Our son Kaden was born 12/14 at 6:26am in Maine. He was 7lb 11ounces at birth. We are now awaiting adoption paperwork, a wait that hasn't seemed as long as I anticipated because my attention has been consumed by my son's health.
At birth, I am told that they needed to breath for him. We arrived late the day he was born, & as of the next morning when we received temporary custody (awaiting the next step, adoption consent), Loch or I have been at his side. For the first two days of his life, Kaden was on oxygen, morphine, verset, & supplemental nutrition via an IV. During the first 5 days of his life we went from NICU to continuing care--and on the 5th day, all of that was removed. Then my husband returned to Virginia to be with Asia & Dylan, and Kaden & I moved to pediatrics, where we now live.
Kaden has NAS Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) and is receiving methadone that is slowing being weaned. In addition, he is on clonazepam & phenonbarbital & prevacid. The doctors tell me that this is one of the worst cases of withdrawal that they've seen in years. He started on a very high dose of methadone which had to be increased twice & augmented with other meds to stabilize him, and the weaning has been very slow. Eventually, we'll get through this, but for now, we anticipate living in the hospital at least another 3-5 weeks (on top of the 17 days so far). NAS comes with all sorts of unpleasantness
Blotchy skin coloring (mottling)
Excessive crying or high-pitched crying
Increased muscle tone
Slow weight gain
Stuffy nose, sneezing
He hasn't had any seizures, & his weight gain is not currently an issue. He lost 12ounces (dropping to 6lb 15oz), but has regained them & added more still (up to 8lb 3oz as of yesterday). The rest of those symptoms he is experiencing. For me, the tremors & crying are the hardest to deal with. He shakes so hard that I can't put him down in the crib bc he shakes himself awake. The crying is . . . well, you know how it is when someone you love hurts & you can't "fix it." It's a lousy feeling to be powerless.
Fortunately, he is strong, and even more fortunately, we aren't anticipating any long term physical or developmental limitations as a result of this. Unfortunately, all of this means that I am living in a hospital in Maine, far from my family for the time being. My daughter has been away at college--finished her first semester with a 3.75 (!), so I'd been looking forward to having all three children together. Dylan & Asia text, Skype, & play Words With Friends with me though so they are keeping in great touch even from this distance. Have I mentioned that I love being a mom? They are why.
The nurses and doctors here have been amazing. I truly couldn't ask for better care. They are experienced professional who have enormous hearts. I'm quite certain I'd be ill myself if not for them. With very rare exception, Kaden doesn't cope well unless he's being held. I spend 18 hours a day almost every day holding him. I can't go on no sleep though, so I am grateful that many of the nurses offer to hold him for a few hours so I can get a precious 4-6 hours of sleep each day.
So that's the update. I've posted bits & pieces on Twitter, but today is the best day he's had so far so I broke out the laptop to type up an update in response to the questions sent via msg & email from friends, family, & readers. We'll be ok, but it's been a rough few weeks & will continue to be so for several more weeks, probably a month more, but possibly up to 2 more months at worst.
That said, every minute of this is worth it for me. I feel grateful that the Universe has allowed me to be Kaden's mother & already love him as I do my eldest two kids. We bonded quickly, & I'm honoured & thrilled to be his mom. Some of you have commented that I am doing a good thing. I'm not really. I'm doing the same thing I did when I became a mother the first 2 times: I'm filling my arms with a wonderful little human. This isn't about changing the world. It's about the fact that I love motherhood above all else. Being a mom is, without a doubt, the most satisfying, coolest thing I've ever done--and it's just as awesome the third time. The first time, I had surgery, bed rest, & hellish labour. The second involved years of court battles & working an extra job to pay legal bills. This time, it's a few months in the hospital. It's worth it. Motherhood is wonderful.
Much love to all of you who have sent your messages of support & your prayers in your various faiths. We appreciate every one of those.