Parking Costs At Sunnybrook Hospital
When a fellow mom from a local Facebook group reached out to me today with a story I was all too familiar with and asked me to share I knew it was something I wanted to do.
As many of you know, Bella was born premature. Six weeks premature to be exact! She almost died. I almost died. It was a very scary and heartbreaking time in my life, one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
I was to deliver via scheduled c-section at Sunnybrook hospital where my high-risk OB practiced. When I went into preterm labor I headed to the closest hospital to my home which happened to be Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill. When Bella was born, their NICU couldn’t handle her high level of care so she was transported to St. Mike’s hospital in downtown Toronto. Her stay at St. Mike’s although short did not make it easy to be present. I personally don’t have my license and had just had a very rough and urgent c-section to save both our lives. The healing and pain was much different from my previous c-section with Hailee where I was home cooking and cleaning within 24 hours.
The ride from our home in Richmond Hill to St. Mike’s in Toronto just after the ice storm of 2013 to see Bella was rough. It was also an expensive one between gas and parking at the hospital. She was soon transferred back to Mackenzie Health (2-3 days after birth) when she leveled down and was doing much better.
Even though she was close to home the cost to be present in our new tiny baby’s life added up. Every day, for the remaining days of her NICU stay, I took a cab to and from the hospital in the morning. I don’t drive, Steve still had to work, and the public transit in York Region is horrible to say the least. It was nearly $40 round-trip each and every morning I visited my baby. In the evening once Steve would get home from work, the two of us would hop in the van and drive to the hospital where we would pay outrageous prices to park just to see our baby.
Much like Maggie, we did not plan to have a premature baby. We did not plan on her needing to be in the NICU for 18 days. We did not plan on spending every penny of our savings on cab fare and parking fees. I didn’t have the benefit of being on Maternity Leave as I am self-employed. I actually hadn’t worked in months leading up to Bella’s arrival due to being high-risk and for months afterwards due to lengthy healing process. It was hard work to build up that savings which would have helped us out financially until I was able to come back to blogging and start earning an income again, and in a blink of an eye that savings was gone.
I relied on the kindness of others in that time to help us with the last handful of things we still had not picked up for her arrival like a crib mattress, blankets and more. Every day I would open my front door there would be a box of donations which brought me to tears. Us moms can really rally together around those in need.
So today I am asking us parents to rally together, to make our voices heard, to bring a change to parking fees when it comes to those with extended stays at a hospital. It is not right for a family to have to pay thousands of dollars just to be present in their fragile baby’s life. Many simply can’t afford it and are forced to be less present when what the baby’s needs most next to the amazing care in the NICU is their parents. This isn’t just happening at Sunnybrook Hospital, it is happening at hospitals across Canada (and the world).
Please read Maggie’s letter to the Sunnybrook Administrators below and then SHARE this post.
An Open Letter To Sunnybrook Hospital’s Administrators
Something needs to be done and maybe we should also all call/email our local MP’s to demand financial relief for those faced with lengthy hospital stays/visits.
Do you have a similar story? Share it with us in the comment section below!