Meth Baby: The reality of it
“I just can’t get over you calling your own child a “meth baby” it’s not nice”
This week I posted to reddit a casual IMA AMA. For a newbie like me that is I am A…. Ask Me Anything. I did this to get some discussion going since most of the time I have no one to discuss a meth exposed baby with.
My post was this “ImA adoptive mom to a meth exposed baby AMA” In my description I wrote “I fostered Charlie for 1 year and I then adopted him in February of 2016. He is a meth baby with side effects. I searched for information on what to expect, only to find very little information. After 16 months I have first hand experienced a meth baby. Ask me anything.”
Most of the questions were good and some people offered stories of hope. But one person replied. “I just can’t get over you calling your own child a “meth baby” it’s not nice.
My reply was, “What else do you want me to say? Sorry but that is the reality of it.”
Anyone can say what they want, that is our right as free citizens. But this really shouldn’t be offensive. I am not trying to pick on anyone or single out anyone’s ideas and thoughts about this. I was glad for the input, It gave me a chance to really consider this topic. I simply am stating facts. He was a baby born to a mom who smoked meth.
20 or so years ago the term used so often was crack baby. Well here in the midwest, today, where meth is rampant they are called meth baby. I shouldn’t have apologized for this term. That is exactly what they are. Babies exposed to methanphetamines. I certainly do not introduce my son as “here is Charlie, he is a meth baby.” When he is old enough to know what drugs are and what that means, I will explain to him how it is very bad to smoke meth and it took almost everything from his bio parent’s lives. He has already been exposed to drugs and it didn’t do him any good. Maybe he will see it my way. I hope so. I hope he can say to himself, I have already tried drugs and it only caused me harm, and wasn’t any fun.
Meth baby. That is what my baby was. Not what he is.
I am not out of the woods yet….
Intrauterine drug exposure causes digestive problems
Today at 15 and 1/2 months my sweet awesome little baby who was affected by Intrauterine drug exposure, cried and screamed and whined and threw tantrums all day. My sister who does daycare for me for him, sent me videos of his behavior. My heart sank. I thought OMG he is not going to be normal. He has something not wired right in his little brain. There is something horribly wrong. As an infant he went through so much gas pain and trouble with his digestive system. Did anyone do a specific test for this? No. But he was spitting up so much I couldn’t even believe anything was going down. The doctor switched us to Similac spit up formula. This was a life saver, because it seemed to ease his pains and the formula stayed down. Digestive system trouble is 1 common side effect of a meth baby. And definitely for my infant. Because he was in so much pain for months he also did not sleep. It seemed like he was awake all the time. I can’t help but wonder if his stomach hurts. He can’t tell me in words. But, is he telling me by screaming.
There was finally hope. The spit up formula was a small miracle for an otherwise almost unbearable infant. But that was only 1 problem of many with my drug exposed baby. There can be a many things not right that I can’t see or that won’t show up until he’s at least 3 years old. And today I saw my awesome little toddler act like a totally different kid. Dare I say monster.
I hope and pray that this is teething. He has had nasty diapers, a snotty runny nose and cries and screams with no tears. The crying can be turned off in an instant. And start in an instant. I hope this does not last…….. But because I know what he was exposed to; meth and pot even on the day he was born, every possible little thing wrong I immediately go back to the drug effects. Because of an addiction and mental issues of his bio, my sweet wonderful child has obstacles to overcome that I can’t even see. It is not his fault in any way. And I love him more than anything. And I still hold onto the hope that he will lead a good life and be okay.
Taking on a baby with Intrauterine drug exposure is something that must be carefully considered. How bad did I want to be a mom? Bad enough to go this far, and put everyone I know on this path. It doesn’t effect just Charlie, this affects everyone he meets.
Elsa was a premature newborn Meth Baby
My first foster placement was a new born baby girl. A meth baby. I got the call after lunch and I picked up my first newborn from the hospital a few hours later. I had to go up to the hospital room and meet the parents and grandma and take Elsa home. She was 3 days old and did not appear to have anything wrong with her, but she was tiny. She was beautiful just like the Princess she was named for.
I only had her for 1 week. Grandma got to take her home after the first court hearing. This was disappointing since my main goal was to adopt a baby, not foster one and then let them go. But for that one week I had a beautiful baby girl. You try not to get attached because I knew grandma wanted her and she was a good lady. But you still do. She was everything I ever wanted.
She was an easy baby. She slept 23 hours a day and I had to wake her up to feed her. She wasn’t fussy and only cried for food. She just slept so much. I don’t know what happened to Elsa, I hope she is doing well. Her only side effects as a new born meth baby was so much sleep and she was born 4 weeks early.
And that was my first meth baby.
Meth Baby Side Effects – They are real
Effects of Meth in newborns
A list of dominant side effects of meth in the first 6 months that I saw fostering 2 babies
: meth baby side effects…
- New born – slept 23 hours
- 4 weeks – 6 months – No Sleep – (wide awake a lot)
- Spitting up
- Difficulty eating
- Abdominal pain
- Crunching legs and arms
- Kicking and flailing – (difficult to dress)
- Hand tremors
- Sensory issues
- No close eye contact
- Moving head from side to side for no apparent reason
- Dislike of bath time
- Screams while changing a diaper
These are some of the most noticeable and dominant side effects I saw in the 2 meth affected babies I have had. There are more less significant things that happened and no 2 babies are alike of course; more or less occur in other babies. Thankfully both babies were not born addicted to drugs, so I have not experienced those effects. I have only read about babies addicted to drugs at birth and I do not know other foster parents who have a drug effected child. But I have first hand experience of what this does to an unborn child. Every stage of his life I don’t know what to expect. But I am sharing our journey here. If it helps somebody I will share anything I can to help another family going through this difficult time.
My baby showed all of these effects up until about 6 months. At that point he really turned a corner and had grown enough to work through most of these problems. Will he have problems down the road? Possibly, but that remains to be seen. For now and I hope for the rest of his life he has left the effects of meth behind.
Some interesting links can be found here https://www.google.com/search?q=what+does+meth+do+to+babies&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8