Health

Pregnant Mom Tests Positive For Meth Due To Mix-Up

| by Zara Zhi
Natalie RossmanNatalie Rossman

A woman accused of being high on meth while in labor is speaking out.

Moments after Natalie Rossman gave birth to her baby son, a nurse came into her hospital room and informed her that Child Protective Services would be taking her child away.

The nurse said Rossman’s urine test revealed her newborn baby had methamphetamine in his system -- meaning, the new mom had used crystal meth during her pregnancy.

Compulsory drug tests are often given to mother and child moments immediately after birth.

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The tired mother was disoriented, scared, and heartbroken since she was not a drug user, according to Little Things.

Rossman and her husband remembered that she was given an epinephrine shot during labor and speculated that would have caused the false positive drug test.

The couple requested the hospital supervisor and case worker look into the assumption -- and they were right.

Although the couple were given custody of the child, they never received an apology from the hospital or nurse. Now, Rossman is sharing her story in case this mix-up happens to another pregnant woman who is given epinephrine.

A similar mistake happened to Maggie Downs, a southern California mother-to-be who went into labor with her son in 2014 and was accused of taking methamphetamine, reported KPNX.

About seven or eight hours into her labor, a nurse followed Downs into the bathroom and told her she tested positive.

But the hardest drug she consumed during her pregnancy was Tylenol. Downs was given another drug test, but tested positive again.

“This isn’t right,” she screamed.

Finally, Downs connected the dots and realized it was her asthma to blame. Downs takes puffs from a prescribed albuterol inhaler, which was cleared by her doctors during pregnancy.

She tried convincing the hospital staff that her inhaler was causing the positive drug tests, but “The more I insist I’m not on drugs, the more I sound like I am,” she said.

The nurse told her to take it up with Child Protective Services.

Downs explained: 

The weeks that follow are dark. I don’t know if I would have experienced the same level of postpartum depression without failing those drug tests. But I do know most other mothers don’t spend their first few weeks with baby the way I do -- the shades drawn, peeking out from behind the blinds, examining each car that drives past. Every phone call, every knock at the door, every pop of gravel in the driveway sets my heart racing. Every night shreds me to pieces, wondering if my son will be whisked away by morning ... It seems insane to think someone could take my child away, yet testing positive for meth once seemed insane too.

Three weeks passed, and the hospital social worker called the couple. He told Downs’ husband that additional testing revealed that she was not taking drugs.

Sources: Little Things, KPNX / Photo credit: Little Things

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