An Epidural Got Stuck in This Mom's Spine for 4 Days After Giving Birth
The Pensacola mom can still "barely walk" and experienced excruciating pain while the needle was stuck in her spine.
A mom from Pensacola named Selena Gray is making national headlines after enduring a rare, nightmarish experience following the birth of her daughter. On June 26, Gray went into labor at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pesacola, and a day later, her little one, Serenity, was born. But the epidural that Gray was given somehow lodged itself into her spine, and doctors were unable to remove it for four days, according to the local ABC affiliate WEAR-TV.
Gray, 18, told the news outlet that she was in "excruciating pain," elaborating, "Basically, my epidural looped itself into my spine. It's in a knot in my spine and they've been trying to tug at it and tug at it, and I haven't been able to get up or move or do anything."
Gray's mom, Patricia Alvarado, explained to the Pensacola News Journal that after one of six doctors told her he planned to "yank it out," she decided to have her daughter and granddaughter transferred to Baptist Hospital. As if that wasn't horrifying enough, Alvarado stated that Sacred Heart officials said that if Gray and her newborn daughter left, the hospital would call Florida Department of Children and Families under the guise of "child abuse."
After facing that disturbing conflict and standing their ground, the family finally made it to Baptist, but according to WEAR, doctors there were hesitant to touch her. "They just keep telling me, 'In all my years, I haven't seen anything like this.' So basically, they're just as shocked as I am," Gray explained.
On Friday, June 28, the new mom transferred yet again, taking a six-hour ambulance to Gainesville's University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.
Gray updated her Facebook followers a day later that the doctors at Shands had been able to remove the epidural. "They had to make an incision leaving me with stitches but I'm on the road to recovery," she wrote. "I will be leaving from Gainesville today in a couple hours via my grandmother, and I will be headed home to my baby Serenity."
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But on Sunday, June 30, upon her return home, Alvarado shared an unnerving update on her daughter, explaining, "Selena came home yesterday, and currently could not walk with out a walker. She can’t stand up and hold Serenity at the same time. This morning which is Day 6 is a completely different story. ... She is in such agonizing pain she couldn’t use the walker to get up, she had to be lifted up off the couch, and is crying in pain..... #prayforselena She is not doing to good and she is very scared and upset she can’t barely walk and she is in agonizing pain. She is also very upset she can’t just get up and pick up Serenity. Someone has to bring Serenity to her."
"It's been crazy 'cause I still have a burning sensation in my hip and leg," Gray told the Journal on Monday, July 1. "I'm kind of moving around on the walker a little bit, but I'm having a lot of muscle spasms. Basically, day by day I'm trying to take it slow, 'cause every morning I wake up I just start right back over with the pain."
She told the newspaper that her doctors at Shands in Gainesville could not give her a firm timetable for her recovery, or even guarantee that she would fully recover.
That said, Gray sounds hopeful, telling the Journal, "There is progression, so I'm excited about that."
But Gray's mom points out that she and her daughter have been left with indelible scars. "It's just more of a shock than anything," Alvarado said. "It's horrifying, and it's really traumatizing. It's very traumatizing, because I've had my children there. (Gray's) dad has had his children there, and we trusted them. And they're supposed to be one of the best hospitals, and now it's like, if we have a problem, we could never bring her back there again. ... If you even told her we might have to go back there she would probably start crying. It's just heartbreaking watching her."
Here's hoping the new mom's recovery is swift and news coverage of her terrifying experience preempts something similar from happening to another mother down the road.