It was November 2006 and Amber Ryan was looking forward to seeing her boyfriend Ty for a rare mid-week date. So she perfected her hair, dressed up and called to let him know she was ready. But Ty wasn’t the one who answered the phone, and the person on the other end had some terrible news.
Amber, from Westphalia, Texas, lived her life like any other typical high school girl. She went to classes and, earlier in 2006 had started dating a boy who lived close by, called Ty Ryan.
Amber and Ty were crazy for each other. However, they weren’t rushing into things, and mostly reserved their meetings for the weekend. But the couple decided to make an exception one Thursday evening, four months into their relationship.
The idea of a mid-week date came to Amber while she was studying chemistry, and Ty agreed to meet her. So she informed her boyfriend she’d get ready that afternoon and give him a call when she had finished. The pair had no reason to believe their date would be anything other than wonderful.
In a post on the website Love What Matters, Amber described how her afternoon progressed. “There it was, Thursday, November 2, 2006,” she said. “I remember exactly what I had on that day. How I fixed my hair, and exactly how excited I was to see my sweet boyfriend Ty for our evening [together].”
But Amber got a surprise when she called Ty that fateful day. Indeed, it wasn’t he who answered the phone, which left his girlfriend confused. “When Ty’s phone was answered at 4:16 p.m., I knew that [it] was not his voice,” she recounted.
Amber asked who she was talking to, and the answer only deepened the mystery. She recalled how the person on the other end identified himself as the assistant principle of Ty’s school. Furthermore, he had some worrying news.
“I just came upon a car accident on my way home,” Amber quoted the teacher as saying. “It’s Ty and he is not good, can you come here?” Luckily, Amber’s dad was available to give her a lift, and they raced to the scene.
Thoughts raced through Amber’s head as she and her father made their way to the accident site. And then another thought occurred. She’d have to inform Ty’s parents about what had happened.
“I [had] only known them for four months,” Amber continued. “And now I [had] to call them and say that their 17-year-old son is ‘not good?’” Regardless, she made the call and later came across the chaos on the road.
“We pulled up to the scene and I jumped out as fast as my dad could stop the truck,” Amber wrote. “One vehicle accident. Two ambulances. Multiple fire trucks and police cars. One helicopter. I repeat – one helicopter. It really was not good.”
After some searching, Ty’s distraught girlfriend spotted him surrounded by medics. He was lying on the ground, and a pile of ants were sinking their jaws into him. But he had bigger worries. “The paramedics were asking Ty to move his legs and feet. He couldn’t. No movement,” Amber said.
Amber told Love What Matters that as soon as Ty saw his girlfriend, he met her gaze. He was even conscious enough to greet her while the first responders assessed his injuries. “The paramedics were asking Ty to move his legs and feet,” Amber recalled. “He couldn’t. No movement.”
At this point, Amber was overcome with worry for her boyfriend. She confirmed Ty’s identification with police, but she couldn’t take her eyes away from what the first responders were doing with her sweetheart.
Amber watched the paramedics fit Ty with a neck brace and whisk him off into an air ambulance. Her mind swirled further with unanswered questions as she left to follow him to the hospital. And she wasn’t the only one fearing for the young man’s life, either.
Ty’s parents joined Amber in the hospital waiting room. “We are all desperate for answers,” Amber recalled in her Love What Matters post. “Does he have a pulse? A heartbeat? Is he alive?” Meanwhile, the doctors worked hard to determine how injured their patient was.
Hours later, specialists called the families in for a meeting to discuss Ty’s condition. The young man was alive, but he had an incomplete spinal cord injury as a result of his accident. “He is now hooked up to countless wires, tubes and a halo attached to his head,” Amber continued.
In fact, the authorities also identified the cause of Ty’s accident: something was wrong with his truck. One of its tires had a loose lug nut, and the wheel detached from the vehicle completely. It led to Ty’s crash and his current condition.
Because Amber had arranged that evening’s date, she questioned her responsibility for Ty’s condition. Meanwhile, her boyfriend was on the operating table as surgeons attempted to save his mobility.
“The next day being Friday, he had a nine-hour surgery to repair his injury…,” Amber wrote in her post on Love What Matters. ”He had the best surgeons in the area doing their very best to regain any type of movement possible.”
“Ty had one plate, two rods and 14 screws placed,” Amber continued. “The surgery went as planned, and we were just praying for the best. He remained sedated through the weekend to allow his body to rest and heal a little.”
While she waited for news on Ty, Amber returned to school. The stress on the young girl, who was just 16 at the time, must have been immense. Fortunately, she didn’t have to wait long for an update. Ty wanted to see her on Monday when he regained consciousness.
“My heart had never been so happy,” Amber wrote. “Wait, is this really what it feels like to be in love with someone? I made it to his ICU unit and locked eyes with him… He was smiling, while I could not control my tears.”
Amber continued, “His face and hair still had dirt mixed with some dried blood on it. And he had not brushed his teeth in four days, but I kissed him anyway. It was in that moment, that I truly knew I loved him and was really in love with him.”
It took two more weeks before Ty was released from the ICU, but his recovery was far from over. Indeed, Amber’s boyfriend remained in inpatient care for around six weeks. Yet despite his injuries, Ty didn’t let his studies slip, and continued high school education from the hospital.
Throughout Ty’s ordeal, Amber continued their weekend reunions. “Without fail, we spent every moment together that we could, no matter the distance,” She added. “As the years went on, we learned more about living Ty’s new normal – in a wheelchair. There was still no movement or feeling below the chest.”
Amber added, “He now does not use the restroom the same as you and I. He has to take routine medicine… And he now needs help with getting in and out of cars.”
However, Ty’s girlfriend also said that what the accident didn’t touch was his wonderful personality. She added, “What has not changed is the caring, patient and loving person that Ty is. How did I get so lucky?” From there, that love only continued to grow.
The pair continued their lives together through college until Ty proposed in 2009. And two years later, Amber married her high school sweetheart. After a hometown ceremony with 1,100 guests invited, Ty’s girlfriend became his wife.
But Ty and Amber didn’t stop at marriage. Indeed, they desired the whole family experience. With that in mind, they started trying for children. However, after eight months with no success, Amber feared there was an obstacle to their conception.
Sure enough, Amber’s instinct was correct, but it had nothing to do with Ty’s accident. “After numerous tests on the both of us, we found out it was me,” she wrote. “My body is the reason we are not conceiving a precious baby. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome.”
Although Amber and Ty had tried many different medical solutions to combat the condition, they were all fruitless. Consequently, the couple decided to fall back on an option they’d considered in the past: adoption. And an agency in Texas later accepted their application in December 2015.
“Each month would pass and we continued to be a little more anxious,” Amber recounted. “Haven’t we waited for a baby long enough over the years? Our hearts would sink every time the adoption agency would call.” Then one day, the couple’s patience was rewarded.
Amber said, “We finally received the call after seven months. … A precious birth mom chose us to love and parent her baby. What a gift!” The future parents met with their benefactor several times before the baby’s October 2016 birth.
Both Amber and Ty were present when their adopted child came into the world. He was given the name Tucker, and after a two-day hospital stay, he was officially theirs. Yet despite the couple’s joy, their parting from the baby’s birth mother was bittersweet.
Amber was so touched by the generosity of Tucker’s biological mommy, she found it hard to say goodbye. But that wasn’t the last the couple saw of her. “Still to this day, we have contact with his birth mom and speak with her weekly,” Amber wrote.
And the joy of having Tucker made Amber and Ty consider having more children. It was a topic they had discussed after the infant’s first birthday. “… We decided in January that we would see our infertility specialist and see if there was anything new since we last saw him a couple years ago,” she said.
“To our surprise, [the infertility specialists were offering] a new procedure… And, after an ultrasound, they confirmed I was a candidate.” Even so, at first it didn’t look like Amber’s body could provide enough eggs to make the process work. However, a different specialist later confirmed the contrary.
“Here I am now eight months pregnant with a… baby boy that is due in December,” Amber said. “… Is our life perfect? No way, far from it. But at the end of the day, we are healthy, grateful and loved. What more can you ask for?”
In November 2018 Amber proudly posted a picture of herself on social media showing her baby shower. It’s been an incredible journey of triumph over adversity for both herself and Ty. But their love has endured, and hopefully the future holds nothing but the best for them.