Ruby aged six months old with blue eyes wearing a white, pink, orange and blue floral bloomer and matching headband

Ruby’s parents decided on her name when her mum Jade was just 21 weeks pregnant.

Jade and her husband Brendan had just found out their first child would be born without the left side of her heart, a condition known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

“Ruby was the perfect fit,” Brendan said.

“Not only was she our little gem, like her mum Jade, all gemstones need a little polish,” he said.

“That’s how we viewed her surgeries that we found out she would need as soon as she was born.”

Mum Jade describes the moment she watched her three-day-old baby girl, wheeled into her first surgery.

“It was the hardest day,” Jade said.

“It wasn’t pretty, particularly being a first-time mum, but we knew she was in good hands with the surgeons and as we waited, no news was good news.”

Ruby recovered well from her first procedure and was placed into home monitoring close to the Queensland Children’s Hospital, until she was ready for her next two procedures, a few months later.

Around one in 100 Australian kids are born with a congenital heart disease and there are more than 30,000 children living with the condition.

With Ruby’s condition, HLHS, the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped.

Ruby’s undergone three operations in her first four months including the Norwood and Glenn procedures. The operations have reconfigured her heart and circulatory system so the fully formed right pumping chamber takes over the work of the underdeveloped left ventricle.

The hope is for Ruby to have a full life, with half a heart.

“Ruby has the biggest smile which lights up the room,” Mum Jade said.

“She’s now putting on weight, doing baby things and looking like a healthy six-month-old.”

The Eagleby family regularly attend cardiac appointments at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, where it’s likely Ruby will have her next surgery, the Fontan procedure, somewhere between three and six years old.

Right now, Ruby loves nothing more than tummy time and going for walks in her pram.

For Jade and Brendan, Ruby’s cardiac team and have become like a second family.

“For Ruby to do be so brave, you know majority of it has to go down to her,” Brendan said.

“If she didn’t do what she needed to then we wouldn’t be sitting here in this position with a healthy six-month old.”

“It’s been a collective effort getting her to this point, but Ruby’s the main little character.”

Last updated: March 2024