Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Our life together so far, in short
2005 - married
2006 - pregnant with Dawson
2007 - had Dawson
2008 - pregnant with Tyler
2009 - had Tyler, then Tyler got diagnosed with Leukemia, inpatient rest of the year
2010 - Tyler in Maintenance, pregnant with Gabriel
2011 - had Gabriel, Tyler relapsed, found out Gabriel is a perfect match, Tyler had transplant, died.
2012 - better be an improvement on the last 3 years, even though we'll be missing our little boy.

I thought I'd do a year in review. Hopefully this won't get too long! The year started out with happy kids and a promise of being done with chemo in June.
 Dawson moved to the top bunk
 Tyler learned new skills
 Tyler turned 2!
 The boys got into things and were happy being normal toddlers, at least as normal as one gets on chemo
 Prepared for Baby Brother! Van with 3 carseats.
 Mom and Gabriel
 Then there were 3 cute little boys
 I love this pic of Dawson, he held Gabriel on his own and was so gentle!
 Happy family of 5
 Brought new baby home
 Guess what, my brother is a perfect match for me!
 Tyler and Gabriel spent a lot of time together. Sleeping with mom in the morning
 Nursing and napping on the couch
 The night before Tyler's biopsy we took a stroll around the lake
 Tyler also broke his leg 2 days before his biopsy
 Love my 3 boys
 Tyler had relapsed, we spent our last night before the hospital in a hotel, where Tyler watched cars out the window
 Inpatient Chemo proved to be a horrible as we'd remembered.
 He even got Psychosis
 He bounced back and spent lots of time with his brothers. Hospital was boring, but nothing beats having family all around
 Plus kisses from Dawson are always awesome
 Dan moved our apartment to a bigger 3 bedroom in May, since our lease was up and we had to move due to our expanding family size. Who knew Tyler would only spend 2 weeks at our new place.
 Cruising the hallways
 Day pass from the hospital! We went to the zoo and had lots of fun. Dawson loved the big turtles.
 Tyler just loved seeing daylight again and being in the fresh air. He was so excited!
 Happy Father's Day!
 Could they possibly be more mean? Staph in the central line meant having IVs on both feet, feeding tube in, oxygen and arm restraints so he didn't pull anything out. Yet he kept smiling. Sometimes.
 Whew, that was over and we were discharged for a bit! We did have to do home IV meds though, but it wasn't that big of a deal since Mom already knew that stuff.
 Got to check out our new apartment and had a package from Pixar waiting for Tyler! He was so excited.
 July 11th, Happy 4th Birthday Dawson!
 Back in the hospital. We boys will stick together and tough this out.
 Even have a new brother to giggle at, he's getting big enough to smile at us now
 Feeling crappy, thank goodness for big brother
 Back at RMH, we love being together where it's more comfy and relaxing!

The real transition came with Transplant. To save space here, you can see all his transplant pics here. Plus Dawson and Gabriel too.
The 2nd Transplant album
In short, transplant went from testing
 To more boring hospital time
 Recieving Gabriel's cord blood cells for Transplant
 Feeling crappy
 Feeling more crappy, had mouth sores
 Intubated in the ICU, just until those mouth sores heal
 He was sedated, but sometimes he would open his eyes, it was rare though
 Spent 6 weeks in a corner looking at this, the back of Tyler's bed and all his equipment. 16 IV pumps, ventilator, dialysis machine, rescue stuff. And of course Gabriel, who spent his days with me too, knowing nothing but hospital life since a few weeks old.
 For the last 6 weeks, this is all we got. No hugs, no holding, no smiles or even sounds. Sometimes even holding his hand, rubbing his head or talking to him would make his stats drop.
Mid October Tyler coded, they saved him but they told us he was probably going to die. We made hand/foot molds, hand/foot print book and signed a DNR notice.
 His blood pressure dropped so low that his limbs and brain were no longer getting much blood. The morning of Nov 2nd they told us he had no more pupil response, which indicates brain activity.
 As planned, we set up for me to hold him and slowly backed him off on his meds that were keeping him alive. I held him for 3 hours. We even unhooked his breathing tube, and he breathed very small breaths on his own for almost 30 minutes.
 Seeing him without tubes, without pain and suffering was a relief, but losing him has been far worse than anything we've suffered through his treatment.
 So now we have 2. Gabriel loves being home and learning what home is all about. Dawson is back in preschool and the Autism Center is coming to our home for most of the day when he's not in school. He has come far with his understanding emotions and coping in the last couple months.
It's hard missing a child. The holidays were especially hard. Getting them in the van and realizing there's only 2 carseats in what seems like a very big empty van. It's amazing how big of a hole a little person can leave. Thank goodness for my 2 adorable boys who keep me going each day.
So now we face 2012 with sadness, but also optimism that it will be a better year. Despite missing Tyler we will grow and heal as a family of 4. Gabriel is getting big and strong. He's crawling and cruising furniture. The boys are bonding together and we are all learning our new normal. It's very weird not having appointments all the time, hospital stays, meds to give, etc. I have many goals for the new year and am trying my best to face it with hope and optimism.


Lora said...

Bless your family :( What a beautiful story ! What a beautiful , strong , inspiring little boy . He will live on in you all ....

All my love X x X x X

Misty said...

God bless you and your family! you have beautiful children and thank you for sharing Tyler's story!

Jennifer said...

I love your beautiful family. I followed Tyler's journey and prayed so hard for him to be well. It was lovely to see all the pictures of him, even though they made me cry, and to see Dawson and Gabriel too. Your special little man will always be in my heart. God bless, all my love xxxx

marchant8 said...

It's absolutely heart breaking looking at everything poor Tyler went through. I pray that you guys find some peace just knowing that he isn't suffering anymore. Nobody should ever have to go through what tyler did especially a child. Gabriel looks exactly like his big brother & that is so awesome that you guys took so many pictures of all 3 boys together as Dawson & Gabriel get older they will cherish them. I'm sorry that you guys lost your little boy & will keep you in my prayers.

shalesa said...

One of my friends was a follower of prayers for Tyler so I clicked it to see what was going on. Since then I became a follower and your family has been in my thoughts and prayers since. I have a 3 yr old and an 1 year old. Just looking at your pictures really touched my heart. I wish the best for your family. When times get hard stay strong and look to the future with your 2 boys. And always hold on to your happy memories.

Laura Linn said...

Dear Steph, I am crying for you and your family reading the whole story again from start to finish, and i can only say that sorry could never be enough to tell you. I cannot imagine losing my babies. Tyler will live on inside all of us who loved him. He was an inspiration to me and so many of us, most of which never even knew him. Your strength is uncomparable... And the reason Tyler was so happy and such a beautiful loving boy who will NEVER be forgotten is because of you and your unending love. It's that love that will keep him with you always and help you move forward just a little more each new day. I am always here for you, and will love and remember your little angel for the rest of my life. Rest peacefully sweet Tyler <3

Crystal said...

I sit here with tears streaming down my face. My heart breaks for you and your family. I can't begin to imagine the heartache of having to watch your precious boy go through all that. I lost my son, Nathan on July 21, 2011. He was, however, already gone when I was induced and delivered him. I'm praying that 2012 will be filled with new happy and cherished memories for your family... knowing that your sweet boy is watching over you, along with mine.

Missy said...

I am so sorry for your loss.....I came in toward the end of Tylers journey and something about him just touched my heart....I think it is amazing how never meeting this adorable little boy or his family one can become so close and touched....He is sooo beautiful and reading your blog all the time makes my heart hurt for all of brings me to tears....and now you and your family have started a new journey that is only going to be harder than the's not fair....the pictures in your blog (although every one of them are beautiful) they are heart breaking also....You are in my thoughts and prayers always....hoping you find peace and comfort through all of your healing....And last, Thank you so much for sharing him and his story...He is one special lil boy... XXxxXX to all of you....

The K's said...

You are strong women. I hope 2012 brings healing and happiness your way.

Lee said...

That was beautifully written Stephanie. So well written in fact, this is the first time I've looked at pics of Tyler during the end and not cried my eyes out. I felt more at peace looking at them. And I know that's mainly because you are feeling so optimistic. I know you are grieving every single day, but you're showing so much strength and love for your other 2 boys. I'm so proud of you. XOXO Lee

Lise B. H. said...

You never stops to amaze me Stephanie.
You are a true inspiration.
SOmetimes it feels like I know you, probably because our connection as momcologist.
You seem so strong, remember yourself.
Big hugs and hopes for a better 2012