Tyler was a precious little baby, but oh boy was he little! Born prematurely at 27 weeks, he weighed just 2 lbs 4 oz. Experiencing preemie complications, Tyler required major surgery and his mother had some serious decisions to make …
Roxanne Maltman’s water broke at the end of her second trimester – at 3 pm on March 1st, 2010 to be exact. She went to the General Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie where she was admitted; however, this hospital was not equipped to care for a baby of that gestational age so she was flown to London’s St. Joseph's Hospital. The plan was for her to stay on bed rest in the hope that labour would not start immediately. That is until Tyler started exhibiting fetal distress and his heart rate kept dropping. Three hours into Roxanne’s stay at St. Joseph's, after an ultrasound proved unhelpful at determining a cause for the fetal distress, the decision was made to perform a C-section. Tyler was born at 3:23 am on March 2nd, 2010.
Roxanne stayed in-hospital for almost a week after she had Tyler. Once she was discharged she made a quick trip home to pack some belongings before returning to London and checking into Ronald McDonald House on March 11th, for what would turn into a 158 night stay. With the House located just steps from London Health Sciences Centre, Roxanne would take the London Regional Cancer Program shuttle bus from LHSC to St. Joseph’s Hospital every morning to spend the day caring for her son.
As Roxanne and Tyler’s departure date from the NICU was expected to be in July and they were making preparations to be transferred back to Sault Ste. Marie the unexpected happened. Tyler exhausted himself and had to be resuscitated then intubated and was put back on mechanical ventilation. An MRI revealed that Tyler had bilateral paralysis of the vocal cords, which meant he was unable to expel all the carbon dioxide from his system when breathing. The carbon dioxide built up in his system until the point of exhaustion.
From there Roxanne had two options: a) to agree to a tracheotomy or b) leave Tyler on a ventilator and wait for him to grow bigger and stronger in the hope that his vocal cords would do the same. Roxanne made the decision she felt was best for her son, to go ahead with the tracheotomy, and Tyler was transferred to the PCCU at London Health Sciences Centre on June 20th. At this time Tyler was still too tiny for the procedure so they had a 3 week stay in the PCCU until the doctors would go ahead with the surgery. The tracheotomy was done successfully, and Tyler required a 6 week stay in the Paediatric Ward for recovery. During this time, Roxanne learned to care for her son in preparation to finally take him home – making the two minute walk from Ronald McDonald House each morning at 7 am to spend the entire day at Tyler’s bedside until 1 am.
The House gave her a warm bed to come back to and the ability to make it to her son’s side in an instant whenever she needed to. Tyler ended up spending an equal amount of weeks hospitalized as he did in utero before Roxanne was able to take him home.
Today, Tyler is in junior kindergarten and doctors here in London are being very accommodating, ensuring he misses as little class as possible for follow up appointments. To date, the Maltmans have spent 246 nights at the House, planning to return to London in 2015 for their 19th stay with us since 2010. Tyler and Roxanne are truly a part of our House family—the staff and volunteers always look forward to seeing Tyler running around the dining room and Roxanne looks forward to having the support of their “home away from home”.
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