Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Trisomy and a New Patient

Needless to say, the news I found out was an excuse to use. I was in a depressive stage already and finding out that my baby may have this chromosomal disoder and would be lucky to live a year didn't help. I was in disbelief that they told me I only had a day or two to decide if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy. I was more than halfway through, nearly 6 months along! No way! I had already miscarried two babies (I wonder if there was a possibility that those two had chromosomal defects). I would rather hold, hug, kiss, and get to know my precious baby even if it was just for a short whe.

I was told that since I chose to proceed with the pregnancy, the doctors wanted Jim and I to see a genetic counselor. I also had the option of having an amniocentesis test done (that's where they monitor the baby via ultrasound and stick this very long needle through your abdomen to collect a sample of the amniotic fluid). They said this test would give me a difinitive answer as to whether or not my baby was going to have trisomy.

The genetics counselor basically took down a family history from both Jim and I - parents, siblings, grandparents, etc., and any diseases that run in our families. We were told that since we had suffered two miscarriages already and now this possibility, that we just may not be comparable to reproduce together. It as hard to hear.

It didn't take too long for the results of the amnio test. My baby was negative for trisomy. Not only that, but I found out there was less than a ONE PERCENT CHANCE that she would actually have it. I was so happy, yet so infuriated at the same time. I was furious that the doctors urged me so much to terminate the pregnancy when the chances of the baby actually being born with this condition were extremely low.

Shortly after having the amniocentesis, Jim called the methadone clinic where he had previously been a patient. They told him there was a waiting list of 6-8 weeks. Six to eight weeks?! That's insane! It makes me wonder how many people have overdosed and died waiting for a spot to open up in MAT, MMT, or rehab. It's disgusting.

Luckily for Jim, because he had been an ideal patient when he was there before, they called him back (I forget if they called him back a few hours later or the next day). They told him he could come in I think that following Monday. Thank God! Hopefully a could both get our lives back on track!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's Been a While

It's been a while since my last post. It's been a very busy summer! Hopefully I'll update in the next week or two. In the meantime, a friend of mine that I met in the rooms of NA gave me this link to a blog that she wrote about some people in NA and their intolerance towards people who are on MAT, or medicated assisted treatment.

I've faced many people in those rooms who told me I wasn't clean because I was on methadone and that I needed to get off of it. It did turn me away from NA for a bit but I've gone back. No one can dictate my recovery for me.  Recovery is not a one size fits all approach. I couldn't get clean cold turkey. Methadone was the only thing that worked for me. I considered myself clean the entire time I was on it. Please don't let ANYONE tell you how to deal with your recovery! If you're not using and not abusing your medication, you ARE clean!!

Medication Management Treatment and Narcotics Anonymous: Time For An Open Mind

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Starting a Long, Hard Journey

When I signed on to get on a methadone program, I had no idea how much work I was going to have to put into it. The clinical director visited me at the hospital to explain the program. I had to go to the clinic every single day (every day?!) to receive my medication. I was expected to go to four weeks worth of orientation groups, plus go to a prenatal group every week until I delivered my child. I had to see my counselor weekly and submit to at least two random urinalysis tests monthly. It really wasn't a lot but in the beginning, it seemed like my entire life from now on was going to consist of nothing but going to the clinic.


My first day there was so long. I had to wait for an hour (it may have even been longer) to do my intake. People asked me what number I was - number? There were girls arguing, talking about fighting (what did I get myself into?). The intake alone seemed to have taken hours, being asked a million questions. Why do they want to know if I ever sold my body to get drug money (luckily for me, that was one route I never fell into)? Finally, after what seemed like ten hours, I was able to get medicated.


I was supposed to go to orientation and start prenatal groups that week but I didn't go. Finally, about two weeks later, I was asked why I hadn't been to either of them. I said I didn't know when they started for me (I was lying). I met my counselor, who was a very nice woman, but I wasn't going to break down and tell her more than she asked.


I stayed off heroin for my first week there. Jim still got high. It was agony, seeing him continuing to use. One day, we were fighting (we actually fought pretty much everyday). He left the house and I began to clean our bedroom. I pulled the ned out and lying right in front of me was a full bag of dope. I picked it up. My first thought was to flush it down the toilet - that would've pissed Jim off. Instead, I put it into my pocket. I used it an hour or two later.


Later that night, I told Jim about finding it. He asked me where it was and I told him I flushed it. I got the reaction I knew I was going to get - anger. I then told him the truth. Of course, he was mad. He wasn't mad because I did it, but because I didn't give it to him so he could do it. This is how our lives continued throughout July. We fought, he went and bought dope. I was right back to using again.


At the end of July or beginning of August, I had a prenatal appointment. When I was in the hospital, they took some blood for some tests. At my first appointment, I was told that I tested positive for the baby to have Trisomy 18, Edward's Syndrome. I had no clue what that was. I've never heard of it before. It was explained to me that it was like Down Syndrome...only much, much worse (Down Syndrome is Trisomy 21). Most babies that are born with Trisomy 18 don't make it to their first birthday, with most dying in the first see of life. I was devastated. Was it because of my drug use? No. It's because when the fertilized egg begins to split, three copies of chromosome #18 are made instead of two. I was told that I could elect to terminate the pregnancy and that the time for termination was almost up - I had one or two days to decide if I wanted to continue with the pregnancy. I was almost SIX MONTHS along.

MMT

NOTE: I already published this post. For some reason, it was dated March 27, 2015. I don't know how that happened since I didn't wrote it until May. Keeping it with that date messed up the chronological order so I'm reposting it as a fresh blog post.

On June 29, 2012, I decided to check in at the hospital to get help for my addiction. I went to the hospital that I was taken to when I was arrested. They began my medication assisted treatment - methadone. I really didn't want to be on methadone; I had always been against it, but I didn't have much of a choice. I wasn't going to be able to stop on my own.

After I was sent to the labor and delivery unit, I was examined and had an ultrasound. They left me for about an hour or so. I began to experience withdrawal and I told the next nurse who came into my room that I couldn't take it much longer and was going to leave. She then brought me my first dose of methadone, which was 30 milligrams. I was then taken to antenatal for my hospital stay.

I wound up staying at the hospital until July 2nd. They had to be sure I was on a dose that would maintain me for 24 hours without having any cravings or withdrawal. I wanted to leave several times, and almost did twice. But my reason for wanting to leave wasn't because I wanted to get high - I didn't. I wanted a cigarette. They gave me a nicotine patch to help with that craving. When I was discharged, I was on 40 milligrams. My first day at the clinic was July 3rd.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Accomplished

I'm getting a bit ahead of myself with this post, as I just began to writw about my methadone treatment but I just had an appointment with my counselor. She told me that the mayor of Philadelphia is having this dinner (I forget what it's called). She said that each clinic chooses one of their clients to represent them at the dinner. Each counselor at my clinic picks one of their clients and during their treatment meeting, they will discuss everyone and choose one person to represent them. She chose me as her nomination! She had nothing but good things to say about me. Whether I get chosen or not, am so proud of myself for everything I've accomplished!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hitting Bottom

Nothing new happened in May. The month passed. Jim and I were still getting high. I completed my court case from my April arrest in the beginning of June. The day after my case was closed, Jim and I went to buy some dope in Kensington because our guy wasn't answering his phone.

I went to make the transition. At first, no one was out. After checking out a few spots unsuccessfully, I went to leave. As I was walking up towards Lehigh Ave, an older Spanish guy approached me and asked what I wanted. I told him dope then he asked if I had a cigarette. I gave him one and he pointed someone out to me. He called me over and I went into an abandoned lot, completely out of sight. I got a couple bags and left.

As I got to the corner where I would turn, a car pulled over and the guy asked me for directions. I had a bad feeling but I told him where the street was that he asked for. He said, "Okay, I turn here then go how far?" As I was telling him again, another guy grabbed me from behind. They were undercover. He searched my bag and found the dope. I was cuffed and put in the car. They drove up a block or two and did the same thing to another guy, then got the dealer.

They wound up locking up around ten people. We were all taken to the 24th/25th district and processed. I was taken to the roundhouse after a couple of hours. When I got there and was having my intake interview, the guy realized I was pregnant after I told him when my LMP was. They sent me to the hospital for evaluation. I was at the hospital for a few hours trying to convince me to start on methadone. I refused, telling them that I had no arrangements for my child at home and wouldn't be able to stay in the hospital for several days. They released me and I was taken back to the roundhouse. Luckily, not only did I fall asleep when I was there but I also had my appearance before the judge shortly after returning, maybe an hour or two. I was released on ROR again, but was also placed in AMP - Accelerated Misdemeanor Program. I had court on July 3rd.

I just spent May and June getting high. Eventually, enough was enough. I couldn't keep this up. It was bad enough I was putting heroin into my own body, but also into my baby's? I was just a scumbag. I hated myself. I resented Jim for dragging me into this lifestyle. I decided to get help.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Becoming Who I Despised

Pregnant? What? There's no way I can be pregnant! I'm a fucking heroin junkie! No! Just no! What am I going to do?! I made an appointment with my OB right away. Luckily, she got me in very quickly since I had already had two miscarriages in the last 7-8 months. I was so worried because they give you a drug screen at your first appointment.

I forget what day my appointment with the doctor was but it was very soon after I first called. I went in and the doctor did all the stuff they do and check for at your first prenatal appointment. After we were finished, I went into her office with her. I told her that I needed to speak with her about something. I told her straight out what I had been doing. She told me that methadone was the best thing they can do for a pregnant heroin addict. She told me about a clinic in the city that deals with pregnant women addicted to opiates (I had known about it from my friend Sam. I saw her about two weeks before I started using and she told me that's where she goes - after she finally admitted to me that she had in fact, been using heroin like I had suspected a year before). But I didn't want to get on methadone. To me, all methadone was for was to keep you high legally, just a switch from one drug to another. No way. And having to go to the clinic every single day? Yeah, okay.

I didn't know what to do. Maybe I could get off the heroin on my own; after all, I got myself off oxies three different times and it was so easy each time. I could get off heroin, too. Every day was going to be my last day. Tomorrow I won't get high. Things went like that for a couple of weeks before I decided to go to the clinic.

In order for me to become a patient at this clinic, I was going to have to go to the hospital to be admitted for a few days. I spoke with my manager at work and told her the situation and that I was going to need to take that upcoming weekend off work (I think it was the 2nd weekend of April). I was going to the hospital that Friday. In Thursday, I decided to go to Wal-Mart to get a few things. I had to make a diaper cake for a christening for my mom and I needed ribbon that had crosses or something religious. Of course, before I went, I took a trip to the spot and got a few bags.

I probably did a bag on my way to Wal-Mart, and after I got there, I did one in the bathroom. I had one bag left. I spent like an hour walking around in Wal-Mart, sticking random things into my purse. I bought a few things as well. I had a bad feeling and should've went with my gut (I had thought about going into the bathroom and taking everything out of my bag and leaving it, and doing the last bag but I didn't). As I was walking out of the store, a guy came up to me and asked if I had any makeup in my bag. I thought about running out for a second, but then decided to just go with him into their office.

While I was in there, they asked what I had taken. I began to empty things from my purse and hoodie pocket (thinking about it now, it was the same hoodie I am wearing now as I type this). They thought I had only taken some makeup and were surprised to see everyrhing else I had - sunglasses, underwear for my daughter, the ribbon, and who knows what else. I had about $70 worth of stuff. I had been stealing from Wal-Mart for years - karma caught up with me. Since I had gone into the office willingly and complied with them, they weren't going to have me arrested. That is, until the cop that was in there decided to search my purse.

When she started looking in, she found an empty bag. Great. She was going to find the rest. A few seconds later, she found my needles and the last bag. She arrested me.

Luckily, I was released the next day on ROR. But what was I going to do now? I was arrested around 2 in the afternoon and didn't get released until around 5 the next morning. Luckily, I didn't start to get sick until after I was released and Jim was coming to pick me up. The time in jail went pretty quick. I slept a lot. Another girl was put in the cell with me so she and I got through the night together. She even talked the cops that transferred us from the 1st District to the roundhouse into letting us have a cigarette on the way. I felt really bad for her because she was only charged with simple assault and it wsd the first time she was ever arrested - she wad given bail. Anyway, after Jim picked me up, we went straight to the spot to cop.

Finally, I think in the beginning of May, Jim found a Suboxone doctor that was willing to see the both of us. He made the appointment and we went. Of course, I brought along a shot for each of us when Jim picked me up after he was done work. We were at the doctors for a couple of hours. Jim was given a prescription for Suboxone, and I was given Subutex, because Suboxone isn't safe for pregnancy. We were about to stop getting high...tomorrow, of course.

I couldn't stand the taste of the Subutex. I wasn't able to dissolve even a quarter of a pill without getting sick from the nasty, horrible taste. It didn't last long for either of us. We both wound up selling our scripts. We also found a dealer that would come to us or meet us somewhere so we didn't have to keep going to the badlands. That wad great!!

This just continued. We couldn't stop. I cried pretty much everyday. We fought just about everyday. Our relationship was based on drugs. I fucking HATED heroin addicts before this! I especially hated how a pregnant woman could be so selfish and continue to get high. Why won't she stop? What the fuck kind of mother wound continue to stick a needle full of heroin into herself when she was carrying an innocent baby? Well, until it happened to me, I didn't know how hard it would be to stop. I was a pregnant heroin addict. I became a person I hated.