31 y.o. Mother of 2 finally feeling confident again after tummy tuck with MR/lipo

I've been looking into having a tummy tuck done...

I've been looking into having a tummy tuck done for the past year. After gaining 45 pounds with my first pregnancy I was left with loose skin and a ton of stretch marks. I knew people got stretch marks with pregnancy, but had no idea that my body would be left with loose skin. I tried countless scrubs and creams to try and reduce the appearance of the stretch marks, but of course nothing worked. My abdomen got worse after having baby #2. The weight was definitely harder to lose, and my self confidence has suffered as a result.
I started looking into the tummy tuck procedure early last year. I thought that having a mini tuck would improve my self confidence and be an easier recovery, but after reading reviews on realself I realized that my best bet would be to do a full tuck. I had my consultation with Dr. Shafer in NYC in November and am scheduled to have the surgery in May. I'm excited and nervous about the procedure. I hope to have a speedy recovery and a great result. I'm working to lose 15-20 pounds before the surgery so that I'm in the best shape possible pre-op.

3 weeks out from tummy tuck!

Just wanted to add some pics of my pre-op belly and some other info. I'm 5' tall and currently 135lbs (just came back from vacation and gained 5 lbs). I carry most of my weight in my hips, thighs, and butt. I hope a flat tummy will enhance my figure. I feel so trapped by this stomach, I can't wait for this flap to be gone! I'm hoping to be in the 120's by my surgery date, which I know I can do. I just had foot surgery yesterday and so far so good. Not too much pain and I'm able to get around with crutches for now.

Booked Hotel

It's all starting to feel real now. Just got me surgical packet with all pre and post op info and my final balance is due next week when I go for my pre op appointment. I booked my hotel room in NYC since I live about an hour away and it's required to stay close by after this procedure. I got a really good deal through Expedia. I ended up booking the "mystery hotel" and saved about $200. I also received a call from Dr. Shafer's private duty nurse. Originally I wasn't going to use the service, but after speaking with her I think I will have someone come for 8 hours. For those of you with small children, at what point were you able to lift your children? I have a 2 year old who weighs 26 pounds. My Mom is coming to help out for 2 weeks, but just curious how I'm going to do it after she leaves.

Pre op visit complete!

I went for my pre op visit with Dr. Shafer today, paid my balance, and got all of my scripts and body cleansing stuff. Signed some consents which was really nerve wracking just reading about what can potentially go wrong. Trying to stay positive and not let any negative thoughts take control. I know I am in good hands. I can't believe I'm 10 days from my date!

2 more days

So I think I have everything I will need for surgery. Got some granny panties, large sweats and tees, mattress protectors, extra pads (I think I'm getting my period soon, hopefully it'll come after), colace, Milk of Mag, scripts are filled. Wrote out a list of instructions for my Mom since she'll be watching the kids for us.
I'm feeling anxious about not knowing exactly what to expect. I read some reviews on here where people say the recovery is really intense, and then others that say their C-section was worse. I wish I knew how my body will react. Either way, I'm mentally preparing myself for a hard recovery. I have to be in NYC by 6:15 A.M. for a start time of 7.
Have any of you taken Valium before leaving for surgery? I know I'm going to be a bundle of nerves and want to try and take the edge off.
I'm really thankful for finding this website. Reading everyone's reviews has been so helpful. Even just knowing that other people have the same fears and anxiety makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one.

Night Before

Ok, so I'm pretty much all set to go. My alarm is set for 4 a.m., I just finished my hibiclens shower, and I took 1/2 of a Valium to help me relax. I was calm all day, but as the evening progressed I started getting anxiety about tomorrow. I hope I'm making the right decision to have this procedure. I hope that it's worth the pain. And more importantly I hope to have a quick and uncomplicated recovery. I can't believe the day has finally come after all these months of researching and preparing. Definitely have butterflies in my stomach right now.

On the flat side

I had my tummy tuck at 7:00 a.m., was done with surgery by 10, and at the hotel by 12. It kinda feels like my first c-section did after 18 hours of labor. Getting up to pee a LOT because I want to stay hydrated. If this is the worst pain I will experience, then the pain is definitely tolerable. I'm daring a bit more from my left side, so the nurse with me wants to make sure it's ok. They did lipo of flanks as well and took out 800cc, so that can be the reason.

Typo

*hurting a bit more on left side. Dr. Shafer says my output is ok. Feel better about it now. Will try to post pics later or tomorrow.

Evening day 1

Had a pretty good day. The pain is there, but I'm doing ok getting up to go to the bathroom. I also keep flexing my feet to get the blood circulating and I have TED stockings on.
Might also wanted to mention that I had my tummy tuck performed with an epidural and sedation. Besides the fact that Dr. Shafer is an outstanding surgeon, this was a major plus for me. I really didn't want to have general anesthesia. In fact, Dr. Shafer prefers to do his procedures this way. The anesthesiologist was great. He gave me a slow infusion of Propofol while he inserted my epidural. I was so relaxed. After I laid down on the table I went to sleep and didn't remember a darn thing. Within an hour I was able to walk to the bathroom and urinate.
I hope everything continues to go smoothly.

Day 2

Dr. Shafer just came to check on me. He said everything looks great. I'm going to try and walk down to the lobby and get something to eat. Also got a better look at belly.

Day 2

End of post op day #1

Had some rough moments today with pain. Here's what I realized. Extra strength Tylenol does not cut it. 1 Percocet is not enough at this point. I took 2 percocets several hours ago and did MUCH better. Went for a walk with hubby. Walked from 48th street to 41st street. It felt so good to get out and move around.

Sore pubic area

So this whole time I'm thinking that my left drain has been causing me all this pain, but it's really right below my incision on my left pubic area. It's extremely tender and bruised. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm going to upload a pic. Sorry in advance for being graphic.

Shower!!!

I survived my first shower! It felt amazing. I pinned my drains to my sleep bra and it worked out perfectly. I also conveniently got my period today, so showering is definitely nice. Standing up a little straighter and moving around a little better :)

Post op day #4

I have mixed emotions at this point. I think partially because I have my period and I'm feeling like an evil woman LOL. But seriously, in addition to hobbling around hunched over, now I have to run to the restroom to tend to Aunt Flo. I still feel really dependent on the Percocet and I'm trying I take 1 pill instead of 2. I slept all night and didn't wake up to take anything, so I guess that's a step in the right direction. I thought I would have been further in my recovery at this point. I have to keep telling myself that I had major surgery 4 days ago! I agree with some of your posts that the back pain is the worst. Sometimes it hurts more than the actual surgery. So there's my rant. Very cranky today :(

POD#4 continued

Took better pics today. Only took 1 Percocet and 1 Valium so far today and I'm doing ok so far. I even shaved my legs!! I'm almost human again! I got to see my belly button finally. It definitely looks different. Still very swollen and bruised. It's hard to imagine the final product. In any case, the appearance of my abdomen is a million times better than what it was before.

Coughing fit

Note to self; choking on water was the worst pain I've ever experienced. Hope I didn't undo anything. Wow.

POD #5

Not much to update. Still sore. Stir crazy. Not used to being so dependent. I just want to be able to tie my own shoes. Pain isn't as bad. 1 Percocet and 2 extra strength Tylenol all day so far. Posting pics of belly. Some areas around and below my belly button are uneven. It's looking better IMO though. I used to have this extremely deep innie belly button and now it's like an innie/outie. Not sure how that will change over time.

Laughing hurts

I was watching the show "Louie" and seriously thought my abs were splitting apart. I laughed so hard I was crying . Haven't had a good laugh like that in a while. It was worth the pain.

1 week post op

Went for my first post op appointment today. Everything is looking great. Was draining about 20cc per drain per day so I got them removed. That was uncomfortable. I almost wish I would have pre-medicated for that. I guess they were sort of stuck to my skin, even after the stitches came out, so the initial tug was not very pleasant. Then it's a really weird feeling when they're being pulled out. But, on a positive note, it was done and over with pretty quick.
My trek into the city was a little rough. Took NJ transit into Penn station (about an hour ride), which was relaxing. Walking to the subway to get me to the office was another story. A lot of stairs and walking. I probably walked about 1/2 a mile. Thank goodness I had my mother with me. A police officer asked if I was OK when I walked by him. I guess it must look painful because I'm still a little hunched over, PLUS I'm still wearing a boot on my left foot from foot surgery 4 weeks ago. It's really annoying and heavy and I have to wear it 2-4 more weeks.
Will post pictures later.

1 week pics

Recovery is both physical and mental...

So I'm POD #9 and here's the scoop. Pain wise I'm off all meds. I took some Motrin for a headache yesterday, but that was it. I'm still very sore. Starting to stand more upright and that is relieving pressure from my back. I can sleep in bed, and actually have been able to for the most part since day 1 with extra pillows. I really want to sleep on my side because that's how I'm most comfortable, however I cannot do that yet.
I still can't tie my shoelaces or put my surgical boot. Very annoying.
Mentally I feel really guilty for not being able to do everything I normally do for/with my family. It's a beautiful day today so we all went outside to hang out, and I could only sit out there for about 20 minutes or so before I felt exhausted. I just feel wiped! I know this is not uncommon, but I'm having a hard time accepting this reality at this point. I just came inside to relax on the couch for a bit. Maybe I'm dehydrated. Trying to drink fluids, but I seriously have to get up and pee every 5 minutes!!
Sorry in advance for all of my complaining. I'm thankful to have my supportive husband and mother here to help me out.

Tape came off. Pic of scar.

I really hope this is ok and not beginning of necrosis. I hate to sound like an alarmist, but I'm getting really nervous. My tape started coming off in shower, so I took it off and reapplied . Sent a pic to the surgical coordinator at the practice via e-mail. Will call tomorrow if I don't get response tonight.

Scar

Got a response. Wound is ok. Reapplied the tape. Will follow up if there are any changes.
Went out to dinner tonight. Couldn't really eat much because I get full super quick. Hey, I'm not complaining. If I can drop 15 pounds I'll be at my goal weight of 115. I lost 5 since the surgery and hoping to continue with a healthy lifestyle. I want to feel good inside AND out.

POD #10 and 11

Yesterday had my crying fit. Went through all kinds of crazy mixed emotions. Happy that the surgery is over with and I got what I want, confused about who to tell and who not to tell ( it's none of anyone's damn business anyway), feeling bad that I put myself and family through this with possibilities of complications....
Got over it. Had a great day. Hubby and I took our 6 year old to a local amusement park for a bit. I was able to alternate walking and sitting and didn't have any pain whatsoever.
Today is Day 11. Took my son to a park and did some walking, with my mother in tow of course. I'm still not lifting him, and won't until I'm cleared to do so. No pain, felt fine. Came home, relaxed for a bit, then took my Mom food shopping........well......I had to leave her to check out the food and go back to the car because I could feel the swelling (mostly lower abdomen and pubic area) and had some lower back pain. I feel so foolish for doing too much too soon, but I truly felt fine earlier today. I hope I didn't set myself back too much. Even the muscles in my legs feel sore, so I probably didn't realize how much walking I actually did.
I'm now sitting on the couch with my feet up and don't plan on doing anything else for the rest of the night. On a positive note, I'm down to 128 lbs from 135 on surgery day! I'm so happy! Will post photos at my 2 week update on Thursday.

2 week update

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks already! I'm still sore on my sides where lipo was done. Rest of my belly numb. Still slightly hunched, trying to gradually stretch out. Belly button looking better, but still kind of outtie with swelling.

3 weeks post op tomorrow

Swollen. Sore. Anxious to walk like a normal person again. I go back to work in 2 1/2 weeks. I hope I'll be able to handle it. Believe me when I say I don't regret doing this one bit! But I totally underestimated how long this recovery was going to take. I thought by week 3 I would be close to "normal" but I don't feel anywhere near normal. I know I'm not alone. Just anxious to be me again.
My belly button still pops out. Anyone else deal with this? It looks so different. I'm still in the fence about it.
On a positive note, down to 127. 12 pounds to go!

22 days post op

Yesterday I was feeling like a lump on a log, so I decided to do something about it. I downloading a walking app on my phone and decided to go for a walk. The goal was to walk at least a mile, but I actually ended up doing 1.6 miles in 30 minutes. AND I saw my foot doctor and he cleared me to ditch the boot and switch to a sneaker. That thing was so heavy and cumbersome, I can't wait to burn it! I do have some pain in my foot due to only being heel weight bearing for 6 weeks, but it's not too terrible. I have to basically retrain my foot to walk normal again, and not on the side.

The past 2 nights I slept in my bed, laying flat with a pillow under my knees. I really think this has helped stretch out my abdominal muscles, as I'm now pretty much fully upright. By the end of the night I feel pretty tight though.

Today I had my doctor appointment in the city. 2 weeks ago it seemed like such a long trip, between the train ride and walking through Penn station and taking the subway. Today is was no big deal. I was able to walk like a normal person, and it felt really good. No police officer asking if I was alright this time around LOL. The stairs made me huff and puff a little, but that's to be expected since I've been pretty much inactive for 6 weeks since my foot surgery.
Dr. Shafer says my incision looks great for only being 3 weeks out. That was so good to hear. He showed me some stretches that I can do for my abdomen, so I will definitely start working on that. He also gave me a marble for my belly button to train it to go inward. He wasn't concerned at all about the appearance of my belly button because it is still due to swelling.
My next appointment will be in 3 months! I will keep you all updated ;)

Belly button

Here's a pic of belly button after several hours with the marble in place.

3 1/2 week update.

Today is my first day alone with my 2 year old. He was in day care all of last week and part of the week before that when my Mom left. I feel pretty good. Abs are still sore, but I'm definitely more upright. Walked 1.5 miles yesterday. Man, am I out of shape! Trying to consciously stay upright And walk at a moderate pace is tough still.
I go back to work in 2 weeks, so I figure I'll use this time to potty train my son. Nothing like jumping back into child care duty head first!
I've also been able to do some vacuuming (very gently), laundry, dishes etc. without difficulty.

My belly button is definitely flattening out, so I'm excited to see the final result in the months to come.

I am SO happy I did this surgery. I cannot even begin to tell you all how free I feel. I haven't felt this comfortable in my own skin in 7 years. Even my husband has noticed a difference in my overall happiness. I felt like my belly held me back from feeling good about myself. Last spring/summer I was working out like crazy, doing kick boxing and boot camp, and while the rest of me looked awesome, my belly would just hang there. I always felt so self conscious doing certain workouts because I could feel and see my belly jiggling around like jello under my shirt.
This is the start of a new me. I'm so excited to get back in shape and be the best ME!

1 month!

I was able to walk 2 miles last 2 days. Probably could have done more yesterday, but it was 90 degrees.
Belly is still really numb, even above belly button. Just an all over weird feeling. Even though I lost weight I feel like my fresh post op pics look like I'm thinner with a smaller waist. Am I crazy?
Coughing and sneezing are not so bad anymore. Swelling down below still persists.

Weight down to 125, 10 pounds to go!!!!

Bathing suit shopping!

Bought my first bikini today! Yay!

5 weeks in 2 days

Took some pics this morning of my scar without the tape. I think I'm going to let it air out. I'm about 90% back to normal. I've been able to lift my son when needed and do more house work. I'm also able to climb into my SUV like a normal person. I'm completely upright as well.

6 weeks post op

I'm back to work this week. Pretty much able to do everything. Ditched my binder and started wearing spanx and maidenform compression underwear. I went to the beach with my 2 kids 2 days ago. Wore my bikini proudly! Had no problem lugging all my beach crap with me HA! Feeling really good.

7 weeks

Back to work for 2 weeks now. The only swelling I have is along the incision line in the center. Feels firm and a little lumpy. Only wearing high waist compression underwear still. Feeling good overall.

Small wound

I noticed a small white area oozing this morning. It popped and then bled a bit. Now there's a hole. Going to get it checked out tomorrow.

Almost 8 weeks

I wanted to try on different bikini bottoms to see what will cover my scar. I was surprised that the Victorias Secret bottoms did a pretty good job of covering it. It's nice to know I have options. I didn't buy them because my butt was hanging out of the back. Gotta tone my legs and glutes still. I'm down between 124 and 125. I'm stuck here for now but that's ok. I'm going to get back to the gym this week.

9 weeks

My upper abdomen still feels pretty sore. Maybe because of increased activity? Tried to do some jumping squats.....no bueno. I think I need more time before I do exercises that involve more intense ab movement.
New York Plastic Surgeon

I chose Dr. Shafer because he is double board certified as well as a Top Doc here on Realself. I knew immediately from my first consultation that he was the man for the job. In addition to his surgical expertise, he has a wonderful bedside manner and is really down to earth and easy to talk to. Everything was explained to me in detail, and all of my questions were answered. His staff is also amazing. I was in touch with Fi, the surgical coordinator, over the course of several months, and she was always quick to respond to my e-mails/calls. I live in NJ and traveled to NYC to have this surgery. I didn't mind in the least because I knew I was in good hands. I would highly recommend this surgeon to anyone looking to have this procedure, or any other procedure for that matter. His work is beautiful. My incision is low, easily covered, and thin. I plan on using Dr. Shafer for breast lift and augmentation next. Another thing that sealed the deal for me was having this surgery with epidural and IV sedation. I was really afraid of general anesthesia, and not many surgeons perform the surgery without it. I was made very comfortable by the anesthesiologist and nursing staff. Extremely happy customer!!!

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5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
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