A mommy makeover with a mini - right decision?

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Why I want this tummy tuck. Before I had kids I...

Why I want this tummy tuck.
Before I had kids I was about 13kg overweight which on a small frame was noticeable. With a huge effort I lost the weight and got to 56kg which was probably a bit ‘under’ for me – I looked scrawny but still had a bit of a belly, nothing to get too excited about.
I then had 3 beautiful kids over the next 6 years (now ages 8,5,2) all by caesarean section. After each one I worked hard to lose the pregnancy weight with diet and exercise and have ‘made it’ each time. What I’m left with after no.3 particularly, is a body that’s probably as fit and strong as I can get it (workouts 3-5 times per week), weight at about 60kg which is probably about ok for me, but a weird pointy kind of belly and a belly button that sticks out (my “outie umbie” or my ‘sad smile’ as I call her ?). I also went from small boobs to OK boobs during breast feeding, down to COMPLETELY non-existent boobs now. My 2 year old has bigger boobs than me lol!
Anyway, my belly is a problem. It hurts down the middle when I cough or sneeze, I have an umbilical hernia and 4 fingerbreadths separation of my muscles despite careful exercise (no crunches, lots of plank poses, following physiotherapists’ advice till the cows come home). I can see my small bowel contracting through the skin (eeuw) and when I eat, my full stomach protrudes due to no muscle tone. The protruding belly plus the outie BB make me look 5 months preg, and I still (at the age of 41) get ‘those’ looks and sometimes even the roundabout questions about whether I’m expecting again. Geez….
So after stalking RealSelf for ages I finally did some research about specific surgeons. So far I’ve been to two and it was interesting and thought provoking. Dr 1 was a really nice person, warm, professional and no-nonsense. Hubby came with me both times, with the plan just to be there as another pair of ears but to let me do most of the talking. Dr 2 was recommended by a colleague and he was professional, confident and my husband definitely clicked more with him. I would be happy with either of them but am going to go with Dr 2 because technically I’m told he’s really excellent, and he seemed to have a confidence that helped relax me a bit.
Who said anything about boobs?
To my surprise I found myself asking about boobs. Although I’ve always dreamt of having boobs, I never thought I’d be one to get new ones. Dr 1 took photos of my boobs – more embarrassing and not very funny at all. Her thoughts? She thinks I’d be a great candidate for new boobs. She would go for smooth round silicone under muscle, and I started tentatively with 280cc-ish sizers. Why not get theim? I worry about the risk of lymphoma which is tiny but definitely there, and the risk of not detecting a breast cancer (to which she said the chance of detection is higher because the surveillance is often better, and she would recommend MRI for me if I get a BA as my boobs are small, dense and she thinks mammograms aren’t great for implants). Starting MRIs would be a few years off anyway. The boob talk took me by surprise but I tried wearing some of her sample implants inside the sizer bra, and I really think new boobs would be a confidence booster just as much as a fixed tummy. My husband agrees – ever since I had the kids I haven’t really enjoyed my boobs at all, they’re so tiny and ‘nothing’. I also sort of lost sensation in my nipples after breastfeeding so they don’t add much to the sex life side of things for me. Surgery wouldn’t fix the sensation but they may at least make me feel better naked. On the other hand I’m so self-conscious about getting plastic surgery in the first place, being seen as vain etc. I’d only want small implants to bring me back to about a B -small C cup, like I was during breastfeeding. Just enough to balance out my hips and complement my hopefully flat tummy.
Dr 2 also was pretty keen on the new boob idea. He would go for part under muscle part under breast, smooth round silicone probably about 325cc. By the time I saw Dr 2 I was more comfortable with the notion and in retrospect I think that anything under 280cc would probably end up too small.
Is the surgeon trying to talk me out of this?
About the tummy itself, Dr 1 was more reserved. She said I had a ‘grand canyon’ of a muscle gap, but not much loose skin, and the incision would be determined by my c-section scar which is low but crooked. I keloided with my first 2 c-section scars but not the third thanks to a steroid injection into the wound and dermafix silicone scar treatment afterwards. Her biggest concern was that I would struggle with a scar this large on a small-framed person (seriously I’m not THAT small – size S or even M in most bottoms). Having spent months on RealSelf looking at scars I don’t think that will be a problem and neither does hubby. MY biggest issue is recovery time and going back to work. I’m a bit of a ‘do-er’ and I bounced back within 24h, up and walking, turning, bending after all 3 caesars so I had thought 2.5 weeks off work then back to the 2 days a week bit first, using my at-home days to recover. She tells me I should plan for 6-8 weeks off! I can’t imagine EVER being able to take that amount of time off!
Dr 2 said minimum 2-3 weeks off which is more do-able. It’s the tummy that will slow me down most, of course, and I have 3 kids, 4 jobs, a new puppy… but a lovely husband and supportive extended family.
My morbid fear of what others will think of me.
I want to keep this as secret as possible, can’t imagine what I’ll tell colleagues at work (doctors - they’d see through most fibs I can think of) and how I would actually go doing the standing up/walking parts of my work (2 days a week – 9-11 hour days, the rest is desk-based at home). I’m afraid of being completely dependent on others during the recovery period. Plus this is an elective procedure so I’ve only got myself to blame if I can’t shower or toilet myself! How can I ask someone to take time out of their life for a purely aesthetic choice on my part? I come from a fairly down to earth family and I’m afraid of being a disappointment to my mum and sisters for being vain (possibly not giving them enough credit there). My husband is supportive (esp of the boobs which he thinks will make a bigger difference to my self-confidence than even the tummy tuck, and I bet he’s hoping if get new boobs he’ll be able to touch them again after all these years, which is fair enough! At some stage I’ll have to get over all these hang-ups if I am going to go ahead with this but boy it’s hard! At this stage I’m going to keep the boobs to myself but let them know about the tummy. Probably stupid I know – I don’t know why I find the boob thing so hard to talk about!
My morbid fear of dying under anaesthesia
I don’t know how I’m going to go ‘going under’ for a GA. I’m such a worrier and a pessimist I suspect as the date draws nearer I’ll be beside myself with fear that as I say goodbye to my family before the op that I might never see them again. I know the risks are low but imagine dying during an elective operation like this! I love them all so much, I can’t bear the thought of being apart from them, and I want to be there for them until I’m old and grey and READY to go, not before! I pray God will look after me during this time and heal me quick!

more pics (oh the shame...)

adding some pics - to show that after I lost the baby weight there was a muscly little person under there after all...but I can't suck in this belly the whole time. Need to breathe! Once I lost the breastfeeding boobs my shape really became weird - flat chest and pointy pot belly with outie umbie... choosing clothes is tricky.

PS says no lipo - maybe this will reduce recovery time?? But then again adding BA to the mix probably cancels out the recovery benefits of no lipo. Ah well..

It's time!!

I'm totally freaking out! Surgery is tomorrow. I'm still coughing (have been for a week) and I'm terrified I'll split everything open!

Update on the gorgeous husband - he has rearranged everything and in fact is able to drive me there tomorrow. Phew. I was being brave but inside I was a little forlorn at the idea of going there on my own.

I'm so super scared! If it wasn't for the fact that work is still completely crazy and I have a teleconference at 7:30am tomorrow, the morning of my surgery (which is in the afternoon), I'd be catatonic on the floor by now. I'm so afraid that I've made a terrible mistake doing this op, that I might die, that I might have bad results, and especially that my cough is going to ruin everything. The surgeon may cancel me based on the cough - which would be totally fair but SOOO much organization has gone into getting me to this operation tomorrow... It would be incredibly disappointing not to go ahead. Argh - I'm such a mess!

Still haven't told my mum, sisters or best friend about the boobs. I may be delusional but I'm wondering if I can get away with it. I hope the surgeon doesn't give me enormous whopper boobs that look really obvious!

Well happy healing all you ladies on the flat (or bumpy) side, I'll be with you tomorrow...

And suddenly I'm on the flat side!

Hi ladies, sorry for no immediate post op updates - I was pretty out of it for the first few days. Am now day 4 post op, still in hospital but I think that's just because my surgeon is being nice to me! I feel great.

The day of the op was a blur - worked from home in the morning then hugged my babies and went in to the hosp for admission, met the anaesthetist, kissed hubby goodbye and into the OR. IV went in, off I went, woke up feeling not too bad... boobs done, tummy done, 4 drains in, back to the ward by late evening. I had a very rough night and day 1-2 post op with lots of nausea, pain and drowsy as all get-out from that damn fentanyl Patient-Controlled-Analgesia - I hardly pressed the button at all but when the pain got the better of me I would press it, which would start the nausea and the drowsiness...

I was so worried about the cough but in fact it hasn't been too bad. A few episodes of cough (ouch) but not prolonged coughing fits like I had feared. Praise God for that!

Anyway day 2 middle of the day I was feeling crappy but thought "just get out of bed, no matter how impossible it feels" so I did, and it made ALL the difference. Seriously everyone, get the hell out of that bed!! And turn the fentanyl off (if you have it) - I woke up, felt normal, and haven't looked back.

Day 4 and I'm resting but also walking lots of laps of the ward, praying to the BM gods for some action there. Catheter is out and I've peed - yay! Drains still in which is a bit uncomfortable - at least I hope that's the explanation for the sharp stabbing pain beside my BB.

I took some pics - will try to upload.

1 week post - tracking OK

Hi all - well I've hit the 1 week anniversary of my operation. I realise I should have been posting this in the "mommy makeover" reviews as I did boobs and belly but I think others have had trouble swapping over so I'll stay put for now.
I feel pretty good today. Every day is a different proposition.

Days 1-2 post op were a blur. Too much fentanyl, then nausea and drowsiness, but was out of bed and showering myself day 2 post op which felt good.

Day 3-5 post op - slowly recovering in hospital, not too much pain, struggles with the bowels which came good on the evening of day 3 (which by that stage was 6 days without a BM! scary stuff...) - not too painful when I eventually 'went', just a little high five moment for myself :) The worst thing was the cough, as I've mentioned, but this was there pre-op, and really re-emerged after the fentanyl was stopped. There's no getting away from it, you just do your binder up extra tight, curl up your toes and cough. It's basically awful.

Day 5 post (in hospital) I had cabin fever, was desperate to get out but 4 drains (one each breast, one each side of abdo) were what kept me in - seriously driving me crazy. Watched a sad movie on my computer and was bawling my eyes out when a nurse came in. So embarrassing!

Day 6 post was a good day, drains came out (not too painful, just weird), came home from hosp, probably stood up, walked around, got climbed all over by the kids, and picked things up off the floor too much, had lots of belly and boob swelling by the end of the day. Got to know my rented recliner (highly recommended).

Day 7 post op was a bad day. Slept badly with ??indigestion ??nausea overnight, took tramadol which then made me nauseated and I chucked a wobbly in the shower and then threw up my breakfast. Had an ondansetron dissolvable tablet for nausea and that was fantastic. Felt better later in the day. Terrified I've popped stitches from the vomiting, but I can't see any new bulges.

Day 8 today - better night sleeping. Get a numb bum from lying on my back in the recliner but a sheepskin to sit on is helpful. The other trick I think really works is to have a pillow under your knees, ladies. It curves your body while you're sleeping and takes some of the pressure off your bum. Took some pics in the morning, not looking too bad... swelling will get worse by the end of the day no doubt. Have just finished a 3 hour teleconference for work, sitting here in my pj's - so professional ;)

D16 and and off to work I go...

Hi tummy tuckettes and tuckers. So I went back to work yesterday d16 post op. Was nervous as it was a LOOONG day - 7am start 9pm finish, lots of walking, standing up, sitting down, stairs, plus needed my brain to be working. I made it! I was swollen by the end of the day but who wouldn't be??

I had my PS 2 week post op appointment. Didn't see the doc but saw his nurse who took down the dressings, said scars look good, gave me a peek, then covered everything back up again.

Devastated to know I have to wear this stupid, damn, blasted, hateful, hot, uncomfortable, bunchy, scratchy, bulky binder for a total of 6 weeks, 24/7! It's driving me crazy. I wake up every night at about 2-4am really uncomfortable in the belly and have to loosen it or take it off, it's just so uncomfortable.

The boobs are going OK. Every day it seems I have a new symptom. I was allowed to start wearing a surgical bra (sexy..not) at D14 but that afternoon I started to get a weird sensation under my R boob, like the implant (submuscular silicone) was rubbing on the scar or my ribs or both. EEuuuuuw - creepy. Made worse by driving and using the steering wheel. Thank goodness for this website where I managed to convince myself it's normal and sure enough it's diminishing daily.

I had one evening of boob pain and was obsessing about whether I was swelling up on one side but I don't think I was.

I had one day of bad pain across my TT incision on one side, ice works wonders everybody!

Today I had new back pain (it having resolved post TT on about D12). This time it was in one spot over my SI joint and SOO painful. An anti-inflammatory and a hot pack have sorted that out.

I'm sleeping badly, and have felt each morning that the "morning boob" (hard swollen boobs in the morning post BA) is killing me until I shower and walk around a bit. I've decided I'm sleeping too flat, and need to go back to the semi-reclined 45 degree position which I hate but oh well...

Pics attached. Tummy slowly improving. Bruising under L boob still there, might try some arnica.

Happy healing to all, it's a rollercoaster, hey?

3 weeks - getting better and better

Hi all, healing continues. Swelling at the end of each day is really diminishing but I am bracing for the week 5-6 swell hell which I'm sure is on its way... Still hating the binder but I'm halfway there - only 3 more weeks to go before I give it a Viking Funeral on the back lawn :)

Boobs are probably more tricky than the tummy. I still feel much more comfortable lying propped up at 45 degrees. I still feel that weird movement of the R implant but less so.

I'm desperate to get back to some exercise but was pleased to weigh myself this morning and find I haven't put anything on, in fact I've dropped a few lbs from my presurgery weight, which is surprising since I gained a total of 650ccs of silicone and had no lipo, I'm not exercising and am being a bit slack with the eating.

Still, I feel sluggish not exercising so am hoping I get the all clear to do something when I see the PS for my 3.5 week appointment later this week.

Sorry for some reason I can't get my photos off my phone onto this website today. Not much change, possibly boobs more dropped. Still a bit swollen around TT incision and belly button. NB forgot to mention this was more a hybrid TT/mini TT so I kept my own BB. I was anxious about this, and am waiting to see what it looks like once all the swelling is down and I can actually work on some ab exercises before I give my final verdict. It's certainly not the perfect round BB of a full TT tummy. Not sure how disappointed I am or whether I just be thankful for what I have.

4.5 weeks - niggling regrets oh no!

So it's 4.5 weeks and things are a mixture of highs and lows. I am thrilled with my new shape, love the torso, the lack of a pooch, the boobs. My BA scars are almost invisible. My TT scar healing is pretty good I think - not too itchy, I started scar therapy last week - silicone strips on during the day, strips off at night but massaging bio-oil or a really plain moisturiser into the scar and it seems to be softening well.

I'm back at work, no problems except the binder still drives me crazy (1.5 weeks to go) as it's hot, itchy and I struggle to find things to wear over the top of it that won't get destroyed by the velcro if it catches, or that don't look bulky. But let's face it, after all these years of learning to dress to hide a tummy, that's no big drama.

I'm trying on new clothes (binder off) and loving the fact that clothes now fit me better. My husband is very happy with the results, esp the boobs :) - he can't wait to get to know them better but we're a little restricted at the moment as he's just had a vasectomy (no way was I risking a pregnancy to undermine all this hard work!) and is 'on the bench' for a week. Still, we can be patient...

The not-so-good things?

I think I have a dog-ear on the left, which is no big deal, I know it can be fixed in the surgery under local anaesthetic if it's still there in a few months. I can handle that.

The possibly really bad thing?

I am unhappy with my belly button and the skin above it. You can see from my pic that when I bend over even a little bit, I get lots of wrinkling of the skin because the BB is tethered to the skin, and the mini TT that I had has tightened the skin below the BB but not above. I fear that as the swelling goes down, this will only get worse.

Don't get me wrong, I never expected to be a supermodel but I had long discussions with my PS about my expectations and hopes, which were to have a better contour AND tighter skin. He assured me quite a few times when I kept questioning whether I should have a full TT, that I only needed a mini. I assured him that I didn't care about a long scar, or slightly tougher recovery. I feel I revisited this multiple times pre-op (in person and by email) and each time he reassured me that a mini would be all I needed. Looking on this website and reading comments from other PS who contribute here, I know they'll say 'mini TT gets mini results' and that I should have had a full TT.

I feel awful because I tried to address this and my PS (who is a LOVELY guy and technically excellent by reputation, and whose work on my own body is great - within the bounds of a mini-TT and boobs that is..) was so sure sure of his advice. I know I need to discuss it with him. I haven't seen him since the day I left hospital - his nurse does the first few visits (wound check, fitting surgical bra etc) and because I have had an uncomplicated post op course, our first routine face-to-face isn't till the 6 week mark.

How do I broach this with him?? I am HOPELESS at any sort of conflict (my family might disagree but that's a very specific situation). I respect and like my PS a great deal, but I know I'll be such a pushover if he 'pushes back'. I know he'll say wait till 6 months before you make a full judgement. I know he'll be happy to fix a dog-ear and he'll even do a revision if I ask him to, but it's so awkward! I look at this body and I think "Don't be so ungrateful!" but I hate that heart-sinking feeling when I see my own belly when I bend over - surely I didn't go through all of this to feel this way at the end?
Or is my belly normal, do all you full TT ladies have the same appearance when you bend over? Do I have body dysmorphia? I know all bellies wrinkle a bit when we bend over but is mine excessive? I'd love someone to message me on this website and let me know they've posted pics of their own belly in the bent-over position so I can compare.

Anyway, take care ladies (and gents!) - I'll keep you posted.

8.5 weeks - still swelling!

Well it's 8.5 weeks and I finally met with my surgeon last week. I was so nervous as I have mixed feelings about my results. I started off with all the positives (boobs going great, scar looking great, recovery time better than I'd expected). I showed him the wrinkly skin and this is where I'm so glad my husband was there as well, because MY memory is that I sounded whiny and nit-picky, and that the surgeon was disappointed at my disappointment. HIS memory is that it was a balanced conversation, I said what I was thinking and he reassured me that he thought the results looked good, that some laxity around the BB is expected with a mini TT, and that he could revise it (would still charge me but at a good price) at 6 months if I want to at that stage. Ah well, I think I just need to look after myself for the next few months and see what I can achieve with diet, exercise and natural healing.
The swelling returned at 5-6 weeks, just as so many people experience. This seems to be normal, and so I'm not worrying too much.

I'm back working full time, exercising about 4 times per week on the elliptical trainer and starting some free weights for my arms, back and shoulders. Staying away from chest workouts at moment because of breast aug. Exercising feels good, I just wish the swelling would go away!

I'm getting slack with the bio oil on my scar - must get back on to that.

Happy healing everyone!
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