As I watch baby A struggle with each breath it brings back many other memories of babies we have raised before. I once read a book called The Secret Life of the Unborn Baby. I think the world needs to read The Secret Life of the FASD baby. FASD is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and is the spectrum of issues caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Not every baby struggles as much as some of the ones I am going to talk about. I use some of these stories to educate on the seriousness of this disorder.
Baby J lay in her crib surrounded by the machines that kept her alive. The beeping of the heart monitor, the whirring of the oxygen concentrator and the constant noise of the suction machine kept the room from total quiet. J was born with damage to her brain that had caused very little brain matter to form. J could not swallow and thus needed constant suction. She was fed through a G-tube on constant feeds. She was never comfortable and breathing was almost more work than she could handle. J was a fighter and she fought off illness after illness until her body just could not fight off the last infection. After 15 weeks of battle J finally left my arms to get her wings.
When there is enough alcohol damage the child can have permanent and severe health issues. The heart, lungs, kidneys, skeletal system and of course, the brain can be damaged. The damage can be severe to slight depending on when the damage occurred. The damage to just the brain can cause life long issues and when adding in the other medical issues the lifelong damage can be catastrophic. Children with these medical issues can have Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, hydrocephalus, hydronephrosis and the list goes on and on.
It is not okay to drink while pregnant. It is unknown what amount it will take to do severe damage. Each person is different in the way they metabolize alcohol. Therefore alcohol will be metabolized differently in their bodies and affect the fetus differently. Just don’t take the chance. Zero for nine is the best message.