Monday, March 17, 2003

De'Ja enters a world with a fragile future

" Doctors also start talking about a step that Tonya prayed they wouldn't have to take: mixing methadone into De'Ja's milk. While methadone would ease the baby's withdrawal symptoms, she'd have to spend two to four weeks in the hospital - without her mother - so doctors could slowly wean her off the drug.

Without methadone, De'Ja's body is in shock, says Dr. Adel Abdallah, a neonatologist at Riverside. Babies in the womb can get as much as 40 to 50 percent of a mother's methadone dose, Abdallah says, but only 2 to 3 percent through breast milk - and so far De'Ja has refused to nurse.

"Her system is set to this high level, and then it comes down really quickly," Abdallah says. "That can make a baby miserable.""
[This is a shockingly frank feature about the struggles of babies born to addicts - JC]