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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Hello. I am 37 weeks pregnant and have been reading this forum almost daily so I decided to register and post my situation for some feedback. I was on suboxone to treat my opiate addiction, however, when I found out I was pregnant my doctor immediately switched me to subutex. I was on 16mg and have managed to lower my dose to about 8 or 10mg daily. I would have liked to have gotten off completely to avoid giving birth on the medication but my ob/gyn advised against it...he actually wasn't thrilled I lowered my dose at all. My subutex Dr was okay with lowering the dose as long as I didn't experience any withdrawal symptoms...which I did not. At this point being that I'm due in about 3 weeks I don't think I will go much lower on the dosage. I have been literally on the Internet reading personal stories, clinical studies and basically anything I can find on this topic for months. Some of the personal stories have me so scared and angry. I have taken a lot of steps to better my life, yes I have had slip ups but overall I am in a great place today. I got married May 2014 and found out I was pregnant at the end of July. My life has done a complete 360 since completing a lengthy drug treatment program. My husband and I are completely thrilled to be having our son and I truly wish that my addiction history did not have to overshadow the birth of my first child. It is especially difficult because my husband is not an addict and despite always supporting me I feel that this too is something he has to deal with unnecessarily due to my addiction. I am well aware of the possibility of NAS and have done the best I can to be honest with all of my doctors from the start. I just feel out of control because there is so little information and there is no way to tell if my son will exhibit symptoms or not until he is here. I went and spoke to a labor and delivery nurse here on Long Island at the hospital I will be delivering at and she advised me that my son will go to the special care nursery and have to be held for 7 days for monitoring. She also advised that they will ween the baby with morphine but only if absolutely necessary. I truly hope that they don't have to give him medication to ween but I obviously don't want my son to be uncomfortable either. I have read that other women were told they could not breastfeed but that is not the case for this hospital. Thank God, because the research shows that breastfeeding in this situation is recommended and I would hate to miss forming that bond with my baby on top of everything else. I am frustrated with the hospitals policy of a seven day hold because I was under the impression that if he had symptoms they would be present by 72 hours. I am also sad that while most babies can room in with mom my baby will be taken to the special care nursery where only parents and grandparents can visit. I just could cry because I feel like being on this medication has taken so much joy out of my pregnancy. Then after I give birth I have to worry about speaking to a social worker and a possible CPS case? Thankfully I have a very supportive family who is aware of the situation but I haven't told my husband's family anything at this point and I'm not sure if or what I should tell them...they are aware of my past history and have always been supportive but I just don't know how they will react to this. I can also assume from my readings that they will be drug testing me and the baby. When I was about 23-25 weeks pregnant I smoked a couple hits of weed about 4 times. I have regretted it ever since and have discussed this with my therapist so I certainly don't need any judgement as I am aware how stupid of a decision this was. I just feel so afraid of the situation and the unknown. I would just really like some feedback :)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:43 pm 
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FTM84,

1) Welcome to the forum! 2) I deleted your other post because it was just a repeat of this one. You only need one thread going about the same subject.

Have you read a lot of the stories in this section of the forum? You will find a lot of answers here before you even ask the question. From what I've read so far it seems the newborns don't seem to suffer much or any at all from the Suboxone use. It would have been better if you were able to get down to a lower dose like maybe 1-2 mg's but that is water under the bridge now. You are too close to delivery for tapering anymore.

Read Dr. Junig's posts on this subject. What he says is that most nurses over react to an infants normal behavior, thinking it is caused by withdrawal.

So read as much as you can and I wish you the best as an almost new parent.

And 3) Congratulations!

rule

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:28 pm 
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At the web site [url]suboxsearch.com[/url] you can search my blog for posts about pregnancy.

Each hospital has its own policy to deal with opioid-dependent mothers who give birth. One reaction to your post-- as much as I agree with you about the frustrating policies of your hospital, I do not agree with your comment that 'this medication has taken the joy out of your pregnancy'. People forget so quickly the world that buprenorphine allowed them to escape... realize that if not for 'this medication', you would likely be in a far worse situation. Women who use substances during pregnancy are often prosecuted, and incarcerated. Buprenorphine has allowed you to avoid that consequence-- or something far worse.

You have an illness called opioid dependence. I have it too. That illness causes us to have almost two personalities--- one that makes the right decisions, and another that is a slave to substances. You and I both played some role in catching that illness. We didn't expect these consequences, but at least we are alive--- whereas many other people with our same illness have died.

Because of our illness, we sometimes make decisions that harm us, and harm those close to us. That is a hard pill to swallow-- but for most of us, it is the truth. For that reason, society sometimes has to take measures that cause us to lose control over what we do.

As the last post emphasized, I encourage you to find some gratitude. There are only so many things that we can control.... and frankly, that is sometimes a GOOD thing. I prefer hospital policies that allow patients to leave on time-- that leave the burden on patients to come back if their new baby is not feeding well. But some hospitals fear that patients will not make the right decision in all cases... so they take that decision away. Again, I would prefer a hospital that allows patients to make that decision... but I understand why some don't take that approach.

Your baby will be fine, and the 7 days will pass. Use the time to get some rest, so that you are up for the long, sleepless nights. Your baby will not remember that seven days--- and you probably will forget them as well. But I don't get the point of blaming buprenorphine-- the one thing that allowed you to be in the position of starting a family.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:19 pm 
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Thank you for the responses. I never meant to sound as if I was not grateful for the life that subutex has helped me to achieve. I always try to remember what my life was like during the chaos of active addiction. I am also aware things could be far worse and that I could have lost my life altogether. I agree with the statement that sometimes having less control is a good thing and I understand why the hospital has the policy that it does but it doesn't make my frustrations and anxieties any less about the upcoming birth of my son...hence the reason I joined this forum. I assumed that I would be able to read stories, request feedback, advice, and connect with the other members who have been in similar situations and have had similar feelings. My statement that "I feel being on this medication has taken so much of the joy out of this pregnancy" is not up for anyone to agree or disagree with. I do not blame subutex...I am frustrated that there isn't more research, that so many doctors are not knowledgeable on this medication, that one dr says one thing and the other dr says another (both completely conflicting) making it difficult to make any decisions, etc. Subutex has been a wonderful tool in my recovery but it is not the ONLY reason I was able to start a family. I have used medication assisted treatment in conjunction with inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and weekly therapy sessions...all of which have contributed to my ability to be where I am today starting a family.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:57 pm 
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Hi FTM,

I understand your frustration and fears. It is a scary situation to be in, and it's totally normal to have all of the feelings you described. My heart always goes out to expectant mothers in your situation. Mostly I think it's because I am a mother of 3 and the birth of my children were hands down some of the best moments of my life. I hate it that anyone who has taken steps to get control of their addiction using bupe still has to feel any type of guilt about their choices. You just have to keep in mind that you have done what is best for your baby by making sure his Mommy is healthy. It isn't a perfect situation, but you are doing the right thing. Motherhood is very rarely going to be easy, and even Mom's who don't deal with addiction will second guess almost every decision they make while raising a child. It's just part of the package. :wink:

Try to remember that everyone on the outside looking in doesn't really matter in the long run. As long as you have your husband supporting your decisions, who cares what anyone else thinks? Don't let anyone's unrealistic expectations of you dampen your joy.

As for the extra days in the hospital, I know it's going to be hard on you, but your baby won't know that it is abnormal. Make the most of your time with him, and nurse him every chance you get. Make sure the nurses know that you don't want his feedings supplemented with formula unless absolutely necessary. Trust me, the nursing will give you a bond with him that is unlike anything you have ever known, and he will love you more than anything else in the world! Educate yourself about the signs of NAS, and don't be afraid to challenge the nurses scores if you think they are reading more into his symptoms than is necessary. You can advocate for yourself and your baby, and it does make a difference.

It sounds like your hospital is fairly knowledgeable about their treatment of newborns who have been exposed to bupe. Even if we don't agree with everything they are doing, we have to trust that they have his best interests in mind and let them do their jobs. CPS shouldn't give you any trouble once they see that you are under the care of a doctor. More than likely it will just be one brief meeting, and then you won't hear from them again. It's just a formality.

Keep posting if you need support. We can't change policies, but we would be happy to be here for you when you need it. :D

Q

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Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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