I'm 5' 0", 116 lbs, 31 years old. I have three...
I'm 5' 0", 116 lbs, 31 years old. I have three children and my youngest is 16 months old. My first two were delivered vaginally and my last was a c-section. Although I never had a completely flat stomach after my first two pregnancies and I felt like I had some abdominal wall laxity (when I ate I felt like my stomach stuck out more than it used to), I wasn't too concerned about it. That changed after my c-section. I now have excess skin that hangs over my incision and I hate it. It makes my pants fit tighter and I have to wear a shaper under certain clothing so I don't have an obvious lump sticking out. Probably about a week after my youngest was born I told my husband I thought I was going to need a surgery because I had an "apron" that wasn't there before. He said, well, we'll wait about a year and for you to get to your goal weight and make the decision then if you still have a problem with how your belly looks. Of course losing weight helped shrink the size of the overhang, but the extra skin remained. I'm fortunate in that my husband has been super supportive and even though he tells me he thinks I'm beautiful and he's perfectly content with my body how it is, he's never complained about spending the money and says he'll support me in whatever decision I make.
My c-section scar became hypertrophic (red/purple, raised, itchy and painful) about two months after my son was delivered. I lived with it for almost a year that way until my husband did some searching and found that silicone sheets could help. I've been using those for the past 5 months. Part of my scar is still raised, etc, but it's no longer so red and angry looking and much flatter than it was and it really doesn't bother me unless I take the silicone sheets off. Had I known they existed I would have bought some when it first started to become raised. I asked the OB about it early on, but she just said it would go away eventually but for now I'd just have to live with it. It's miles better than it was before, so I'm thankful for that. I'm concerned that if I have a tummy tuck I'll have a longer scar that will do the same thing. However, even if that's the case, I'll take that over my overhang. At least the scar could be treated, but the extra skin isn't going anywhere.
I initially considered also doing a breast augmentation and lift at the same time as the tummy tuck, but I've pretty much made up my mind to only have the tummy tuck right now and maybe in a few years have my breasts done if I want to. Although I'm not 100% satisfied with them because of some loss of volume after breastfeeding my babies, I'm not totally dissatisfied with them either. I was really only 50/50 on having them done in the first place. Part of me also wants to see how the tummy tuck heals first. Like I told my husband, I can handle having a scar that needs treatment if it becomes hypertrophic on my abdomen, but I don't know if I could handle them on my breasts. Also as far as recovery goes, I think it would be easier to recover from one at a time. Just thinking of not being able to use my stomach muscles and not being able use my arms/chest at the same time sounds like a very traumatic thing. How do you go from sitting to standing without being able to use your arms/chest OR abs? I also have small children that I need to care for, so the easier the recovery the better. It does mean spending around $2,000 more later because it would be cheaper to combine the surgeries, but life is full of tradeoffs I guess.
I have already consulted with two area surgeons. One about three weeks ago and one yesterday. I haven't decided if I'm going to post who I've consulted with or just list my doctor when the time comes. I have one more consultation next week (October 1st) before I'll chose which surgeon is right for me. I think choosing is going to be hard, honestly. I really like both of the surgeons I've consulted with so far.
Both surgeons recommended a full tummy tuck with muscle repair, no liposuction. They have both also said that we'd treat my incision as if it were hypertrophic starting around 3 weeks post op. They were both optimistic about the scar outcome. I guess we'll see what the third surgeon says. :)
No need to notify the patients when we have sticky notes!
So, I was supposed to have my final consult yesterday, but when we got to the doctor's office there was a sticky note on the door that said, "We've moved" with a new address and phone number. We were 15 minutes early and were going to try to call to tell them we were on our way, but the new number wasn't in service so I called the old number and got a voice message that the office was closed for the day. My husband and I decided that we weren't going to try to see that doctor again and that we'd pick from the two we've already seen. They never called to say they had moved and never called to find out why I didn't show up. They also never mentioned recently moving or moving in the near future when I made the appointment a month ago. We just felt like it was really unprofessional. When we first got to the parking garage I saw a lady get out of a car and she had drains and was hunched over (my guess is TT based on what all you fine folks have said on here). I sure hope she didn't walk all the way to the building, through the lobby and take an elevator to the 6th floor to see a sticky note on the door. Geez.
I've decided who my doctor is going to be. I'm going with Dr. Brian Kent. We really liked his analytical approach and you could tell he was thinking the whole time. He also seemed to have a sense of humor which is great. My 16 month old was getting antsy at one point and he stopped what he was saying, waited for my husband to deal with the kiddo and then proceeded with what he was saying. Most doctors just keep talking while you can only half-listen. I liked the fact that he measured and re-measured and pushed and pulled on my stomach quite a bit. I felt like he told us everything we needed to know. He told us the risks, downtime, drew us pictures of what he'd do, etc. He was very informative. His before and after photos are awesome and he gets amazing reviews across many different ratings sites. I'm really excited about having him do my surgery. :)
Now I just have to figure out the when. The holidays are approaching and we're supposed to be making a thirteen hour car trip to my home state around Christmas. I'm still not sure if I'd want to do this before or after that. Of course it all depends on the doctor's schedule too.
I'll post pictures soon. Maybe tomorrow if I get a chance.
Just posting some before pictures. :)
Waiting to schedule...
Nothing new to report, just wanted everyone to know I haven't abandoned this review. :) I've decided to schedule my TT for February, but my doctor isn't scheduling surgeries for February yet. I have to call back in 2 - 3 weeks to get it scheduled.
Scheduled surgery finally...
Scheduled my surgery for June 12th. Decided to push it out because the kids will be out of school and my oldest son can help me with my littlest after my husband goes back to work. :)
Had my pre-op appointments today with the hospital and my PS. All paid up and ready to go. Got my scripts to the pharmacy. The nurse at the hospital (doesn't work for him) said that he's a perfectionist, so that's really good to hear. I can't believe it's so close to being done after all these months. The thing I think about right now that bums me out the most is not being able to Zumba for awhile. It's a stress reliever for me. Getting out of the house and being active helps this stay at home mom stay sane. :) I'm bouncing between excited and a bit scared.
I guess I need to start gathering my supplies for after surgery...
Shopping and pictures
I went to the store today to start stocking up on supplies. I got milk of magnesia, granny panties to heal in, protein shakes, a couple of maiden form high-waist brief shapers, compression socks, and a t-shirt dress to wear the day of surgery. I still need to go buy some fruit and medical supplies this week.
The nurse at my pre-op appointment (she doesn't work for him, this was at the hospital) advised me to wear a dress since it would be easiest for me to get into after surgery. I didn't have a dress I felt like was loose enough so I got a $20 one at target to wear. I think the t-shirt dress will be perfect since it's soft and not form-fitting. She also said to wear a very small pair of panties because otherwise when he marks me up I'll have to be nude from the waist down when he marks me up. She said he's a perfectionist and takes a good amount of time doing the markings so standing there without panties on the whole time is sort of "weird" for some people. I think I'll take her advice. Lol.
I also decided to be brave and post some less than flattering pictures of myself. :-/. I'm so happy this will be gone in less than a week.
Getting so close!
Less than 48 hours before I'll be at the hospital. Check-in at 7:00, surgery at 8:00. Headed to my last Zumba class before surgery and for the next 6-8 weeks. :(
I feel good in my clothes, but I can't wait to feel good in no clothes. Also I never realized how annoying it is to not have a full length mirror in my house until I starting trying to take these pictures. Lol.
One more before photo for the heck of it. Decided to take advantage of the full mirror at Target. Less than 24 hours now. Starting to get some serious butterflies!
I made it!
12 Jun 2014
Day of treatment
Sorry for the delay in updating but the anesthesia really made me sleepy! Just took a 2 hour nap. :) I'm supposed to leave it alone until tomorrow when my PS takes the binder off to look at it. I can't believe it's done!!! My husband told me DR Kent said the surgery went really well and Dr Kent was all smiles and very excited about my results. Said I was a perfect candidate for surgery yay!! Pain wise I'm at about a 2/10 right now. Not bad at all! Here's a couple of pic. Not much to see. Lol. Hopefully I'll get a good pic tomorrow at my post op. Yay!!! I'm post op now!!! Woo hoo!!!
Hey ladies! He didn't take the dressings off just peaked at what was going on. Looks promising so far I think. I have another appointment Tuesday and he'll change the dressings. Found out I can't take a shower until the drains come out though. :( Just his policy. Feeling pretty good this morning. I don't really have pain, but my incisions burn a bit. I'd say it's about the same as my c-section at this point. I'm going to try one pain pill at a time today instead of 2. :)
Post Op Day 2
So far so good. I'm having some pain but nothing unbearable. I've been on one pain pill every 4 hours instead of two starting yesterday. I might try Advil later since I don't seem to really hurt as much before the next dose. It's still more of a burning, but only when I move around. Today has been the easiest and least painful so far. I'm hunched over as well, but my abs don't really hurt they're just tight. My boys have been taking really good care of me. My 5 year old has even positioned pillows under my knees and covered me with blankets and brought me water.
I can't wait to see what's under the dressings. :) come on Tuesday, get here already. :)
Post-op Day 3
So...somehow I got an air bubble stuck in my stomach and got nauseous, dry heaved and burped. I wouldn't recommend the dry heaving...OMG the pain. I thought maybe emptying my drains caused the nausea as soon as it happened, but then the air came out and I was fine. No idea how it happened but I hope that doesn't happen again. I was afraid I was going to start puking like I'd caught a bug or something. :-/
Hardly any fluid in my drains now. I'm really hoping that he'll take them out Tuesday. So ready to be able up take a shower. At least my husband is willing to wash my hair in the sink. :)
Post-op day 4 and more about surgery
I'm doing well today. Not much pain at all and only took Advil last night even. :) Feeling much more lucid today. Not falling asleep all the time. Boy do those Percocet make me loopy! I seriously couldn't even read without drifting off. I kept having to forcefully open my eyes to stay awake. I'm sure I looked like a real wacko with silver dollars for eyes, lol . I've been having occasional tingling all over my stomach which I think are just nerves working themselves out. It was that way after my csection too. Also, now it's starting to feel like snakes or something are under my skin moving all over the place. So strange. At first it felt like baby movements, like when they're first moving in your belly and you can feel it. Maybe he implanted aliens...I'm not quite sure.
So...I thought I'd tell you a bit more about surgery day since my brain is functioning better. I got up took my Celebrex (my ps prescribed for surgery) and showered with the hibiclens they gave me to use at my pre-op appointment. My MIL arrived so we prayed before we left and my husband and I got out the door. We checked in with admissions and waited about 15 mins and the nurse came to get me and bring me to the pre-op area. She was really super sweet. Very helpful and nice. Then she gave me a pregnancy test and told me to undress and I could leave my bra on and underwear if they were small enough (not granny panties, lol). I put on the gown and laid on the bed and they gave me a warm blanket, a nausea patch behind my ear, those leg compression cuffs that fill with air periodically and a pair of non-slip socks. They gave me lidocaine before putting my IV in. Boy does that make a difference. I didn't even feel it!
We went through a series of health questions with the anesthesiologist and my ps and it was time for the markups. My husband said something and Dr Kent said, just a minute let me finish this. The nurse said, yeah you can't interrupt his process (being sarcastic) haha. He said, "yes, if only I could work without being harassed." Lmbo. His sense of humor is very dry which I just find so funny. I told him I wanted a circle belly button (as opposed to oval) and he said he could do any shape I wanted. My husband said "oh, how about a square then." I said "better yet Hello Kitty." My husband said "We just gave him his next great idea" and the nurse said "pretty soon everyone will be coming in to get their belly button done." Dr Kent just stood there shaking his head like we were all nuts.
The next thing I knew I was being wheeled back to the operating room. The crew came in and one person said, "well we took a poll and you're too small for this operation." I said, "Hey laying down is one thing, standing or planking is another." :) She told me to breathe some oxygen from a mask and my medicine would come through the IV. I thought "goodbye csection/mommy apron" as they placed the mask on me. I remember looking at the lights and wondering when I'd be out. Next thing I remember a nurse asked me how the pain was and I held up two fingers. My husband got me dressed. He tried to put my dress on from the bottom up and I told him it no it goes over my head. I said "haven't you ever put a dress on before?" He said, "no actually I haven't." The nurse started giggling. I remember little of the 10 min ride home or being wheeled out of the hospital. Amazing how foggy my brain was. Surgery was a breeze though...just slept right through it...lol.
Post-op day 5 new pictures
Well, I still have my drains until Thursday, but he took the dressings off and I'm super excited about my results. Dr Kent was too. He even called some of the nurses to come in and look. :) I love my new belly button. I think it's going to look great. Yay! I feel like doing a happy dance. Can't wait to be rid of these drains, but at least it's only two more days. :) feeling much more limber today and standing straighter. Thank God for that.
Goodbye drains...7 days post-op
Had my appointment today to get my drains out. It didn't hurt at all! When he took them out he said, "Okay, I'll tell you when to scream." then said, "Whoops, already done." Lol. He also removed my belly button stitches. Im still very excited about my results. Feeling great today. I actually forget to take Advil when I'm due for another dose, so pain is minimal at this point. I'm only taking Advil about every 8 hours. I still have tightness/uncomfortable feeling in my abs, of course. It's very hard to describe the feeling. Almost like having a hard ball in your stomach?
I actually cried earlier because my husband went back to work. I don't know why I cried about it, lol. Just feeling emotional I guess. First day taking care of the kiddos so feeling a bit more swollen in my lower abs.
Took a couple of pictures. I'll try to take a few more later today or tomorrow after a shower.
Not too much going on here except trying to heal. Took a couple of pictures. I tried on bikini bottoms I bought from before surgery being hopeful they'd work. I kept the receipt though. ;) Still swollen so they're a bit tight but not too bad. Looks like I won't have any issues with scar coverage so yay!
I got the okay from my PS to wear shapewear instead of the binder now that my drains are out. Man...I cannot express how much more comfortable I am now. I constantly had to readjust the binder because it would travel on me. At least the shapewear stays put and it's way softer to the touch. :)
It's amazing how some days you feel pretty good and the next you feel very swollen and bloated. Today I have sort of a hard bump feeling in my upper abs. Feels like my muscles are clenched very tight and also having lots of creepy crawly sensations today. I'm swollen on top and bottom but not in the middle. Like a peanut. Lmbo. It's either I'm more swollen in those places than I was or less swollen at the waist than I was. I don't know which. Anybody else experience that?
Post Op Day 10 pics
Nothing new to report, just posting some new pics
Quick update...13 days PO.
Tomorrow I will be two weeks post op and I'll take more pictures of my scar, etc, but I tried on a pair of my pre surgery jeans today and wanted to share the before and afters. I'm still swollen so this will only get better and that makes me a very happy girl. :)
I thought that my love handles got worse after my 3rd son, but now I think that the bulk in the front was pulling at my pants maybe? I think my love handle area looks so much better even without lipo.
Don't mind my crusty bb. Lol. I'm just letting it heal on it's own and not messing with it. Mostly letting the soapy water just run over it and rinsing it off.
I'm officially two weeks post op today. Woo hoo! Feeling better everyday. Still dealing with swelling (of course). I have to say that even with the swelling I am so happy I did this. I told my husband that I'm pretty sure this is one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know I have a lot more healing to do, but right now I am so thrilled. He jokingly said I guess you owe me then. I said well, technically you contributed to me needing the surgery. He laughed at that and said true.
I finally remembered at my appointment today to ask how much he removed. 1.5 pounds. It doesn't sound like much but that was all pretty much below the waist band of my pants. Everything is healing nicely. He wanted to check for a seroma today because my drains were taken out "early" at 7 days because they were both draining around 10 ml in 24 hours. He usually leaves them in 10 - 14 days. I wasn't having symptoms, but he just wanted to be cautious. He didn't see any issues with accumulated fluid. He said I can sleep in any position that's comfortable now, that's a relief to me. I am a stomach sleeper so getting off my back and onto my side at least is going to be great. I asked how delicate the muscle repair is because I'm always concerned I'm going to do something to pop a stitch. He said not to be too concerned with the stitches and then used a bunch of technical terms about double something or other permanent stitches. So I feel better about that. :) I have my next appointment in a month to check everything over again and do after photos. He said he'd give me a set of before and afters pictures then.
Just a few words of warning. DO believe what you read about eating salty foods. I ate Charlie's Chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. OMG the swelling was terrible! Not worth it. Thankfully it was mostly gone by this morning. :) I think that's about it for now. Posting some new pictures. Enjoy!
Well, I made it to three weeks! Not much new to report, really just healing. :)
I get to start scar therapy today. I got some silicone strips from my PS I will put on after I shower today to help my scar heal well. I had a hypertrophic scar with my c-section so I'm trying to avoid that happening again. It seems like c-section scars are prone to becoming hypertrophic and it probably wouldn't happen with the TT scar, but it can't hurt to use the strips. The "bunches" on my incision are starting to smooth out, especially on my right hip. My left hip has to catch up.
I still get some muscle spasms if I've had a busy day, but they're becoming less and less. Having less of those "baby in the womb" feelings too. Still swelling in the evenings, especially my lower abdomen and mons area. I think I'm sensing a theme here, lol. Ready to get the swelling over with but I'm trying to be patient...trying. ;)
I'm pretty much back to normal with regards to caring for the kids, doing laundry, running errands, etc. I still take time to rest though! It feels good not to be totally dependent on others. I still can't sleep on my stomach because it's uncomfortable. I can sleep on my sides though now without any pillows for support. Woo hoo!
I hope all is going well for the rest of you!
I can't believe it's been 28 days. I feel like it's a given at this point, but, I'm still swollen, especially down low. Lol it's getting better, but still there. My lower abdomen is still pretty firm to the touch, but my upper abdomen is softer more like a "normal" belly, especially in the morning. I'm still rocking a bit of a Ken doll but it's mostly the center of my mons, the sides have softened up quite a bit, yay! If I lightly press on my stomach I'm still tender. So is my incision and oddly enough my upper thighs right below my incision almost like there's a bruise that's not there? It's a bit numb too in those places. It's the only numbness I have.
I'm feeling pretty good at this point. No ibuprofen unless I've had an extremely busy day and feel like I need it for swelling and the tenderness that comes with it. I'm able to get into more of my clothes now. Still wearing my CG during the day. I take it off at night. I actually woke up on my stomach this morning and I was soooo comfortable! :) My incision is smoothing out more. So happy about that. These scar sheets leave some lines on it though so hopefully you can see the improvement in the pictures. Guess who finally got a full length mirror. It's the little things sometimes. ;) The lighting is way different in these. I apologize, it's raining here this morning so the big window (it's frosted, don't worry, haha) doesn't have the natural light it usually does.
I think that's about it? I hope you all are healing well!
So it's been 5 weeks now...woo hoo! Not much new to report. My lower abdomen is still swollen even in the morning, more so in the evening though. It's not as rock hard now though and is really starting to soften up and feel more like a belly should. So I know the swelling is slowly going down. My tummy is still tender from top to bottom when I gently push on it so I know there's still healing going on there. I'm still pretty tired and can't do too much without causing swelling and fatigue.
I've been using the silicone tape for 2 weeks now. Mederma on on belly button too. My scar is laying more flat this week but still has some pleating of the left side.
I have an appointment with my PS next week to do after pictures. He said he'd give me copies of both the before and after pics. I'm excited to see them! :) I think I'm going to ask how long the redness should last around my belly button. I should also be cleared for working out next week. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also a bit scared. I don't want to swell up from doing to much, but I know I need to get back to it.
6 weeks today!
Went to my 6 week PO appointment today. Everything looks good. He was pleased with my healing and how well my incision is flattening out. I'm cleared for whatever exercise I want to do. He did say though that I might not be able to do everything I used to for another two weeks. I can do Zumba but I might not be able to keep up at first and might have to modify a bit. I'm okay with that. I just want to get back at it! :) I asked about swelling he said at least 3 or 4 months before it's gone. He said it's because the lymphatic system is disrupted with the surgery so it takes longer for the body to get rid of water until it repairs itself. He's supposed to send me my before and after pictures tonight or tomorrow so I'll post them when he does.
PS before and after pics
I'm attaching the six week PO before and afters my PS took. These were taken mid afternoon so there's some swelling (agh). I also attached some marked up pics pointing some things out like where moles moved to. I have a mole that moved down from somewhere under my bra before. It's kind of crazy to see that stuff. Lol.
My view this morning. I can't believe this is my tummy! :)
So hard to believe it's been 7 weeks already. Time is really starting to fly now. :) Still the same story with the swelling. It's my constant companion, but I think it's getting better as time goes on.
I've been back to Zumba a few times now and I'm happy to say that it's been good. No pain, really, just sore and of course a bit more swollen afterwards. I haven't really modified too much but I've tried to tone down the intensity. Not only because of the TT but also because I've lost some of my fitness sitting around for 6 weeks, lol. By the end of class I'm worn out. :)
I've got a few new pictures for you all. I forgot to take one of my belly button before I got in the shower, so it's right after and it's a bit more red than normal from the hot water. :)
Not much new going on so I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I did take some of my scar. I'm really happy with the way it's healing. It's starting to fade already in places. :)
I've been back at Zumba for a bit now and it's going well. Slowly starting to feel "normal" again. I'm pretty worn out by the end of class though. I still have some swelling but it's getting better each week. I feel like I swell less now.
I think from now on I'll just update every two weeks unless something happens that's worth writing about. Happy healing to you all! :)
It's been awhile!
25 Nov 2014
5 months post
So it's been a very long time since I've posted an update. Things have been good! I'm still numb but I fully expected that. I still have minimal swelling, but noting too bad. :) Still doing Zumba. ;) I'm planning to post some new pictures within the next few days.
Yikes time flies!!
26 Nov 2014
5 months post
So according to my phone it's been 167 days since my tummy tuck. That's roughly 23.86 weeks.
If given the choice I would absolutely do this again. I wish at times I'd had lipo on my love handles though. Lol. I would caution you though if you're thinking about surgery that it is a long process. I remember thinking in x amount of days I'll be flat. Well, you will be flatter but FLAT and not swollen takes time to happen. I still had moderate swelling off and on especially at night until I was around 4 months out. Now it's not so bad on the swelling front but I can still feel the tightness when I straighten my back even with a small amount of swelling. It's not painful just present. I've noticed that I don't really gain weight in my stomach anymore. It all goes to my butt and thighs. Even period swelling does that for the most part.
My scar is fading nicely. It looks darker in pictures than it does in real life for some reason. I have continued to use the silicone tape on it. My plan was to use it for the first six months because of my previous hypertrophic scar. I've had no issues with that so yay! been using Mederma advanced scar gel on my BB. It's fading nicely also. :)
My husband is really enjoying the results. ;) I think it's made me more confident too. I think that's it? I almost always forget something. Lol.
Better scar pics
26 Nov 2014
5 months post
This is more the color it really is.
6 month update.
13 Dec 2014
6 months post
In some ways I can't believe it's been 6 months. Time flies. I'm happy with how I'm healing and I feel like my scar is fading nicely. I'm so happy I decided to have this surgery. I feel so much better about myself. :)