When I found out I was pregnant, I was taking 24mg of Suboxone. My doctor immediately switched me to 16mg a day of Subutex. Initially I wanted to begin weaning off the med as to not expose my baby to it. Plus I was concerned by the lack of information and personal stories from other women when searching the internet. The only information I did find were horrible stories about how babies were born addicted to Subutex which led to withdrawals, babies being kept in the hospital for long periods of time, being given methadone, no pain management for mommy, etc. After talking with my doctor I decided the pros were better than the cons and was assured my baby would not experience any withdrawal and I would also be able to breastfeed.
WITHDRAW AND BABY:
When my baby was born they had a specialized pediatrician and several nurses immediately examine her, specifically watching for signs of withdrawal and I was told that if there were in fact any symptoms, she would be immediately taken to the NICU for treatment. There were NO initial symptoms. They continued to watch her through out my stay in the hospital. They even kept me there an extra 2 days because they wanted to continue watching to see if any symptoms arose. None ever did. Every day we were there, a nurse came twice a day to collect urine from my baby. Im not exactly sure why, but was told it was one of their procedures to check for withdraw (I was in a daze the entire time I was there so I really dont remember).
I had a c section and did not recieve any narcotic pain killers. Once the spinal block began to wear off I was given 600mg of ibuprofen every 5 hours as well as some medication that was given through a tube into my incision (which helped a little). I felt every single bit of pain, it was horrible but there was nothing else they would give me. The Subutex was considered part of my pain management so I continued to take it as usual. Recovering from surgery was not easy at all and just like the other mothers, I was required to begin walking I think 2 days after surgery, using the bathroom, etc. The pain was excrutiating but I survived. The best advice i can give to another woman in this situation is to talk to your doctor before you go into labor and figure out a pain management plan! At least if I was told beforehand I wasnt going to be given ANYTHING, besides ibuprofen, I could have at a minimum mentally prepared myself for what was to come.
HOW I WAS TREATED IN THE HOSPITAL BY STAFF:
When I was in the hospital my doctor notified the hospital staff that I was taking Subutex. Majority of the nurses were not sympathetic to this whatsoever (most of them didnt know what Subutex was, but once they found out, I was treated much differently) and I dealt with a lot of dirty looks and comments such as "you know there is a good chance your baby will go through withdraws..", as well as "Buprenorphine is not safe for a fetus, why are you taking this?" Another thing thats good to prepare for...judgement, especially when you are an emotional, hormonal mess.
DRUG TESTING WHILE IN HOSPITAL:
I was drug tested several times while in the hospital. The first time was right after I had the c section. They removed and tested my urine from the cathader bag. The also did it 2 other times, once again the following day and again right before I was discharged.
I was assured by all of my doctors that I would be able to breastfeed and continue to take Subutex with absolutely no harm to baby. It was explained to me that such small amounts of the medication is passed throguh a mothers milk, and that it doesnt even get absorbed by baby because its going straight into babys stomach (buprenorphine cannot be absorbed through the stomach my doctor explained, that is why it is taken sublingually). I did begin breastfeeding my baby until the second day, when the hospital's pediatrician came into my room and wanted to talk...she was adimant that by my continued brestfeeding, I was putting my baby in danger. She had a bunch of print outs with her that were about all of the negative effects of subutex on a baby although nothing pertaining directly to breastfeeding. I explained to her what my doctor that prescribes my subutex told me and that he gave me the "ok" to do it and that we I had done a lot of research on this before deciding to do so. I told her I would review the papers she had given us and that we would discuss what we wanted to do. She was very nasty with us and eventually left the room. Earlier that day I had asked one of the nurses if I could speak with the lactation consultant to help me with the feeding because I was having some trouble. When she arrived later that afternoon she basically refused to help me because she said she had spoken with the pediatrician and they both believed I should not be breastfeeding. The pediatrician must have called my OB because shortly after meeting with the lactation consultant, my OB arrived just to tell me she did not want me breastfeeding anymore either (earlier in my pregnancy I spoke with her about it and she assured me as well I would not have an issue with this, that it was fine and safe). After meeting with her, nurses kept checking in on us asking if I was still breastfeeding the baby...they even sent in a social worker to speak with me about my past drug use and as to why I wanted to expose my baby to the medication...it was a nightmare, totally invasive in my first choices of parenting, and not to mention utterly embarassing.
Anyway, I hope this will be helpful to someone!