Maternity leave after the NICU? — The Bump
Multiples

Maternity leave after the NICU?

My twin girls were born 16 weeks early on 10/7/14. They've been in the NICU 115 days so far, but our baby A is getting close to coming home; baby B will have several weeks to go, but she's doing great.

I went back to work as soon as I could (10/27) in hopes of saving my maternity leave for when the girls got home, however, I just spoke with my short term disability provider and he said I don't have a claim since maternity leave is mean for you to heal, not just be home with your baby. He said I need a doctor to say that I can't work.

I know I'm not the first mom in this scenario - has this happened to anyone else? Did you get your paid maternity leave or did you have to take unpaid time off?

I've tried to be strong during the last 4 months, but this might push me beyond my breaking point. I feel like I was cheated out of almost half my pregnancy and missed out on things moms get to experience...and this feels like it'll be another big thing I lose out on. I hope no one thinks my priorities are out of whack; I'm so grateful I have both of my girls and that they get to come home...I've just set my heart on being able to have this leave and bond with my babies. :(

Re: Maternity leave after the NICU?

  • I work in HR and your provider is correct. FMLA is for you to heal yourself or take care of family member. It provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for you/job. At my job, there is no paid maternity leave, you have to take vacation/sick time you've accrued to get paid during those 12 weeks. If you don't have enough time, then it's unpaid. I understand it's hard and not the ideal situation but the maternity leave ideally should have been taken when the girls were born, not when they're going home.
    Me: 32, DH: 34.
    Trying since Jan 2011. Unexplained IF.
    2 IUIs = BFN.
    1 IVF (Dec 2013) = BFN.
    FET, 2 frosties (June 13, 2014)

    14dp5dt-June 27 -BFP, beta 2061. 2nd beta >5000, 3rd beta >5000, 2 sacs 06/30.
    Twin Girls - 02/11/15 - at 37 weeks (no NICU, home with me at 3 days).
    PeaceofKia
  • Is your concern that you be allowed the time? Or that you get paid? I believe FMLA allows time off to care for babies, or any family member (and I highly doubt you need to take it only at birth). Getting paid could be difficult though- it's often via short term disability that covers your recovery, but not time to care for others.
    Doesn't sound at all like your priorities are out of whack. I hope they're home soon with you.
  • I'm sorry but I am so glad your babies are close to coming home.

    There is not really such a thing as "maternity leave" that is protected by the government. Unfortunately, all we are entitled to is FMLA, which is 12 weeks of UNPAID leave per year to care for a sick family member/baby, during which time your job is "safe."

    STD is only if you, personally, are ill for an extended period of time.  STD was only a few hundred a month - it was not anywhere close to reimbursing me my salary.

    I also felt cheated out of maternity leave because I was on bed rest for 6 weeks, which cut into my 12 week FMLA allotment.  I did put together some paid and unpaid vacation and stayed home with them for 10 weeks.

    Talk to your HR person though.  They can always grant you more time or work something out, albeit it likely will not be paid.  FMLA is the minimum, companies can give a better benefit.

    D & L are here at 34 weeks 4 days by vaginal and breech delivery on 11/19/2013
    Two healthy boys weighing 4 lbs 15 ozs and 4 lbs 5 ozs.  Only 6 days in the NICU and getting bigger, stronger and cuter every day! 
  • FMLA is paid for 6 wks at 55% and an additional 6wks unpaid can be taken. Your job is secure during those 12 wks. It can be taken anytime during the babies first year of birth. Your DH is also given this time.
    Diagnosed MFI- low sperm count  
    DS-Born 7/27/11 After 2 years of IF we have our little man
    TTC#2 January 2013
    11 Medicated cycles gave us
    B/G Twins born 10/8/14 @ 32 weeks
  • FMLA is paid for 6 wks at 55% and an additional 6wks unpaid can be taken. Your job is secure during those 12 wks. It can be taken anytime during the babies first year of birth. Your DH is also given this time.

    I'm pretty sure this varies by employer, and some don't pay anything. Mine will pay 100% for 4 weeks and 50% for 2 weeks for a vaginal birth. C-section gets you 2 more weeks at half pay. Anything beyond that, up to the FMLA max (generally 12 weeks, but varies by state), is vacation or unpaid time.
  • @BabyKsMommy‌ - depends on employer. Mine doesn't give ANY paid FMLA time
    Me: 32, DH: 34.
    Trying since Jan 2011. Unexplained IF.
    2 IUIs = BFN.
    1 IVF (Dec 2013) = BFN.
    FET, 2 frosties (June 13, 2014)

    14dp5dt-June 27 -BFP, beta 2061. 2nd beta >5000, 3rd beta >5000, 2 sacs 06/30.
    Twin Girls - 02/11/15 - at 37 weeks (no NICU, home with me at 3 days).
  • vpine said:

    @BabyKsMommy‌ - depends on employer. Mine doesn't give ANY paid FMLA time

    It's not paid by the employer but by the state. It may just be a California thing. I don't have any benefits through my employer as I'm a part time employee.
    Diagnosed MFI- low sperm count  
    DS-Born 7/27/11 After 2 years of IF we have our little man
    TTC#2 January 2013
    11 Medicated cycles gave us
    B/G Twins born 10/8/14 @ 32 weeks
  • Texas does not pay any maternity benefits. I'm getting paid because I saved my sick and vacation.
  • minirella said:
    Texas does not pay any maternity benefits. I'm getting paid because I saved my sick and vacation.
    This is me too - I live in Houston
    Me: 32, DH: 34.
    Trying since Jan 2011. Unexplained IF.
    2 IUIs = BFN.
    1 IVF (Dec 2013) = BFN.
    FET, 2 frosties (June 13, 2014)

    14dp5dt-June 27 -BFP, beta 2061. 2nd beta >5000, 3rd beta >5000, 2 sacs 06/30.
    Twin Girls - 02/11/15 - at 37 weeks (no NICU, home with me at 3 days).
  • Yes, my concern is with getting paid.

    In a nutshell, we didn't think we could get pregnant. I got laid off in April, then found out in May we were pregnant...found out it was twins in June.

    I was rehired with my previous employer right after the girls were born, but I don't have any sick pay or PTO (everything was cashed out when I was laid off, now I'm part time to be with them more). Because we didn't think we could or would get pregnant, we just were financially prepared and can't really afford the unpaid time off.

    I've tried to stay positive since the girls were born, but I just want some semblance of a normal birth/mother experience and am devastated that everything is such a fight. After 4 months in the hospital, I just don't have the fight left in me.

    Based on conversations with the hospital staff, they've all said many mothers save their maternity leave for when their babies come home so I didn't think it would be an issue. I guess I should have done my homework 4 months ago. :(

  • Based on conversations with the hospital staff, they've all said many mothers save their maternity leave for when their babies come home so I didn't think it would be an issue. I guess I should have done my homework 4 months ago. :(

    Don't blame yourself, I would've assumed the same thing.  I think your employer really should've informed you when you went back that you wouldn't be able to use the time later, that was kind of crummy of them.

    I know NICU time is really, really hard, I'm sorry you've dealt with so much time there.  Hang tough Momma, they'll be home with you soon and all these struggles will blur in your memory - along with everything else, sleep deprivation does that to ya ;)  Good luck!!

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • edited July 2018
    @HeatedGoods - I know it has been years since your post, but I just gave birth to my son at 24 weeks and am struggling with the same maternity leave issue. I don’t have many mommas that can relate, but would love if you’re open to talk. 
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