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My wife and I are matched with a birth mother who has done cocaine and possibly heroin up til 24 weeks. At 24 weeks she ended up in jail and is now in a treatment program with methadone. We have been reading about all of the possible effects of the drugs so we will have some idea what to expect. We are interested in hearing stories with similar circumstances, both short term and long term effects.
Ian's Mom,
Thank you so mch for the detailed reply! Its was very helpful hearing your stories and it gives us an idea of some of the things we might have to deal with. Its just a waiting game for us right now. Birthmom in prison and getting regular medical records has been very difficult. Havent seen a full ultrasound yet and dont yet know the babys sex, which is frustrating.
Thanks again.
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We have 3 children who were prenatally exposed in varying degrees to multi-substance abuse. Heroin, cocaine, tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, methamphetamine, and...whatever else that didn't get listed on the questionnaire.
Oldest child is now in mid-teens. Doing well. Prenatally exposed to methamphetamine and alcohol, probably other things but no documentation. Has some difficulty with being able to plan and execute said plans. Needs help structuring goals and figuring out what steps to take, and then reminders to take the steps. Needs extra processing time during many conversations, especially if he is emotionally involved. (ie: feels like he's being accused or is in trouble, has had his feelings hurt, or is physically injured, or is excited, etc.) This presents problems in school with doing work within a timed limit, etc. Rather than getting uptight that he's "lazy", or "isn't trying", we have to remember that simply because he can TELL US when something is due doesn't mean he can DO IT ON HIS OWN without reminders and help. This is fairly typical for drug/alcohol exposed kids; to be able to list out the rules and expectations but be unable (not lazy, but unABLE) to do it on their own. This can often show up when expectations are being raised, like around puberty. If you find yourself saying, "You should be able to do ________ by now! You're 14 years old!" this might be a clue that your kid is struggling with some of the brain differences that might look like they're "not trying hard enough". He is easily frustrated, so has to work to articulate and express his needs and we have to be willing to stop and listen, not assume facts not in evidence. ;)
Second oldest child is a pre-teen and has many learning disabilities and is not able to live up to his chronological age. He is maturing, but it will take longer. He was born addicted to heroine, exposed to cocaine, tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and meth...could be methadone or methamphetamine, can't remember which. Additionally his bio mom had major health issues, so prenatal nutrition was compromised, etc. Anyway, he had significant speech delay, not speaking until age 4 (and then acquiring language like a toddler, a word or so a week after that), had several therapists early on, but now doesn't do any formal therapy but does need special ed. in school. Is considered "developmentally delayed", but this is kind of misleading. He's very gregarious and social, loves to build forts and dams and all kinds of "stuff" (we live rural on acreage), but has difficulty in other areas.
Youngest was born addicted to methamphetamine, exposed to cocaine, heroin, alcohol...what-all-else, who knows. ADHD, ODD, (attention deficit hyperactive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder) needs lots of patience to parent, needs help in school, too. No learning disabilities, but has very low frustration tolerance threshold, which impacts his ability to concentrate during school.
I think most of my kids will need longer to mature; that is, they won't move out at age 18. I've read that often kids who have brain impairment due to drugs/alcohol mature more slowly, say in their mid-twenties, even early thirties, depending. We've worked to be clear with the kids that they will move out and live independently when they have the ability to do that, not when they are a particular age. We don't talk about getting a driver's license at age 16, but rather getting a driver's license when they reach a certain level of responsibility and maturity. (Like being able to anticipate what will happen next, "predict outcomes", that kind of thing.)
My little guy was born with cocaine and alcohol in his system, Birth Mom admitted to marijuana use frequently during pregnancy also which he did not have in his system. He was released from the hospital after he was "toxin free" as they called it, which was rather quickly at 3 or 4 days. No signs of any withdraws, he was a little fussy until he was about 5 weeks old.
Going strong and while he is small in stature and weight he is very alert and active 90th percentile in most things. Crawling he is still below the curve but he pulls himself up to a standing position and has stood on his own a few times.
It's looking very promising and his pediatrician has said she doubts his size has to do with his Birth moms habits during pregnancy and more with his Birth Parents physical traits.
My DS is considered exposed.
Addicted means the drug use likely happened also toward the end of the pregnancy and the baby is actually addicted to the substance.
Exposed could have happened earlier in the pregnancy. It could also be that they baby just didn't go through withdrawals that needed medical intervention.
Exposed babies can still have challanges, like hyper/hypotonia, fussines, reflux, feeding issues, etc.
There may be a better explanation by someone else.
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gsxr-mama
My DS is considered exposed.
Addicted means the drug use likely happened also toward the end of the pregnancy and the baby is actually addicted to the substance.
Exposed could have happened earlier in the pregnancy. It could also be that they baby just didn't go through withdrawals that needed medical intervention.
Exposed babies can still have challanges, like hyper/hypotonia, fussines, reflux, feeding issues, etc.
There may be a better explanation by someone else.
I can totally deal with a drug addicted baby. Plus is would better my chances of getting a younger child.
A baby that is addicted at birth will show signs of addiction. They will go through withdrawals and are likely to have been exposed to more of the drug of bio mom's choice throughout the pregnancy. It is possible bio moms can only use for a portion of their pregnancy, but I'm personally kind of skeptical about info stating that the bio mom "quit using ______ (whatever drug) as soon as she found out she was pregnant", or that they only used a little bit at the beginning, or in the middle, or at the end, but not very much and not the whole time.
A baby determined to have been "exposed" may test positive for drugs at birth, or the birth mother may let the medical professionals know that she has used drugs during the pregnancy.
One of my children is considered "exposed" because there was no drug test at birth, bio mom didn't expressly say when she used, and the info is a little unclear. Bio mom does admit to 5 (?) months sobriety when the child was a few months old, which means there was an overlap between the pregnancy and the drug use, but it was not documented as such.
My two who were born "addicted" tested positive for drugs at birth, had withdrawals, and other health issues associated with drug addiction in newborns. One of the bio moms left within a couple of hours after delivering the baby because she was coming down and needed more of her drugs. With one of my children there was some concern that he would not live through the first few months. He was just a very sickly baby with no particular health issue, just not well.
My drug exposed child was born with cocaine in his system (and syphillis) and we have to assume his b-mom drank too. He had some delays as a baby/child and some tantrums, but he was really delightful most of the time. Fast forward to now when he is almost twenty.
My son is one of the nicest, most loved and respected young men around. He is my hero. He does have a dx. of high functioning autism and will need a little help as an adult (and is getting services), but he does most things other young adults do, although he is a bit "different." I am so proud of him and love him so much and am so happy we adopted him. By the Grace of God, he does not have fetal alcohol syndrome or the behaviors that go with it. It's a bullet...it hits you or it doesn't.
Our son had intensive interventions from Day One and it shows. I recommend you never ever stop the interventions. ASD is very common in drug exposed children so beware of it. Early on it is often mistaken for ADHD, which requires much less intervening, so read up on ASD if your drug exposed child is diagnosed with ADHD and always be proactive and get the best services you can.
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My foster newborn had tremors from withdrawals after the birth due to drugs. She slept a lot then too. She is only a couple months, but so far, no problems.
My foster newborn had tremors from withdrawals after the birth due to drugs. She slept a lot then too. She is only a couple months, but so far, no problems.
jamaicazzfinest
What is a baby born "addicted "vs "exposed? "I need some clarification on this matter please. Thanks!!
I know this is an old post but I wanted to clarify anyway in case someone else is wondering. The explanations above aren't entirely correct.
"Exposed" just means that at some point in the pregnancy the mother used a substance. If the baby is exposed to cocaine it means that the mother took cocaine. It could have been once or it could have been throughout the whole pregnancy.
A baby who was exposed to drugs in utero can be born addicted or not. It depends on the drug the mother used, the time she used and the frequency. ("Addicted" is not really a correct term to describe these babies. The correct term is "dependent" but to avoid confusion we'll use the term "addicted".)
A baby who is born addicted is basically born with a physical addiction to the drug. This means that the baby's body has gotten used to getting the drug to the point that when the drug is stopped the baby will go into withdrawal.
Not all drugs will cause a physical addiction so even though a mother had used drugs daily throughout the pregnancy it doesn't mean that the baby will be addicted and have withdrawal symptoms. Meth, for example, does not cause a physical addiction. The only signs experienced by a meth addict when stopping is fatigue and maybe something like a hangover.
A group of drugs that do lead to a physical addiction and is usually the cause of "neonatal abstinence syndrome" (withdrawal after birth) is opiates. This includes drugs like heroin, oxycontin, vicodin and methadone. A baby who has been exposed to an opiate continually during late pregnancy will usually be born physically addicted and go into withdrawal within a couple of days of birth.
Alcohol and benzodiazepines can also lead to a physical addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms does not happen to all babies born to mothers who take opiates throughout the pregnancy but it happens to a majority. The symptoms can be very severe and most babies are put on medication - usually an opiate - to treat the symptoms which is reduced over time while the baby is in the hospital.
Like I said earlier "addiction" isn't really the correct term for these babies. The babies aren't really born addicted. They are born dependent. Unfortunately a lot of people, including medical personnel, don't know the difference and use the terms interchangeably.
Addiction is a mental condition which causes the addict to compulsively use drugs, have cravings for the drug and continue to use drugs even though they experience negative consequences. The babies, obviously, don't have this mental compulsion and obsession over the drug so they are not addicts. They merely have a physical dependence on the drug.
Being dependent doesn't mean that the person is addicted and being addicted doesn't mean that the person is dependent. For example, a person who takes vicodin for chronic pain will probably be dependent but not addicted.
A meth user can be addicted to the drug but they are not physically dependent. So, basically, you can have a mother who is addicted but it doesn't mean that the baby will be dependent.
I hope I didn't confuse anyone. I know it can be a bit confusing.
That explanation is perfect! Our son was exposed to various drugs, alcohol, anything. He wasn't tested when born due to no withdrawal signs he was going through.
Our other daughter we adopted was born with full withdrawals & the hospital urine tested her. She had cocaine/opiates in her so she spent 1st month of life detoxing on methadone in a special hospital.
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My first DD was born with weed & prescription drugs (mood stabilizers etc) in her system. She has been delayed, she was delayed in crawling and walking. She's pretty good now but speech has definitely been delayed. She's behind on things average kids do but on the other side of the coin she's keenly aware of things in ways that most kids are not. She's almost cunning in her ability to interpret a situation and manipulate it for her benefit. Not in an "evil" way. You can just tell that she comprehends way more than her counter parts.
So emotionally & intellectually it seems to have increased her cognition well beyond the typical 2 year old. However; physically she was a bit behind.
Feeding was horrific as an infant. However; she's super sweet, smart funny and a bit too much like me for my liking! :) Worth every struggle and then some!
We adopted 2 children - both of which were drug exposed. Thank god they are both healthy.
Our younger child was exposed to heroin, methadone, xanax and crack cocaine. Although he did suffer withdrawal and spent his first 2 months of life in NICU, he is now over a year old and doing very well. He does have some slight developmental delays but nothing permanent. He suffered an oxygen deficiency at birth and miraculously has not yet exhibited any complications. He seems very intelligent but time will tell on any cognitive complications.
Our daughter was exposed to "occasional" cocaine but her birth mother was high during delivery. She was not born with a dependency and does not appear to have been affected by the exposure.
No drugs or alcohol are good, but heroin / methadone will almost always lead to a dependency at birth. Cocaine may or may not lead to a dependency. The doctors will give you the worst possible scenario but these children just need lots of love and attention. We have never looked back or regretted our decision - we cannot imagine our lives without them!! Please free to PM me with specific questions...