Thursday, November 19, 2009

Epidural with a Harrington Rod

Apparently, I probably couldn't have an epidural or a spinal during labor even if I wanted one!

This is because of the Harrington Rod I had fused to my spine when I was 14.

I was reading this post on The Unnecesarean and the woman's story included the fact that she had had a Harrington rod in her back for a severe spinal S curve and her OB wanted to make sure to induce her on a day that the anesthesiologist was in so he could numb her in case of any pain.

I remember when I was 14 and my mom asked my doctor if I would have any complications having children, and he said no. I remember thinking it was interesting that she asked, because at 14 I was so far from thinking about pregnancy and childbirth that it wouldn't have occurred to me until... well right now!

Anyway, I looked up harrington rods and childbirth and most people seem to say that, exactly as my doctor said, there are no problems with pregnancy or childbirth as a result of spinal fusion.
However, it is apparently quite difficult to place an epidural into the space near your spine where it needs to go because the epidural space may be gone completely.

It is not always entirely unsuccessful, as the doctors can maybe look at an X-ray of my back and view where they may be able to place it, or simply place it in certain locations that they know might work even with a rod in. The down side, if did decide to try for one, is that they may have to try several different locations along my spine, which sounds like an absolutely horrible and painful experience that I think I'd rather just avoid.

The second down side is that if I have to have an emergency C-section I would have to be under general anesthesia (instead of the anesthesia in the epidural which only numbs your lower half), and thusly would have to be asleep while my child was born and wait to nurse until the anesthesia left my system :-(

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