Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Mother's Instinct

I've shared before that Mini Me was a different and difficult baby. There was a great honeymoon period when she was first born. Soon, the honeymoon was over.

Mini Me would not let us hold her, comfort her. She was born at a low birth weight of 5 lbs 5 oz. To put her to sleep, we had to swaddle her tightly, lay her on her tummy, and walk away. We could not even pat her back. She did not want to be touched. Mini Me cried herself to sleep every night. If you left her alone, the crying only lasted for about 15-20 minutes. If you stayed in the room or touched her, the crying never stopped - it escalated and got worse.

Mini Me cried frequently. I remember wishing she would only cry for 2 hours each day. At first, we thought this baby was so challenging because Motor Mouth had been so laid back. We joked that we would have had to pinch Motor Mouth to get him to cry for 15 minutes a day. We thought we were just parenting a girl.

Her cry was out of this world. It was this high pitched piercing scream that went from 0 to 320 in less than 3 seconds. It was grating to say the least. 

Stomach problems, reflux, thrush that would not go away, constant crying, no holding, no touching, repeated ear infections, constant cough that sounded like whooping cough, nasal drip, and on and on. Mini Me loved having a pacifier in her mouth. But her palate was underdeveloped and she could not hold the pacifier in her mouth. And the crying. She cried for everything. You couldn't drive with her to the corner without Mini Me losing her pacifier and crying. Or spitting up all over her outfit.

J and I tried everything we could to comfort Mini Me and do the absolute best for her. But it took a major toll on us. Especially on me. Early on, I sought advice from the adoption agency director and the agency social worker. I needed tools and advice on how to deal with this most different child. 

When she was old enough to talk, Mini Me had speech delays. At my wits end, I took Mini Me to a naturopath. He checked her blood and said she had kidney problems but he couldn't tell if the kidneys had been the initial problem or if all the mess in her blood system had caused the kidney problems. He sure did know how to prescribe a lot of natural remedies for her.

Early on, I knew something was off. Finally I started looking up meth addicted babies and what their symptoms were. I read articles. One time, I even went stalker and looked up a woman was profiled in an article because she cares for meth addicted babies. When I called her home, she gave me great advice. It was comforting to talk to her. But I still didn't know for a fact that Mini Me had been born meth addicted. Until recently.
Late last year, Mini Me's birth mom, TT, admitted to me that she did meth and cocaine while she was pregnant with Mini Me. She says that she quit as soon as she realized she would be carrying Mini Me to term. After almost 5 years, I finally found out the truth. The truth that I had known in my heart. 

Never underestimate the power of a mother's intuition whether that mother be biological or otherwise. 

I want you to understand, we had a very detailed 25+ page medical history the 27 year old birth mom (and more info added later by her mom) provided to us. I mention her age so you realize this was not a 15year old teenager giving a medical history. At no time did the birth mom mention she might have done any drugs when she was pregnant with Mini Me.  

We love TT, Mini Me's birth mom. We get why she would not have told us about the drugs. But it would have been a whole lot easier going in to it to know this was a possible cause. We could have saved a lot of pain (primarily Mini Me's physical pain) had we known this important fact. We could have gotten Mini Me therapy and other help early on that would have helped her and helped us to care for her.

Having this knowledge earlier on would not have made us look at TT as anything less than our hero. TT did something difficult and courageous by making the choice to give Mini Me a life TT could not provide. 

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