By Paul Henry / in , , /

For the Marlow Family fostering this baby girl measuring methadone by the drop is not
something they necessarily planned for. We got a phone call one Thursday
morning saying that there was a baby who had been born and who was
dependent and needed a place to live. Carilion Clinic’s programs for caring for
opioid dependent babies and their moms have evolved since we met the Marlows
to include even more services. We collaborate with pediatricians we collaborate with emergency medicine physicians and outside primary care providers or other obstetricians. Our typical mom of our babies that are at risk for having withdrawal She is a first time mom. She was using heroin. Found out she was pregnant. Got into a treatment program. But this is
her first pregnancy. This is her first baby. And she’s only been in her treatment program for a few months. So there’s a lot of firsts there. I met the mother of a baby who was dependent and when I met her literally my heart broke. I had to excuse myself and go into a private place and cry
because I realized that she was very much a victim too. Since many substance use disorder programs won’t allow
women to remain in treatment once they become pregnant Carilion’s office-based opioid treatment program is one of the only options for
continuing their recovery journey. For the babies treatment in the hospital has changed so that in many cases medication is no longer needed. So having either mom’s room or our transitional nursery it’s dark and quiet. So just as low a stimulation environment as possible. It takes all of us working together to create a brighter future. Because no one chooses addiction. Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease.
A lot of people don’t know that. Shame is toxic. It doesn’t promote change. So we have to start treating each other more kindly. And we have to choose to get educated and make
better decisions for ourselves and the people around us. The Marlow Family’s foster baby is doing
well one year after they got that call and has been reunited with family. Karen McNew for Carilion Clinic.

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