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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:30 pm 
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Hi there. This forum got me through a lot of anxiety that I had during my pregnancy, so I felt it was only necessary to write about my experience, especially since it was such a successful experience from beginning to end. I have a beautiful, healthy, strong, no-withdrawl, 4 week old baby boy who made this whole journey worth it. Here goes.

When I was in college (about 6 years ago or so), I experimented with hydrocodone, vicodin, cocaine, and alcohol. I would not say that I was dependent on it, but I definitely abused all of them quite frequently. One night, I had had enough, and came clean to my family. Being a proactive family, they got me in to see a Dr. This doctor told me about suboxone. He did not tell me how hard it would be to get off of the sub, but he did say it had a high success rate. So, I started on two 8mg pills a day. I was on two pills a day for about a year or two, and then eventually got down to just one 8mg strip per day. There was one time, during the first year, that I did not refill my rx in time, and I got a small taste of what withdrawal felt like. It was not fun. And, when I did get it refilled and took the med, it was instant relief. Anyways, I got down to one 8mg strip a day, and things started to look optimistic for me. I got an internship my senior year in college, graduated, was hired at the same firm when I graduated, met a successful man, got married, got a better paying job, etc. Everything was coming together nicely. All the while, I am still on one 8mg strip during all of this. My husband was well aware of my past and the sub. Well, fast-forward to October of 2013. My husband and I started to talk about having a baby. We were successful with our first try, and we found out that I was pregnant. I called my doctor to let them know that I was pregnant. His nurse told me that I immediately needed to stop cold-turkey with the sub. I FREAKED out. I knew what that would entail, as I had had a small taste of it several years back. I immediately called my ob/gyn and told him that this would be impossible. I told him that this would throw me into a tailspin of a withdrawal. He told me to start going every other day without one, and eventually work my way down. Well, I wish I could report that it was that easy, but it wasn't. For two weeks, I would try to taper off. It was horrifying. I had HORRIBLE shakes, a heavy depression, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't eat, drink nor sleep. I would say that the worst part of all of this was the shakes and restless legs. The thing that made it worse, was that I couldn't treat any of these symptoms because I was pregnant. My husband and I were at odds because he would have to stay home from work with me. I went to the hospital 3 times in one weekend due to the symptoms. At the 3rd visit to the hospital emergency room, my husband and I considered the possibility that I may need to stay on the sub during pregnancy. Luckily, my ob/gyn was ok with this (although he didn't prefer it, and he made it known that he didn't prefer it) and my sub doctor was ok with this (with trepidation). However, I could not stay at 8 mg. They agreed that I could be on the lowest amount that my body can tolerate. For me, this was 2 mg. I tried to go even further, but 1.5mg was uncomfortable to my body. I felt like 2 mg was enough to keep withdrawals at bay. I ended up doing really well during the pregnancy on 2 mg. During March 2014, I was starting to increase the amount of suboxone that i was taking. At one point, I was taking 4mg. I told my husband that I was doing that, and he was disappointed, as he should have been. We decided to tell my sub doctor, and he got me back down to 2 mg. Around the end of April, I was successfully back down to 2mg. Well, as time was getting closer to my due date (July 8th, 2014), I was growing more and more scared. I was scared/nervous about permanent birth defects or health risks to my baby. Not only that, but I was scared that my baby was going to go through withdrawals. My anxiety was through the roof. Also, as time grew closer, I also started to ask questions about epidural, labor, delivery, and recovery. I had read that epidurals are not affected by suboxone, but I was still scared. I was also nervous that with any kind of recovery, I was going to be in some sort of pain. I started to prepare myself for the possibility that any painkillers would not work due to the sub, but also, any good doctor probably wouldn't prescribe me any narcotic painkillers. Well July came around, and so did July 8th. Even though all of my ultrasounds turned out great during the pregnancy, I was nervous that my sub use was delaying the delivery. On July 14th, we decided to induce. Around 5pm, my husband and I headed up to the hospital. I was nervous that the nurses/staff would treat me poorly, but fortunately, they were great. They treated me with compassion, kindness, and non-biased sympathy. My mother always told me, "NO MATTER WHAT, ALWAYS BE KIND TO THE NURSES!" And sure enough, that paid off. So I can tell you that kindness goes a long way with the nurses. Around midnight, the contractions were really starting to hit hard. Around 2am, I was begging the nurse for an epidural. (I'll be the first to admit, that I am a weenie when it comes to pain.) She ordered an epidural, and soon enough, they were giving it to me. To my surprise and relief, the epidural worked! Not only that, but it worked quickly. Around 5am, my water broke and the contractions were stronger. I knew it was coming soon. However, my baby was too comfortable and was not wanting to get out. At around 2pm, I started pushing, and pushing. But the baby was not progressing downward. FINALLY, the doctor showed up around 5pm and told me that I had to have a c-section. I was scared, because I knew the recovery was going to be a completely different story, but I was so tired from pushing, and conceded to the surgery. When I was wheeled in to the operating room, my anxiety was rising. The doctor tested my numbness by seeing if I could feel the little pokes and stabs. Of course, I couldn't feel it. I was also surprised to know that the anesthetist stays right by your side the whole time so that you are comfortable. He was great. Anyways, my husband and I all of a sudden heard the baby cry, and we started crying. My immediate question was, "is he ok? is he withdrawing at all?" The nurse said he was great, and my husband agreed. I laid there while they were sewing me back up, just wondering how he was doing. When they finished, they, along with my husband and baby, wheeled me into the recovery area. I was so worn out, that I was in and out of it. I could also start to feel the pain of the incision. I told the nurses that I needed something for the pain, but I wanted something that was not narcotic. They ended up giving me fentanyl, which I later found out was a narcotic. To my surprise, I did feel the effects of it. I was sure the sub would've prevented me from feeling it, however, I guess the amount of sub I was on was not enough to block out everything. As the pain meds began to kick in, in walks the pediatrician. I was ecstatic to see him, because I knew that he was the expert on whether the baby was suffering or not. My very first question to him was, "is he showing any signs of withdrawal?" And the dr looked at me and said, "he is perfect..not withdrawing at all." My husband and I just started crying again. We were so thankful for a healthy, happy baby. He was 9lbs and 2oz and completely healthy! As far as my pain, it was definitely tough. For the next two days at the hospital, my pain was intense. Luckily, I was prescribed Norco, Tramadol, and Ibuprofen. Although I did not want this, my body needed the relief. Luckily all three worked like they were supposed to. I was nervous that there would be some weird reaction to taking these while still taking 2mgs of suboxone, but it went well. I was nervous that it would throw me into a precipitated withdrawal, but it did not happen. I was able to have pain relief and still stay on suboxone. My doctor sent me home with a limited supply of these meds, and I ended up not even needing them past 3 days out of the hospital. Not only that, but I didn't crave them either. It wasn't like I was wanting to ask the dr for more. I had a great recovery along with a great baby. At the baby's 1st week appt, he checked out perfect again. He also checked out perfect at his 2 week appt. All in all, our baby is beautiful, healthy, and happy.

Very long story short, I feel like there are not enough success stories out there. I know that there are some sad stories out there as well, but I just had to report back here with my happy story. This site soothed a lot of anxiety for me when I was pregnant. For me (and I say that with emphasis that this is purely my story; I don't condone doing anything without your dr's knowledge), staying ON sub during the pregnancy was the best choice for me. The withdrawals at the beginning were a sign that my body was not ready to be without it yet. I eventually tried again to get off of it by SLOWLY tapering, but by the time I got to 1.5mg, I realized that I needed to stay on it to continue with a healthy state of mind, being, and pregnancy. When my family was giving me pressure to get off the sub, I trusted my instinct and went with it. It was better for me and my baby that I stay on it. In addition to that, I was greatly surprised that I had a successful epidural, labor, delivery, and recovery. I am sitting here looking at my baby, and thinking back to the first trimester and all the hell that came with it. It was worth every bit of it. My husband and I will see the sub doctor next week, and we will be able to come up with a plan to get off the sub. The dr assured me earlier on that now that I am not pregnant, there are meds that can assist with the unbearable restlessness that comes with getting off the sub. With this confidence in mind, I am much more prepared and ready to take sub out of my life. It served its purpose on so many levels, and it also interfered with a major life event, but all in all, I am happy that he prescribed it to me. It pushed me in the right direction, and I am thankful for the decisions I have made along the way. Always trust your instincts, and ALWAYS be nice to the nurses! If you have any questions about my story, please feel free to let me know. Good luck to you out there...


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:00 am 
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Thank you for adding to our body of pregnancy/birth stories while on buprenorphine! Congratulations on your sweet boy! I'm so happy for you that your experience was very positive! We get so many pregnant women who are scared to death!! Your story is sure to help them feel more comfortable!

Amy

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Congrats on your new baby!! I have read and heard a lot of women's stories about sub and their pregnancies, and it seems that usually the best decision is to stay on it. I recommend that when talking to women who are trying to make that decision after learning of their pregnancy. I have been told that the effects of withdrawal are too harsh for the baby and can lead to miscarriage.

There are so many people who like to judge and run their mouths about how if/when THEY were pregnant, they got "clean" for their baby, etc. Pardon me, but FUCK that. If someone is able to get off sub upon learning they're pregnant with no withdrawals somehow, fantastic, good for them, but in a way, why were they even on sub then? The fact is, withdrawals are dangerous for a developing fetus, and putting your baby through that just so that you can say you had a "clean" pregnancy is a bunch of bs. It's all about doing the least possible harm, or it should be anyways, and putting your baby through withdrawals is certainly NOT the least amount of harm.

I'm glad you were able to stay on sub, and I'm SO glad that you were able to not be judged when the time came to have your baby. I wish this was always the case, maybe someday it will be. But I am so happy for you, and so glad to hear your story. Best wishes :)


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