The fall of 2012 was an exciting time for Donovan’s parents as they anxiously counted down the weeks until their son would be born. They were enjoying an easy and routine pregnancy and were looking forward to spending sixteen weeks of paid maternity and twelve weeks of paid paternity leave with their newborn son. Then one Saturday night at 31 weeks, Donovan’s mother started experiencing extreme pain and immediately went to the hospital. By the time they arrived, Donovan no longer had a heartbeat and was quickly delivered via an emergency C-section.
During the delivery, Donovan’s mother experienced severe complications and spent nine days in the hospital, six of those being in ICU. Two days after being discharged, she was rushed back to the hospital and required daily doctor visits thereafter for another two weeks. Besides the physical limitations from the C-section, her vision was temporarily impaired which required someone to care for her and drive her to all of her appointments.
In the midst of all of this, Donovan's father spent hours on the phone trying to get his employer to extend his bereavement leave due to these extreme unforeseen circumstances. His benefits administrator asked if the baby had taken a breath at birth which would have qualified him for his twelve weeks of paid leave. But because Donovan was stillborn and never took his first breath, they only approved him for five days. After losing his son and nearly losing his wife, he now had to worry about how he would manage giving up his income if he couldn't go back to work right away.
Fortunately, the family was introduced to an advocate who stepped in and took control of the situation. She fought with his employer and benefits administrator to do the right thing and make them realize that life is not always as black and white as their policies. Having this individual take charge of this exhausting battle allowed the family to focus their energy on recovering, grieving and making the final arrangements for their son.
After going through this ordeal, Donovan's parents wanted to offer support to other families experiencing the same tragedy. These families should be focusing on coming to terms with their loss rather than the stress of returning to work or the burden of sacrificing income to have additional time off. Donovan Delivers wants to be there so no mother has to grieve and recover alone.