My baby was born hooked on HEROIN
Mum’s shame at junkie past
A MUM has spoken of how she can never forgive herself for getting her baby hooked on drugs.
Georgia, now 11, was born addicted to heroin after her mum Corraine Casey, used it throughout her pregnancy.
In a shocking confession, Corraine, 35, reveals she even smoked heroin during her labour, and again just hours after her baby was born an addict.
The former junkie already had two young kids when she fell pregnant with Georgia and admits to neglecting them by spending money for heating and food on a fix.
She even flogged the TV to buy drugs — but vowed to clean up after seeing her newborn detox.
Telling Georgia and her siblings the truth about their horrific start in life was, she says, as hard as coming off drugs.
But now the brave married mum-of-seven is helping others battling substance addiction after completely turning her life around.
Corraine says: “I failed my kids because all I cared about was getting high. Nobody could feel more regret and shame than I do. But I needed to be honest with them so I can move forward and try to use the experience to help others.”
She says she spiralled into drug addiction after a tough childhood.
“I was the youngest of eight siblings and our father suffered with paranoid schizophrenia and was an alcoholic. Mum did her best but she also suffered with depression.”
When she was eight her father was admitted to a secure hospital and Corraine was placed in care. Her father died when she was ten.
Corraine says: “It hit mum hard and she turned to drink. That’s when I started going off the rails.”
She left school with no qualifications and soon fell pregnant.
By the time daughter Nicole, now 17, was born, she had already split with the father.
She says: “I was a young single mum but I loved my baby and was determined to give her a good life.”
But all that changed when she fell for an ex. She says: “We’d dated when I was at school. He’d never been into drugs.”
But soon he was inviting his mates round to smoke what Corraine thought was pot.
Corraine says: “I was a bit naïve, I assumed it was like marijuana.
“When I asked them they said it was a type of painkiller that made them feel relaxed.”
Soon her man and his mates were smoking the “painkiller” every night, but Corraine refused to try it at first. When she finally caved in and tried it, she had no idea she was taking heroin.
She says: “It wasn’t as common as it is now. I didn’t know how addictive it was or even its name.
“The first time I smoked it I was sick, but it gave me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling so I kept trying it.”
She assumed it was harmless and continued to smoke it when her baby was in bed.
She says: “It was only when I didn’t have any one night and I felt ill I realised I was addicted.”
Over the next six months she smoked heroin several times a day — until she discovered she was pregnant with Keira, now 13.
She says: “It was really hard but I stopped using straight away.”
But months after Keira was born she was hooked once more.
She says: “I had two small children but all I cared about was drugs. The house was freezing as I had no money to spend on heating. It all went on getting high.”
She fed her daughters on cheap microwave food, but often had to turn to her mother for help.
She says: “Mum didn’t know I’d spent the money on drugs. She’d give us cans of beans and bread so the girls didn’t go hungry.”
As her addiction escalated she even sold the TV to buy heroin.
She says: “The kids were upset they couldn’t watch cartoons. But nothing mattered but drugs.”
In 2001 she fell pregnant for the third time with Georgia.
She says: “As soon as I found out I told myself I would stop using like I had before. But this time it was impossible.
“Every time I got high I kept telling myself it would be the last time but it never was.”
Terrified that midwives would discover she was a junkie, Corraine missed all her appointments and continued to smoke heroin up to five times a day — and even when she went into labour.
Corraine, from Lincoln, admits: “When my contractions started the first thing I did was get high.”
But she finally blurted the truth to midwives between contractions.
She says: “As selfish as I was I had to get help for my baby.”
Midwives informed doctors who prepared to rush the tot to special baby care. Georgia was born hours later on August 23, 2002, fully dependant on heroin.
Corraine says: “The midwives had been lovely during my labour but all that changed after Georgia was born and I was moved to the ward. I could sense the staff staring at me. I was the evil mother who’s baby was born addicted to heroin.
“I was struggling to cope and all I could think about was getting a fix. I sneaked out to get high.”
Doctors gave methadone orally to the newborn to help prevent the tot suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Corraine says: “My baby was detoxing because of me. Of course I felt bad but I was still a heroin addict. I still needed drugs.”
She continued to sneak out of the ward to take heroin while her baby received treatment. The tot was one week old when Corraine admitted she needed help, too.
“I knew I was going to lose my baby if I didn’t get clean.”
Doctors also prescribed methadone for Corraine. Over the next few weeks both were weaned on to smaller doses of the heroin substitute under the care of the hospital.
It was only weeks into her detox that the full gravity of what she had done hit home.
Corraine says: “The full horror only hit me when that fog started to clear. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like scum.”
After a month both mum and baby were discharged clean and into the care of Corraine’s mother.
Despite falling pregnant again with her ex with Jaycee, now ten, Corraine managed to stay clean and eventually left him for good.
One year on she met her husband and went on to have another three kids — Danny, eight, Frankie, five and Ava, one. She never touched drugs again.
She says: “I tried to carry on being the best mum I could but each pregnancy brought all the shame and guilt to the surface. I desperately wanted to go back and change it all.
“I’ve never stopped beating myself up about it and probably never will.”
Last year she suffered a breakdown caused by the guilt which led to the decision to train as a volunteer support worker to help others.
But first she needed to come clean to the kids about her shameful past.
She says: “I especially wanted Georgia to know the truth. I sat all the kids down and told them everything. When I told Georgia she’d been born an addict she looked shocked, but accepted it in that wonderful way that kids do.
“I already knew I’d raised good kids but they showed true love and compassion that I will always be grateful for.
“It’s time to stop beating myself up over the past and help other people with their future.”
Georgia says: “I was shocked when mum told me I had been born addicted to drugs.
“I think my mum is really brave. She told me the truth when she didn’t have to. She wants to help other people and I love her for that.”