Here's my story: I am a mother of two beautiful children. I delivered both of my angels via C-Section, and gained a tremendous amount of weight with both. The first pregnancy was stressful on me and I have always been an emotional eater. I gained 80 pounds with him, and subsequently lost it in between. I have wavered throughout my adult life from 150 lbs- 210lbs (when I haven't been pregnant). In between pregnancies, I reached my weight goal of 150 pounds, which for 5 feet 8 inches, wasn't bad. I was a size 8 at the time, but never seemed to lose the hanging, stretched out skin which I literally have to tuck into my pants. I managed to gain almost all of my weight back with my second baby, and worsened the stretch marks and hanging skin on my abdomen. I have never been small, and I tend to carry my weight in my butt, however, no other part of my body has ever felt has irreparable as my belly.
I honestly never considered a tummy tuck until recently, not seriously anyway, because I could never afford it. Now, I am approximately 180 pounds, and a size 12...but I often struggle with self confidence. Since then things have been looking up. My boys are flourishing, and my relationship with myself has been a lot healthier. I am successful in my career, and I am much happier in general.
I feel a little bit (or maybe more than a little bit) guilty about this whole thing. I keep wavering back and forth between thinking this is the best idea ever, and that it is the worst, and most selfish thing I have ever done. I hate the idea of vanity, and it feels like I caused this problem myself...by over eating and gaining so much weight with both pregnancies. I sort of see it as my "cross to bear," but I can't stand the way in look in my clothes, having to lift my belly to clean underneath it, and all of the things it prevents me from doing with confidence.
SO? I'm going with vanity. I am set to have the procedure on the 28th, and today in the 17th. 11 days to go, and I have a lot to do. I chose the talented Dr through amazing recommendations, and he has advised me on how to get ready. He is going to do a full abdominoplasty, with lipo of my flanks, and he insists that he doesn't need to use drains. I am skeptical, being a nurse myself- but have heard remarkable things about him, and trust him implicitly. I have had two consults so far, and he has spent lots of time explaining the details. He spent the first session going over my wants/expectations, and while it was embarrassing to show him (or frankly anyone) my extra belly fat/skin- he confirmed that no amount of exercise was going to shrink it, so I felt a little bit vindicated. He asked me to get some blood work done, and return in a few weeks. I was originally thinking of having the surgery after the new year, but I got nervous/excited and bumped it up.
The second session, he measured me for my compression garment, and we went over my bloodwork in detail. He pointed out that my Vit D levels were low, and that I should take a supplement. He also gave me specifics about the day of surgery. I am supposed to be at the surgery center at 7:30 am, and he says he will take time to make markings on my skin, so the surgery will go faster. I have told next to nobody about this, and hope I can pull it off as "diet and exercise," I have to admit I feel a little but ashamed to admit that I'm having a plastic surgery.
My Dr.s receptionist is a lovely lady, very motherly and concerned. She mailed me the scripts for the medication I'll be taking. He wants me to take an antibiotic for 5 days for prophylaxis (starting the night before surgery), an anti-nausea medication on the morning of the surgery, and percocet for pain afterward. She wrote out detailed instruction on how to take the meds on sticky notes, and I have to admit it made me smile. I have already undergone two c-sections, one that developed an infection, and took a long time to stop draining and close up. I imagine this will be similar to those. I need to order my compression garment today, and he expects that I will need to wear it for a few weeks.
The doctor is sure that 10 days should be sufficient, and he explained that he won't do the procedure in a "tradtional" way. For starters, he doesn't pull the skin away from the muscle all the way up to the xyphiod process- he chooses to do some liposuction to that area, but to cause as little damage as possible, to promote healing and circulation after the fact. I feel comfortable with him, because he is an internist as well as a board certified plastic surgeon, and because when he explains his methods- they sound like they make good sense.
Updated on 19 Sep 2012:
9 days left! Compression garment ordered! Super excited and nervous. I'm not sure what to wear to the surgical center...maybe sweats? I dropped off all my prescriptions to be filled this morning. Oh boy, it's getting close.
Updated on 24 Sep 2012:
I can't believe that 4 days from today it will finally be happening. I have all of my prescriptions ready, and the compression garment arrived in the mail. I decided to try it on- lol! Boy was that tight! I could barely get it back off. I keep catching myself looking in the mirror and imagining how my clothes would fit without the belly. I bought some sweats from the Gap this morning, and some loose t-shirts so that I'll have something to lounge around in after the surgery. I'm not 100% sure there will be too much lounging though- the new house is a few weeks away from move-in-ready, and we are set to move just 2 weeks after the surgery. Hopefully I can find some nice people to help me avoid the lifting part of moving. I also bought stool softener, after reading a lot about it on hereI think I'm feeling more positive about things since this wedding I went to the other day. I was super stressed, trying to pick out a dress that covered my belly...and my boyfriend was asking me to try on dress after dress. We got one for me to wear to the wedding, and another one that fit close over my belly- so that I have a pretty dress to wear after the surgery. It was so exciting to imagine that everything is going to fit the way it's supposed to, and I won't have to try on a million things to find one that feels right. I know it will be a little while, but luckily I have tons of scrubs to wear in the mean time, for the swollen part.
Updated on 25 Sep 2012:
I'm starting to get nervous about returning to work. My Dr. says that 10 days off is plenty, but I keep reading these reviews (obsessively really), and it looks to me that people are generally still very swollen and in pain even 2 weeks later? 3 more days until it's finally going to happen. I just wish it was over with already!!
Updated on 26 Sep 2012:
I took a few more "before pics" today, and saved them to my phone. I also got a call from the PS office reminding me to drink plenty of water. It feels surreal, but I'm just trying to get everything ready. I bought some nice yarn so I can crochet to keep busy while I'm recovering. I may as well make myself useful.
Updated on 28 Sep 2012:
I'm on my way to the surgical center now. I am a bundle of nerves. I made sure to take a nice shower this morning- since I know it will be awhile, and I'm headed to actually do this. It's still hard to believe that it's really happening. Next time I post I'll have a flat belly!!
Updated on 29 Sep 2012:
Today was like a whirlwind. I got to the center at 7:15, and after turning over the checks (holy cow was it pricey!) Doctor took me in to get marked. It felt so weird to have him pinch and pull on my fat rolls- but he used a purple marker, and purple is my favorite so I took it as a good omen.
Next I hopped up on the table and got my IV inserted by the anesthesiologist, and before I knew it I was out cold! I woke up about 15 minutes after the surgery- has anyone else used conscious sedation? What a trip! Doctor put the garment on me while I was under sedation, with strict instructions to leave it on until Monday, so I didn't get any belly pics today. I snapped one of me in my garment and sweatpants- but can't seem to upload from my phone.
I was feeling awesome from the meds, and able to get up to pee and walk the hallway about an hour after surgery...after that (with some help) I dressed in my sweats and a MEDIUM t shirt! Damn it felt good to wear a medium! I always wear large to cover my lumps and bumps.
Doctor told us that he removed 1700 ml of fat! That's nearly a 2 liter bottle! And we were on our way. The lipo sites leaked a little on the way home- but I had been forewarned not to be concerned. Since I got some pain medicine through my IV before I left, with a little anti-nausea medicine too- the ride home was a breeze.
I ate a half pita bread (high fiber) and we hung out on the couch for a few hours. I felt the pain meds beginning to wear off at around 7pm and took my first Percocet. I also ate the other half of my pita with a veggie burger in it, and the doctor called to check on me! I should tell you: I am walking straight, peeing without help, and overall feeling way better than I expected. Anyhow, after the Percocet we lay down to watch the X Men movie and I was falling asleep.
I woke up around 3am with a full bladder and some pain, and my man helped me back to the couch and got me another Percocet- and here I am!
I found some of the other reviews to skimp on details about the actual day of surgery- so I tried to give as many as possible. Thank you all for your wonderful support. Tuesday is shower day so I will probably post some pics then! Good luck and a speedy recovery to all the other sept 28ers!
Updated on 29 Sep 2012:
Today so far I am up and down to the bathroom without help, and minimal pain. I have been drinking a lot of fluids, but the percocet has my appetite off...it mostly just feels super mega tight. I keep looking down and laughing. There's no roll when I sit, and I am wearing a size medium t shirt (I can't tell you how long it's been) and nothing is hanging out. I can't believe it's over! Now I just have to "relax and look hot," as my boyfriend says, lol. I am on my iPad right now, and I'm not sure how to get my new pics up. I also can't take my binder off til Tuesday- so I will try to Post some pics from that.
Updated on 30 Sep 2012:
Oh boy- the pain really took me for a loop last night. I decided to hold off on posting when I was hurting so much, so I didn't freak anyone out. I was trying to be strong and push the pain pills further apart- it's making my head kind of dizzy and loopy. Oh man did I regret that. It was the worst I'd felt yet- like I tried to break the world record for crunches, while someone repeatedly punched me in the back and stomach. I wouldn't recommend trying that on the day after surgery, unless you want to feel like crap. I think I had gone 8 hours between pills.
I was sweating, shaking, and dizzy, but I wanted to sit at the table with him to eat. I am so inbelievably stubborn! I also had a feeling (since I'm gassy and sort of constipated) that I should stand and walk more...needless to say it was too much too soon. At 24 hours after the surgery I felt awesome, but right around 36 hours after I actually said out loud, "oh my god, what did I do to my body?" This is nothing to fool around with. My boyfriend made me take the pain pill right around 7pm, again at 11pm, and even woke me up at 3am to give it to me again. Since it says "every 4 hours as needed."
I got some seriously good sleep, on the couch with all my pillows, and I can feel myself healing. Sleep is when your body does most of it's regenerating, and I needed some badly. I just got up to use the ladies room, (still no poop, tmi?) and instead of the sharp pain from yesterday it's more of a warmness, and it's not nearly as awful.
Updated on 30 Sep 2012:
Now that I'm on my laptop, I think I can show you my post op pic. I've only taken one- since I can't see my belly anyway. This one was from the Dr's office, right after I got dressed. (in my size MEDIUM t shirt) I will try to take a few more on Tuesday when I can shower. I just took some colace, and some gas-ex to help with my stomach. I have to say my appetite is pretty off these past couple of days. I don't think it's a bad thing, because I could stand to lose a few more pounds overall, but I've been so full so fast. My Dr. said it was a byproduct of tightening the muscles around my stomach, so it's in a more confined space and will feel full faster. I have been eating small meals at regular intervals...like an apple, or a yogurt, or a vitamin muffin...and just one of those things will keep me feeling full for hours. Last night around dinner time, my boyfriend ordered mixed grill from the Turkish place. He filled my plate with hummus, pita, grilled meat, and cucumber tomato salad. I ate some pita and hummus and was going to stop, but I wanted to try to eat more protein. I understand how important protein is for healing, but I ate a few pieces of chicken, and started to feel nauseous. I am just going to have to listen to my body. This morning the pain is way more bearable. I have been on top of my pain meds, and instead of that awful separating feeling I had at my incision site, and upper abdomen, it's more of a burning sensation. It's definitely easier to handle, almost as though there is hot lava at the site. It's amazing to me just how different it feels from hour to hour and day to day.
Tomorrow I am supposed to go and pick up my kids from school (they've been with their dad all weekend) I am so nervous to drive, and then to have them means: preparing dinner, and school lunch, walking them to the bus stop...and all those regular mom things. I think I can do them if I do it slowly and keep up with the percocet. My mother and sister are planning on coming over to help me out, so that will be good too. I am also concerned with scaring them. I told them I was having surgery- but they don't know what kind, and didn't really ask. I am afraid to let them see me like this, as I am always pretty active and busy with them. The next few days will be challenging, but I am just going to take today to relax.