the garden at 18 months, wearing her pop dots play suit. She learned to walk in her little Veronika skirts at 19 and a half months and at the age of almost three years she managed to put a dress on all by herself. Her green Luella dress. I won't be selling those ones as they're sentimental. How could I sell what has helped Ruby to stand, to walk and to move?
Oobi is so happy and cheerful. When we are at appointments hearing how tight Ruby is getting and how badly she needs the treatment in the USA again, our day is still cheery and bright! Oobi dresses are comfortable and easy to move in. And when I am able to buy something Oobi for her sisters, they are pleased as punch that they match their little sister. Because they are so proud of her! We all are! Thanks for listening to our little story and how Oobi has become a small but important part of Ruby's life. If you're interested in following Ruby's journey check out her page at www.facebook.com/RubysworldLifeWithCerebralPalsy. And if you don't already have a love for Oobi, check it out. Because it is sooooo cute!