Kaamilya Hobbs, eight months pregnant at the time, tried to stay out of her sweltering Kansas City apartment as much as possible during the record-setting heat wave in August.
But there was no escaping the stifling heat and thick humidity at night.
Hobbs, 31, and her partner were behind on their electric bill, and the company had turned their power off earlier in the month. Hobbs tossed and turned in bed for nearly three weeks, barely sleeping. Their 18-month-old baby screamed because it was so hot.
"There was no way to cool him off except for using paper fans," she said.
Hobbs has worked at Arby's for the past four years, where she makes minimum wage. Her schedule had been cut to 20 hours. Her partner lost his job several months ago; he now stays at home with their baby and sells his plasma twice a week.
It hasn't been enough to make ends meet.
"We're trying to make it work," Hobbs said. "But it's very difficult."
In America, twice as many women as men earn the minimum wage. In Missouri, the number of women living in poverty has increased despite more women earning bachelor's degrees. Working full-time at the $12-an-hour minimum wage would earn a Missouri worker just below $25,000 annually. That's assuming not a single day is taken off.
Missouri does not require companies to offer any paid maternity or family leave.
Hobbs said that after her first baby was born, her manager at Arby's asked her to come back to work a week later. She took additional unpaid time off then, but she's not sure what she will do this time.
She and her partner have fallen about $1,400 behind on the rent.
Her due date is Oct. 8.
Her family's eviction date is the next day. They don't have another place to stay yet.
"We have to figure that out," Hobbs said.
During the days when the temperature was over 100 degrees, she focused on staying hydrated, especially since her pregnancy is high-risk. One night, the temperature in their apartment got so high, she couldn't even keep water down. She was throwing up whenever she tried to drink.
She ended up in the emergency room with heat exhaustion.
The lack of power meant they couldn't keep the baby's milk cold in the fridge. They had to switch him back to formula, which doesn't have to be refrigerated. She used the DailyPay program at work, which allows hourly employees to get paid for the hours worked on the same day, just to keep up with diapers and some basic expenses.
"I hate us not being able to provide everything that he needs," she said.
Listening to her story, it's hard to imagine that in a country as wealthy as America, the most vulnerable people live in these conditions: A mother with a baby at home, in her third trimester of pregnancy, is working as many hours as she can get and is still barely hanging on to an apartment without air conditioning or electricity during the hottest days of the year.
It is shameful that it's so difficult to get assistance in these situations.
Hobbs said it was painful for her to share her family's story. She doesn't like asking for help. A social worker has given the family a list of resources to call. Hobbs, who has been exhausted these days, hopes to connect with an organization that might be able to help them find a place to move next month after she gives birth.
Recently, someone at her job heard through the grapevine that her family had been without power for a few weeks.
One of her Arby's co-workers paid off their $500 bill so their lights could be turned back on.
Hobbs found out during one of her shifts and started crying.
"It was really hard for me to hear that," she said. "But I was really grateful for it."
She said she couldn't thank her co-worker enough.
That night, she slept.