CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Ask anyone who's experienced motherhood for the first time and they'll likely tell you it's hard to describe unless you've experienced the flush of new feelings for yourself.
A woman we'll call Sylvia recently sat on her bed beaming at her new baby girl. She's asked WBTV to conceal her identity for privacy reasons.
"It's a love like you've never felt before. But having her here makes me want to do even better than I'm doing now," she said.
Sylvia says she wants to do better, but she's already come so far.
"In high school, I graduated 22nd in my class. I had a 4.2 GPA. I had a full ride to college and it got me from a knee injury," Sylvia said.
Her story is like so many. A painkiller prescription leading to a web of addiction she couldn't escape.
"I went from pain pills to actually injecting pain pills and then I went to cocaine, meth," she said.
Then, all of a sudden, Sylvia found a reason to change.
"I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to get clean. I didn't want a life like that for my child. So I went cold turkey," she said.
Quitting suddenly caused violent withdrawals for Sylvia which ultimately proved too much for the baby growing inside her.
"As soon as I found out I'd miscarried, my first thought was, 'I have to get high. I don't want to think about this. I don't want to feel this. I just want to get high,'" she said.
But sometimes life offers a second chance. In July, when Sylvia found out she was pregnant again, she enrolled in Catawba Valley Health's Medication Assisted Treatment Program.
During her pregnancy, she was prescribed monitored doses of Subutex - a medication that helps curb the systems of withdrawals. She also worked with a counselor and underwent regular drug screenings. She hasn't used since she found out she was pregnant.
"I never thought I'd be able to do it. But it feels great. It really does," Sylvia said.
Last month, Sylvia's life changed when a beautiful baby girl took her first breath. She knows she's lucky she wasn't handed the fate that often comes along with the opioid crisis and she just hopes others entwined in addiction that.
"You never know who's going to be next. I'm just glad I know it's not going to be me."