Details on Jena’s Withdrawal

First come the disclaimers:  I am no expert on withdrawals, so all this information is second hand, from the nurses and doctors to me, from me to you.  All babies withdraw differently, so a baby can be on a much less potent drug, and have a more difficult time withdrawing.  Dose amounts don’t play a huge role here, addiction is addiction and no matter the dose amount or type of drug, a baby has to go from dependency to living life without.

Every four hours Jena gets scored by the nurses.  The more signs of withdrawal, the higher the score, so the goal is to keep her scores low.

They are scheduling Nazis here in the NICU too, every four hours they do assessments and if there are no problems, the babies are supposed to sleep between the assessments.  (Something tells me Jena will be my most scheduled baby by far)

There are four things that Jena  is scoring high in consistently, that are all signs of withdrawal.
1.  Stiffness
2.  Poor Feeds
3.  Low grade Fever
4.  Mottled Skin

From day one Jena has been stiff.  If you pull her arm away from her chest, she pulls her whole head and chest into a sitting position.  I asked if there is therapy or massage or anything I could do to loosen her muscles, but the docs say it’s a problem from the inside out, there is nothing to be done.

Jena has a very poor suck, we give her a bottle every four hours and so far she has never drank an entire ounce.  What is normal is for her to drink (with lots of coaxing)about 10 mililiters (about 1/3 oz) in a half an hour, and the rest goes through her NG tube (tube from nose to stomach).

She consistently runs a low grade temp but her skin on her arms and legs looks blotchy like she is freezing.

Not the best picture in the world (surprise surprise!) but you can see her mottled skin on her arm.

Those things drive her scores up.  What is keeping her scores lower is that she is sleeping well, she does not seem to have problems with overstimulation, and she does not cry a whole lot.  If she doesn’t settle in less than an hour after a feeding, it adds points to her score.  If she seems bothered by noise it would add points to her score.  If she sneezes more than five times an hour it adds points to her score.

No she is not drug-free, on Day one the Doc administered phenobarbital (anti-convulsion and sedative) when they thought she may have started with light convulsions.  She will be on that drug for a while, and most likely it will be sent home with us to wean her off.  And of course that’s probably why she is sleeping so well. 🙂

Since she has gone now a full six days without any methadone, her body is craving the drug.  Yesterday for the first time I could tell she was wanting something in between her feeds and was not satisfied. The phenobarbital does not satisfy that craving at all, and an opiate withdrawal is treated with another opiate.  Enter morphine.  So far the doc has been flirting with Morphine, and telling me not to be surprised if I come in one morning to discover she ordered it through the night.

I would love, love, love (and pray pray pray) if we could pull through without having to give her that.  It would fill her need, and calm her so she could coordinate her sucking instinct, which would be a positive.  It is addictive, so it would be another strong drug to be weaned from before she can be released from the hospital.  Our doctor is a cute little Thai lady, and most mornings she asks me how I’m feeling about the baby.  Most mornings I remind her that I had one extremely fussy son who screamed for two hours every night, and we would not have dreamed of giving him morphine.  Then she reminds me that she won’t administer it unless she thinks it’s necessary. Then she smiles and says: “Lets see how she scores today, and we’ll decide from there”.

So those are the nitty-gritty details.  My mom is here right now doing all my work for me, (baking, cooking, cleaning, mowing, shopping, plus keeping the three older children a little stable) so I’m spending most of my day time at the hospital.  I leave the hospital in the evening usually around 7:00-7:30.  By then I’m ready to see the older kids, so its not hard for me to leave the baby overnight. The night duty nurses are awesome; but when I wake up in the morning, all I can think is that I have a baby laying all alone in her bassinett, and all I want to do is jump in the car and get to the hospital as fast as I can.

Gene has been home a lot more the past couple of weeks, he often spends the morning at home before he goes to work and then He’ll come to the hospital towards evening then too.  We are so blessed.  It has gone so much smoother than I dared to dream or hope.  Oh, and the NICU has us in our own private room with a cot, chairs, bathroom, and yes wifi(!).  And its evident that on the weekend they bend their rules and we are allowed to sneak our kids into the room to see their sister.

Thanks so much if you have breathed a prayer for us. We are being held up!  Love to you all.

22 thoughts on “Details on Jena’s Withdrawal

  1. This just brings tears to my eyes. That little girl is being loved, and fought for, and cared for, in a way shows Jesus to the world in unbelieveable ways. I’m so glad she’s in your family.

  2. aw, as a mom of a newborn, this just grabs me. the thot of a little tiny person having to battle the consequences of someone else’s choices. Leaves me choked up too. So glad she’s got you guys on her side.  thanks for taking the time for another update, i think I devoured every word again. Love hearing how it’s going. How long do they expect this process to take, or is that something that varies by baby too?

  3. Thanks…what a great story…in serial installments I was stirred by your faith and dependence on God through this…and the love you’re experiencing and offering!Continuing to pray for you all!

  4. thinking of you as you walk this oh, so new territory ~that first pic breaks my heart..realizing as i’m reading about addictionthis is a BABY we’re talking about here!!the choices some mother’s make is unbelievable…which makes it even more precious jenna now has YOU!!

  5. Tears. Breaks my heart how an innocent darling baby has to go through all that you write about.What you are doing for her is most beautiful.  Beautiful in that she is being rescued, fought for, loved and treasured by you and your family.  I’m so glad you rescued her.  I will be praying for her and you!!  i love the name Jena.  Oh, and she’s darling, and looks so tiny there in your arms.

  6. gives me goosebumps and breaks my heart all at the same time.  what a crazy life for you right now, but i am just so proud of you for so unselfishly pouring love into a life that needs it so critically bad.  100% sure you will never regret that choice and i pray God will continue to light your path and bring healing and comfort to baby dear. and bless your dear mamma for helping out. what a treasure.

  7. this is a journey i cant quite imagine. but my heart sorta just breaks a little at imagining walking throught this with such a small child who doesn’t understand a thing and it is just no fault of its own!  bless you and bless you as you face the next days.

  8. Not even sure what to write. I feel emotional about this.  Feeling sad for the birth mother who made the choices and the baby and adoptive mother who have to deal with the consequences.  I hope she continues to improve and that things go well for all involved!!

  9. thanks for the update. i feel bad for someone so tiny going through so much, but glad she has you to be there with her. praying all continues to go okay (((hugs)))

  10. i could just look and look at you and jena. and i have. 🙂 what a meaningful picture. she’s dear. there is, like you said before…so much happy and sad. i love how you love her. and will continue to pray.

  11. Praying you can soon have a wonderful trip home with a healthy baby! The prayers of God’s people life us up when we have a hard time doing it by ourselves. God bless!

  12. I have soaked this up as well, our mother hearts are so touched by this “baby story” and I ask for blessings on your life and Jenna’s life as she heals and you comfort and love. She is darling and I love that last picture as well, warms my heart. :))

  13. Wow!  This little girl will have an amazing story, and how wonderful that gets to start it with you cheering her on.  May you feel God’s strength & presence in a very real & new way.  Blessings!

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