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'Sarah' shares her story of recovery

'I needed to get back into rehab...'

For one woman, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC's Pregnancy Recovery Center was the program that not only saved her life — but also the life of her unborn child.

“It's been honestly a life-changer,” the patient, who wished to be referred to only as Sarah, told the Eagle. “It's really amazing because I don't know where I would be right now if I hadn't have chosen to come here. I am very, very grateful.”

Seven months clean, and with a baby on the way, Sarah says the program was the best thing to happen to her.

Sarah said she began using narcotics about four years ago, starting with prescription pills and moving on to heroin.

Her first rehab stay was in October 2015. After 45 days she went back home but didn't have a support system in place of counseling or therapy.

“I didn't have any people to really help me change my life and make things better,” she said.

Three weeks later, Sarah was back doing drugs.

In May 2016, she again gave rehab a try, staying for 28 days and then moving into a halfway house out of the area. That led to 90 days clean, and she said she relapsed on her 90th day.

“I didn't feel that I got enough of the help that I needed,” she said.

In January, she relapsed again, before becoming aware in February of her pregnancy.

On March 8, she overdosed. And after receiving medical treatment, realized “I needed to get back into rehab and change my life because I had a baby coming.”

“I needed to do this for my child because it's not their decision,” she said. “She can't make a choice to do or not do what I put into my body so I needed to get better.”

That's when Sarah began a Subutex program, and eventually was admitted into the PRC.

After finding out about the program through her previous rehabilitation stint, she decided to stay clean for her child.

“It seemed from what I saw online, that it was a really nice place,” she said.

During her initial appointment, Sarah said she had reservations, but “everyone made me feel really comfortable.”

“Everyone was nice and understanding and helpful with any questions that I had or any concerns I had,” she said. “My biggest fear when I came here was people judging me. Nobody here judges me.”

She said the added counseling component as well as the medical treatment has helped keep her on track.

“As a whole I think is what really has made it work,” she said. “I've never had someone here make me feel bad about the medications that I am on, the things that I've done, everyone is very, very positive and uplifting.”

After being involved in the program for three months, Sarah said she would recommend it to any expectant mothers dealing with addiction issues.

“These people are awesome, and I feel like I'd like to give back and get other pregnant women into places like this, to realize there are other options,” she said.