This is actually quite a difficult post to write and one I was in two minds about. Taking medication during pregnancy is never an easy decision when it may have side effects on your baby.
Before my pregnancy I had spinal fusion surgery and experienced a large amount of pain throughout the pregnancy. As there aren’t a lot of medications that you can take when you’re pregnant I was prescribed slow release morphine to help keep the pain at a more manageable level. It wasn’t an easy decision to start taking the medication. I was well aware that the baby would be getting small doses of whatever I took and would ultimately have an effect on her. However on the other side, I couldn’t walk or function due to the pain. After weighing up all the options I started to take a low dose.
After the birth
I was told that after the baby was born she would be monitored for a few hours just to make sure that she was OK but would remain in the room with me. After my delivery everything was great, she latched on to feed straight away and seemed as happy as any other little newborn.
When we left the hospital that same day I was told to watch out for any signs that she might be struggling in the first 24 hours. Look out for excessive crying, breathing difficulties and any jitteriness. The first 24 hours passed by absolutely fine and there were no side effects on my daughter at all.
Then we got to night number 2 when Darcey was about 40 hours old. That night neither of us slept there was screaming like I haven’t heard before. In our sleep deprived state my husband and I initially didn’t put 2 and 2 together. We got to the morning and I said, “I really think there is something wrong,” I’m sure the boys didn’t cry like this when they were tiny. We couldn’t console Darcey, she just wouldn’t settle and became jerky.
Back to hospital
We called the maternity unit and they asked us to go into the children’s ward to be checked over. They thought she was having withdrawal from the morphine I took. I felt awful, so guilty, it was all my fault that she was having to go through this. The doctors were fantastic and gave her a thorough check over and confirmed that it was withdrawal. She was given a tiny bit of formula to supplement my milk that hadn’t come in yet and get her sugar levels up.
We were admitted for 36 hours so that they could keep a close eye on Darcey. The plan was if she didn’t get any worse, they would just let it run its course and not intervene. It was another really long night but she calmed down the next day and became far less jerky. I felt like I was the worst mum in the world and kept apologising to the staff who were amazing at both consoling me as they were at looking after Darcey.
It was awful to see her screaming and so unhappy but she did get better 24-48 hours after the symptoms started and she hasn’t had any more side effects. She was still getting a small amount of the morphine through my breast milk until I was able to stop taking it. It was just that first week that was a bit of a shock to her system.