45 Yr Old... Well Past "Mommy" and Onto "Makeover" - Stratham, NH

I've thought about it for years, investigated it...

I've thought about it for years, investigated it over months, talked about it steadily for weeks and today...today it all came to fruition...I'm getting a "Mommy Makeover", me!
Who am I, you ask? Well, I am a 45 years old, married mother of 4 great kids, and have all the body scares to prove it. Such indicators include C-section scars, stretch marks, ugly flab, sagging bits, and more. Now, I'd like to blame ALL my ugly body flaws on my little darlings but alas, my last pregnancy (which resulted in twin boys) was over 16 years ago. Sooo, realistically blaming them for any residual baby fat...well, not that believable really. I am 5' 6" tall, and currently weigh 188lb which is a personal bone of contention...the weight not the height. See, back in January I weighed in at 209.6lbs and became quite disgusted with my lack of effort to maintain a healthy weight. It was then that I decided to finally DO something about it. To that end, I embarked on lifestyle changes that include better food choices and daily exercise. I'd like to say I'm enjoying it, but that would be stretching the truth a bit. Fact is, while I AM happy to report a loss of 21lbs to date (goal is 160lbs) I'm much less pleased with other notable side effects, namely an increasingly flabby stomach and saggy chest with each pound lost. I mean, when you're fat you at least fit your skin, you know? Suddenly, (OK, it wasn't that 'sudden' really) 'eventually' I've come to look much better IN clothes, but substantially worse out of them. REALLY? Is this a cruel joke? Ya, so... while I'm prepared to work hard to get my body back, and maintain good health, there are clearly area's outside my abilities to fix alone. To that end, and after much research I have now confidently enlisted the skills of one Dr. Richard Zeff, M.D. to help me reach my goals. As of today, I am now scheduled for a "Mommy Makeover" for Tues. June 3rd, 2014...a mere 92 days from now! The procedure will include a full tummy tuck, breast augmentation & liposuction on my hips.
This process has definitely been months in the making...but securing an actual date has suddenly made this all very real. I'm excited and nervous but especially hopeful.
On a different note, it has now come to my attention that the many" before and after" pictures posted by so many... the very ones I have found to be soooo helpful CLEARLY required a fair amount of bravery on the part of the lovely ladies sharing their stories. It wasn't until I found myself standing in the naked, with all my flaws hangin' out that I fully appreciated the vulnerable position of it all. So, to all those before me...THANK YOU, if you can do it...I guess I can.

To Tell...or not to tell...THAT was the question.

I'm a private person by nature... always have been. Still, with such a comprehensive procedure pending, (A Mommy Makeover, to include full tummy tuck, breast augmentation and lipo) AND having it occupy so many of my thoughts, I actually found myself contemplating what it might be like to share my decision with a select group of people.
Oddly, the concept immediately registered as scary...not just private or personal, but SCARY. I mean, just the idea of potentially being judged by those I care most about left me feeling vulnerable. It was for that reason that I initially made the decision that NO ONE but my husband REALLY needed to know...especially since he was so supportive.

Now, having already undergone a body change of sorts in the last few months (I've lost 31lbs to date) I more or less thought maybe the "mommy makeover" changes might go unnoticed and/or be chalked up to continued results from my diet and exercise regime. Problem solved...easy peasy, right? OK, It SEEMED a perfectly reasonable plan initially...and by 'initially' I mean the first 30 seconds after the words past my lips. It was shortly after that however, when it occurred to me my plan just might have a flaw or three.

Let's face it, this will NOT be a quick recovery. Would my co-workers really not inquire about how I planned to spend 3 week's vacation, with no tropical vacation to blame it on this time? Would my twin teenage boys really not notice mom laying around, bandaged up, slow, and unshowered? Alright...maybe, but they'd definitely take notice when they had to get their own dinner for a few days! Would my best friend really not wonder why I wasn't showing up for our weekly visits to fat class? Was it at all likely that my two adult kids would not drop by as usual and NOT notice me uncharacteristically reclined for days? Would the world really believe that as a side effect to my weight loss, that a new and improved profile of bigger fuller breasts somehow miraculously appeared? Ya, it was about here, when I opted to give this hasty decision some more consideration. Scared or not, it would seem I'd have some explaining to do.

Now, true as it may be, saying to my boss and co-workers "Soooo, ya... I've lost all this weight, but man, do I ever have some serious tummy sag..." IS NOT a natural segway to everyday conversation. Still...it's what I did. If they didn't approve, they were good at hiding it. They complimented me on my many months of effort to fix as much of me as "I" could fix first, and genuinely seemed excited to hear about my continued transformation. Saying to my kids "Remember that song we used to sing "...do your ears hang low, do the wobble to and fro? Well honey, if we were singing about moms chest, and the answer would be a resounding 'YES' " lead to a few laughs, and then much to my surprise... complete and full support. AND, while there is little off limits between me and my best friend of 30 years, I still dreaded any lecture I'd get about the costs associated. I mean, the girl goes to yard sales and still negotiates items down from a dollar! The "costs" associated definitely came up but even she seemed to understand that feeling comfortable in one's own skin again was hard to put a price tag on. I'm sure those I've told have many thoughts on my decision, (outside of what they shared with me) but I'm lucky...they clearly chose to be supportive instead of judgmental. How lucky I am to have such wonderful support system. I truly wish no less for all those going on their own journey.

My "Before" pics

Healing and Happy

Hi All...
Just adding a couple of pictures to show the improvement. These pics were actually taken at the 2 month post surgery mark. I'm now a mere week out from my 3 month follow-u appt. I feeling really good about my healing and results. I've been using a silicone based strip by Oleeva for my tummy tuck scar healing and am quite pleased with the results thus far. The scar is flat, and the purple is fading fast. The only problem I've had is a small one, in that a couple sutures have made their way to the surface, and poke me a bit. I'll discuss this with my doctor in a week to see if this is expected to go away in time or if the nuisance of it can be remedied.
At the 6 week mark I was anxious to get back to some reasonable exercise, but had to post pone it another week...my stomach just wasn't ready, nor were my flanks when I tried to run (very uncomfortable). The additional week seemed to make all the difference and I've since gone back to my walk/running exercise routine, as well as some PiYo. I'm happy to report having lost an additional 5lbs to date which has only made my results all the better. If I can lose 10 more pounds I'll be happy.
The breast augmentation was a huge success. I'm now a full 38D and loving how incredibly real they both look, and feel. Admittedly, they required a bit of getting used to while running, but it was nothing a good sports bra couldn't fix.
All in all, my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Once again, a big thanks the all the lovely ladies on this site that helped educate me on the process and shared their personal stories. You made me journey a much less scary one.
Peace. ~Annette
Portsmouth Plastic Surgeon

Following my consultation with Dr. Zeff I felt informed, comfortable, and confident in his ability. He answered all my questions, was an equally good listener. To update: I am now just over one month post op. My experience with Dr. Zeff and his staff has been nothing short of ideal. Pre surgical appointments were informative, honest and left me feeling confident in my decision to go forward. The surgery itself was successful, with results clearly demonstrating Dr. Zeff's professional and artistic abilities. Post operative appointments have been timely, and helpful in putting me at ease around my recovery. Over all, I'm happy to report that my results are all I hoped for and in no small part because of Dr. Zeff's professionalism, and experience. If you want clear, concise and honest answers...if you want ability, technique an professionalism, then consider Dr. Zeff and his staff as part of your journey to self improvement.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (10)

I love the way you've written your story so far! What sorts of foods are you choosing now to maintain your weight loss? I'll be checking back for your updates!
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Fortunately for me, I'm a big fan of fruits and vegetables, so they easily made a more prominent showing in my daily meals. UNFORTUNATELY, I'm also a huge fan of cheese and pasta and bread and cheese, (Yes, I said that one twice, 'cause I REEEALLY like that one!) and...well...(sakes, where was I going with this?) Oh, right...I like lots of other stuff too, wherein lies the problem. All those things are fine in moderation of course, but apparently that's where things went fuzzy for me. My idea of 'moderation' was clearly skewed. So, in a nutshell, I started out being much more careful about "quantities" of food and was delighted that something as simple as that started to help. After that, I started having fruit for snacks instead of cheese and crackers...which was always my go to. Again, it seemed to be helping (though this one was a huge sacrifice in my book!) I've reduced my carb intake, eating much less pastas, rice and breads. And while all of this definitely helped, I dare say the exercise was probably the biggest contributing factor in my weight loss. I'm rather lazy by nature. I hate sweating, hate when things start to ache, hate being out of breath, over all...I'm not a joy to be around in the gym. Still, results don't lie...so I continue to push myself, and continue to get results. I guess I was a bit slow to catch on to what everyone else already seemed to know. :)
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I enjoyed your post...you're a great writer! I had my pre-op exam today and will have surgery in two weeks. I will be posting before pics soon. Are you waiting to have your surgery so you can lose more weight? I have struggled with that decision. I'm 5'5 and weight 180 also with a goal weight of 160. My doctor told me I should be at whatever my stable weight is, but I would have loved to have dropped another 20 before surgery. What dod your doctor say?
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Hi Persian Pixie… It would appear our doctors agree (personally, I find that comforting). My doctor also indicated that doing the operation from a “sustainable” weight was a good approach, verses doing it from a ‘goal’ weight. In my case that number is one in the same. While my current weight of 188 is no indicator of that, I do have to own that it was my own fault I let it get so out of hand. Prior to this lack of good judgment, I did hover around 160+/- (which is not an ‘ideal’ weight, but definitely sustainable) so that’s what I’m striving for again. On a side note, I also inquired as to what would happen if I lost additional weight post operatively. (I know, I could barely say it with a straight face, but on the OFF chance…) Anyway, my doctor has indicated that an additional loss of 10-15lbs would be of little consequence. The return of a saggy tummy or chest was most unlikely in consideration of those minimal amounts lost, and would naturally encompass my whole body and not targeted areas. On a side note, I’ve since read your posts as well. Admitted I'm quite jealous that you are so close to your procedure date, even if my desire to wait is self imposed. Regardless, I’m going to hold out and live vicariously thru you in the next few weeks. I surely wish for you a smooth process and speedy recovery. I’m grateful you’re sharing your story and look forward to continued reading on all your experiences.
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Thanks Annette! My plan is to lose another 10-15 lbs after the surgery and recovery period through diet and exercise. A year ago I was a "gym rat" and had been that way for several years. I then wanted to spend more time at home with my fiancé then at the gym. We love to go out to eat and he loves brining me frozen yogurt to make up for a rough day at work....so I guess it's his fault lol. I look forward to getting back into my gym routine. I weighed 160 on my wedding day and that was a weight I had maintained for over 5 years. I just went crazy over the last year and put on 15-25 lbs. I'm just ready to get this tummy flat and get back into my routine. The nerves haven't kicked in on me yet...I'm more excited than anything at this point! I look forward to following you on your journey as well!
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Hi ! I am reading your posts from March/April and looks like your surgery was scheduled for-now? Did you do it? How are you? I am just a few years older, also mom of twins (grown) and two other kids so I can definitely relate to your story! I have definitely blamed all those babies for the loose skin, but 14 years after the last baby- I'm noticing that time and weight gain are really making it worse!! And with menopause right around the corner, it seems every pound I gain will go right to the tummy and I'll look like The World's Oldest Pregnant Woman. Better get those muscles back now and ditch the muffin top while I still can! So, I scheduled my TT with MR for August 1st.
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Hello...and congratulations on scheduling your own procedures, it's exciting isn't it?! I did in fact go thru with my mommy makeover, and today marks 2 weeks into recovery. I'm thrilled to say my results have been all I hoped for. It was a long wait, but I first wanted to invested time into trying to fix myself (as much as I could anyway) before undergoing the surgery. I probably should have done additional posts, but having read so many, I realized there was very little I could add about the experience that hadn't already been written about by 100's of brave and amazing women before me. I guess I should at least post the before and after pictures though, as no two bodies are the same. If you're anything like me the next couple months will be an exciting time of anticipation and some nerves. I certainly wish you well with your own journey...and speaking from experience think you'll be nothing but glad you did it. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. I found the "Real Self" sight to be the single most helpful resource out there, because there was no shortage of lovely ladies willing to enlighten the rest of us on what we can expect. I'd certainly welcome paying it forward. Once again, "Congratulations DallasMom" I'm excited for you ! :)
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Thanks! I will be going back to work about 2-3 weeks after the procedure. So, at this point, can you stand upright, walk normally? I'll tell some of my co-workers what I'm doing but not all of them so it'd be nice if I am not walking like a little old lady :-) Do you have a lot of swelling/ can you wear your normal clothes-? Good luck in your continued recovery.
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Hello! I also scheduled to take 2-3 weeks off for my recovery. I actually returned to work yesterday (two weeks post op) and felt pretty good, but I've elected to only do half days. I work in an office, so it hasn't been terribly difficult to transition back, though I'm admittedly a bit tired and uncomfortable by days end. I'd say the biggest hurdle has actually been dressing for work. I still have to wear the compression garment, which frankly isn't at all comfortable, and is hard to hide under certain types of clothing. The last two days have found me wearing roomy dresses. "Baggy" is hardly the style I'd like to be sporting right now given my newer/nicer shape, but it's a necessary evil I hope to only contend with for another week or so. With regard to 'standing up straight'...the answer is 'no'. I'm currently on recovery day 15 and am still not completely upright. I'm nearly there mind you, especially compared to days past but, upon my return to work, co-workers were quick to point out that I was still a bit hunched over. Like you, I chose to tell only a few co-workers what I was electing to do...mostly because I'm rather private by nature an lets face it...it's a personal thing. Still...upon my return, I was shocked to be met with so many warm hugs and 'Wow, you look amazing...how are you feeling....?" comments from people I "DIDN'T" share things with. In short...the office grapevine was hard at work in my absence. I was a little taken back by it really, but all the supportive comments and hugs made it OK in the end. People seemed legitimately interested in the process and my well being, so sharing a few more details seemed less difficult then I'd imagined it would. If you really want to avoid dealing with the same, you might need that 3rd week off. When it comes to swelling, I have to say, I've not been burdened by it too much. My doctor really stressed the importance of keeping the compression garment on 24/7 until he says otherwise, so I've continued to do just that. It is uncomfortable for the short term, but I remind myself that it will make all the difference in the long run. I have noticed that since I've been working, I'm more swollen by days end, but that's to be expected I'm told. In short, each day brings notable changes, and I feel like I've come along way in a mere 2 weeks. I honesty can't wait until I feel myself again, and can resume typical activities, but I love...love....LOVE my results to date. Great questions, by the way! :)
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Hello! I also scheduled to take 2-3 weeks off for my recovery. I actually returned to work yesterday (two weeks post op) and felt pretty good, but I've elected to only do half days. I work in an office, so it hasn't been terribly difficult to transition back, though I'm admittedly a bit tired and uncomfortable by days end. I'd say the biggest hurdle has actually been dressing for work. I still have to wear the compression garment, which frankly isn't at all comfortable, and is hard to hide under certain types of clothing. The last two days have found me wearing roomy dresses. "Baggy" is hardly the style I'd like to be sporting right now given my newer/nicer shape, but it's a necessary evil I hope to only contend with for another week or so. With regard to 'standing up straight'...the answer is 'no'. I'm currently on recovery day 15 and am still not completely upright. I'm nearly there mind you, especially compared to days past but, upon my return to work, co-workers were quick to point out that I was still a bit hunched over. Like you, I chose to tell only a few co-workers what I was electing to do...mostly because I'm rather private by nature an lets face it...it's a personal thing. Still...upon my return, I was shocked to be met with so many warm hugs and 'Wow, you look amazing...how are you feeling....?" comments from people I "DIDN'T" share things with. In short...the office grapevine was hard at work in my absence. I was a little taken back by it really, but all the supportive comments and hugs made it OK in the end. People seemed legitimately interested in the process and my well being, so sharing a few more details seemed less difficult then I'd imagined it would. If you really want to avoid dealing with the same, you might need that 3rd week off. When it comes to swelling, I have to say, I've not been burdened by it too much. My doctor really stressed the importance of keeping the compression garment on 24/7 until he says otherwise, so I've continued to do just that. It is uncomfortable for the short term, but I remind myself that it will make all the difference in the long run. I have noticed that since I've been working, I'm more swollen by days end, but that's to be expected I'm told. In short, each day brings notable changes, and I feel like I've come along way in a mere 2 weeks. I honesty can't wait until I feel myself again, and can resume typical activities, but I love...love....LOVE my results to date. Great questions, by the way! :)
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