Overcoming the Guilt and Going for It! - Folsom, CA

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I'm a 39 year old mother of 5- yep- you heard me...

I'm a 39 year old mother of 5- yep- you heard me right. Im 5'7 and my normal weight usually was around 135-140. With my first child I gained like 85 lbs- can you say "hello stretch marks?" But luckily I was young and my body bounced back weight wise- but naturally I was stuck with the good ol' stretch marks. I never did get any more with any of my other pregnancies, but I would gain and lose 50 pounds with each- except the "loosing" part with the last two-. I am 150 right now- (on a good day I can see 148 on the scale). I am active, I run, work out, and eat healthy. (Though I do like my wine which if I'm being honest I could probably cut out and drop some more pounds- but with 5 kids- forget it. Lol) So now here I am, 39 years young, and left with a flubby, stretch marked tummy, and at a point where you will NOT see me in a swim suit. I have daydreamed about getting my belly back (I swear there are muscles under there) and with the support of my husband have finally decided to do it. I struggled with MASSIVE guilt- as in "get over yourself, vanity is over rated" "can't you just learn to accept yourself as is" "what message are you sending your daughters by doing this" "think of all the other things that money could be going to" etc etc etc. Much like I have read many of you ladies have put yourselves through. But in the end, I just want to put on some pants with no belly hanging over, I just want to put on a swim suit and go to the beach with my kids, and I just want to feel like a Woman again, and not such a (well earned) battle scarred mother. So here I am.

I did have the bonus of my sister and friend having had mommy makeovers done, so the procedure itself wasn't as "unknown" to me. I did look into several doctors, but ultimately I knew I would be going to Krista Clark at Kaufman and Clark in Folsom. (Same place as my sis and friend went.) I was well aware that they are a bit more pricey than some of the other places in the area, but they also have a significant reputation for being damn good at what they do, so its hard to put a price on that. I had had a consult with her and as we sat talking babies and motherhood, I just felt like this was not only a qualified and respected Doctor, but also a MOM, and a woman who understood and empathized with other mothers who just wanted to look like "women" again.

We talked a lot about the belly button- I have seen her work and she feels, like I do, that the belly button is a place to take your time and make it look natural and small. We also talked about scar placement, LOW PLEASE. Lastly, lipo- which I will also be having in my flanks, (muffin top area) and outer thighs. (please get rid of these dang saddlebags!)

I have had my Pre-op, got all my med scripts filled and am scheduled for August 15th. Less than a week away.

I haven't told many people. I have seen what my sister and friend went thru and it pisses me of that people feel like they have to interject negative comments. If you are a friend, you SUPPORT, you don't judge. So I have told the people I want to know and as for the rest of them- it's no ones business- its my body, and until you walk in my shoes, zip it. Lol. Anyway- felt like I should share since I have stalked this site for well over a year and have really found it to be so inspiring and helpful- so I'm going to do my best to give back. Feel free to message me or ask anything- I will do my best to answer as honestly and clearly as possible. Here's to community support huh? ;)

Ugh Pre-op pics

pre op

pre op

Pre -op

Pre-op pics posted

I feel a little sick but I put them up. I must have good lighting or something because most of the stretch marks aren't as visible in these pics. The front view isn't as bad, and I have gotten pretty good at dressing to hide the bulge, but it's apparent from the side view. If I can tighten the belly and get rid of the saddle bags, I will be one happy mama. ;)

Surgery time is set!

Well I spoke with my Dr.'s office and I have to be there at 5am Thursday- surgery is scheduled for 6. That makes me very happy since it makes the whole "not eating or drinking for 8 hrs before surgery" a lot easier. :))) Is it just me, or is it common to feel like I might throw up after that confirmation call? Haha! Nerves were in full force- but I'm also excited and hopeful and saying a whole bunch of prayers. :)

Post op day 1 after surgery

Well I've done it. Yesterday before surgery the nurse Lisa and anesthesiologist and dr Clark all came in to go over al the upcoming procedures, dr Clark and I discussed the incision placement and I went for a longer scar because I wanted it low- and as straight as possible. The trade off can be a dog ear if you have any extra fat on the hip (I did) but that was a risk I was okay with. I also was having lipo of the flanks and outter thigh. They were very
Friendly and professional and the next thing I knew I was in recovery. they took 3lbs of sretchmarked skin and flab off my belly and 4 liters of fat out of my flanks and saddlebags - the nurse said "honey u have the stomach of a 16 year old".... :D
I did have nausea (I'm prone to it) and a weird burning/pinching sensation by the drains that was pretty painful and remained that way off and on all yesterday. But I stayed on my med schedule drank my protein shake and gatorade and took an anti nausea suppository last night and after that I was OUT. It was a little rough.

Today has been better. The lipo
Areas are really sore and I still
Have nausea and my belly is Tight tight tight hard to pee let alone even think of going poo. Started my prune juice though so hopefully that will help move things around so to speak ;).

Had my First follow up appt this afternoon. I was VERY nervous to see what I imagined to be a pretty bruised up and swollen belly and thighs, but when I saw it (even tho there IS sweeping and bruising) I was flabbergasted. I asked "where are my stretch marks" and Dr Clark smiled and said "in the trash".. I said "but I thought I'd still have a few" and she said youse have one or two- they would be under the tape by your incision".... Which is LOW- and totally covetable by my bikini or undies. I did have some brusing, and if I'm being honest, the lipo is the most painful places on my body- just feels really bruised. But so at the brusing is minimal and I think that has to do with the Arnica I have been taking.

Anyway that's the update so far- I need more seep and rest and healing. I get to shower on Sunday :) whoo hoo!

Post op day 8

DRAINS ARE OUT!!!!! Hallelujah! Belly looks good- still really swollen, but the incision looks good. I have a little vertical cut in the center (where I had my belly button ring scar) which I knew I was going to have but when all the swelling goes down all should be good. Stretchmarks are gone!!!!! Belly button looks good and belly looks teeny!!! Whoop! I do think the left side of my saddlebag area did not have enough taken out- but Dr Clark said that if I still feel that way in 6 weeks, we can do some touch up without my going under again so that is good. I get that since obviously I can't be standing upright during surgery, so it's better to err on the side of caution than to suck out more than u can put back :) I cannot say enough about Dr Clark and her team. I have never felt like just a "patient" or someone who needed to be rushed in and out - every question and concern I have ever had had been validated no matter how crazy it may have seemed. Hah. Anyway- healing is a slow process physically and emotionally, but having a little patience seems to be the key. (not my strong suit haha) I will post pics in a day or two- gonna enjoy a little drain-free time. :)))

PO Day 9

Couple pics.
I love how low the incision is. I have some dark scabbing on the little vertical incision (old belly button ring scar) and a teeny spot that I was worried was necrotic, but Dr Clark says is fine, just wait it out. Still have a bunch of swelling but lost 7 lbs of it overnight so woo hoo. haha

PO day 9

2 weeks PO- some minor setbacks

Well I haven't been feeling great- been running a low grade temp- pretty emotional, aches, and my incision (center and to the right) swelled up and turned red. Then Tuesday, at the point where my vertical and horizontal scar met up, all of the sudden this fluid started leaking out. I gently pressed on my abdomen where I had been feeling some pain (right side) and a whole bunch more fluid came out. So after some communication with Dr Clark, I went to see her yesterday. Diagnosis: seroma, possible infection (though it didn't look super red or anything, because of the fever, she put me on antibiotics to be on the safe side) and a little spot where that fluid is coming out just isn't healing up. The good news- (yes there is good news) she is convinced that this will all heal up just fine. It's good that the fluid is finding a way out on its own as opposed to having to be aspirated - weird- I NEVER had that "waterbed ripple" or even squishyness- just tender and swollen- if i do have an infection we are catching it early, and when my wound finally does heal (being treated with xeroform and a giant gauze pad that gets soaked thru every couple hours right now) -if any scar revision is needed she said that is not a problem. So the biggest pain right now is that I'm still draining- with no drain- lol- but honestly I'd rather change pads than deal with that drain system again. Also- I am in better spirits today knowing that it has been looked at and is being treated. Both the Dr and her nurse followed up this visit by saying that all in all I am healing up REALLY well (the blah part of the incision is less than a half inch big so far so in the grand scheme it could
be worse). I have been STRONGLY urged to rest and not over do it. (difficult with such a big family and little ones) but I am honesty trying as I really want this to heal up ASAP.

Belly button still looks cute- I'm holding on to the positives. Lol

1 mo PO

Hard to believe its already been a whole month- and yet in someways it's seems longer. Everything is healing up and the Lipo areas are settling down, however, I did end up with some fat necrosis that left one hole about the size of a dime and another about the size of a pencil head eraser- right on the middle
Point of my incision line, I have been packing them
With gauze and changing them out 4 times a day (this is day 9) - and Dr Clark swears it is all going to he's
up wonderfully, just those little places are going to take a little longer. I will probably do a scar revision with in a year. (she has offered)- from
Everything I have read and heard, it takes around 8 weeks to fully heal up the holes. So that's a pain, but everything else is looking good. I will say that the emotional ups and downs were harder than I had expected, and when anyone who knows asks if it was worth it, it really just depends on what day u ask me (which is why I haven't committed to an answer yet). I will say if the holes weren't there I woud give it a resounding yes, but it is a little trying to be changing out this gauze repeatedly, and waiting on my body to heal itself. Que sera sera right?

6 weeks PO

Well the holes are finally filling. I will be so happy when they are a distant memory and I get the scar revision done. In the meantime, I got into my size 6 pants and NO MUFFINTOP! So I was happy about that. Some of the areas of lipo (particularly the flanks) are still tender but I do feel more and more like myself as time goes on. I still think I needed a little more lipo on the saddlebag area- but I'm waiting out the swelling before making a final judgement call. Love how low my scar is and I'm Still loving my belly button- Dr Clark is a genius at them ;)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Dr Clark is AWESOME- she is very down to earth- professional and (somwthing important to me) had a combined bedside manner that makes you immediately comfortable. She takes time to listen to what your concerns are, let's you know what's realistic and doesn't try to sell you a line of bs- I always felt as though I was talking to a friend who just happened to be an expert on reconstruction haha. She is also very inclined to helping create a natural look. She has been great on follow up- email, phone calls, even text. (which I love because its short and sweet!) I also cannot say enough about the team at Kaufman and clark. All of the ladies in the office make you feel like part of "their" group- and many of them have been through procedures and are happy to share first hand experiences. The Anesthesiologist was great in comforting my nerves - pre meds and post, and they mean what they say on your pre op papers so FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. This is not your "sales person medical practice" this is a highly qualified supportive medical office committed to giving you what while keeping expectations realistic. You may find less expensive quotes in the area, but there are some things you cannot put a price on. (this written on PO day 3-)

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
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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