Monday, January 17, 2011

My first entry - a little bit about us.

I'm Sarah and my husband is Mike.  All together we have seven children!  Yes, I did say seven.  Mike has two from a previous marriage, I have three, and together we have two.  It makes our life busy and sometimes crazy, but we love it!

Here's the list of our kids:
  1. Natasha (almost 25)
  2. Mikey (16)
  3. Martha (13)
  4. Margaret (a.k.a Maggie, age 10)
  5. Bruce (8)
  6. Audrijana (5)
  7. Isaac (a.k.a Ike, age 1 1/2)
So, the reason for me writing this blog is to share our story.  On Facebook, I posted a brief status about us celebrating two years being drug-free, and although my close family and friends know about our journey, our church family and our other friends and family didn't.  I'd like to share our testimony, so I thought I would blog about it.

When Mike and I met we lived a party life every weekend when my kids would go to their dad's.  We used a lot of drugs (ecstasy, cocaine, etc.), drank a lot of alcohol and didn't sleep for days at a time. We came close to overdosing a few times.

We stopped using when I found out I was pregnant for Audrijana and we stayed clean for a while.  After Audri was born, we slowly started slipping back into that lifestyle.  We thought we were okay because it was just on the weekends.  My kids stopped going to their dad's, so we stopped using. Life was okay for a while.

Fast forward a couple of years and somehow we fell back into it, not overnight, but gradually.  We tried Oxycontin's, a highly addictive pain killer and we got hooked big time.  We tried quitting over and over again.  The longest we went without using was 8 days.  I had found out I was pregnant and we decided to stop cold-turkey.  Well, we lost that baby....and started using even more.  Right after I lost the baby, I lost my I got super-depressed (probably should have seen a doctor, but I didn't.) I planned ways to kill myself, I thought about taking all kinds of pills and overdosing, and I know Mike thought about it too. Mike and I both felt trapped. We wanted to stop but when we tried on our own, we just couldn't do it.  There were days when I couldn't get out of bed.  There were days when Mike drove around all day looking for drugs.  We did some pretty horrible things - stealing money from my family, lying, and worse.  I carried a lot of guilt around with me for a long time after we cleaned up.  There were things I did that I will regret forever.  But I've come to realize that I can't change the past, only the future, and that God forgives everything.

While Mike was out one day looking for pills, a girlfriend of a friend of his told him about the clinic that she went to.  Mike wrote down the name and number and told me about it.  We discussed it and decided that we would go to it.  During this time, we found out I was pregnant again, and we were so scared.  Every time I used, I was scared of the damage it was doing to the baby.  And every time I thought about stopping, I was scared of losing another baby.  We were scared of our kids being taken away from us.  It took us a couple of months before we finally called them.  .

On a side note, my parents, especially my Mom, had noticed a big change in me.  She kept asking me what was going on, but I was so ashamed of myself that I never told her.  Dad and her have told me since that they knew something was going on because as Dad puts it I wasn't Sarah any more.  He didn't know who I was. I wasn't eating for days at a time.  I wasn't showering most of the time. I was yelling at my kids all the time.  I had lost so much weight so quickly (my lowest weight during this time was 118 pounds at my height of almost 5ft 9in.)  I kept denying anything was wrong, until one day, while we waiting for the New Year, when the clinic would begin accepting patients again, I called Mom and Dad in tears and said that I needed to talk to them.  I went over to their house, and spilled my guts.  I was so afraid of disappointing them, and they both just held me and said they would love me no matter what, and they were glad that we were finally going to get help. 

So in January of 2009, we began our methadone treatment program.  Going everyday and peeing into a cup while a camera is pointed at you and a staff member is in another room watching you is quite the humbling experience.  The clinic staff and our doctor there are so supportive and non-judgmental.

A week or two after starting treatment, when I was finally at a dose that was helping me, I started reading my Bible again, and praying, and I felt this strong tug on my heart to go to Church again (which I haven't done since I was a teenager)  But what church should we go to?  The church I went to as a teenager, I felt no connection to.  I felt a nudge from God to go to Forks Road East United Sunday came around, and we got the kids ready, and walked into a brand-new church less than two weeks after starting our treatment program. And I was pregnant!  The church family welcomed us with open arms.  Even though no one at church knew our story, going every week, and getting reacquainted with God, I can honestly say helped us stick with the program.  Our doctor at the clinic has repeatedly said we should be poster children for getting clean and staying that way.  I firmly believe that without God, we probably would have had a few setbacks. 

My pregnancy was a new issue for the clinic staff.  They told me that they've had patients on methadone get pregnant but they had never had a pregnant person walk in and ask for help.  They monitored me closely, and my obstetrician monitored the baby closely.  Isaac was born on June 27, 2009 by emergency Cesarean because he was trying to come out feet and hands first.  Lying on the hospital bed, waiting for 3 hours for an anesthesiologist to get to the hospital, while I could feel Isaac's feet and hands trying to get out, was so terrifying.  Before I was taken into the operating room, I asked the obstetrician-on-call and the nurses to pray with me.   And they did!  When I woke up in the operating room, I asked about my baby, and the nurses wouldn't tell me anything.  I heard them say that they were waiting for my husband to tell me.  So I thought for sure that something had happened to him.  I was in excruciating pain, both physically and mentally.  Finally, I was wheeled to my room, and got to see Isaac on my way past the nursery.  He was tiny and frail looking and had some issues.  His blood sugar was very low, and they couldn't get it up.  He had symptoms of withdrawal for a couple of days (shakiness, vomiting, refusing to eat).  My doctor strongly suggested that I breastfeed so that Isaac would be gradually weaned off the methadone as I was, but Isaac wouldn't eat.  The nurses could barely get him to drink from a bottle.  He had jaundice so bad that after discharging him, he was readmitted because his levels were so high that there was a chance he might suffer brain damage.  This, more than anything else in my life, was the lowest I have ever been.  Here was my little newborn son struggling to begin his life, and it was all because of me.  My faith in God kept me going.  I knew that we would both be fine.  I knew that God would help us through whatever was in store for us.

So here we are now, Isaac is a healthy 18 month old (with zero problems eating) and I finished my methadone treatment this week.  Mike has a few weeks left still (He's slow in his old age!)  And my parents say they have their daughter and son-in-law back.  And our faith in God continues to grow stronger every day.

I promise my next post won't be such a serious one!

Mike and 5 of the kids at a family Christmas dinner
                                         I'm sorry for the sideways pic, I'm not sure how to rotate it.

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