30yr Old with 3 Kids- Excess Skin and Muscle Seperation!

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I am 29yrs old and have 3 kids. I gained my figure...

I am 29yrs old and have 3 kids. I gained my figure back after my first, with my lowest pregnancy weight gain of 38lbs. My second pregnancy I gained the same amount, but I was about 15lbs heavier than when I got pregnant the first time. I had excess skin left over after that delivery, but was able to workout and tone my abs to where I was happy. My third pregnancy I gained the most, 47lbs. Each pregnancy I lost almost all of the weight within the first two months post partum (with my first over a year and a half I gained some back) and the sudden loss left my skin loose and unable to regain it's elasticity. I am 5'6" and at a healthy weight for my frame sit anywhere from 113-118lbs. We are done having kids and I am going in for my consult on May 4, 2015 with plans to have the surgery at the end of May or beginning of June.

Postponing surgery so I can go out of state

I had my initial consultation in May with Dr. Manuel. I have decided to postpone my surgery and continue looking for a surgeon who I click with. This is not my first rodeo, I had elective plastic surgery at 19 and I had to interview several surgeons to find the one I was comfortable with. Unfortunately, in Alaska there are very limited options and as much as I have wanted this surgery for several years- I just didn't feel that this office was for me. The appointment really didn't go over my specific needs, more of a broad explanation of what this particular surgery (tummy tuck) entails. I already knew what the surgery would require and what to expect, I wanted more details and attention to my specific needs (scar placement etc) Anyhow, I have decided to wait until next summer and go home to San Antonio for an extended stay so I can have surgery there, with a multitude of surgeons to choose from and family to help take care of my kids. I am starting now by researching surgeons and contacting their offices to make sure they will work with me from a distance and set everything up as I will be on limited time when I fly in and need to get the surgery asap so I can have the maximum recovery time before flying back to Alaska. I am disappointed that I won't be getting my tummy tuck sooner, but I don't want to jump in to this with any reservations and I feel it will be worth the wait to have peace of mind and know I chose a surgeon based off reviews and research- not because they were one of four surgeons to choose from.

Found my surgeon!

After looking through the reviews on this site I found Dr. Gary Lawton of San Antonio, TX. I travelled down to San Antonio to visit family and was able to schedule and go to a free consultation with Dr. Lawton. I had a very positive experience with his office and left with a deposit down for my surgery. I was first brought to a room where I met him and he started by explaining the procedure and his expectations for results. After discussing the general procedure, I was taken to another room where I changed into a gown and Dr. Lawton and the nurse came back so he could personalize his expectations based on my body. He took the time to explain how he would perform the surgery on me and he showed me where the scar would be. I was very happy to see that he does low scar placements and will be able to give me the results I was hoping for. With the previous surgeon that I had seen, he tends to do higher scars and he had told me to expect a scar that would be above my jean line at the hips. Dr. Lawton explained how that is an old school technique and he has modified his procedure so I will be able to wear a bikini and not have my scar hanging out. All in all, it was such a good experience and I feel confident in having my procedure done this summer. I put my deposit down to hold the surgery date and cancelled the other consultation I had scheduled with another surgeon. I will update as it gets closer to the surgery date.

Less than 3mo from surgery

Just a quick stop in to say I'm about 2 1/2mo away from my surgery date. I started working out in mid February and cutting out soda/fast food. I want to be in the best shape possible for surgery and help recovery time. As I lose these last couple of pounds my stomach skin is getting wrinklier and looser. I took pictures today sitting down & leaning forward to show how rumply it gets :-( I will NOT miss it when it's finally gone.

3 weeks from surgery!

Well, I am three weeks from my surgery date. I have continued working out and maintaining my current shape to be ready for the procedure. I will be going in next week for blood work and picking up meds before I fly down to Texas in 2 1/2 wks. I am mentally and physically prepared and can't wait to be on the other side of this surgery!

The night before!

Ok, this is it. I went in and had my pre-op appointment today (which I believe is usually around a week ahead of time, but the day before for me since I am in from out of town). All instructions were gone over and paperwork signed. I also got my before pictures taken and a whole bundle of supplements plus my prescriptions for pain meds. I did a last minute Walmart run and picked up the recommended Miralax to help prevent constipation from all the pain meds. I also got some Carnation breakfast drinks in case I have trouble eating, that way I will still get nutrition. I took out all my piercings and got a recovery outfit. It's not flattering but it's light, silky and most importantly- it buttons all the way down so I won't have to lift my arms up to put my shirt on afterwards. I plan to keep a sports bra on under it also. I highly recommend getting one, it was a $16 set at Walmart. I also bought a pack of underwear just for recovery so they can be thrown away later and not ruin my nice Victoria Secret ones. Hoping some of this stuff jumps out to others in case they may not have thought of it. See you all on the other side!!!

1 Day post-op

I am on the other side!!!!! I will start out by saying that I could not be happier with the procedure! I have been considering this surgery for the past 4 years and this site has been so immensely helpful in preparing me for what to expect.

My surgery time was 7:30 am and they promptly took me back exactly at my appointment time. I had to give a urine sample (pregnancy test) and they got my IV started. The anesthesiologist came in and took my medical history and explained his part and what to expect. Not even 15min later Dr. Lawton came in and marked my stomach up and then about 20-30min later my nurse wheeled me into the Or. I remember having the oxygen mask put on and then waking up in recovery. Waking up was pretty painful, the anesthesiologist was awesome and got me on Morphine right away until I was more comfortable. At that point I was wheeled out to my aunt and taken home.

My mom has been taking great care of me and making sure to give me all my meds and make me go to the bathroom each hour. It was really hard to urinate the first day but I am having no problems going now. I have started to regain my appetite but I got too excited in the beginning and ate too much and ended up throwing up... OUCH. I went down to saltines and sprite and that has eased me back into food. Now I am slowly eating small portions and gauging how I feel.

I have three drains in for the next week that my mom emptys every few hours. I also had to go pick up some Silvedine cream for the wound. After a month post surgery I will start the scar gel. I just cannot express what a surreal feeling it is to FINALLY look down and know that the skin flap is GONE forever!! I will continue to post updates as I heal. I hear day 3 is the worst with pain and regret but I feel I may not experience that since I am fully mentally prepared for the stages of emotions through the process (thanks to this site!) Below are the pics I was able to snap between dressings.

Day 3 Post-op

I am doing shockingly well. I really thought I would be in excruciating pain by this point. While I am still a bit hunched over and taking my time to walk to the bathroom/kitchen- I am actually quite comfortable. I believe it is because I got myself into such great physical shape prior to surgery with so much core work that the majority of discomfort I'm feeling at this point is a bit of soreness like you would feel after a hard workout.

I have taken my first shower (at Dr. Lawton's recommendation) and redressed my wound twice now. The biggest challenge for me at this point is forcing myself to rest and stay inactive while I heal. It goes against everything in me to sit around but my mom and husband are insisting that I give myself a break and stay in bed with short walks through the house to keep my blood flow moving.

Here is a recent picture of my abdomen wrapped up and the drains, which should hopefully come out at my next appointment on Wednesday. Again, I have not a regret in the world for having gone forward with this procedure.

Day 4 post-op

I cannot express how pleasantly shocked and surprised I am at the ease of my healing through this whole process. I began working out on a daily basis on February 16. I had the goal of being competitive and placing in a triathlon, along with getting in optimum physical condition for my abdominoplasty. Turns out, getting in such great shape helped my healing more than I ever could have imagined. While I have experienced mild discomfort, I can honestly say there I have had no pain.

After reading up on here and talking to other family/friends that have undergone plastic surgery, I was expecting immense and excruciating pain on days 3 on. I went in yesterday to have my next day check where the nurse re-dressed my wound and gave me another prescription for silvedine cream and another prescription company also got ahold of me to inform me that my insurance also covered another six scar creams and gels that will be overnighted to me.

I was given the go ahead to take my first shower when I got home. Man did it feel good to wash my hair and body. I used a lanyard around my neck to clip my drains to and surprisingly, there was no burning when the water/soap ran over my scar. I was advised to use just a regular antibacterial bar of soap (I chose Dial). It was a lengthy process but well worth it.

We went ahead and bought an entire box of baggies, wrote out each time meds are due and pre portioned them in bags. I set alarms on my phone each time meds are due and that has helped my mom be able to get some extra sleep without having to come in and wake me every hour or so. Each time I take meds I also get up to use the restroom or walk once around the house to keep my blood flowing through my legs.

Here are is day 4 pic of the scar.

6 days post op

I cannot believe tomorrow will mark one week from my surgery! I am beyond shocked and amazed at how easy my recovery has been. I don't want to give anyone false or unrealistic expectations, but I dedicated myself to getting into optimum physical shape for this surgery and it sure paid off! I will say that I have had some mild discomfort, but not really any pain. I am now taking daily showers and re-dressing and wrapping my sutures daily. I also found it very helpful to get a box of baggies, right down the times and meds on each bag and set my alarm. That way when my phone goes off I just take the meds in that bag and the next bag up is for the next dose. I just received a fedex shipment of 6 scar gels and creams prescribed from my surgeon today. It is taking everything my mom has to keep me off my feet and resting- I feel like I could jump up and get back to my everyday life. I know I am only a week out, but I have not once felt any regret over my decision to have this procedure. I have my next recheck on Wednesday and if everything looks good the sutures and drains will come out. Happy healing to everyone out there!

One week post-op!

Where has the time gone?! I feel like I just barely came home from surgery! I will start out by saying- I officially made it through my abdominoplasty without much pain. I partially credit the pain meds, but I fully believe it was the fact that I got myself into peak shape prior to surgery. The body is an amazing thing and muscle memory will serve you well. I go in tomorrow morning to be re-checked and possibly have stitches/drains removed. The right drain has really started pulling and becoming irritated so I hope that will be addressed at my appointment tomorrow. I have an entire laundry list of questions to go over with the Dr. also. Small thing such as when to switch from the initial Silvedine cream over to the many creams that were fed-exed to the house. I also would like to see about weaning down off the narcotics and rely more on the homeopathic supplements that I was given. I really just want to take a shower and get dressed without having drains, tubes and stitches to worry about. Here are two more recent pictures. My belly button was completely reconstructed. My original one was herniated from my pregnancies and unsalvageable. I really wish we could fast forward time to when it's all healed and done and I can see my final results! It has been an enjoyable week in being able to stay holed up in my bedroom with magazines, my macbook and netflix along with snacks and lots of fluids. It will be odd when reality of life smacks me in the face again and I will no longer be able to sleep in anymore ;-P I will soak this time in and enjoy it as much as possible.

30 Year Old with 3 Children, Damaged Ab Muscles and Excessive Skin

I travelled all the way to San Antonio, TX from Anchorage, AK just to have my abdominoplasty performed by Dr. Lawton. I happened to be in SA back in November and was able to have a consultation at which point I was so impressed with his work and our meeting that I put a deposit down on the spot for my surgery date. Realself.com was essential in helping me find the correct surgeon for me, especially being an out of town patient. All of his staff have been very friendly through the process. The only thing that I would like to address is the fact that I had to initiate all contact to their office myself. I had to call several times to see what labs I needed to have done in AK and when they were due plus when to to make my final surgery payment. Of course, this is an admin side of things and even considering the stress and frustration of feeling I was in charge of getting things taken care of, the overall experience and expertise of Dr. Lawton far overshadows any small inconveniences I may have experienced on the admin side. I HIGHLY recommend him and only being one week post-op I am already 1000x happier with my body than before my procedure. Thank you Dr. Lawton for all you have done.

First drain came out today!

I went in for my second follow up today. Thank goodness they took one of my three drains out!! It feels so amazing to have it gone. I go back in on Friday to have #2 drain removed. As a matter of fact, just this morning when I got out of bed I accidentally grabbed the tube and pulled on it. That hurt beyond words. All of the stitches in my abdominal scar were also removed. I was able to speak with Dr. Lawton about a few of my questions and concerns and he very clearly reiterated that I am to stay on strict bed rest for the solid two weeks. I have such mom guilt not being more productive and useful. However, after ten years of being a mom, it is quite nice to lay back in bed, binge on netflix, blog, facebook and nap on and off as much as I want. I was told I can wean off the narcotics as I feel necessary, so I am cutting out the Valium completely and sticking only with Vicodin now. I am finally starting to feel a little less incapacitated as I am taking daily showers and even put make up back on today.

2nd drain out!

Not a lot has been happening. Still just a lot of resting, staying on top of my medications and trying to slowly wean off the last pain killer. I went in yesterday and drain #2 was removed- yay!! I go back on Monday and the last one will come out. By that point we will discuss very modified and slow activity as far as leaving the house for a bit at a time. I am having bouts of nauseousness lately so I'm refilling my phenegran but I'm hoping once I finish the Vicodin and antibiotic and am only on the natural supplements that my stomach will settle a little better.

Last drain removed!!

Finally! I am drain free! The first removal pinched, I barely felt the second one and today's was just awful. My skin started healing around it, so it took some tugging to get the stitch out, then during the actual removal it felt like it had to be ripped out. It was horrible, next to the one time I vomited the day of surgery after recovery- this was the second most painful part of the entire process. But it's over and I'm drain free so that is what I'm focused on.

After talking to the nurse I found out my nauseua is due to lack of eating. I've always been more of a snacker and a very light eater. I now need to make sure I'm tracking my protein intake and being more conscientious about eating enough.

I finally got the ok to go off bed rest/house arrest. I am taking it VERY slowly, I was told if I overdo it and cause too much internal swelling with the drains out, they will have to do a manual fluid removal. We did a small Walmart trip after my appt and between those two things in on the couch resting again.

Scars seem to be healing really nicely and I'm very happy with how straight the line is. I still wish it could have been a tad lower but I also understand that due to the excessive amount of skin I had removed and the fact that the skin above my belly button was rumpled, made the scar placement where it is. I was told that over the next few months as swelling reduces it will settle a bit lower. I am sure after a year and a faded scar that it will be totally fine.

I literally did not have pain in my recovery. Though I will admit that I was sinking into a horrible dark place yesterday being on day 12 of bedrest. I am an overly active person that works out 6x a week and loves the outdoors. Being cooped up was cert wearing on my mental sanity.

So again, this is a procedure that I am a thousand times happy that I went through with, not a walk in the park but also not at all as bad as I expected.

One month post-op

Hello again. I have taken the last couple weeks off of here while I've been slowly getting back on my feet and trying to enjoy our vacation in Texas.

First things first, to be honest I hit a massive wall and had a mental breakdown on day 10 post-op due to cabin fever. I had mentally and physically prepared myself for all other aspects but I wasn't prepared for what a mental toll it would take for me to be so sedentary for SO long. I went from working out 1.5-2hrs 6x week to recovery where I was getting winded walking around the house. Just remember, it's not forever and your body will thank you later for taking the time to heal properly!

At my last appt the Dr went over some of my concerns/questions. I was a bit worried about the scar placement, but he seems confident that once my swelling fully reduces it will flatten down and lower into the bikini line nicely. It makes sense, I have quite a bit of swelling between the incision and the belly button so it is pulling them closer together. As the swelling goes down I can see the scar lowering. Either way, it looks 1000x better than before the surgery. About 6mo post-op is when all swelling should be gone. I notice on the days I do more, the swelling gets worse and more noticeable than my slower days.

I go in for my last and final appt this friday. They will take my post-op pictures for my portfolio as well as give me all my printed recovery instructions since I won't be here to do anymore follow ups. Also, there were to stitches left in my belly button that got overlooked and need to be removed and oddly, a partial stitch in my incision that won't easily pull out. I'm hoping the nurse can pop them out without too much trouble or pain.

As far as recovery, we drove to FL and the trip wasn't too bad but while there I stayed out the entire day at the beach (in the shade) and walking around in the town and I massively overdid it. Big mistake. My entire abdomen swelled up and I ached for two days. I hobbled around the next day and got in bed from 7:30pm-7:30am and it brought the swelling back down. I now know to do about half of what I did that day. It's frustrating, but I certainly don't want to damage my healing due to impatience. One more month and I can start light cardio and by month 3 I should be able to slowly start back into my old routine (at a modified pace).

So that is my one month synopsis. I'm still surprised at just how little the pain was in my recovery and happy that I wake up to a flat tummy (after 6yrs of flabby skin).

Bathing suit!

I was able to find a suit, thank you Victoria's Secret for carrying custom top sizes!

2 month post op!

Officially 9 weeks post op. I am no longer hunched at all and getting back in shape. I started on the elliptical yesterday after slowly working my way from up from walking. It felt good but I think 40min was overkill. Will back off to 30min at a time.

I am able to do most things again (cleaning, errands) but I'm listening closely to my body and backing off at the first sign of strain.

I went ahead and bought the Redefine regimen from Rodan & Field to help lighten and fade the scar. I've seen great results from other testimonials and with a 60 day money back guarantee, it's worth a shot. I included on picture but I feel like from further away my scar is still appears darker.

Not a whole lot going on, just a quick 2mo post op update.

6mo post op update!

Well, I am officially 6mo post-op today. It's been a journey.

Overall, I'm SO glad I had the surgery. I still have numbness in the middle area of my abdomen but it's slowly coming back. I am back to daily runs/workouts even doing HIIT classes again.

The feeling of my muscle repair alone is so nice. Having the diastasis recti fully repaired has made a huge difference. Not having the apron of skin digging into and over my belt line is also amazing. I lived for so long with my stomach damaged that it still feels surreal that it is corrected now.

My only complaint is the scar. It is still well above where I would have hoped. The large scar around my belly button is also bothersome. I would have preferred/thought the scarring would have been placed with more care and discretion in that people wouldn't be able to automatically see I had surgery. However, all things considered it is still so much better than pre-surgery so I am overall happy.

I am sitting right at 115lbs post surgery. I love my physique in clothes and am confidant enough to wear a two piece again.

Here's a picture I took tonight.

A few more pictures

Here are a couple more 6mo post op shots

8.5mo post-op

Scar's healing nicely. Been training all winter for competition season (summer). Plan to do several triathlons and a half marathon. I'm back to pretty much all my regular workouts with no modifications or swelling. Will post a few bathing suit pics in a while- I was able to find several bottoms that hide the scar well.

13mo post op!!

Hey all! It's been over a year now since my surgery.

We took our first kid-free trip in 11yrs!! We went to Jamaica and literally spent a week on the beach. That is something I never would have done before the surgery. However, it also made me hyper aware of just how high my scar settled as I had to do constant checks that my bottoms were high enough to conceal it.

I've had enough of that and it's bothered me excelssively since 1wk post op- so I finally took the leap and did a tattoo cover up. I've been eyeing TT scar cover up tattoos for the past couple of months to decide what piece I wanted. I didn't want someing that just cut across my midline and was an obvious cover up. Fortunately, I had a large lily on my side already that my amazing artist was able to incorporate with a new piece and tie it all together. I love how it turned out even though it was 3hrs of torture to get it. All in all I would have preferred to have a low scar and no added tattoo work, but given my options I did the next best thing and I'm glad I can now go back to low cut bottoms of any type without my scar hanging out. Still have to deal with the belly button scar but thats pretty minuscule now that the focus will be on my artwork. I was fortunate enough to get in with the artist I wanted from back home while here in Texas for a visit too and went in and worked to achieve the exact piece that I wanted.

My physical fitness and abilities are back to pre-surgery! Sure, things feel different and I am vigilant in listenening closely to my body- but I did 5 races this year and all fell within seconds of my competitive times from pre-surgery last year when I was actually training to compete. I just wanted to know that I could complete half marathons and triathlons again, and much to my surprise realized that not only can I complete them, I can be competitive again.

I don't know that I will do any further updates as this whole journey is finally complete. My advice to anyone preparing for this road is:

Read through this site, find cases similar to yours and get an idea of what to expect.

Feel 100% sure with your surgeon and ASK lots of questions!! Specifically, scar placement and desired results.

Physically prepare! Recovery will be immensely easier if your are in have shape.

Do the surgery for yourself and NO one else.

Beat of luck to everyone out there!!
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon

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