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Sober Mommies Recovery Baby Born Dependent

My Recovery Baby Was Born Dependent

When I got pregnant, the doctors switched my medication to Subutex because it was "safer" for the baby. My baby was born dependent.

I suffered periods of opioid addiction for eight years. In the end, there were more bad times than good ones. At first, I could stop cold turkey and reel myself in, but the last time I tried to stop, I couldn’t. I was powerless. The urges to use were too strong and overpowered my desire to quit.

I hit rock bottom when I drained my $18,000 trust fund. At least, I thought that was my bottom.

I saw a doctor on January 2, 2012, to quit for good. Because I was unable to stop on my own, too drugged up to be that brave, the doctor prescribed Suboxone. I was successful in my recovery for two and half years. Then I truly hit rock bottom.

I never would have imagined that after almost three years sober my addiction could come back to haunt me. But I did. In May, I gave birth a sweet baby girl; my first child.

When I got pregnant, the doctors switched my medication to Subutex because it was “safer” for the baby. They told me that most babies born dependent are in and out of the NICU in approximately 14 days. I believed them. I had no reason or evidence to doubt them. My poor girl was not as lucky as “most babies,”—She was in the NICU for a full 35 days.

For 35 long days, I watched my daughter suffer. She suffered more than I ever suffered. She is stronger than I will ever be.

Watching my baby scream in pain and discomfort due to my addiction was the most gut-wrenching experience I have ever endured. It was in those moments, watching her, that I hit my final bottom.

Before my daughter was born, I was confident in my sobriety. I didn’t think I would ever relapse. After watching my poor baby in the NICU for 35 days, I made a promise that I will never do another drug ever again.

My love bug is doing much better now. The only lasting effect is that she is super-sneezy and gets over stimulated much easier than an average baby. Both are issues with her central nervous system and both will resolve by the time she is around six months old.

My sweet girl’s journey has been long and hard. I cried so much when she was put into the NICU. It was honestly one of the most humbling experiences of my entire life. We were alone, just the two of us, for 35 days.

Our bond is unbreakable.

During our five-week hospital stay, I learned a lot about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), and I hope someday my knowledge will assist someone else, making her journey a little easier than mine was. If I can use this horrible experience to help even just one new mom, I’d feel complete.

If you are pregnant and currently taking Suboxone, Subutex, Methadone, Percocet, Heroin, or any other opioid, speak to your doctor about potential complications.*

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I could never have made it through this without my sober sisters. You will all have a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. You inspire me to be a strong mommy and to succeed every day.

I love you!

*Please speak with your health care professional before making ANY decisions to change or discontinue prescribed medication. 

If you are in need of assistance, please visit our RESOURCES page. If you do not find what you’re looking for, please contact us so we may help you find the resource right for you.

This brave and powerful post was submitted Anonymously.

original photo credit: moominmolly via photopin cc

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  1. Sunshine you are such a strong, brave Mommy! My love and admiration for you is beyond words that I can express! I’m sure your story will help many mother’s and I for one will definitely share your story with other’s in hopes of it helping and healing other Mom’s 🙂

    1. Thank you, Lindsay! You are one of the few who know how long and hard those 5 weeks were. But I wouldn’t trade those weeks for the world. The bond I have with my daughter is stronger than one can ever imagine. I know her pain and she knows mine. We have a connection that just can’t be duplicated. She is my sunshine, as you would say! 🙂 And I think of you every time I tell her that!

  2. I love that you wrote this and can pave the way to help someone else through your experience. Being pregnant is hard enough…at least it was for me. This is such important dialogue to be had. Thanks for throwing it out there!

    1. Thank you, Lauren. This story has already been a huge success! It’s done exactly what I was hoping it’d do. I am so eager to finally have an opportunity to help people. In my neck of the woods, clinics and programs don’t let u volunteer unless Uve completed a 12 step program, which I have not. I am so thankful Julie has given me the opportunity to help people. I am thankful for all of you guys.

      1. My son was born with withdrawal symptoms and lung problems due to my use of tramadol while pregnant. Which is a non-narcotic but potent pain med. It was the most shameful, anxiety ridden 11 days in the NICU. He is almost 5 now, healthy and full of light and energy. I am so thankful. But I wonder so often what the long term effects will be. He is still sensitive to loud noise, and he is very hyperactive. Is this because of that? I don’t know. I carry this with me always. Thank you for your story.

  3. I had two babies while on a methadone maintenance program. I would love to be able to share my stories as well. Mine are not as eventful as yours but they could be beneficial to someone on MMT while pregnant.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad that your little one is doing much better. Your journey is so heartwarming and very inspiring. Sending many hugs!

  5. my sister also gave birth while on subutex. Her daughter didn’t suffer any withdrawal fortunately. In fact all of the babies who were born to the people in my outpatient clinic never had any withdrawal issues. I think it has a lot to do with dose and how educated the dr is about the subutex and pregnancy. Just because a dr is licensed to prescribe it doesn’t mean they are doing it right which I had to learn the hard way. That’s awful that you had to go through that.

    1. I would really like to speak to one of you ladies that took subutex through your entire pregnancy. I’m due next week and scared to death. Google is not helping with the fear, guilt, and shame.

  6. I was one of the lucky ones that my angel didn’t suffer any withdrawal either. I finally entered rehab at 21 weeks and was prescribed subutex. Not many people know because of all of the shame that comes along with it but I had to do what was best for me and my life at the time.

  7. can my baby experience withdrawl symptoms if i have him 3 days clean??

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