Over the Muscle? Ready to Do It! Consultation Stage - Chicago, IL

After looking through all the information on...

After looking through all the information on RealSelf for the past few weeks and reading stories from ladies much like myself, I think it’s time to share my journey, too…

I’m 31, 5’2”, 150 pounds. And I’ve got 3 gorgeous kids (3,5,7). I love them to pieces. Even when the oldest says daily, “Mommy, you got a BIG OLLLLD belly!” ? Those darn kids and their honesty!

Well, my whole life I’ve had small breasts. So small, that I felt awkward not wearing a bras. I experimented with them all: push up bras, water bras, Wonderbras,… the more padding, the better. In my late teens, I even used those little gel inserts that were supposed to stick to your skin. Until one night, too much sweating on the dance floor at the club had one insert ready to fall out onto the floor. After that, I decided, “it is what it is. Just deal with the itty bitty ta-tas”.

Once I started having kids, I thought, or I guess I hoped, I’d have some substantial permanent growth. Yeah, didn’t happen. With each pregnancy, I thought the boobs were here to stay. The only thing that stayed was the flab and stretch marks in my belly. But, the boobs stayed perky and I managed to lose the most baby weight. Most people who say me said I looked good for having three kids. I always take it as a compliment, but the “for having three kids” thing has me like, dude, I just wanna look good! (Mommy, you got a BIG OLD belly!)

Well, I tried to do all the things I could think of to get rid of the belly. (With hubby singing in the background “you can do side bends and sit-ups, but you better not lose that butt…) Did the Beachbody thing. Started out with Hip Hop Abs. Didn’t make it. Tried Shakeology. Started P90X and just about killed myself. So, I just started to think, “It is what it is. You do look good for having three kids. The cat-suit, stripper heel days are behind you. Move on.” Well, after three years of settling into my cocoon, my super-supportive hubby decided he was sick of me wearing his clothes (just his shirts) to cover myself up. We went clothes shopping for the kids this summer and he refused to leave the store until I picked up a few cute shirts for myself. Gosh, they were so cute, and yes, I bought them and wore them all summer, but I spent most of my time sucking in my gut, and adjusting my padded bra so I didn’t look crazy.

I don’t even know how I went from “I’m just gonna accept this” to “I wanna do something about this.” I started with researching breast augmentation, then found info about mommy makeovers, then I found out about RealSelf. Now, I’m just obsessed. I’m the type that, when I’m ready to do something, I can’t rest until it’s done. I started setting up consults, and every day, I’m getting less nervous and more excited about this.

Most of the time, just thinking about having surgery to correct the flaws that have either come with motherhood, or that I’ve had my whole life feels totally stupid. I feel like I’m being petty and vain. Then the cost? There are things I can get for my kids, or do for my husband, or do for the family as a whole (Nickelodeon Cruise? Beaches Vacations? Vegas?) rather than spend an insane amount of money on boobs and a flatter stomach. Half the time, the guilt from even thinking about this eats me up to the point that I don’t even think I can go through with it. Not to mention the fact that my family (except for hubby) is so totally against it, they make me feel even worse. All they can think is worst case scenario. They also tell me it’s a complete waste of money. I’ve taken my little one with me to all my consults because I don’t even want them to know that I’m seriously considering having surgery.

I’m just at the point in my life where I want to do something to make myself happy. It’s always been in my nature to do everything for everyone else, to meet the needs of others first and see about myself last. I’ve been doing it like that for so long, trying to do something for myself makes my brain feel out of whack or something. But, I want to feel good about my body again. I’m tired of hiding myself. I’m in my freaking 30’s! If not now, when? My baby making days are over. It’s time for me to physically feel like me again.

So, I mean, at this point, I don’t know what I’m gonna do, when I’m gonna do it, or if I’m gonna do anything at all. I’ve had a few consults, so I’ll update how those went, as well as the upcoming consults.

Sorry about being so long-winded…RealSelf is the only place I feel like I can get this out and not get looked at like I’m stupid

Oh yeah, $16,000 is the high estimate. I'd rather...

Oh yeah, $16,000 is the high estimate. I'd rather go high than too low...

I had my first consult last week. A friend of mine reccommended her doctor. She had a BA and loved the results, and the doc. I'll call him PS #1. As he has more than one office, I went to the one that was closest to me for the consult. The surgery (should I chose this PS) will be at his office about an hour or so away. So, I hope I'll be able to do follow-ups at the local office. I didn't ask this type of question at the consult, though.

Well, the waiting room was rather small, but the ofice staff was warm and friendly. I had my list of questions with me, and I went over them while I waited. He had some magazines called NEW YOU out on the coffee tables. They were conmetic surgery magazines, and honestly, I liked reading those more than the regular magazines that I found at other offices. In NEW YOU, I found some other questions to ask, other procedures I found myself interested in and more. Every edition had an extensive section on board certified PS's nationwide...their practice, what thier specialty is, before and after photos, how to reach them and more. It made the time in the waiting room fly by.

So, on to the consult... :)

I made it to the room after being weighed and having my vitals taken. I walked around, checking out the carpet and the chairs. Just felt like inspecting things, I guess. There was an exam chair and an ultrasound machine in the room as well. When the doc came in, I had a feeling like I had seen or met him before. Weird. But, he was very warm, open, and honest. Made me fel very comfortable. Explained the processes to me (I said I wanted a mommy makeover, so he started talking about the TT first, then the BA). Explained in detail about the facsia and how it seperates in pregnancy, and what the TT would do for me.

We looked over some before and after pics of his own work, then he found pics of ladies who were similar to me in terms of height, weight, and bust size. After a quick exam, he found I have a hernia (news to me, but explains the on again/off again pain I was having for the past few years), and he said he could repair it during the surgery easily.


The part I found that I hate about this part of the consults is the constant pinching and grabbing of the skin. OUCH! PS #1 told me to push my stomach out as far as possible, then he went to grab the skin. Pulling it up, pulling it out... Then on reflex, I sucked my stomach in so that I could breathe...then he reminded me to push it out again. After all the pinching and puling, he said that he could do the TT and some lipo, and I would be washboard tight.


He gave me a quick exam, showed me how much smaller one boob is than the other, then he showed me several pics of his former patients, and asked me what I liked and what I hoped to achieve. PS#1 explained the pros and cons over above the muscle and below the muscle placement, the incision sites, and silicone versus saline. He allows the patient to choose what she wants.

I played around with the different implants and fell in love with the silicone. They're more expensive, but gosh, I like them!

All in all, I was in there for almost two hours. I didn't even realize I was in there so long until I got to my car and saw the time.

PS #1 has a fantastic website that I had looked over carefully prior to my consult... all his prices were listed on the web, and the same fees were quoted to me in the office. He accepts diferent financial plans, including Care Credit, and he also does in-house financing. I LOVE that!

I liked PS#1. He was friendly, knowledgable, and patient, and funny, too. It was nice to be able to laugh a little. After seeing PS #1, I hated that I had to wait a week to see the others! I was ready to compare, make a decision, an book my appointment!

I had my second consult before Thanksgiving. It...

I had my second consult before Thanksgiving. It was a little closer than the first consult. In fact, I had passed by PS #2's office countless times on my way to the movies, to my favorite store, or to one of my favorite restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings. So, I found the office with no problem. Had ample parking. Had my little one with me this time, too.

As soon as I opened the doors, a smile spread across my face. The office building was beautiful! I know that goes a short distance when selecting a surgeon, and there were three floors of suites with other doctors and profesionals, but still, I love a beautiful office, and that was a beautiful office! My daughter was in awe of the waterfall in the lobby area.

Anyhoo, I made it to the suite, and was happy that it was on the first floor. I was thinking that would be very convenient for post op visits. My OB/GYN was located on the second floor in her suite, and the elevator rarely worked, so getting to see her really sucked when I was in recovery mode...but I digress...

My appt. was at about 9 am. The receptionist was warm and friendly, and made my daughter smile and feel welcome, too. I really appreciate it when they acknowledge her, instead of ignoring her. A three year old refuses to be ignored! :)

There were about three 3X5 photo albums filled with comment cards from satisifies patients. Most of them left their full names (it was optional) and were extremely pleased with the work they had done. I flipped through them while I waited. Someone walked in and saw my daughter(I guess a co-worker or suite neighbor) and said to the receptionist, "Gosh, your patients keep getting younger and younger!" We all had a good laugh. Well, by the time I was done with the cards, well, a little while before i was done, they called me to the back.

We went into the exam room and I talked with the nurse first. She asked me a bunch of standard questions about my health and what I was interested in having done, and jotted down some things I wanted to discuss with the doc. She left. She came back in a short time later with the doc (and ran my daughter to the bathroom...twice).

PS#2 came in and introduced himself and we got to talking about the surgeries I was interested in. I did tell him that he was not my first consult, and he seemed pleased that I was doing thorough research. He showed me some pics of boobs and asked me what type I liked/wanted for myself, then said silicone would probably be the best for the goal I wanted. He explained silicone was more expensive, but does behave more naturally. I told him that is exactly what I wanted.

I was told to disrobe, and the doc and the nurse left. Came back in a few minutes later with a different lady (I forget her position) for the exam. The lady was taking notes.

Now, this is what I really appreciate about PS#2...the full exam. He examined my breasts, then took measurments of each...from collarbone to bottom, from left to right, he took a bunch of measurements. I told him about my hernia, and he had me lay on my back, then examined me some more to confirm it. Except, PS#2 said it was a lot bigger than PS #1 indicated.

By now, dear daughter is complaining that she has to pee, to the point where PS said "I don't want her to go on herself, we're all done." little does he know, my daughter just has an infatuation with public restrooms.

Anyhoo, once I'm dressed and my daughter s drained, we head back to the room and PS#2 gives me his breakdown. Tells me my skin is super tight (under different circumstances I gues that would be a good thing) so he doesn't reccommend a TT. He thinks I only need lipo. He yanked and pulled at my poor skin again earlier in the exam, and he showed me where he would attempt to cut and tuck and sew, (he didn't saw sew, but you know what I mean) and said it just wouldn't work. He asked me if the other PS reccommended a tuck. He didn't want to know the PS's name, though. So I said yeah, PS #1 said get both.

Then, (and this is where my heart kinda broke) PS#2 said my skin was tight, so me going to a D would be unlikely because the skin wouldn't stretch out enough. A nice C would be my max. (Booooo!)

I asked more of my questions, he answered them, but was fairly concerned with the hernia. But in order to get it repaired, I'd have to consult with a general surgeon (he gave me a referral) and the two would have to work together. PS #2 doesn't want to be sucking out fat with a huge hernia in the way. I don't want him to, either! :)

At the end, I talked with the nurse about the fees and a payment plan. She's an RN and she explained to me how long she had been with PS #2, how fantastic he is to work with, and how she loves that he never tries to sell a patient on something they don't need. I told her I liked that too. In fact, I liked PS #2 a lot! From the moment I walked in to the moment I walked out, I was hooked. His surgery suite is much closer than PS#1, too...about an hour closer. Lastly, he's a bit less expensive.

but, PS #1 has an in-house financing plan, and he is also board certified to do general surgery, so he could do my hernia repair himself.

What to do, what to do? Do I have a huge hernia, or a small one? Do I need a TT and lipo, or just lipo? Can I get my Ds or what?

Guess I gotta rely on PS #3 (consult coming this Thursday) and maybe PS #4 (consult coming Saturday) to break the "tie." Hopefully I'll be a little less confused!

On a side note: I also saw my family doctor the same day as PS #2, and got an order for my bloodwork. Just in case, I want to have everything ready. FAmily Doc said yes, I do have a hernia, (he says it's not huge, but he can feel it) but unless it's life threatening, he won't do anything, because I can live with a hernia. You know, that is, until it becomes life-threating. :)

Going in to do all my bloodwork tomorrow...

Going in to do all my bloodwork tomorrow (Metobolic panel, CBC, PTT type stuff). Don't know how quickly results come back, but I hope they'll be back in January. The plan for now is to get the bloodwork done, continue my workouts and maybe lose five pounds, and scedule my surgery (whatever surgery it may be, haven't decided yet between the three procedures) for late January/early February. At least if I'm in recovery in the middle of winter, I won't be missing much---I hardly ever leave the house when it's a foot of snow on the ground anyway :)

Getting all my questions ready for the consult....

Getting all my questions ready for the consult. Some questions I had previously, I may not need to ask because I found the answer on PS #3's website (like, he doesn't use drains, so I don't need to ask when he takes them out...but maybe I'll ask why he prefers the drainless method). Think I'm gonna have to get a list of pros vs. cons going on these PS's. I have a total of 7 consults lined up (altogether), so I need to figure out how to choose the one I like most. I know one thing---ones who can do the hernia repair at the same time as the tummy tuck get a bonus star...no need to pay for an extra (general) surgeon! :)

Not really an update, more so a thought as I go...

Not really an update, more so a thought as I go through this process---the alarm clock goes off this morning, and the DJs are discussing the case where the lady got injected with cement or something like that in order to get a bigger butt...then they start having this big debate about how unneccesary cosmetic surgery is, blah blah blah...we'ver heard it all before. Just not the discussion I wanted to wake up to on a consult day. Now I'm having second thoughts again. They were about to start talking about Kanye West's mom, but I had managd to get out of bed and turned off the radio. Still gonna go to my consults, stay informed, and make sure I don't get injected with cement, and make the best decision for myself down the line, but still...


Okay, I have to do this update now because I have...

Okay, I have to do this update now because I have another consult tomorrow. I have 7 scheduled, but I think I may just stop at 6. Basically, because consult #7 charges $50 per issue (so $1%0 for a TT/Lipo/BA consult), and #8 $50 per consult. I don't want to pay if I'm not selecting them, especially since they are now option #7 and #8. At this point, it's like, okay, what can you tell me that #1-6 hasn't?

Anyhoo... PS #3

I found his office a lot easier than I thought. His suite is located next to a bunch of other medical suites (I saw offices for OB/GYN, general surgery, urology, etc.), and all those offices are right across from the hospital. not a bad set-up, to me.

The office was very warm and bright. The receptionist was talking to a young lady who was scheduling her BA when I arrived. I overheard the receptionist saying how happy she was with the work that PS#3 had done on her own BA, and her BA is more than 10 yrs old and she still loves it.

I did tell PS #3 I had been to two consults before his. I was very comfortable in the office. We talked about what I wanted to achieve with the BA and TT, and I even bought pics this time. He gave me a thumbs up on selecting good pics, and told me that I could achieve some good results. He told me that because of my height, frame, and the anatomy of my pointy boobs, a full C is about what I can achieve, and exactly where I should be. (Maybe I can be a D when the implants stretch my skin some more...5 yrs down the line? I dunno)

He explained to me that he doesn't use drains, and why he doesn't use them. He explained how he does his drain free technique.

He decided to give me an exam at that time, so I stripped down to my panties. (I do like finding out how each PS exam is a bit different) PS#3 pinched me all over, confirmed that my hernia is indeed big for an umbilical hernia, and he can fix it himself (yay, #3! Points in your favor!) He turned me around a few times, going pinch crazy along the way, and told me all my fatty parts are all in the same place...the tummy. Which will make the surgery a step smoother, I guess.

He did tell me I wouldn't be super flat 6 pak, because of the hernia repair, but I will have some great results.

He also told me that there was no reason for me to stage my surguries in his opinion, and that me going under general anesthesia two or three times poses a greater risk than me going under once and staying under for three hours instead of two. (I gotta think on that).

He told me how many BA's and TT's he does a year, told me his complication rate, and what he does in case of problems. Even told me about a DVT patient he had (I asked)...his first since he's been in prqctice. I also love that Plastic Surgery is a family business for him, as his dad was a PS.

Now, PS#3 is a bit more pricey, but I can say I did like the entire experience with him best of all. I found him on all the Plastic Surgery certification sites easily (having a hard time finding PS#1 on these sites), he was very pleasant and knowledgable, and I appreciated the way he interacted with my daughter, who did come with me (again). I also like the idea of being drain-free.

He took some before pics of me.

I also like that I can consult with him as many times as I'd like before booking surgery, and after.

So, as of now, I'm liking PS#3-PS#1-PS#2. PS#1 because he offers in house financing and he came reccommended (and I love his before and after pics), but if I can't find him on more than one board (he's on the AACS and that's it; not sure if that's great or bad) he may get bumped down.

Now, I'm prepping for my next consult tomorrow. I may not update unless he makes a major impression on me... :)

After today's consult, not only do I know I want...

After today's consult, not only do I know I want to do this, I think PS#4 is the doc I'm gonna go with. From top to bottom, it was a fabulous and informative consult---10 times more informative than any other one I've gone on. They gave me procedure specific DVDs to watch prior to the consult, I tried on different sized implants (and the RN took pics on my phone for me to show my hubby), and received a buttload of information. I even got to see a 800cc implant. That sucker was HUGE!

The doc was fabulous. All questions I had written down to ask, he answered before I could answer. Whole visit was a little more than two hours, and I never felt rushed in the least. He also told me that tummys are his favorite procedure. I left feeling happy, excited, confident...

I still have two more consults to go to this week. I'm going to go, just so I can see, but I really believe PS #4 is my dude. #2 is off the radar, period. Nice enough doc, but just not gonna work out for me. I can't find PS #1 on the ASPS or the ASAPS, so he may get dropped too, despite the in-house financing.

After these final two consults, I think I'll narrow it down to the two that clicked with me the most, the two I have the most confidence in, the ons I think will provide the best results. Then I'll set up another consult each, and choose my doc. I'd love to get things popping by March.

On another note: I checked out Dr.Pousti's website. He's a TOP doc here on RealSelf, out in La JollaCA. His site is fAB! If I was in Cali, I'd definitely be seeking his services. He had some pics up of his surgeries...helpful, but mighty gross looking, skin all up, insides exposed...but I love it, because now I know what to expect.

Never been more excited to be doing this for myself than I am now...

I'll have to post a more thorough update a little...

I'll have to post a more thorough update a little later...but I'm wondering if anyone has Over the muscle or subglandular implants... seems like everyone I'm reading about on RealSelf has unders...

I entered a contest that I'm hoping I win where I can have a good portion of my mommy makeover paid for...

Well, the doc who is sponsoring the contest is a good $2000 more than the others I've consulted with. BUT, if I win, I'll only have to pay $2000 out of pocket, instead of $5000 or $6000 by going with someone else and paying it all out of pocket for the tummy tuck... so we shall see. Announcement comes on New Year's Eve. Even if I don't get top prize (entire tuck paid for) 2nd place is better than nothing in a situation like this. Happy healing ladies! Enjoy your holidays, your new bodies, and the new year! :)

Today's the day I find out if I win the makeover...

Today's the day I find out if I win the makeover contest...wish me luck! Winning will definitely help me get my makeover sooner than later in 2012! :)

Happy and fabulous New Year to all!!!!
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