For his family, the brief time Thomas Boechler spent with them did not diminish the depth of their love for him. According to his grandfather, Dan McDonald, “It is true what people say -life is always a mixture of joy and pain. It is also true that while the pain never goes away, its deepest depths are slowly filled-in by joy, and life continues.”
In late August, 2005, Thomas’ mother Melissa was visiting her parents with her daughter, Nicole. Melissa was about five months into a very high risk pregnancy and had been warned to go to the hospital at the first sign of any bleeding. This information saved her life. While enjoying a peaceful family visit on August 20, Melissa noticed some bleeding and an ambulance was immediately called. Once she was at Royal University Hospital, despite excellent medical care, the bleeding would not stop. Later that day, the family called for Eric, her husband to come home from Alberta.
Despite the family’s hope that all could be well, by August 21 the only option to save Melissa was to have an emergency Caesarean section. Baby Thomas then began his life. Sadly, Thomas was too small and premature to survive and died shortly after birth. Melissa, Eric and Nicole, and all the family, were devastated by Thomas’ very short life.
Meanwhile, Melissa was still fighting to save her own life. She had lost over ten units of blood and was still bleeding. The next step might have been to remove her uterus, and with it any chance of more children. Fortunately, Melissa received excellent care from Dr. Annette Epp. Dr. Epp proposed using nuclear medicine to cauterize the bleeding -a technique never before used in Saskatoon. Dr. Epp’s brilliant and innovative solution saved Melissa’s life; Dr. Epp is forever in the family’s thoughts and prayers.
Since then, Melissa has had another baby, Ian Douglas Boechler, thanks to help from Dr. Epp and all the staff at RUH.
Even now, as the family rejoices in its newest member, all of them will always love, miss and remember Thomas. They established the Baby Thomas Boechler Memorial Fund for Royal University Hospital to honour his memory, give thanks for the excellent care they received, and to help other families in their times of direst need. Even now, as the family rejoices in its newest member, all of them will always love, miss and remember Thomas.