by on August 11, 2013

Sometime after I got pregnant, Geoff started to look for a new job. His job at the time was fairly low paying and did not take advantage of his skills. But it was the best he could manage when he first arrived, a little under a year before, as a new immigrant.

I was working as a web content administrator, and in May, I was in between contracts. I managed to get another one fairly quickly. But, because it was contract work, when I abruptly had to finish work in November, it meant that I was suddenly not making any money (a bit over half of our combined wages). And I wouldn’t be for the over two months remaining in my contract. With the period of no work earlier in the year, the departure meant that my ability to collect maternity benefits might be in jeopardy as well. As it turned out, I qualified, but only barely: had I left a few days earlier, I wouldn’t have had the needed hours.

So when Geoff was offered an interview on the 25th, he took it. He was honest about what was happening in his life, and he got the position. Our financial worries were also mitigated by my success in applying for sick leave. While many NICU moms had to start their maternity leave with the birth of their babies (some of whom spent 6 months or more in hospital), I was fortunate to be able to delay my benefits.

I was able to provide milk, which gave me at least gave me the chance to feel useful to Audrey. But of course Geoff couldn’t. So when he was approached to give a directed blood donation, to be held for Audrey in case of the need for blood transfusions (which were likely), he quickly agreed. He continues to give blood regularly.

While my condition was so unstable, he spent many evenings trying to sleep on a hard chair, because there were not enough sleeping chairs. One night, he was so exhausted that he lay down on the floor beside my bed with his coat as a blanket. Until a nurse came in to check on me and discovered him. After that, there was a sleeping chair.

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