Wed 2 Mar, 2016 04:35 pm
I gave birth to my son on October 13. I told my OB/GYN that I was on the medication suboxone when I found out that I was pregnant. He advised me to start weaning myself off of it so that the baby wouldn't suffer withdrawals. I started doing so immediately. My baby developed perfectly in the womb from all tests and ultrasounds. I went 4 days past 40 weeks, so at my last appointment my doctor told me to come back in the next night to start to be induced. From the start of my experience there it was bad. My nurse was very cold. She didn't seem to want to be there and after she saw in my chart that I had been on suboxone she got even colder. She asked me about it and I told her that I had been off of it for 7 weeks, that I had weaned myself off slowly, and that I hadn't had any serious withdrawals. When my contractions were coming really strong and about a minute apart I asked for my epidural. They asked me what my pain level was and when I told them a 9 my nurse and the doctor laughed at me and said if it was a 9 my head would be spinning around. I asked them if I started acting like a lunatic if they would give it to me then. They could look at the monitor and see my contractions, so he ordered the epidural. When he anesthesiologist got there about 20 min later, my contractions were so close together he almost didn't give it to me. I was able to hold still through them so that he could get the huge needle into my spine. Things were better then. The delivery was really easy. I only had to push a few times and my son came out looking perfect, calm, and alert. He was eating well and seemed like a happy newborn baby experiencing the world for the first time. Every once in a while, though, he would start to shake and it would only last for about 5 seconds. I didn't think much of it, because the same thing happened with my daughter when she was born. The nurse, though, immediately said that he was having withdrawals from my suboxone. She said this in front of my mom, and that was something that I didn't want my mom to know that I was taking. Aside from being astonished that she would break my confidentiality, I couldn't believe that she really thought that he was withdrawaling. He wasn't crying, or showing any signs of being in pain. The only thing that was wrong were these tremors. They started scoring him on the withdrawal chart that they use for babies. They were giving him points for things like, "runny stool" even though he had normal blackish meconium like all newborns do, which they definitely knew because they collected it to send to another hospital to test for drugs. They scored him for not sleeping for 4 hours, even though he had only been alive for 5, and they scored him because he could partially hold his head up. They said that his muscles were tense, even though the rest of his body was at ease. The rest of our time at that hospital was spent trying to tell the nurses that I had been off the meds so long that he shouldn't be withdrawaling from them and that we were worried that there might be something else wrong. They just kept saying, "all babies are different" over and over again, as if that were an explanation or answer for anything. They contacted Childrens hospital and arranged for a helicopter transport team to come get him. All this time a pediatrician had still not seen my son. When she got there she didn't even examine him herself. She just came into the room and told us what the nurses had found and that they were sending him to Childrens because they didn't have the medication (morphine) to give him there. We said that we wanted to take him to a different hospital to get a second opinion first and they threatened to call CPS on us. So we said that he could go to Childrens because we just wanted to get to a different hospital where someone would consider what we were saying. Even though they had given me a drug screen when I went in to be induced, they made it pretty clear that they thought that I had been doing drugs. My screen was clean, and the meconium that they collected from my son, which shows what the mother had done for about 4-6 month before delivery, only showed my medication.
When the transport team got there from Childrens hospital we talked to them and told them that we did not agree with the nurses that he was going through withdrawals and that we didn't want our son given morphine at Childrens until we got up there and spoke with a doctor outselves. They assured us that he wouldn't be given anything without our consent so we signed the papers for him to be taken there. I was discharged immediately and we made the hour trip up to Childrens hospital. When we got there and found our sons room there were several people standing around his crib. When the nurse practitioner saw us the first thing she said was, "Berger hospital scored him at a 12. We agree and we already gave him the morphine." We were stunned. I just c pulsing believe what I was hearing. There was nothing to do at that point. My partner and I were both in tears and scared of what was happening. I felt so bad for my son. This was at about 2 am, and the next morning after another dose of morphine he stopped eating. But he hadn't stopped shaking. His blood sugar got very low and he had to be given more meds. I knew enough about withdrawals to know that after 2 doses of morphine his shaking should have stopped and he should be eating bc he would be feeling better.
A social worker came to talk to us about what was going on since CPS would be involved. When we told her what was going on and what had gone on at the other hospital she couldn't believe it. She kept asking if maybe something had been miscommunicated, but it hadn't. She said that she would contact the doctor for us and the psychologist since we were both in a very sorry state. Confused, scared, and very very sad.
When the doctor came to talk to us we told her what had been going on and asked her if he was having withdrawals, why didn't they go away when he had been given morphine? She was the first person to actually listen to what we were saying, and she agreed with us. She sent the physical therapist to see us and the neurologist, both of which concluded that my son just had an immature nervous system; something that is pretty common and not something to be scared of, and that it would go away in a few days. Which it did.
Since they started my son on morphine, they then had to wean him off of it and he had to spend 3 more days in the NICU.
The experience of bringing our son into the world was ruined. After giving birth I had to sleep in hospital chairs and walk a mile to get something to eat for the first 3 days. My mind was fragile since my hormones were going crazy and the whole situation was almost more than I could bare. My partner was destroyed by this as well. Neither of us could sleep and we were having a really hard time keeping it together because we felt invisible and helpless to help our baby because nobody would listen to us. We had to deal with CPS because they were called by Berger hospital, they had to investigate us. But the worst of all of it is that my sweet baby boy's first few days of life were miserable. He was poked and prodded and given medicine that he's already predisposed to be addicted to bc of his family tree. We can never get that bonding time back.