27yr Old Mom of 4 Ready for "The Change"!! - Camden, SC

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Okay. So I'm just starting out. I have my...

Okay. So I'm just starting out. I have my first consultation on January 31st. I'm really excited, but let's be realistic. Can a stay at home mom of 4 boys (ages 10, 4, 3, & 18mths) really undergo something like this?

I'm 5'2" (on a good day I'm 5'2" and 1/2"!!) and only weigh around 120lbs. I've never been over weight in my life (except when I was pregnant). I had my first child when I was 16 and I gained 60lbs!! My poor poor body just never recovered. Fortunatly my husband took on me and my son and together we had 3 more sons within 3.5 yrs. (2 were uh-oh babies!!)

We wanted more, especially a girl, but I don't want to be pregnant anymore. So, if we decide to build a 2nd floor to our house, then we'll go "pick one out". That way we'll be sure to get a girl...or 2!! ;)

So, now it's my time. I am the same size I was when I was in high school. (maybe +5lbs) Size 2-4 (depending on the time of the month - ladies, you know what I mean!!). My problem is in the center of my belly (belly button area). It's flabby, flabby, flabby. With wrinkly old people skin. My husband says he likes it because it's soft. Gross. Really, who wants to hang onto all that excess skin/fat/whatever (except our wonderful husbands, of course!)
So, here I go. We are doing this in private (only my husband, sister, and babysitter know) because my family does not support doing this kind of thing. Money should be spent on more "important" things. However, what is more important that your self-esteem?!?!

So, after I have this done and I'm rockin' a bikini on the beach after 11 years of not being able to hardly wear a tankini, I'm gonna laugh in their face and LOVE my new body!!

Encourage me on in this journey because the Good Lord knows that parting with this kind of money is extremely difficult for my personality because I never spend money on myself. I'll update after my consultation, but I'm 99.9% sure that I will be scheduling my surgery before I leave that office!! :)

Wow! I have an appointment!! February 22nd at 9am...

Wow! I have an appointment!! February 22nd at 9am. Dr. H. said I my ab muscles were pulled apart about 3". He also said he'd be removing all the skin from the top of my belly button down and repairing the muscles both down the middle and pulling them in on the sides.

The office manager asked me when I would like to start looking at dates and I said As soon as Possible. She laughed and replied she had an opening in 2 days!!! haha...a little TOO quick. My husband said I have to go to his work banquet on the 16th, so here I go right after that!!!! I'm super excited and nervous and I'm racking my brains trying to figure out arrangements for the kids. Guess I better get started...I have a LOT to do in 3 weeks!!

Update to my Update!! :) We've changed...

Update to my Update!! :) We've changed the surgery date to February 18th instead of the 22nd. :)

February 19, 2011 - Post-Op day 1 Hello all...

February 19, 2011 - Post-Op day 1
Hello all.
WEll I DID IT!!!
I did try to back out once I got to the OR, but the nurses were great so I cried once then I was wheeled on back.
The surgery lasta bout 3 hours and i woke up with only small pains. Most the pain was coming from vomitting. My body doesn't handle anithesia well. But once I got stablized I was fine. I just slept and slept and slept. My hubby has been great...emptying my drains and my cath bag. Yes, I did come home with a cathater and no, it was bad at all. Hubby pulled it out this morning and I'm having no trouble going to the potty. I'm up walking about as much as I can. I'm even sitting at the breakfast table typing this.
I"m still very dizzy, but I'm not taking any prescription painkillers anymore. I'm taking 600mg of Advil every 4 hours and it's managing the pain well.
I think I'm gonna go take another nap. It's not really painful, more of a discomfort.
My last post said I was having surgery next week, but we had to move it up because of hubby's job.
I"ll post soon...right now I have to go pee...again. ;)

Feb 20, 2011 Post-Op Day 2 Hello all. :)...

Feb 20, 2011 Post-Op Day 2
Hello all.
:) Things are going great. I'm taking 600mg of Advil every 6 hours and going all night long without taking anything. I'm taking a muscle relaxer every 6 hours also. That seems to help more than anything plus you don't get the yucky side effects of the painkillers.
I can't stand up straight yet. It feels like my muscles are pulling. I don't feel the incision pulling just the muscles. I have DARED to take off my garment and sneak a peek. I actually rather wait a couple of weeks before I see it. That way it'll look more of what it's suppose to be.
I've been walking around and can hoist myself in and out of sitting/reclining positions fairly well. It doesn't hurt when I'm getting up unless I'm twisted just slightly then it's a stab of pain. So far I've managed to spill 20cc's of drainage on myself along with a glass of orange juice and just this morning, an entire cup of freshly brewed coffee. I'm just awesome. :)
I'm not the type who can stand to NOT shower every morning but I have strict instructions NOT to shower until the drains are out. So figured out that if I sit on a stool pushed up against our standup shower, then I can lean over and wash my hair and face with the hand held showerhead. It's been working so far. I go see the PS tomorrow morning for my 1st post op. I also haven't been draining tons. The first full day (yesterday) it was all blood but over night and all day today I've probably drained about 50ccs total and it's mostly clear drainage. So I'm assuming that's good.
I haven't seen my kids in 3 days and it kills me, but I know that it's better this way. A few more days and maybe they can come give me a hug without killing me. :)
I hope everyone out there is doing well and I'll update tomorrow after the Dr. appt. :)

February 22 Post-Op day 4 Went to the Dr...

February 22 Post-Op day 4
Went to the Dr yesterday. Doc says my drain numbers are looking good and if they stay low he'll take them out on Thursday, if not then, Monday for sure.
He said everything looked perfect and was impressed. Just told me to hold it down for a few more days.
I'm standing up almost straight. I can stand up straighter when the binder is off, but it makes me a little dizzy.
I'm taking 2 Aleve and a muscle relaxer in the morning and 2 Aleve plus 2 Advil and a muscle relaxer when I go to bed. That's been enough to manage the pain.
Honestly, my back hurts more than my stomach could dream of hurting. :( I'm anxious to be able to finally stand straight all day! I'm posting new pictures. :)

February 23rd Post Op day 6 Wooo whooo! I...

February 23rd Post Op day 6

Wooo whooo! I feel great. :)
Maybe I just have the best PS in America, but this recovery has been a breeze. The pain has not really been painful, just uncomfortable (except the time I coughed and forgot about a funny part in a movie I was watching and laughed!) I haven't taken any Aleve today and I'm not having any discomfort yet. I have been falling asleep with my ever faithful heating pad (for my back) which, by the way, shuts off automatically after I'm asleep.
I can't stand up perfectly straight yet, but I'm getting there. I only have one painful stop at the top of my stomach just below my right rib cage that seems to "pull" when I try to stand up. It gets better every day, so I'm sure it'll subside soon.
I could probably call my doctor and have my drains removed today (my numbers are still low) but I'm going to wait until Monday. I rather have the drains in for a few more days than to risk fluid building up under my skin and having it removed with a giant needle. Ahhh!!!! Yuck.
I spent all day with my kids yesterday (they missed their mommy something bad). But my mom was there to take care of them. It was exhuasting!!! But much needed. Now I know what Monday is going to be like when I have them all day by myself!!
So today I'm going to take it easy and enjoy the weather down here in Sauna South Carolina. :)

February 25 Post Op Day 7 1 week down, 5 to...

February 25 Post Op Day 7

1 week down, 5 to go!!!

I stood up straight for the first time today. I'm almost walking straight all the time. It's difficult considering how week our ab muscles are after surgery.

I haven't taken any pain medications in 2 days. I do take the muscle relaxer at night, just to give my body a much need "break".

I go back to see my PS on Monday when my drains will come out and some stitches as well. I'll come out of this binder and into a "panty girdle" as the PS calls it. I can't wait to get more comfortable. I'll post some more pictures after Monday. I took a good look at my scar. It is a little higher than I had hoped, as I'm short and I wear ALL my clothes, undies, bathing suits, etc very low on my hips, but it's nothing dramatic and will only require a minor adjustment in my under garment purchases. I looked at my scar between the tape and I can barely see the scar at all. I guess having a PS that specialized in microfacial surgery paid off. It's a hairline scar, barely noticable. I did not have enough skin to pull my old belly button down all the way, so I will have a small scar above my panty line where my old belly button is sewn, but honestly, with as good as everything else looks, I could careless. He pulled away ALL my stretch marks (hubby pointed this out as my stretch marks never bothered me) and that was very unexpected.
Overall I'm EXTREMELY pleased with what I see so far. If you live anywhere in SC, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this surgeon.

February 28 Post Op Day 10 Went to see the PS...

February 28 Post Op Day 10

Went to see the PS today. He took my drains out. Yes it hurt. Yes, it felt like a cigarette burning my skin. I was panicing so bad about them being removed the Dr and the nurse pull them out both at the same time. I'm glad they did that. Before I could get home (about 45min) the drain sites had bled/leaked through all the gauze and my blue jeans. Great.
The good news??? I can stand up straight!!!!! Yes, STRAIGHT! Whooray!!
I am now so comfortable that I seriously forget that I just had surgery until I do something that "pulls" the muscles. Then I'm quickly, and painfully, reminded.
My PS said that I am doing above and beyond most patients. I have no swelling except on my left side (you can see it slightly in the pictures) but it's so slight that I don't feel it or really see it too bad. I drove to my Dr appointment today and drove home, no problem at all....well, I take that back.
GIRDLE GARMENT FROM HELL!!!!! That thing is tighter than my binder could ever DREAM of being. I really felt like I could barely breathe sitting down. I know it'll loosen up a bit after I adjust to it, so I'm not worried about it.
All my stitches are dissolving except the stitches in the middle where my "old" belly button was. There wasn't enough skin to pull it all the way down and have it removed, so it's right at the incision line and it's a small vertical line. It'll probably fade into nothing in no time. There is some old wrinkly skin where that incision is, but frankly gals, I'm so happy to have a smooth tummy and a real belly button that I could careless about a little bit of wrinkly skin left over. In comparison of what we were to what we are now, I don't see how we can complain about something so small...but that's just me. :)
I took care of my kids all day today (except the dr appointment time) and it wasn't that bad. It took longer than usual to do things, but wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I had to stop myself when I was cleaning up so that I wouldn't over do it. Making myself sit down and do nothing when there is so much to do is just blah. But it was great to walk around running errands and not worry about the bulge under my shirt (from the old belly) or the drains...I didn't go out in public with the drains in. I feel so much more confident and it's only been 1 day (I say one day because who can feel "pretty" when you have tubes running out your body?!)
I can't WAIT for the summertime....buying a bathing suit this year is actually going to be fun!!
Good luck to the rest of you and I'll post pictures again when the tape falls off. :)

Wow. I can't believe I haven't updated...

Wow. I can't believe I haven't updated since February.
I'm Almost 7 weeks Post-Op and things are more than wonderful. My scar is healing nicely and is almost completely flat. My belly button is healing up great and the redness where the stitching was is almost gone. My abs are started to relax a little, so they are not as rock hard and the feeling is coming back more and more each day.
My husband commented that I need new jeans cause they were looking a little big! Ha! Those words out of HIS mouth said alot, but you'd have to know my husband to understand.
I've been doing everything that I normally did before and it doesn't hurt. I feel a stab of pain if I twist, sneeze, or loose my balance and have to "catch" myself. Other than that, everything is healing just fine.
I haven't had any swelling and I contribute that to wearing my garment as instructed. The only time I did swell is after going out with the family to eat All you can Eat fried seafood... yum. Gotta love the South. Speaking of sneezing, I just did and OUCH!
Monday and Yesterday the hubs and I tore down our back deck and put down a brick patio. Today I cleaned/scrubed the whole house, filled in some hole in the driveway and planted a flower bed. Tomorrow, I will be heading to Charleston, SC with my girlfriends for a long SPA/SHOPPING weekend. Yay!!! :)
I can't wait to get on my skimpy Sundresses and a bathsuit and hit the beach!
It's great to be able to grab a dress, or a tight fitting shirt and put it on without worrying about my "flab" showing or having to put on Spanx!
Yay for us for doing this for ourselves. Even though I can think about a thousand different things we should have spent that money on, this was SOOOOOOOO worth it.
Good luck to everyone and I'll try to post new pics soon! :)

June 2 - 15 weeks Post Op I've been back...

June 2 - 15 weeks Post Op

I've been back to my normal self for over a month. Wrestling the kids, the dogs, and the husband ;). Rockin' the bikini at the pool and so excited that I can wear the size XS shirt that I should have been wearing only embarrassed by the flabby bulge on my belly.
I can't wait to go to the beach. The self confidence I've gained from this is unbelievable. I don't walk about with my head down and I walk about naked in front of my husband. Which he loves. :)

This has been the best experience and I'm so glad I spent the money on it!!!!! :)

Columbia Plastic Surgeon

I was completely thrilled to meet the staff and Dr. H. He never made me feel rushed and allowed me to take my time in asking questions. I am glad I have chosen this office for my cosmetic needs!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 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
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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