Contact the court reporter, typically a court reporter works with a specific judge most of the time, so you can probably find this information (who the reporter was and how to contact them) from the circuit clerk. Transcripts are not cheap, and your appeal is more likely to succeed if you have an attorney handling it for you.
Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only, and does not create an attorney client relationship.
The court reporter present at the trial or hearing should be contacted. You can request an estimate of cost for a copy.
The answers given are not to be considered legal advice or the retention of an attorney. Every case is unique and cannot be adequately addressed in a forum such as this. You should immediately contact an attorney of your choice for a consultation and in depth analysis of each individuals case.
I am puzzled about why you proceeded without an attorney; counsel's death is a pretty good excuse for not showing up. Did you ask for time to retain someone new? Did the court force you to proceed? That could be a good issue on appeal. The advising-of-appellate-rights question was answered elsewhere.
I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice, and I disclaim any liability for the outcome if you do. Any opinions offered on matters outside New York State are for general informational purposes only.