My Babies Were Born Addicts
Since this quarantine has started, I have a lot of time to sit and think. I have been thinking about the days when we brought our boys home from the hospital and how fragile they were and what they went through in their early days. It makes me think of all those beautiful, fragile babies out there now during all of this madness. The time we spent in the NICU really had a lifetime impact on our life. The things that you see and hear in a NICU can not be undone!
When we received the first call about our oldest son he was already three weeks old. His birth mother was a crack addict, we were told. He had been in the NICU for 5 days to monitor for withdrawal but had done well. After the 5 days he was sent to a temporary foster home while waiting adoption. It was possible he could have some issues down the road due to his birth mothers use of drugs. We did our research and felt like we were prepared for anything that may come our way. If any first time parent ever says that they are prepared, THEY ARE LYING! We were so not prepared!
We were not prepared as first time parents and we were not prepared for what would come as parents of a baby who was born an addict. You see, in his case, he did not show many immediate signs but they all began to show up after we brought him home and he still suffers with them to this day. He was a very easily agitated baby who did not ever care too much for sleep. He was also an extremely active baby. he was always moving! He had severe acid reflex, and many allergies and GI issues. When he turned 3 we began to notice other things that seemed unusual compared to other 3 year olds. His temper tantrums were more than regular tantrums. He was full of rage for a little boy. He would bite, and claw and hit. He began kicking and punching and pulling hair. These outbursts would last for over an hour sometimes. But when he was himself he had such a big heart and was and is such a sweet boy. But we knew something wasn't right. That was when we began our journey of seeking help for him.
So when our oldest son was a year old we decided that we wanted to adopt again. So we contacted another agency. We got a call that a young woman was in rehab for heroin and was talking to them about finding a family for her baby. She was on methadone but her home life was a mess and she just knew it's that placing him with another family was best. This one would be the hardest. This was hard in so many ways. She desperately wished she could keep this baby. And we knew it. She was hurting. Her addiction came from a place of pain and it was hard for us to watch. It was hard not to feel bad for her or to want to help her. Shay often had to pull back my reigns. It broke my heart. She got out of rehab early and unfortunately went back to the same life she was living. So again, Our youngest baby was born an addict.
This time we were at the hospital when he was born. We witnessed all of the withdraws and I wish I had not seen it. He was in the hospital for seven days but the withdraws lasted long after we were sent home. My poor baby suffered severe tremors, tongue clicking, excessive sucking, and unable to be soothed at times. It shattered my heart. We sat with him in the NICU day and night while my parents helped with our oldest son. All we could do was hold him. We did a lot of skin to skin contact and that is the only thing that would ease some of his symptoms. It was heartbreaking. The only way he would sleep for any length of time was in a momma roo motorized swing they had on the unit. As his poor little arms would shake. His symptoms lasted well after we returned home. But lessened as time went on.
Today he is 3 and is developmentally delayed and speech delayed.
One of the hardest things was seeing all of the babies in the NICU going through similar things and not having anyone there to hold them and be with them. There is a drug crisis in our country and these poor babies are paying the price for that. It took everything I had not to bring all of those babies home with me.
Now that my boys are older I still think about all of those babies going through all of the things that our boys went through. Our boys are older now and will have life long challenges related to their birth mothers addictions. We will continue to get them the help that they need and praise them for the sweet boys that they are. We will remember that none of this is their fault. And we will continue to pray for the future of our beautiful boys and all of the beautiful babies that are born addicts.
Check out our baby in the NICU on my YouTube page: