I finally decided that I've done all that I can do...
I finally decided that I've done all that I can do on my own and I need to cut this belly off! It's sooo gross. I scheduled my surgery for Sept 27, 2016 in Nashville, TN with Dr. Michael Hueneke.
I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I love looking on here at results and advice!
I'll update with before photos soon.
I'm obviously new at this...
Not sure why you can't edit anything. Weird. Anyways...
I just added a before photo. My review just reminded me that I'm 5 weeks away from surgery! What?! I really didn't think it was that close.
I cannot wait. I don't feel nervous. I just want to do it and feel normal again. I have no core, no abs, no definition, am super uncomfortable in clothes and would have surgery tomorrow if I could.
I have two children - 4 & 2 years (6.1 lbs and 8.5 lbs), 2 c-sections, live right outside of Nashville, am 32 yo, weigh about 135, 5'4"...
I am active but am so discouraged by my midsection that it's really held me back over the past year. I've tried the tuppler technique and have been to physical therapy but nothing has helped my ab separation. I have excess skin and my belly button is horrendous. I can't imagine looking normal again.
Praying for a good scar and nice belly button!
Why I chose my surgeon...
I went to several consultations. The first consult was great and I loved him but left with several questions I didn't know I had until I went to Dr. Hueneke.
I found him myself, while others were referrals. His before and afters were amazing. His belly buttons and scars looked so much betters than others and he had a lot more photos. And his consult was free! To me, a free consult kinda says "Just come see me, it's free so you have nothing to lose" and "I give free consults because I'm confident you will choose me!" I called several offices and they wanted $100 over the phone the first time I talked to them to even get on the doctor's consult schedule. I get it that some people just are no shows but this is very annoying to me and I think they are probably losing money in the end.
I went in his office first and we went over expectations and the whys, etc. and then headed to the exam room where he thoroughly examined me. He felt the ab separation, unlike others, and used a measuring tape. Then we went back to his office.
In his office, I had a computer screen in front of me and he pulled up several patients and we talked about different body types and different ways to do the belly button.
Dr. Hueneke told me that he was almost positive that he would have to do a vertical incision on me as well, which is fine with me, but he explained why and described it. No other doctor had even mentioned this and it's probably a pretty big deal to most people. The only reason I even knew it was a possibility is because I had seen it on RealSelf.
Dr. Hueneke was a little more expensive but this isn't a determining factor for me at the end of the day. I mean what's another $1,000 at this point ya know?
Choose a doctor that you trust, that has a lot of experience, that you jive well with and feel like you can be honest with and let him do his thing!
Oh and I love his nurse! She's super sweet.
I cannot wait until Sept 27th!
My hubby and I and the kids are going to the beach Sept 10-17 and when I get home there will be 10 days until surgery! I really need to start getting things ready like the house and food, etc. Also supplements and an eating plan. I plan to work on my kid's Shutterfly books while I'm recovering.
I've been doing cardio to get my body ready. It's really hard to balance everything though and I don't get to workout every day. I'm so so so ready to get this flab cut off so I can feel normal again. It really takes a toll on my emotions!
A reminder pic for myself
Photo bending over. And no, I'm not pregnant.
Just wanted to remind myself why I'm doing this. How does my belly look like this?! I've always been in shape and happy with my body. Even after my first baby I popped right back with just a few stretch marks. After number two my stretch marks stretched and it looks like I have a radioactive spider bite. All. Over. My. Stomach. Surgery is in about two weeks and I am so so so excited!!
All I want is to look and feel normal again!!!!
27 Sep 2016
Day of treatment
Surgery was at 7:30 this morning and I got home around 2:30. Everything went great! The hospital staff was phenomenal and Dr. Hueneke worked his miracle on my poor belly. I got flank lipo, muscle repair, hernia repair and a full tuck.
It feels like a 300 lb. man kicked me in the stomach 25 times. So not a sharp pain but more like an overall bruising pain where he pulled my abs back together. It hurts but feels so good at the same time knowing that I will look and feel normal again.
My mom will be here for a while to help thank goodness. I've been battling nausea but the second I pop the tiny pill it stops. If I throw up it will rip my body in half and I think I will die.
I have a pain pump for about a week.
So thankful to have been able to do this and would already recommend it to anyone. More updates to come!
Day 2 Post Op
Whew I'm glad today is over! I'm fighting terrible nausea but the zofran has kept me from throwing up PTL!! If I throw up I think my body will rip in half and I will die. ???? Every time I started to feel like I was going to throw up I would beg my mom and husband to pray out loud until it stopped. My poor kids think we are all whacko.
My abs are so tight it kinda makes it a little hard to breathe so I can't really lay down much because I get kind of panicky. But once I sit up it helps. Lots of deep breathing into this little breathing contraption they gave me helps too (photo attached). I'm super swollen from all the IV fluid. Tomorrow is a new day and each new day will bring a little more ease and comfort! I was mentally prepared for the pain and I think that helps.
I haven't seen the results yet - I can take everything off in the morning and shower and will get to see my new belly. I can't imagine what it will look like and am dying to see it!!
Today was especially brutal on my abs where he pulled them back together. I've read so much about that being the worst part and it's TRUTH! Dr Hueneke said my abs were about two inches apart at my belly button. Wowzas that's crazy. My last child just did my body in and I'm so so thankful to be getting it back.
I'm taking pain meds, antibiotics, zofran and stool softener. Oh and I started my period tonight. Poor planning on my part but I don't think it will really make a difference as far as swelling and I don't usually cramp or anything.
Photo is of the pain pump going into my stomach right under my chest. I also have foam all inside of my binder for extra padding. More updates and pictures tomorrow!
Day 3 PO
I've almost made it through another day! Today was a lot better than yesterday.
My husband attempted to get me in the shower first thing this morning and that did not go well. When I pulled the binder off I started to black out. It was awful. Like my guts were going to spill out. So I pulled that sucker back on and popped a Zofran to keep me from throwing up and went back to my recliner!
Later in the day my mom put a folding chair in the shower and helped me do a sponge bath and wash my hair. It was much easier this time but the binder will still be my bff for a long long time.
I was supposed to take my belly button gauze out but almost passed out trying to remove it so I gave up. It was stuck with dried blood and stitches and just kinda burned when I messed with it.
I'm having pretty good pain in my abs and belly button (since I've been trying to get the gauze out) but the pain is manageable and way better than yesterday. My husband picked up some more Zofran bc my body still wants to get sick. But I throw up very easily so I should have expected it.
I've barely eaten anything - a few Cheerios, saltines, nutria grain bar - so I can get the medicine down but I can't imagine ever eating a big meal again. I feel like my guts are all squeezed in my abdominal cavity with no room to expand which is a good thing!
I've attached a photo - I can't get the gauze out of my incision. I think it's stuck in the glue. So it looks kinda weird. I also have a super high belly button so needed a vertical cut as well to keep my horizontal scar low.
The pain is definitely worth it!! I look back at photos of before and could cry at how disgusting I was. I know the entire healing process will take up to a year and I will have to maintain my body in a different way than before but this is exactly what I needed to give me the confidence and motivation to workout and eat healthy. Thank you Dr Hueneke!!
Don't stop taking your meds!
I've decided this site becomes a lot more helpful after your procedure is done.
For some reason today I got the bright idea that I was going to take pain meds only at night. Because I felt so good this morning! And I can handle a little pain! And I really want to go to the bathroom (this was the main reason)!
Well I made it until about 6:30 pm and it hurts to even talk. I called my mother in law to wish her a happy birthday and had to whisper. I took my binder off for a second to scratch underneath and take a peak and felt like my guts were going to fall out on the floor into a puddle of goop. I have a pain pump but am not sure that it's helps very much. So take your pills people! Like I've said, the muscle repair is what hurts the worst. I've had two c-sections and my cut is very similar to those with not a lot of pain in the incision. But pulling my separated abs back together (he said they were 2 inches-ish apart at my belly button) is the killer. Thank the Lord I haven't had to sneeze or cough. If you do, make sure to cover your stomach with pillow beforehand!!
On a positive note, and there are mostly positive notes, I'm just thrilled that I've done this. I can't believe it's done and I'm through the worst part and I'm just so thankful that I was able to fix my stomach. Even through the pain and not being able to hold and play with my babies, I know it will all be so so worth it in a few months.
I started to try and lay a little flatter in the recliner for practice when I stand up. I'm pretty bent over standing. It's terrifying to straighten up. I finally got the gauze out of my belly button and it looks great! I have barely eaten in the past few days. I have no appetite and feel like nothing will fit in there.
So drink your prune juice, use a suppository if you have to, but don't stop taking your meds!
I love my new belly button! It was so big and gross, an outie my whole life and with a hernia behind it for a few years, I didn't know it could ever look normal. But now it's so small and is looking great! My belly button is super high but I chose to leave it where it was because moving the stalk down is just a little too risky for me. I've read that it can look a little unnatural sometimes and with my luck I would be the exception to the rule. I'm so excited that I've done this!! I have a core again and can function normally. Life changing!!!
I have to take scratching breaks. It really itches. Love how it's looking so far! I can't imagine taking a photo standing up. How do people on here do that on day 2 or 3? I feel like I would pass out.
5 Days After Surgery
I finally got some pics standing up! I was sweating by the end of it but I got a sponge bath and changed clothes. I have bruising on my left side but not my right. The nurse said she would get the gauze out of my incision - I was afraid to mess with it because I think the t-incision can open up easier than just the horizontal. I've had two c-sections and healed great with those so I'm hoping my scars with the tuck are similar. I just can't say it enough - I'm so so happy that I've done this and am over the moon about the results!
I put a tank top on under my binder and it feels so much better. Thanks to advice from a RS'er!! The only pain really left is my back. It is the worst at night. I'm trying not to take anything today besides Tylenol and will see how that goes. There is definitely a major tightness in my abs and twinges every now and then but no real pain left. I've read and heard that it takes months for the abs to feel normal.
I still am barely eating. It feels like my guts are squished inside of a tennis ball can and adding food or water is very uncomfortable. I've had some feelings of claustrophobia where I can't lay down but that should loosen up some. But I love not being able to eat!! ???? Each day is better than the last.
I've attached a before photo that I think I forgot to post before. Make. Me. Vomit.
A Bit of Advice
I just thought of two things real quick -
1) Please take it easy after surgery and do not over do it! You are spending a lot of money to do this so really take it easy and sit down and be lazy all day on days 5-7. These are the most critical for healing. If you need more time off work or more help with the kids - get it!! Do not push yourself. If you let yourself heal properly, things will go a lot smoother.
2) Plan things that you can do while you are sitting in your chair for 2 weeks! Load up with books, Netflix, adult coloring books (I love these!), etc. so you don't go crazy and are okay with sitting still. I've been working on my kids Shutterfly photo books. That was my goal to get done while being out of commission.
Prayers and happy healing! ????????
Feeling Better Everyday
I managed to take a few more pics tonight. It's easier to take the binder off while standing now. I got my pain pump out today and should get my drain out in the next day or two. Only a week with the drain! Woo hoo! I have just really sponge bathed so it will feel so goo to get a shower!
I got a tickle in my throat last night and started doing mini baby coughs. Lord have mercy it hurt to do baby coughs and I was flailing around trying not to cough hard. I could feel every abdominal muscle flickering with electric shocks through my body. I'm hoping that my muscle repair can withstand coughing (surely?) but it doesn't feel like it at the time.
I seriously feel so good. I'm getting around great and can do more things for the kids. When I first had my surgery a week ago I thought it was hilarious that they say you can go back to work after two weeks. That was mind-boggling. But tomorrow will be a week and, although I don't work, I think I would totally be able to go back to a desk job after two weeks.
I'm going to try sleeping in my bed tonight. I can lay on my side and bend my legs and it will feel so good to lay flat. I'm down about 6 lbs from pre-op. I can eat a little better but still just tiny little amounts at a time. The first 5 days I barely at anything. These pics are my comfy granny panties. Nite nite!
Whew got the dreaded drains out yesterday. It didn't hurt at all. Just a little pressure. But now I'm FREE!! I'm pretty much walking upright which is so very nice and my back is thanking me. I'm feeling so so much better. Like almost my old self with just some soreness. And a big ole angry incision but nobody can see that. You know what they could see? My nasty disgusting gut that makes me look 6 months pregnant. So I'm thanking Jesus and my surgeon that I did this and can look normal again. Whoop!
I'm off all medicine since Sunday (so I took pain pills Tues thru Sun). I drove yesterday for the first time and got out and about for a little bit. I took little man to preschool and then went to the YMCA with my 2 year old. She went into the nursery and I sat there and read and drank coffee. Um why haven't I thought of this before?
Anyways, I'm great and healing up a little more each day. I still have the glue over my incision and can just kinda pick it off when I'm comfortable. I'm so happy about this whole journey!!
Oh and I attached my drainage numbers just as an FYI.
Almost Two Weeks Out
I'm two weeks out from surgery tomorrow! It's gone so fast. I just can't believe it. Sometimes I wish I was still about four days out so I could be on pain pills and not expected to get out of the chair all day. Those were the days. Ha! But I've decided a little pain is good for me because it makes me sit down and relax. I've become quite good at being lazy these days because I'm terrified of messing something up.
I've sneezed twice now and it was agonizing. Sharp pains shot through my torso and I swore I had ripped my abs back apart. I was writhing on the floor afterwards like a snake that just got ran over. One sneeze was over pepper so I've quarantined the pepper until further notice. Lord help me.
I'm feeling all around good. I have some random internal ligament-type pains every now and then. Kinda like things are just trying to get used to being in a different place. Also, I have a burning sensation on my skin. It feels like my skin or maybe right under my skin is on fire. It's more uncomfortable than anything. Maybe something nerve related?
I tried to switch to spankx a few days ago and went to the park in them. Big mistake. It took all my strength to get them gently over my incision and then they squeezed me so tight at the top that my lower belly looked like a stuffed sausage. Misery. I've attached a photo of what to avoid. Soooo back to the hospital binder, my bff. I feel so vulnerable without the binder, like at any moment one of my little devilish offspring is going to pop out and stomach punch me and I won't have any protection. I feel like my guts are going to fall out and I start to get random pains much more frequently without the binder.
Anyhow, I'm so in love with my new belly!! So so so happy that I've done this. I haven't had one negative thought or regret. I think it was a great time of year to do it as well, with it getting cooler outside and the next summer so far away. Don't do it during the summer people!
I picked the glue off my incision and a lot of the scab came with it. Yum. I'm putting Neosporin on it several times a day. I'm still a little swollen on my left side. The overall swelling hasn't hit yet but after I eat anything my lower belly puffs out. I weighed 129 this morning!! Crazy! My weigh in at my ps office in July was 138. It's still hard to eat very much without feeling uncomfortably full. Hoping this doesn't change!
No More Gut. It's not a dream.
I always said I would NEVER have plastic surgery. It wasn't that I didn't agree with it or anything it was just that there wasn't anything wrong with me that I couldn't fix myself. Like just go work out and like just eat right and stuff, ya know? Whelp, then my uterus exploded with one and then two humans and the destruction of my body set in. And do you know that I still said to myself, and even out loud to friends, that I would get my body back. No surgery needed. So I ordered the Tupler technique for diastasis recti and went to physical therapy for pelvic floor problems. And did diet after diet and enough Jillian Michaels videos that my 2 and 4 year old had the whole boxed set memorized. And after all that I would look down at my belly and want to vomit. And I would stop everything and regress. Because no matter what I did, it wasn't going to change my stomach. Discouraging.
So my best friend just casually in passing said one day, just get a tummy tuck. They can fix all that pretty easily ya know. What? Oh no way! I would never do that. But the seed was planted and it took root and bam! here I am today.
I wake up every day and can't believe I don't have a stretch mark laden, 6-month-pregnant-looking belly. Even after paying $11,000 I still couldn't imagine what it would be like to look normal again. I still didn't believe it would work for me. To say I'm so so thankful and ecstatic and shocked and thrilled is an understatement. Life changing.
Really I was a very easy patient to have because Dr. Hueneke could have carved his name across my abdomen and given me two belly buttons and I would have still been over the moon if the pooch was gone.
Sorry, I got on a tangent there. I'm feeling so great. I get tired pretty easy and my belly is pretty tender but I'm still taking it super easy and every day is better. My lipo bruises are almost gone and my scar is looking great.
I had a stitch sticking out of the center of the T on the incision so I got tweezers and wiggled it right out. That's such a sensitive area so I wanted the stitch gone so the skin could close and heal asap. I have another one sticking out on the end of the horizontal incision but I can't seem to pull it out. I think it's still knotted up pretty good. I may get the hubs to try to get it out.
I've started massaging my whole stomach and scar with oil every night while I'm sitting on the couch for about an hour. Probably voodoo science but I have this super tender burning feeling on my abs and I thought maybe this will help. Who knows but it feels good.
I'm still a little swollen on my left side but other than that I don't feel like there's been much swelling at all. I've attached a photo where I'm flexing my abs a little and there is a line down them. At first I panicked because I noticed it first after sneezing and I was just sure I had split them back apart. But surely not huh? I mean it hurt when I sneezed but I'd like to think if I ripped the sutures it would be excruciating and I'd be screaming.
Ok this was way too long. That's about it for now! Happy healing everyone!
3 Weeks PO
I'm three weeks out! Just a little photo update. Like everyone else says, the incision looks better in person. The photos make it look darker or something. Feeling great and just plucking right along. Still tenderness and a little soreness but overall feeling amazing. In the photos I'm not sucking in at all. Totally relaxed except the one labeled 'flexing a little'. You can see my lipo scars on the sides. I've never really swollen like everyone says. Definitely bruising and soreness and a little swollen after surgery but not the major swelling. Thankful!!
Just found these beauties. I can carry a baby like no other. Unfortunately I don't quite have the wonderful belly genetics to go with it. I had the pupps pregnancy rash in my stretch marks as well. It was so attractive and yummy. I'm going to try to find the pic.
Agh I just found these and am just flabbergasted. How in the world does a surgeon fix this? Like what I'm the heck is this belly? My belly button is pointing towards the ceiling. So disgusted yet THANKFUL. Y'all I feel like a new person. Life changing. I'll post a photo update soon!
4 Weeks Today
Snapped a few photos this morning! I try to upload on here so I can delete them off my phone. I went to vote today and we got our WE VOTED stickers and this man asked if he could help me and the kids take a picture. Y'all, he somehow ended up in my photos trying to take the picture (he was pretty old) and like the last 100 are me in my underwear with my shirt pulled up. So now I'm paranoid and will be a better deleter.
I posted my scar in more natural light. It looks fine to me but every time I show a friend I can see the horror on their face. I also see the horror when I show my before pics. I hid it so well. I wore spankx everyday all day and flowy shirts. So when I show people they are aghast. It's so funny. Kinda embarrassing but I don't look like that anymore so I can laugh with them.
I've had csections and know that the scar will hardly be noticeable. I have a tad bit of lipo bruising on my left side and my scar is still trying to heal at the T. I've pulled a few stitches out and clipped them so the skin could close. You can see my leftover stretch marks below my belly button. They are pretty light though and not very noticeable. Oh and it shows how high my belly button is. It's like between my boobs.
I'm still taking it super easy. I'm so ready to workout! I feel flabby in my arms and legs. My belly is still tender and sensitive. Almost like a nerve/burning feel but not unbearable. I'm still in the hospital cg most of the time unless my shirt is a little more fitted. I can wear so many more clothes now! It's mind blowing. That's about it! Happy healing!
Happy Happy Happy
A little update for y'all. Everything is great and I am thrilled with everything. Each morning I wake up and look in the mirror at my belly and can't believe it's flat. I look at it 10 times a day. It's so weird being able to wear clothes comfortably. I've even been wearing jeans. I'm so used to being uncomfortable in my skin (literally) that I'm having to learn how to relax and not be paranoid about my body.
I've been pulling stitches out and clipping them every now and then. I put Mederma on once a day and lotion/body oil massages on my belly area. I'm out of the binder and can lightly exercise. I'm weighing 128, 10 lbs lighter than before surgery!! Crazy. I would love to get to 125 and my big goal would be 120 but that's wishful thinking. I hope everyone is doing great and healing up nicely!
Plucking right along...
Just wanted to do a little update! I'm feeling great and am pretty much back to my old self. I've been walking a lot for exercise. I should probably do a little more than that but I love just walking on the treadmill for an hour and listening to an audiobook or podcast.
I've healed up nicely and don't have any scabs at all. Just a nice red scar. I've had csections though so I know the redness will fade to white. The darn ingrown hairs have probably been the worst part. They are trying to grow back around the incision and, although they are fun to pick at, it's annoying. The numbness is still there and I suspect it will always be, just like a csection. It doesn't really bother me though bc I was already used to it. It just comes higher up.
I'm still so happy and thrilled that I did this! I have had a little sad feeling every now and then that I definitely cannot have another baby but other than that I've been on cloud nine. Thinking of all you girls and hope you are healing well and feeling great!