36, 5 Kids - TT Muscle Repair and Lipo- Raleigh, NC

I have been following this site for almost a year....

I have been following this site for almost a year. The posts here and everyone sharing has helped me learn so much. I have a dr picked out that I feel great about, so I think that is one of the harder aspects. I had a consult with him in June of 2015 and felt very good about him. So now I am getting close to having the funds to do it.

I am nervous, but also very excited. I've had to live with this saggy belly for 17 years (since I had my first born at 18 years old). Now I'm almost 36 and having nursed each of my children my boobs have also seen better days. So I want to fix them and also fix my belly.

It was so long ago when my tummy was "normal" that I don't even remember what it looked like or what it feels to wear clothes comfortably. I've not worn a bikini my entire adult life. And it would be awesome to wear lingerie for my special person and actually FEEL sexy in it and not want to hide under the sheets or have the lights off.

So the next few months I will prepare to do this. I've wanted this for years. I needed to wait until I was done having children and my youngest is now 4 so it's time.

Second Consult scheduled April 22nd

Well. Looks like I will have the funds to pay the procedure in full at our second consult. I am freaking out a little. I've wanted this for years and I honestly never thought it would happen for me. I was always pregnant and then nursing for a year and then BAM! Pregnant again...so my body was just always so busy doing that. But kids grow and time passes and now it's finally MY turn and I am trying to process it all.

I took some more before pics today to add. I gotta say, I've known this body since I was 18...I can't even remember what my body looked like before babies. I have no photos either. So this body right now is all I can really remember...and is it weird I am wondering if I should just keep it and carry on with it?? And just be grateful for what it's done thus far?

I think these emotions are normal from what I've read on other updates. So for now I am going to go with all this and see how I feel as the time draws more near.

I go on Monday to see my cardiologist. I have heart palpitations sometimes and I just want to get that checked out before I consider major surgey like this.

Anyway, so here are some more Before Photos...

Second Consult Coming up next week...

April 22nd I go for my second consult. This is a big deal because I will be putting my money down. I am nervous. Everyone I've talked to so far has been so supportive. The guilt over using this much money just on ME is definitely weighing heavily on my conscience. Being a mom makes it hard to do things for ourselves sometimes I think.

I took some pics after my workout the other day to remind myself why I want to do this. It is kind of shocking to see myself from this angle and actually look at it. Before and after my showers I used to just avoid the mirrors and I usually wear layers (spaghetti strap under-cami to cover my belly if my top shirt rides up) - those habits became so automatic over the years. The past several months I've been taking photos and looking at them with a kinder eye. And looking at myself in the mirror. Facing it and accepting it. I want to do surgery and be mentally prepared for the afterwards. I have a LOT of stretch marks and I know a tummy tuck won't get rid of them. I will shed the extra skin, but the marks are there to stay and I am okay with that. So this is sorta just my prep-therapy. Sharing pics I would never have shared before or even taken and looked at....

I set a date!!!

So oh my goodness. I have a date set and now it's hitting me that this is real. July 27th I have thought a while on the mommy makeover and I couldn't decide if I wanted to go all the way with tummy tuck, lift and implants. Or just tummy tuck and lift. So for now I am going to put the breast augmentation on hold...and do the tuck for now. If I want to do the breasts later then I can go back, but I just don't want to feel rushed on choosing implants if I'm not 100% committed. So...I am super excited but also kind of in wow. I never thought I would get to this point!! Wow!!

Playing around with my pics

So I heard somewhere I can blur my tummy in a photo and try to get an idea of what a tummy tuck can do for me. To just blur out the extra skin and smooth it out. So I did that from a pic I took before heading to the pool over the weekend, at a hotel, while I was traveling. Let me tell you! I was shocked at the after photo. Granted I don't expect such a "smooth" appearance because up close I have stretch marks that go from below my panty line in the front all the way up to my ribcage (as seen in previous photos shared on this review). So I know my tuck won't get rid of the marks, but I will be happy to see the extra skin go. I'm guessing this is what my tummy looked like when I was a teenager?? Anyway, it's giving me some awesome stuff to look forward to.

Pre-Op Appt

Today was the preop appt and I can hardly believe it's almost time to get this thing done!! Oh my gosh!!! Tummy Tuck here I come!

I got my scripts today and the nurse went through pre and post op instructions. I asked some questions and then dr. Pyle saw me again and explained what he would be doing. I asked about the scar placement just because I have seen some that are sort of high on some women and I want mine as low as possible. Seems it shouldn't be a problem with my case.

They took pictures for my Before file and that wasn't super fun, but I will be glad to see them after I'm all healed up.

My surgery is next week and I am a little bit in disbelief!! I have wanted this for so long....and it's almost here. Yikes!!

This will either be the longest week or the shortest. I just want to hurry up and get this over with so I can start recovery. I am very nervous about being under anesthesia, but I've been told it's very normal to be nervous. So I will just keep saying prayers and hope for the best :)

Made it!

Well I had my surgery yesterday morning and it went so smooth. I couldn't ask for things to go any better than they did. Dr. Pyle and his staff were all amazing. He even called me last night to check on me. I missed his call cause I was passed out, but I like that he did that.

Once I got to the surgery room Dr. Pyle does his procedures in I had to change out of the pj's I wore there and into a typical hospital gown that opens in the back. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and ask questions and have me sign papers. She was really nice and walked me through what would happen. Then Dr. Pyle came in to make his marks on me. After that everything moved pretty fast. I was walked into the OR and laid on the table. The last thing I remember happening was telling them the ages of my 5 kids....then BAM! it was over and I was awake. I don't really remember making it to the hotel (we drove in from out town - because I had heard really good things about Dr. Pyle and I had met with him 3 times prior to surgery and I just felt very comfortable, so I felt it was worth it to drive 3 1/2 hours from my home to Raleigh) So anyway, I was very groggy the first day. And OMG! SORE!SORE! SORE! My abs felt like I was doing a hard core crunch on a constant basis. They still do feel stiff but if I'm not trying to move I don't feel the soreness as much. As soon as I try moving though, it's all stiff and sore.

My caregiver is keeping me on my med schedule so I think that is helping keep the pain to a minimum.

The back flank area where they did liposuction is starting to swell up and bruise. It's uncomfortable but like I said, I think keeping on top of meds has helped.

I am so anxious for tomorrow to take off my compression garment and shower. And get a good look at my tummy.

I will post some pictures after I shower tomorrow and there are uncovered areas to see.

Day 4 Post Op

On a whole this recovery hasn't been too awful so far. My abs were very tight and felt like they were burning the first couple days, but with the pain meds (and I'm sure the Experal my Dr uses) it was more of an uncomfortable type of pain. However, night of day 2 around midnight was the worst I've felt. I woke up feeling like I was choking because my compression garment just felt so tight. My left leg and left flank area that had lipo was also more swollen than my right side and that made things uncomfy as well. I got up with help from my care giver to go potty and the whole ordeal left me weak and shaking. I think my body was just exhausted. It wasn't a shaking from cold, it was from being spent from using so much of my energy to get up and around. On Day 2 I also took a shower which was so so nice to feel clean again.
I sat on a shower stool and had help from my caregiver to wash my hair and rinse. It felt nice to just let the warm water fall on me and I wasn't too uncomfortable sitting on the stool. After my shower though we had to struggle to get the compression garment back on. But I washed it first and let it air dry so I was able to lay around without it on and I got a couple pics. I feel better without it on but I know I need to wear it to help promote healing and lessen the swelling. I've already noticed less swelling since day 1.

Morning of day 3 went smooth. I was getting up and down easier and with less help. I slept a lot and I've been trying to stick to semi liquid foods like soup and protein shakes and applesauce. Still waiting on that first BM...hoping that goes okay. Today has been day 4 and I'm feeling the best so far. I think I'm on the up swing. Still taking my pain meds for now. And I'm still pretty sleepy but I think that is partly the Percocet. I will start to reduce that soon and go to just ibuprofen. But for now I can't really complain too much.

My pics aren't too pretty, but I know the Puckering and bunched up areas of skin will smooth out. I do love how low my dr put my incision!!! I'm so excited to see how it all heals up. I am so happy I did this for me :)

Day 5

I really can't complain too much at all. The only thing bothering me is my left leg has this shooting pain that comes and goes. Usually it's when I'm getting up and down off the bed and moving around, but there is a pain that shoots downward from my left incision area down my thigh toward my knee. It's not constant and when it happens it isn't horribly painful. It's just annoying. The nurse told me most likely it's from them cutting through nerves and they would take a while to heal.

So right now that is my biggest annoyance. My incision site feels fine otherwise. And my abs are still tight and sore but it's lessened since day One. I really do love how low my incision is!!

Day 9 - i think I've stalled in the progress of healing...

Well I spent my week in a hotel staying near where I had my surgery. I wanted to stay nearby until my one week check up. Plus at home I have 5 kids and I knew if I went directly home I wouldn't get the rest I know I need. I would want to do more than I should for the kids, esp the youngest. Plus it's a 3 hour drive home and I knew I wasn't going to be up for that too soon. So anyway I stayed at an extended stay type hotel with my care giver and spent my first week mostly sleeping it seems. Sleeping and watching more tv than I've watched in years. Haha.

My one week check up went well. I didn't see my dr cause he was out of town (super sad face) but i saw his colleague and dealt with the same great nurses I've talked to during this whole process. The nurse changed my incision tape and helped me in to a new compression garment. Thank God cause i was starting to hate the one i had!!! It felt too tight and it had a zipper up the side that most the time I left unzipped - I only connected the 5 hook eye snaps and just left it like that cause the zipper made me feel so constricted! The new compression garment they gave me slipped on like underwear and it was all a smooth material that went up to under my chest. Much more comfy! So I was happy about that. The appt went well and I am scheduled to go back again at 6 weeks.

So I made it back home and I feel like my progress has just stalled so much. I am still very sore and tender around the liposuction areas and swelling around my incision, down in the front of my belly, even down into my vajayjay area!!! It's so tender :( it's normal I know, but it's my biggest complaint right now.

I'm in Swell Hell.

I've been trying to get up and move around more and I think Day 7 I over did it some cause Day 8 (yesterday) I was pretty miserable all day - sore, exhausted, cranky, swollen and just pretty much miserable from being uncomfortable. The pain isn't a issue too much, I do Motrin in the day and use my pain pills at night to get me comfy enough to sleep - but it's not really "pain" I'm just so uncomfortable from the swelling and the tender areas from lipo.

So today I went and found my pre-op bending over pic, the one thing that I disliked most about my extra skin - and took a pic just now of me bending over the same - to compare the two. I just needed a reminder I think to help me push through this rough phase and know I made the right choice. Can I just say WOW!!! Even now on Day 9 in the deep pits of Swell Hell....what my surgeon did is so amazing!!! I am so happy I could cry. And it's aesthetics, yes of course, but it's also excitement for my health!! My abs are now where they should be and when everything heals they will be helping support my body the way they should; which will give my poor back a break. And clothes!!! I cannot wait to wear clothes normally - my entire adult life I have had to alter the way I dress and also just not even wear certain things because that extra skin was such an issue. So yea, I needed to see the comparing pic of what was and even where I am now, only on day 9.

I will also add a pic of the swelling. It's constant right now and I expect it will come to be a mostly late in the day occurrence as I heal until it finally goes away in a few months. But it's just so uncomfy :(

13 days PostOp

Well I am almost at two weeks. I have to say the past two days seems to have finally been a turning point for me. I was getting pretty discouraged on the progress. But the last two days I have felt better, slept better, and just been moving around better. I am standing straighter, but still not 100%. And when I first wake up I am pretty stiff and have to warm up before I can get more upright. I think that's normal.

I am still sleeping with pillows behind me and under my knees, sorta propped into a Lawn Chair kind of position. I can't lay flat on my back yet - too much pulling and stretching still.

I can shower on my own now. I had my caregiver helping me shower - washing my hair and back because it was a lot of work to simply raise my hands up to wash my own hair. And getting them around back to get my back just wasn't happening so thank goodness my BFF has been able to be here with me around the clock to help me. Especially that first week!!

I still use my shower stool to sit on and rest and I got to SHAVE MY LEGS the other day which was amazing!!! I wish I would have got a walker. I didn't realize just how hard simply walking would be in the first two weeks...walking is okay, but I get wore out very fast. There is a spot to the right of my belly button that aches when I walk a lot. I don't know if it's from sutures inside flaring up or that spot of my abs is just not as ready to relax. I had my abs sewn back together so I figure there will be aches and pains in there for a while. And my abs were separated for 17 years so they are def not used to this new position at all!

I have some pics to share. In the Day 2 pic you can see my stretch marks pretty good and I just have to say - the ones you see around my belly button....those suckers used to be way up on my ribcage, just under my breast!!! That is amazing to me how far down they moved! Remarkable!!

I am still in Swell Hell, but it's getting better slowly. I def feel more swollen at the end of the day especially the past two days since I've been moving around more. I still have some swelling in my hips from the lipo I think....but it's slowly going down. I am still puckered a little on my tummy, but I can't wait to see that lessen over the next several weeks.

Incision Issues

I had my first issues with my incision. That has been the one part I haven't had any issues with so far. No pain, not even right after surgery or after being off my pain meds. But a couple days ago I started to feel aches on the left side of my incision, above my left leg. When I went to take the tape off the check it there was some icky gooey stuff and the skin around it was inflamed and tender to the touch. I immediately got worried about infection because I do not want that complication. I will share that photo, even though it's kind of icky, just in case it helps someone else who comes across the same thing with their incision.

I took photos to send to my PS office (cause I live out of town from where I had my surgery) but the nurses there have all been great about communicating with me via email and phone calls. I even emailed them on a Sunday and she told me to send photos in right away so she could get them looked at. So I did. First photo is when i took the tape off, then after my shower, and then today how it looks.

The Dr looked at my first two pics and told me they didn't look too worrisome at this point, but that he wanted to call in an antibiotic for me just to prevent anything from progressing. I am glad cause I just didn't want to risk an infection starting. So I've been on the antibiotic about 3 days now and there's been a marked improvement on that area.

That area has a lot of puckering and I wasn't sure if that added to the issues. I have read though that the puckering will smooth out over the next several months and I know this just takes time so I have been patient with that and not freaking out over it yet.

Other parts of my incision are already closed and healing pretty wonderfully!! But some sections haven't caught up yet. I hope this is the only issues I end up having with the incision.

Well.....(18 Days Po)


So happy!

That is all :)

3rd week Updates

I have really rounded a corner and am feeling more and more like myself everyday. My kids have noticed too and they say stuff like "wow Mom you're pretty much standing straight up now!" Haha. I am still stiff in the morning, but I warm up a lot faster than before and I'm moving more smoothly. I still feel like I walk slower than before, but I can walk farther and have more stamina than last week.

I have also noticed my swelling is going down. Thank goodness!!! It's still there but not like it was last week. I am getting closer to my thinner shape I had before surgery. Gotta admit I kinda liked having bigger hips from the swelling, lol, because I have a more lean and athletic shape normally. But I definitely have more of a waist than I did before surgery and that's pretty cool. Mostly I am just ecstatic to not have all that extra skin hanging around. Yesterday I wore jean shorts for the first time and it was amazing to sit in my car and no skin hung over the top of the jean shorts. It was simply amazing!!!!

I can't wait to go New Clothes Shopping now that I don't have the extra hanging skin to worry about. It's going to be so strange for me cause I haven't known what it's like since I was 18 - so long ago I don't even remember. Wow!

Anyway, things are slowly getting better. Next week it's back to school for me so I hope my stamina keeps up. I can't wait to get the all clear to start back to my workouts. I can tell I've lost muscle :(

My Surgeon is basically Awesome!!!!

Just had to show this pic I took just now fresh my shower. You can't see my incision at all under my typical undies. Granted on a day to day basis I am still wearing the lovely spanx, but I just wanted to check on the incision placement and my bikini undies.



Well guys it's been one month. I can't believe it. All i can say is the first two weeks are rough, Third week is a turning point and this 4th week has just been amazing! I feel the closest to myself that I've felt. I ran up my stairs the other day (like I used to. with 5 kids undertow I'm usually running up and down those stairs constantly) but I didn't realize I did it until I got to the top and was like OMG! I just ran up the steps like the old me. It was so exciting.

I'm also starting to see what my results will be. The swelling has gone down a lot but is still there some. Like many others I noticed more swelling towards the end of the day especially if I've been pretty on the go that day.

I am seeing some loosening of the skin down towards my incision as the swelling lessens. And it's maybe just a tad alarming, but it's only when Im sitting down - i can grab some extra skin now. But I have to say, i remember sitting down in my pre-op days and grabbing an entire fold of skin, whereas now it's barely a pinch. And when I stand it's much more taught again. I am realistic in that I wasn't going for awards in bikini model contests - I just wanted to be able to wear clothes normally, wear bras and panties and feel sexy in them for my SO and also have my abs back where they should be. I don't even mind the stretch marks. They don't bother me one bit. I think because compared to what I used to have this is a million times improvement.

Anyway, alls Well. I had to put gauze over my belly button for a few days with some Neosporin because the spanx was irritating it I think from rubbing against it all day. It's back to looking better again. That's all for an update. I'll post monthly now unless I have any complications. My 6 week check up is in two weeks so if anything interesting happens I will update then as well. Hope everyone is well :) and if you're reading this and still on the fence about doing it - DO IT! DO IT FOR YOURSELF, YOU'RE WORTH IT!!!

A before and after

Just a quick before and after photo. 6 week check up is coming up and I can't wait!!
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Pyle and his staff. I am a week post surgery, but have been dealing with his practice for a year now. I had two consults with him before I decided on my procedure and both meetings he took his time with me and answered all my questions. His staff was always warm and welcoming and I felt very comfortable at both meetings. Surgery day went so smooth. I was of course nervous, but his nurses were so nice, but also professional and I felt I was in good hands. I ended up getting a full tummy tuck with muscle repair (and lipo was included) and even though I am only 9 days post surgery I am so happy already with the results. I highly recommend having a consult with Dr. Pyle - and you will see what I am talking about. He has a great bedside manner and he made me feel like what I wanted was most important. He wanted to know what my goals were...and that meant a lot because I didn't feel like he was trying to up sell me on anything or add procedures I didn't need. I am overall very very happy with choosing him as my surgeon :-)

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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