In what should be one of the happiest times in the lives of Carl Dennis and girlfriend Laraza, an unexpected surge of anxiety and uncertainty have been introduced.
The couple recently welcomed their first child into the world, a daughter – Valisy. It wasn’t the smoothest arrival, however. The child was born almost three weeks before her due date. The delivery was successful, though Valisy had to undergo some extra monitoring for low blood sugar.
Days after the family returned home, however, the couple noticed their daughter had a lump on her nipple. After returning to see the doctor, they were informed Valisy would have to return to hospital care to ensure she receive antibiotics as needed and to be monitored. She was ultimately diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant staph infection.
Thankfully, this part of the story has a happy ending – after a couple of longer than expected hospital stays, Valisy is back home and in good health.
The uncertainty comes in, however, with Dennis’ job status. Just days after Valisy was readmitted to the hospital, the 30-year-old Des Allemands man was let go from his job as a bartender, the reason cited as too much time away from work.
“I had let them know I’d need some time around her due date,” Dennis said. “I had to take some time around then, for the doctor’s appointments … then staying with (Laraza) during the delivery and her recovery. I went back to work, but then the (staph infection) happened.”
He returned to work, but with a pair of appointments upcoming, he asked co-workers to cover those shifts and they agreed. But shortly after locking that in, Dennis received a call: he was being fired.
“They said they hired someone else. I felt like I’d asked for the time off, and had it covered,” Dennis said. “They had offered me two months of unpaid leave, but I couldn’t afford to be out of work for that long. I’m a bartender and I don’t have that kind of money saved up. It kind of blindsided me.”
Part of the issue could have come down to bad timing. Shortly before Laraza went into labor, Dennis had to take a week off due to illness. Combined with the premature arrival of Valisy and the extra time at the hospital due to the staph infection, it may have added up to an unfortunate situation.
“I told them I was still feeling sick, but should I come in? I was told to stay home … and I don’t think anyone should go to work at a restaurant or hospital while feeling sick,” Dennis said.
But the situation is as it is, and at a time where he needs stable footing the most, Dennis has had the rug pulled out from underneath him and says it’s a struggle to make ends meet as he looks for a new job.
“I’d just bought a car, as well, before all of this,” Dennis said. “To be honest, I’m kind of a little terrified on the inside. But I try to go on like everything will be OK, to find that strength and push forward. It’s been kind of scary not knowing what to do next.”
He began a GoFundMe page, titled “Laid off after having a baby,” in hopes of helping sustain things before finding his next career road.
One plus for the young family, though, is its support group. Dennis said both his and Laraza’s families have been extremely supportive – the couple and their daughter are living with family right now as they begin to raise their child.
“That’s been a much-appreciated security blanket for us,” Dennis said. “Anything we’ve needed, they’ve been there, my family and her family alike. They’re super supportive. We’re so lucky to have that kind of help and support.”