I am a forty year old mother of four children all...
I am a forty year old mother of four children all born via c-section. I have a petite frame, 5'2 and 108, and my big babies (two nine pounders) did a number on my abs. My fourth child was born seven years ago. I had placenta accreta during my last pregnancy which resulted in a three and a half hour delivery, multiple blood transfusions and an emergency hysterectomy. Hours later I woke up in the ICU with the information that I had delivered a beautiful, healthy seven and a half pound, three weeks early baby girl. My week long stay in the hospital included more blood transfusions, excruciating headaches and abnormal swelling of one side of my body. But if my memory still serves me well, my mini tummy tuck recovery has rivaled my final c-section experience in terms of angst and pain!
I was able to lose the baby fat (40 plus pounds) at relatively the same rate that I did with my former pregnancies. The big difference, in my opinion and from what I read of others' experiences, was not having a uterus to suck (for lack of a better word!) everything back into place. It was as if I had been left with a lower belly bubble. It also appeared to fill up and grow throughout the day! I even named it Bob. There was absolutely nothing I could do to flatten Bob. I work out regularly and eat pretty healthy, but over the years it became clear that Bob was here to stay. I came to the realization that surgery was my only option for having a flat stomach.
I researched and interviewed doctors for two years before finally biting the bullet and following through on the procedure. I had a lot of fear and anxiety to work through before I was mentally prepared to undergo an elective surgical procedure. March 13 marked the day my Bob obsession ceased!
I have been lurking this site for over three weeks and have decided to share my story (and pictures if they'll upload) because the stories I have read have been a lifeline for me over these last two weeks of recovery. The first week was horrible, but after I got my drain out last Thursday each day has been better and brighter. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm just worried now that I may need butt implants since spending so much time on my back and rear has seemed to flatten my backside. I guess the moral of the story is when you wish to be flat be careful what you wish for!
My husband and I arrived at my doctor's surgical...
My husband and I arrived at my doctor's surgical center at 6:45 the day of my surgery. Surprisingly I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. The pre-op went smoothly and I was out like a light as soon as they moved me to the operating table. I woke up in recovery already in my garment, purchased an extra one and then was on my way home. We returned home around 10:30 and was feeling pretty good thanks to all the drugs. My surgeon had put me on extra vitamins two weeks before my surgery that I am continuing to take (a prenatal, vitamin C, B complex, zinc and ferrous sulfate) and along with pain medication, a stool softener and my antibiotic, I had enough pills to rival my grandmother's medicine cabinet.
My good friend who was keeping my oldest daughter for me for a couple of days came to visit me that first afternoon. She's a nurse and was very interested in hearing about the procedure and how it went. When I stood up to model my lovely garment for her, we noticed a lot of blood soaking through at the site of the lovely drain's point of entrance. I was not pleased with the look of my blood soaked garment even though my doctor sent home hydrogen peroxide in my recovery kit as I way of removing the blood stains. Well, unless I was willing to bathe in hydrogen peroxide (which I wasn't) my garment was beyond hope. I decided (because great decisions are usually made in what was my particular drug induced state) that it would be a good time to change garments and that my nurse friend would be the perfect assistant. She hesitated at first but I convinced her that it would be easy. So there I stood, a usually modest person, stripping out of my garment while I asked her to hold my drain. I remember being really proud of myself to be able to model a clean, non blood soaked crotchless garment for my friend. I'm sure she'll never let me forget it, either.
My three younger children were on Spring Break the week of my surgery and my mom came and picked them up later that day. I would soon discover how important it was to have help with my children that first week of recovery.
I went back to the doctor the following day for my...
I went back to the doctor the following day for my post op. I really needed to let her know that my hydrocodone suppy wasn't going to be enough to last me through my recovery. The directions said take 1 to 2 pills every 6 to 8 hours. So I took two pills every 6 hours because I was in A LOT OF PAIN. I just knew that 30 pills wouldn't be enough for my recovery! Suffice it to say, my surgeon was not impressed with my excessive pain pill taking and informed me that I could switch to Advil and that if the pain was absolutely unbearable I could take half a pill considering my size. Well, "pooh," I thought, it should have said that on the bottle and I really didn't think I had make it clear enough how to her how much I was HURTING!
The Advil turned out be a decent replacement and didn't make me so loopy and tired. But that first week of recovery was a real beast. I questioned my decision to have the procedure over and over again. I felt like a horrible mother and a terrible wife. I had a couple of break downs over the next couple of days. My husband, bless his heart, was having to do so much for me. And my back ached regardless of the hydrocodone or Advil. My PS provided a heating pad in my recovery kit and it has become my godsend. During my one week check up, I proudly informed her that instead of becoming a hydrocodone addict (]I believe she thought I was heading in that direction), I became addicted to my heating pad!
The day after surgery my doctor wanted me to begin massaging my torso and applying VapoRub to my incision. At first I thought she was insane. I couldn't stand to be touched much less massaged around the areas that were lipoed and had the muscle repair. The slightest amount of pressure was extremely painful. Now a back rub on the other hand sounded nice!
After two weeks the VapoRub massage has turned out to be a pleasant experience and I'm still applying it to my incision. My PS was not a stickler about me showering. She said that I could bathe as long as I protected the drain. I wasn't up to it the first three days, but I did shower with the help of my husband on the fourth day. It sure felt nice to wash my hair and feel warm water on my back. I sure did hate the drain, though. My husband kept a record of how much I drained and he would milk it for me. I absolutely hated having it milked. It made me queasy and I even passed out on my fifth day post op while he was trying to milk the drain! I was praying that it would come out during my first week post op appointment. By that time I was draining less than 30 cc in a day and had been for a couple of days so I knew that I had a chance. She removed the drain after I promised her that I wouldn't walk until my next appointment. She said I could stand but too much walking would build up fluid. I can honestly say that it didn't hurt when the drain came out. I was really surprised because I was expecting the worst. My husband thought I was joking when I informed him that I wasn't to walk for a week. He thought I was getting too comfortable with him waiting on me hand and foot.
The no walking rule ended up being a harder promise to keep than I had originally thought. First of all I started feeling much better than I could have imagined and I wanted to get up and start doing things around the house. I also have a lot of pets and they, too, needed my attention. So I did the best I could the second week while trying not to walk too much. My second week post op appointment was yesterday, March 28th. I did end up having some fluid build up in my lower abdominal area. I was a little frightened when I saw my PS pull out a huge syringe to drain the fluid. Draining was quick and easy and although unpleasant it didn't hurt.
I have come to form a love/hate relationship with my crotchless garment. At times it feels cumbersome and unnecessary. Why can't I just put on a pair of super tight Spanx? I also find it ridiculous looking since it covers everything but the most private of parts. However, once it's off and I've showered and taken a couple of deep breaths, I'm ready to have it back on me. I realize then how much I still need it. It makes my back feel better and I'm aware of the much needed support it supplies my entire torso. Now that I'm actually wearing clothes rather than robes and nightgowns all day, dresses are the easiest thing to wear with the garment. I also have been able to put on some of my pants with it.
Sunday is my fortieth birthday and today I am feeling content with my decision to have the surgery. I know that I'm still swollen and that there's a long road of recovery still ahead. I asked my PS when I could return to my favorite work out, yoga. I feel so stiff that the idea of ever being able to bend again seems impossible. She said it will take about a year to get back into the same yoga shape that I was in before surgery. That was depressing to hear. But on a brighter note, we're having my birthday party tomorrow and my friends and I have jokingly decided that the official attire for the party should be crotchless! Even when it hurts to laugh (and it still does), humor can be the best medicine.