Four Kids Later, A New Me!

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I think I have made the decision to get a mommy...

I think I have made the decision to get a mommy makeover-- after four kid (including 2 CS) and a hysterectomy, I am ready to be happy about what I see in the mirror. Last summer, I went for a consultation with a PS regarding lipo, a tummy tuck with muscle repair and a fat transfer to the breasts, got an estimate, but was told that I should wait until my youngest child no longer required being carried everywhere. My youngest is now 2.5 and I am ready to start the process of researching options.

I have always been pretty thin, most of my life (until after I had my 4th baby) my weight fluctuated between 98-102. Then, after having my fourth child, my mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer... and after some genetic testing, it was determined it was a result of a genetic mutation, which I also have. I ended up having a hysterectomy, which put me into surgical menopause at 32. I gained an almost immediate 15 pounds, and between that extra weight and the extra skin after four pregnancies, I looked like I was perpetually six months pregnant with an apron of skin that hangs off when I bend over. Last week, at the dentist, someone (again) asked me when I was due... so that was it. It's time to get my body back.

Surgery scheduled!

I went yesterday for a consultation with a 2nd PS and scheduled a TT/lipo for January 11. I decided to hold off on a BA for now, since I'm just not sure. So, the countdown is on...49 days! Now I just need to make sure I'm in the best shape/health possible so I can get great results.

More before photos

Before

One month away

One month away from surgery, and I am ready. Here is a "clothes on" photo... You can see why I'm always being asked how far along I am. :(

Getting closer... Pre-Op Physical Done

Friday was my pre-op physical, where my primary care doctor said I was in good health going into surgery. My pre-op appointment with my PS is the 28th. I am getting anxious.

Pre-op Appointment

Today was my pre-op appointment. I paid my balance, got my prescriptions, and was able to ask questions. My surgeon does drain less abdominoplasties, meaning that he sews things in such a way so that there's no accumulation of fluid. I am getting anxious... two weeks from today. Ugh, is it too late to back out?

More before pictures

Picked up my prescriptions today, and am cleaning my house before surgery.

Final "before" photo

Made it

I did it... this morning. It's finally done. I had a moment of "crap, what am I doing?" as my husband drove me to the PS's office.

I got tot he center, kissed my husband, then he left to go drop the kids at school. I answered the nurse's questions about whether I had eaten or had anything to drink, have I had any water after midnight, am I allergic to anything, and was given an anti-nausea patch to wear behind my ear; she then had me change into a gown. Then the dr came in, and took some before photos, and marked my stomach with a purple marker. I really like him as a Dr... he seems very confident and pleasant. Once I was marked up, the surgical assistant came in and started an IV. I then was taken back, and before I knew it, I was out. When I woke up, I don't remember much... I wasn't in pain really, just very very sore. But SO. TIRED. I kept falling asleep and just remember my husband coming in and them putting me in a wheelchair, and then they took me out the door and my husband helped me in the car. I slept the whole way home. H helped me up one flight of stairs and into bed, where I stayed almost the whole day. I think my surgery began at about 8:45am and was over at about 11am. My husband was able to take me home at about 1pm. I have a pain pump attached that continually gives me medication.

Once I was home, I essentially slept for hours. At about 430 pm, I woke up a little and took some pain medication, and then at about 630 I took a muscle relaxer. Right this second I'm not hurting so bad, but it feels VERY sore, and it is very uncomfortable. There is an uncomfortable tightness, I'm sure partly due to the swelling, the compression garment, and the muscle repair.

My husband has been a champ taking care of me, he keeps giving me refills of pineapple juice and because of the IV fluids, he has had to walk me to the bathroom four or five times in the past few hours. My compression garment has a crotch buckle (little hooks and eyes like on a bra) and after the first time I fiddled with it, I just decided to leave it undone so that I wouldn't have to buckle/unbuckle/etc to go to the bathroom.

Dr. Jabs told my husband that they were able to tighten my skin a lot, so I'm excited to finally see it in the next few days. I have not even attempted to peek.

I am very very sleepy, so on to bed!

Photo

Just before surgery

1 day post op

Still very sore

2 days post op

Well, it still hurts but the pain is manageable. The hardest part so far is climbing in and out of the bed and not being able to play with my kids.

I started running a fever yesterday, so the surgeon's office called me in some antibiotics. I finally worked up the courage to look at my incision...

Hopefully turning a corner soon

It's been 4 (?) days since my surgery. It's confusing because my husband says the day of the surgery counts as day zero not day one. So far not really progressing like I had hoped... I am still using narcotic pain medication, still sleeping in the recliner, and can hardly hobble to the bathroom, let alone anywhere else.

The pain comes and goes, depending on how active I've been... but "activity" for me has been going to the toilet, and trying (unsuccessfully) to take a shower. When I tried to take a shower, I stood in the shower with my back to the water and let it run over my back. I couldn't figure out what to do with my pain pump, realized that my husband's shower didn't have any soap, and not being able to wash my hair with one hand (holding the pain pump out of the water). My husband in theory would be able to help me shower but he is wrangling our kids... they are 2 and 3 years old.

I have been running a fever since I got home from surgery, between 99 and 102, so the PS called me in an antibiotic. Even with the antibiotic, I have had a temp of approx. 100.4 for the past few days. I have a cough as well, and every time I cough it's like someone rips me in half. Not sure what I can do about this cough at this point.

I pooped (finally) yesterday. Painful and it took me like an hour. The swelling hasn't really gone down at all. I'm not really sure when I am supposed to begin feeling more normal but I am in that first stage of recovery when you ask yourself... "was this really worth it?"

Five days?

Still hurting a lot but trying to walk around some. Still rocking the pain pump and in desperate need of a shower.

Much better day

Today has been much, much better. I was able to get up and shower, dry my hair and put on real clothes for the first time since surgery. Even with my compression garment and the foam pad that goes between the gauze pads and CG, my stomach is flat. I put on underwear (sorry, TMI, but I've been wearing only pajama pants, a tshirt and my CG for days now) and my scar seems low and straight-- easy to hide. I still tire very easily, but I'm glad to see a major improvement. Yesterday was the worst day by far. I have a post op follow up this afternoon and will update more soon.

One week after

Each day gets a little easier. I'm still hurting, but not in tears. I am only taking my narcotic medication at night now. Yesterday I rode around with my husband and ran some errands. I mostly stayed in the car, since even walking to Starbucks from the parking lot feels like the last leg of a marathon. I had my first post-op appointment with dr. Jabs, who said everything was healing as it should.

My husband has reached his limit, I think, with taking care of people. I had the dog boarded for the first five days, but we picked her up on Monday and she didn't get a walk yesterday. He forgot to leave anything for me to eat for lunch the first two days, and on Monday he had forgotten that the kids were out of school and took the wrong day off. So I was home taking care of our three year old by myself, and as a result couldn't take any pain medicine that would make me sleepy. By the end of the day, I was a mess. In so much pain and totally exhausted. The house is a total disaster. I might go downstairs and clean the kitchen today if I can do it without bending over and sitting on a stool. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his help, but he is very overwhelmed and I feel guilty for being so useless.

My stomach is still swollen and uneven looking. I haven't been able to scrub off the marker from surgery yet. I'm excited about what it will look like once it settles into its final shape.

Photos

PO Day 9

Still not quite back to normal, but getting there... slowly. I'm still sleeping in the recliner and taking pain medication at night. I still can't walk upright. I still have not tried to drive or run any errands alone. On Monday, I'm hoping to be able to live a normal day and not be in so much pain.

I'm still very swollen, and none of my pre-surgery clothes fit. It's too cold for dresses, and the only other thing I have are sweatpants. I have to go to a work meeting next Thursday and I am wondering if I need to go and buy something I can wear. As far as weight, I went into the surgery weighing 120 lbs. When I came home after surgery, I weighed 126 lbs, with swelling and the pain pump. Now I'm back to 120 lbs but rather than the pot belly I had before, I am swollen all over and looking pretty boxy at the moment.

My stomach is flat, though. I couldn't suck it in anymore if I tried.

PO day 9

Photos

PO day 10

A little better each day. Today I weigh 118.6, so finally starting to come down from my pre-surgery weight of 120 (and after my post-surgery swollen 126). I'm still swollen, so there is still room for improvement.

There is still pain and stiffness, I'm still taking night time pain meds. I am still getting fatigued very easily, and am no where near 100%. I haven't tried to drive by myself yet, and still cannot get out of bed without a struggle. Most nights I eventually end up back in my recliner.

PO day 12

Weighed 117.4 this morning

Photo PO day 12

Almost 1 month PO

Almost a month PO, and only in the last couple of days am I getting my energy back. I'm still crampy and sore in my abs, especially at night. I still swell, especially after being on my feet all day. I still am not supposed to pick up my kids. But slowly getting back to normal. My stomach is still a little lumpy, but my PS assured me it was temporary and encouraged me to massage it. It is definitely improving each day. I have tried on some bathing suits, but as my scar is pretty high, I haven't found one that covers everything.

1 month PO photos

In the dressing room

Before vs 1 mo PO

Progress

I am starting to get lots of comments about being thin from strangers and people I know say things like, "you look great!" They don't know I had surgery but can see that my flab is gone. In 2 weeks I can start working out.

Update: 7 months later

Still happy I did it. My scar is very dark so I will get some laser treatment on it as well as some touch up lipo in a few months.
Dr. Dean Jabs

Dr. Jabs was excellent. His bedside manner, his confidence, and the finished product were all amazing. I would wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone who asked.

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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