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My pregnancy was healthy and manageable until about two weeks before my due date. I started having trouble chewing, swallowing, and closing my mouth and one eye. I found out I had muscle paralysis on one side of my face. This lead to me delivering earlier than planned and going through quite a painful and lengthy birth. Luckily I planned to be out for 12 weeks on unpaid leave and had financial resources to help (saved PTO and sick hours and also short-term disability.) But the medical expenses for both me and baby soon piled up. And each doctor or hospital wanted me to pay $300+/month.

Nothing prepared me for the struggles I experienced with dealing with my muscle paralysis, healing from an unexpected c-section, failing at breastfeeding most days, and adapting to no sleep due to my beautiful, loud newborn.

I wasn’t emotionally or physically ready to return to work at twelve weeks. It was also torture to be away from my child for 8 hours a day.

Sheena, Elkhorn, Nebraska