35 YO, 2 Kids, 2 C-sections, 123 lbs, 5'2", Ready to Get My Body Back

I was one day away from sending in my deposit with...

I was one day away from sending in my deposit with the first doctor I had a consult with when I was able to get an appointment with a different doctor. I decided to switch to the second doctor, he gave me much more detailed info regarding my abdominal repair and he just made me feel so comfortable. He took before pictures but I don't have them. I will be having a full tummy tuck with abdominal repair and liposuction.

Searching the Internet

I found some inspiration pics for after the surgery. I'm sure it'll take some exercise to get all the way there, but this is my goal.

Before pictures

Ok, I finally took some before pics. The front view isn't so bad, but the side....ugh. The doctor said that about half of my tattoo will end up being cut off and relocated much lower than it is now. I'm ok with that, I got it when I was young and dumb, so now I'm looking for something else as a cover up.

Compression Garment

This is the compression garment my doctor suggested that I use. I ordered from hourglass angel, it's called that firm control cotton waist cincher by flakisima. I tried it on this morning but couldn't get more than 3 hooks closed and didn't have time to keep trying. I will say that it is lighter and softer than the other waist trainer I have so I think I'll be more comfortable in it.

2 weeks til post open, 3 til surgery!

I'm so anxious for my date to get here, I'm just ready to be done already! I'm still going back and forth between scared/wanting to back out and 100% sure. I've been trying to get some last minute things done, gather my supplies. My grandfather gave me an extra walker that he had, I just need to order replacement tips. The other things like bandages, ointments, stool softeners, etc I'll pick up on Veterans Day since I'm off. I plan to ask my doc about bromelain and arnica at my pre-op appointment. I've seen that so many people have used them but I didn't know enough to ask about it at my consult. Pretty sure I'm going to sleep in my daughter's bed for the first little bit since it's low to the ground and has rails on the side. My bed is pretty high and I don't want to deal with a step stool. Guess that's it for now.

2 weeks to goooo!

Two weeks from today I'll be on the flat side. I decided to try on my compression garment and actually close all of the hooks. Lord why are there so.many.hooks. I got it done but it was definitely a struggle. I'm less afraid of having the surgery at this point, in my mind I can see myself on the other side of this. Instead of counting towards it I'm preparing to count away from it, to track how long it's been since I changed myself and increased my self-esteem. So long for now.

Aftercare supplies

I picked up a few supplies that I've seen other people suggest. Most of it I picked up at the Dollar Tree, the rest I ordered from amazon.

One week, 7 sleeps

I can't believe that this time next week I'll be headed for the flat side! My pre-op appointment is tomorrow morning and my last day of work is Thursday. I have more supplies being delivered this week and I'll pick up some more pillows over the weekend. My boss asked me how I felt about the surgery this morning (he doesn't know what I'm having done, just surgery in general). I told him I'm nervous about the anesthesia, but I've done so much reading that I'm confident it will all go well. I think I've annoyed the other people I've told about this, so I just keep updating here.

Had my pre-op appt today

I met with Dr. Butler today. He answered a few of my questions and took pictures of me from a few different angles. I found out that he doesn't use exparel, it isn't approved at the surgical center. He uses a different med that will provide comfort for around 6 hours, long enough for me to get my prescriptions filled and take the first dose. He had no strong opinion on bromelain or arnica, but since I ordered them I will take them.

Scar therapy - he said I should use something with cocoa butter to massage my scar after a shower once it heals. I have the Palmers oil for that.

I need to pick up compression socks to wear for the first few days. They will be provided, but he wants me to have a pair in my exact size to make sure they fit snugly.

We spoke at length about my belly button since I'd seen some pics lately that scared me. I showed him the inspiration pics that I posted here and told him to aim for more rounded than not. He gave me some yellow strip that I could roll into a ball and insert into my belly button to help shape it. He was afraid the ear plugs I bought would cause it to be too wide once the swelling went down, so I'll start slow with that.

I think that's it. My Palmers oil, hibiclens and walker caps came in the mail today. I paid off my balance and now all I'm waiting for is my surgery time.

Heavy feelings

Last night I was laying in bed watching TV with my 6 y/o daughter. She looked up at me and asked if I'd remember her after I had my surgery. She then said she hopes that I don't die, she's afraid I won't come home or remember her and her brother. Of course she burst into tears and so did I while trying to reassure her.

I was and still am not afraid for the most part. I am confident in my doctor and in the process. Hearing her say that threw me for a loop though. Sometimes I forget that she isn't my age and doesn't have my experiences to fall back on. So in her mind this is serious, dangerous even. I haven't told her the specifics, just that I'm having my muscles repaired because they split after carrying 2 babies. I thought she'd be more afraid if I told her about removal of skin or liposuction so I skipped it.

I continue to answer her questions the best I can and just hug her often. She said she'll pray for me at school on Monday morning and I'll try to make sure she's picked up early so she won't worry too much all day. I never even considered the effect this decision would have on her :(

Made it to the flat side!

It's early in the morning 1 day post op and I feel better than expected. The bandages, foam and drains are bothering me the most, leaving weird marks and pressing into my left thigh and butt cheek. Tomorrow I can remove them to shower and will reposition them.

So the day of surgery is mostly a blur, but I'll try to recount what I can. My mother in law came to pick me up at 5:30. She, my husbands, the kids & I prayed and off we went. We arrived earlier than my report time of 6:30, so we just chatted in the waiting room to keep my mind off of what was about to happen. They called me to go upstairs where I met my nursing team, got marked by the doctor and went over any final questions, gave a urine sample and spoke to my kids on the phone one last time. My nurse walked me to the OR, rubbing my back to calm me the entire way, then 2 others helped me get situated on the bed. It was freezing cold in there, so they gave me warming blankets. They asked about my kids and said how happy I must've been to do this for myself. We all laughed. The next thing I knew I was in recovery and a different nurse was asking me how often felt. The first thing I remember saying was "I made it." Lol.

I was in and out of sleep a lot, they said I'd been out of surgery for 2 hours at that point. They needed me to get out of bed and into a recliner in order for my husband to come up. It took 2 tries but I got up. After maybe another hour I was released. I slept most of the way home.

I have no appetite so I've been drinking ginger ale and water with graham crackers and jello. I've been camped out in my daughter's bed since it's low to the ground. I have 3 pillows propping me up, a neck pillow, 2 large pillows under my knees to keep them bent, a large pillow pet (haha) for my left arm and a mini pillow pet for my stomach in case of coughing, sneezing or laughter.

Day 2 - first shower

I woke up feeling a little worse than yesterday, the pain meds had me having crazy dreams about hanging out with Kylie Jenner. Lol. I had a light breakfast then my husband helped me shower. Getting the bandages off was a but scary because I didn't know how I'd feel without the support. Everything ended up ok, but I think I lingered too long because I started to feel faint by the end. Hubby got me wrapped back up and dressed and I napped for a few hours. I feel a lot better now, I was able to move the drains from causing an indent into my thighs, my binder is snug but not too tight.

Day 3 goals

My goal for today is to start backing off of the dilaudid. I took it every 4 hours faithfully for the past couple of days, but now I've reached the point where I don't like the side effects and am ready to feel more like myself. I took a dose at 4 this morning and haven't needed another yet. I'll see how close to bedtime I can get but I don't wanna push it. I'm keeping up on my antibiotic, stool softeners and fiber vitamins in the meantime.

My husband removed my binder to put it in the wash, so I've been laying still without it for the last hour or so. When it's dry he'll wash me up then rewrap everything. I'm nervous to get up without it on even though I really need to use the bathroom lol.

I'm still pretty itchy on my lower back and belly even with a camisole under the binder. My bottom, particularly the right side today, is killing me it's sooooo achy. I also spoke with the doctor and he said he lipo'd my vajayjay, so every now and then that will start to sting.

My drainage amounts are so low, but the nurse said maybe I don't have much fluid trapped. I'm trying to up my water intake to see if that will help, but my stomach gets full so quickly.

1 drain down, 1 to go

My drainage output was really low, so I called my surgeon's office with the amounts. Dr Butler had me come in so he could take a look and removed my left drain. It felt weird when he pulled but not painful at all. Before I knew it I was bandaged up and on my way. When I tell you I feel like a new woman, I feel 10x better without that drain. I can only imagine how it will be when the other comes out next week. I also got a sneak peek at my pics he took of me on the table and oh my I'm so excited for when this swelling goes down.

Random thoughts

Today is day 6 post. I'm feeling pretty good, I've been out of the house a few times and even though I'm whipped by the time I get back, I'm glad I did it. One place I went was Walmart. They ran out of the motorized carts, so my husband got one of those double-seated carts and pushed me around. The looks I got, lolol.

I've started to rely on my walker a little less, mostly using it middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Showering is still a little rough, being without my binder still feels really unstable. I feel best when I'm wrapped up tightly.

No more heavy pain meds at all. I took a Valium on Friday night because I couldn't fall asleep so at 1 a.m. I gave in, but I'm probably going to hide them and the dilaudid now, I don't want to go back.

My kids (6 & 1) are helping my in the little ways they can. My 6 y/o helps me get in and out of bed, my 1 y/o guides my walker whenever I use it, they both bring me food or water and spend as much time playing with me as I can handle. They really are my world.

My husband has been amazing through this recovery. We've had some tense moments for sure when everyone's tired, annoyed or just plain over it, but beyond all that he always makes sure I'm ok. He asks multiple times a day if I need anything. A good caretaker is key.

Some other things I've learned: don't sneeze, ever, like never ever ever. A sneeze caught me off guard and nearly ended my life! I instantly started crying and no one knew why. It took a good 3 minutes before I could get my life together to explain. Coughing hurts, laughing is uncomfortable, but sneezing is on a whole other level.

Keep taking the colace. I finally had a BM on day 4. I didn't have to strain myself, there was no pain at all. If you're reading this before your tt, get your leg, back and arm muscles together. The flank area lipo has made my butt hurt so badly and feel like it weighs a ton.

Things I bought that I still haven't and probably won't use: hibiclens. I opened it and used it twice. My doc suggested plain soap and water instead. Pill organizer - none of my pills were on the same schedule, I had 4, 6 and every 12 hours so it just never worked for me. Arnica and bromelain pills - I asked the doc about them and he said he saw no huge difference in his patients that take them. Once my husband heard that he's adamant that I skip them altogether. Ice packs - I think heat is more my thing, but they're good to have around for the kids.

That's all I can think of right now. I'll add more to my updates as I experience them.

One Week Post

This update will just be pictures, nothing new is happening. The steri strips came out of my belly button and my 2nd drain will be pulled tomorrow.

Thanksgiving

I wrote a post earlier but my phone ate it, so this will be a shorter version. Went to t-day dinner and was able to fit into my jeans. It was hard to button them over the binder, but I made it work. I'm still adjusting to smaller portions of food making me full, couldn't even eat a dinner roll :(
I ordered another compression garment, the Marena one that has suspenders and comes goes down to the knee. I think that will work best under my work clothes and I'll alternate between that and the waist cincher + spanks.
Oh, I'm back in my own bed. Still sleeping in the reclined position and my ass still hurts lol. I want to lay flat so badly.

Back to work

Today was my first day back at work. My husband worked from home so he could help me get out of the house, but tomorrow I'm on my own. I was anxious about how it would go and didn't really get much sleep. My dress pants weren't as forgiving as my jeans, had to use the rubber band trick around my button for them to stay up. I might consider buying a few pairs of pants with elastic waistbands because it's annoying to unhook/re-hook every time I use the bathroom.
I drop both kids off to daycare/school in the morning and ended up taking my husband's car. Mine is an SUV and I don't think getting my son (22 mos) up into his seat would've been easy. He can climb into the car with my daughter's help, then I can buckle him into his car seat. His daycare has the longest path EVER to get to the door, I think it took me 5 minutes to walk down since I'm still moving at a snail's pace. I made it but was wiped out when I got back to the car. Luckily my daughter walks in with a safety, so I just pulled into the drop off lane.
At work I parked in an unused reserved spot right near the door and let our guard know that I can't walk too well right now but to let me know if I needed to move. She said it was fine, so I'll be parking there until I straighten out. Only 1 person at work knows exactly what I had done and only my team knew I had surgery at all. Everyone else assumed I was on vacation and a few asked if I had fun, lol. I told anyone that asked if I was ok that I was out on medical leave. Some of the looks I got made me think I look much worse than I feel. I guess it's the hunched over slow walk that gets them lol.
Overall I think I handled the day well. It isn't easy to sit in an office chair for hours because there isn't anywhere to really rest my back without me leaning. That isn't comfortable and I forgot my pillow at home, so I've been kind of on the edge of the chair most of the day balancing on my desk. I have to make a Target run then I'm getting directly into bed. I may/may not pull out a valium to put me right to sleep.

Forgot the pics

Here's what I look like 2 weeks post op

Spanx & other things

Spanx really are the devil! I never wore them before but heard other people stories. Mannnnn it took me about 5 minutes to pull that jawn up, trying to work around my sensitive stomach. I wore it for the day, but as soon as I got home I put my binder back on. Today I'm back to the binder, no matter how annoying it is it's like old faithful. My one piece garment should be delivered today so I'll test it out tonight.
I woke up this morning with hard spots on my sides, the left side almost looked like a square. I've been massaging them lightly all morning trying to break it up. S/o massages, I found a woman here that does lymphatic massages. Someone here recommended it, I just need to see if she'll break the session up into 30 mins vs an hour because I think an hour is too long to start with.
Work has been fine, we're in our busy time so the days fly by. The most annoying thing is my coworkers act like they've never seen someone walk slowly and hunched over. They ask questions, one person even ask specifics about my surgery (NOPE!). I don't mind some help now and then, but they're taking it too far.

Week 3

I went for my 3 week follow up visit today. Dr Butler removed the sutures from my belly button and my steri strips on my scar. I have no feeling at all below my belly button so I didn't feel anything. He thought everything looked great and that it was time to wear my waist cincher instead of the binder. I had a hard time with the hooks the first time but he told me to try again. So I tried and it's on. Bye bye binder!
I asked him about the hard spots on my sides, he let me know that those were my ribs. He snatched me tight and down to my ribcage! Thank you Jesus! He also told me to stand up straight. I was scared to pull something or mess something up, but he reassured me that I wouldn't.
Work has been ok, I've been getting less questions so that's a plus. I'm not exhausted when I get home anymore, but I am tired and pretty much just shut down at the end of the day. I can do minimal chores, like light cooking and a little laundry...a spot clean here and there.
Sleep - I've figured out how to prop the pillows just right and lay on my side. At some point in the middle of the night I end up switching sides because the one I'm laying on feels heavy. I feel like I'm getting a more restful sleep than I did in the reclined position.
Overall I feel really good and happy with my results so far. I'm taking bromelain and arnica pills and eating a lot of pineapple. I can't really tell if those things are working, but I keep it up anyway. Still feeling those sharp twinges in my side every so often but they aren't so bad that I need a pain pill. I do take tylenol on the days that I'm overly active.
I think that's it for now.

Going down a size

Warning, this will be an AW post.

I guess it looks like I'll need to size down. This is the first time I've worn jeans without the binder and even with my cincher on I have a ton of room in the waist. I can imagine that once I take it off my pants will be really loose.
For reference I'm 5'2", was 123 lbs before surgery now 119 and these jeans are a size 4.

Week 4

This week has been busy and I'm all over the place so this won't be too long. I've been wearing my cincher on the second/tightest row of hooks this week and still can't get the type of compression that the doctor recommended. So I'll be going to Walmart to pick up the waist belt that I've seen others on here use. I'm swollen right between my belly button and incision and my mons is still very puffy and sensitive to touch.
My scar is healing well, I've been using triple antibiotic ointment after showering and will keep that up until next week. I haven't had any pain, can't remember the last time I took a tylenol. I do feel sharp twinges still, but they come and go.
Still sleeping on my side propped on pillows and wearing my binder at night. Standing up straight and wearing heels again, but I noticed I do slouch at night.

5 weeks post

This is the week that Dr Butler said that I can start using cocoa butter on my scar and do a light massage to help it heal. I'm using the Palmers Skin Therapy Oil for that. The bottle says to use 3x a day, but it's hard to fit that third time in so for now I'm doing it twice. My scar was already healing nicely and now all of the scabs have fallen off. There's a spot on the "t" where the horizontal scar comes in that needs some more attention. There's a hard little knot there so I'll keep using the antibiotic ointment on it. Also, right above that where my old belly button was there's a bit of a fold of skin that I'm hoping will flatten out over time.
Still wearing my cincher every day but I've been sleeping without anything for the last 2 days. It feels weird, like my stomach isn't a part of my body or something. I can't explain it, but the skin is still numb and it's odd when anything touches it.
I tried that waist slimmer from walmart, that was a fail. It doesn't get tight enough to help with my swelling so I'm still on the hunt for something to help my lower abdomen. I'm starting to worry that the swelling will never go away and that this may be my final look. Of course it's a million times better than my "before" but I feel like after spending all of this money and the recovery time that I should be as flat as I was on week 1.
I'm having a little soreness in my muscles so I've taken 2 tylenol whenever that feeling hits. In the morning when I first get out of bed I get this snakes in my belly feeling. And at the end of my incision on the right side I feel a stinging, like something's trying to poke through.
Hair removal - I need some help in this area. I usually shave but I'm nervous about the sensitivity I have and getting too close to the scar. Should I try Nair? Something else? Please leave suggestions because this jungle I have going on is not cute lol.

Six Week Mark

So happy to have made it to the 6 week mark. I saw Dr. Butler today, he said I looked good and cleared me to resume all normal activities. I feel soreness on the right side and thought maybe I pulled a muscle, but he checked and didn't feel anything out of place. He was actually surprised I didn't feel sore in other places, but it's been just in the one area. I'm taking arnica and bromelain pills when I can remember, maybe that's helping.
Other than that there's nothing new to report really. The doctor was pleased with my results so far and so am I. Well, I'm still ready for this swelling to go away but I'm trying to be patient.

2 months

I'm coming up on 2 months post op and I'm just about back to normal. If I move too quick I feel a twinge at times and in the morning when I first wake up I get some muscle spasms. The swelling is still there between my belly button and the scar despite me wearing the waist cincher every day and most nights. I think time will help it flatten out since most mornings I wake up flat but go to bed swollen. I'm taking the bromelain and arnica here and there but not consistently enough to say if they work or not. I will say that yesterday I had some soreness that was bothering me, I took the pills and within a few hours it was gone. Now that could be time or the pills, who really knows.
I've been trying to get back into an exercise routine, but some of the moves are uncomfortable. I do my best to modify what I can and plan to do Jillian Michaels 30 day shred soon. I need to rebuild my butt, I guess from sitting on it for weeks it's so sad looking now lol. My eating habits are the same as pre-surgery (not the best) I just eat smaller portions.
I wore my marena compression garment to bed last night and think I'll wear that at night from now on. It was comfortable to sleep in. I have lipo foam on order from amazon that I'll put underneath it to help with the lower belly swelling.
My scar is looking good and the spot where my old bb was is flattening out. I'm using a cocoa butter stick daily, massaging that in for a few minutes. Then I'll add Palmers skin therapy oil and bio oil. I'm gonna give it more time, but I'd like to see my scar lighten. It's flat and low which makes me happy. I thought I had a pic of my scar but I don't. I'll post one in my next update.

Scar update

I think my scar is healing nicely, but I have 2 points of concern. The first is the vertical scar, it's a little thicker than I want it to be and it seems to be healing slower. One of my CS scars turned into a keloid for a few months and I don't want that to happen here. In my previous pictures you can tell that that scar will be seen when I'm in a bikini. I don't care about that, but I'd prefer it to flatten out and fade a lot more. Hopefully that will happen before the summer comes. I'm just paying extra attention to it for now with the cocoa butter stick, Palmers oil, bio oil and massage.
The second is there's a small knot on the left, you can't see it but I can feel it and I wonder what it is. I have an appointment in 3 weeks so I'll ask the doctor to check it then.
My lipo foam finally came in, I ordered it from amazon. It's just about the same as what I was given after surgery except it's not as thick and doesn't have a sticky side like the ones in the OR. I wore it overnight and woke up flatter this morning so I'm thinking it'll really help with the swelling. If I was smarter I would've ordered 2 instead of 1 to put a pad on each side, but I think the 1 will be ok right in the middle.

Form fitting shirts

I went out last night in a tight shirt for the first time since surgery and I didn't have to worry about sucking it in! I'll never stop saying how worth it is was for me to have this TT done.

3 months post op

Today I had my last appointment with Dr. Butler, my 3 month check up. It was pretty quick since I haven't had any issues and everything is healing well. I weighed in at 119 lbs (with shoes/clothes on lol), so that's 4 lbs down from pre-op. I'm honestly not too worried about my weight, but I'd love to get back to 115 someday. Right now I like food too much. The doctor gave me a flash drive with all of my pictures, so I'm going to upload a few here.
As far as how I'm feeling - I'm doing really well. I've started exercising, doing a short routine a friend recommended. The goal is to do the 30 day shred starting March 1 (my bday) and maybe once more before the summer hits. All of my work pants are too big and only stay up because I'm still wearing the waist cincher. I'm uncomfortable without the cincher, but I plan to start weaning myself off of it soon. I did order a waist trainer in a smaller size, I'll post a picture in my next update. The swelling is still there and I've noticed it changes with what I've eaten. If I have a light and/or early dinner I'm just about flat when I wake up. For the most part I'm back to normal and I'm extremely happy with my results!
Dr. Paris Butler

Dr. Butler is amazing! He explains things clearly and always listens to my concerns. The staff in his office are always nice and welcoming and his assistant Jasmine has gone above and beyond to help me. I would recommend him to anyone who asks.

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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