36 Y/O Mommy Makeover

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 121 reviews
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*Treatment results may vary

This process of finding the right surgeon was not...

This process of finding the right surgeon was not easy for me and I only met with TWO. At my first consult, the surgeon came up with a plan for me with very little input and seemed super confident. While I didn't love his bedside manner, I liked his confidence so much that I almost canceled the second consult. I'm an idiot and Dr. Pyle's office saved me from the insanity of only receiving one opinion. I really felt comfortable with Dr. Pyle and he was confident when discussing the 'trade-offs' of a mini vs full tummy tuck and the different options for breast lift and augmentation. I had major reservations regarding the drainless tummy tuck but he was able to calm my fears and I feel good about the decision. I'm still struggling with the decision to do the mastoplexy that will leave the vertical scar or to go with the pursestring mastopexy. These decisions are overwhelming to me! But, surgery date is set and I am looking forward to feeling more confident.

Before Pics

Well that was incredibly difficult but I am already imagining the 'after.'

Pre-Op Visit Complete!

Its official. The surgery has been paid for (or dare I say put on credit) and pre-op complete. The pre-op visit was super helpful as I really have been putting off thinking about the details until the drive there. Molly was patient with me as I struggled with the decision about the breast augmentation. I absolutely knew that I wanted the lift but was scared about the size of the implants. My current cup size is 34D and they really don't look big since all the 'fat' is on the bottom. My fear is that they will be too big-- is it really possible to look 'natural' after augmentation? Well, in came the doc and he was super kind and explained that he gets it and will use the smallest possible implant to achieve fullness. Sigh. Just making eye contact with him again helped ease my fear and he definitely got it.

Oh, and the scar. Of course the tummy tuck scar is a trade-off for a tight belly but I was worried about placement as I really like the scar to go around the natural contour of the hip and not straight across. He was able to assure me that my scar would curve.

I really blew it on one question though. In my late teens I thought a belly button piercing was a good idea and now it is a sloppy droopy hole. I forgot to ask him if this could be somehow eliminated. Do any of you ladies have experience with that?

I'm really looking forward to the results and know that I'll have to be patient and kind to myself in this process. Huge thank you to Jessica and Molly and Peggy. You made my heart smile today and I'm feeling supported by your positive energy. Dr. Pyle has a great team and I hope that my story can inspire another lady who is considering these procedures. I promise to update in two weeks!

Surgery Complete!

I went in at 7:15am and was home in the recliner by 12pm. Mission complete and they kept to their word! 265 cc on both boobs!

Day One

Hello ladies, the surgery could not have gone any better. I arrived at 7:15am and was out of surgery by 11am with tummy tuck, breast lift and implants. I did wake up in pretty severe pain but the nurses got me pain meds immediately. The car ride home was bumpy but we made it and I was able to get upstairs to my lift recliner with minimal pain. We were home by 12p and I was hungry! I ate some yogurt and basically slept on and off all afternoon/evening.

This morning has been more of the same. Lots of sleeping and walking every time I go to the bathroom. I definitely need hubby's help to button up this garment and he has been super cool about it. I haven't looked at anything other than the top of my breasts because I was super anxious about the size. The good news is that he was able to place really small implants and I am thrilled. My goal for the breast augmentation/lift was simply to be able to go braless/wear spaghetti straps for the first time in my life. I have always had large C/D breasts and have been limited to wardrobe options with full coverage of bra straps. NO MORE! Yay!

So, trying to stay positive. I'm taking 2 pain pills every 6 hours and the muscle relaxer every 8 hours. I don't want to risk feeling the pain for now. I'll update again after the shower (hopefully tomorrow afternoon).

Shower Day!

Good morning, last night was my second sleep after surgery and went much better. I was able to go to the bathroom by myself and snap on the undergarment without help! I will say that this power lift chair has been worth every single penny. I am continuing the pain meds round the clock with the muscle relaxer and hope we don't run out. But its been really effective pain management- only on a few occasions have I felt excruciating pain. I have a small blister on my upper thigh where the garment is rubbing but other than that-- looking good.

The shower was no problem at all. I stood up the whole time and washed my hair and body by myself. Then, I was able to blow dry and straighten my hair. Again, no pain. My tape is all in tact and the incision line is remarkably low. I'm taking a binder break while it washes since they discharged me with it on with no underwear. Yuck. I put undies on as soon as we got home and that is the way to go! So far, this is much easier than I anticipated. definitely there is pain but this is so worth it!!

Evening Thoughts

I am pretty independent today. Husband has been watching kids and he really just has to bring me food since I'm stuck upstairs for now. I am down to one pain pill every 6 hours all day today and while I can tell a difference, I prefer to feel the discomfort to the dizziness and fog of the 2 pill dose.

So, ladies you can do this! I definitely needed someone with me for the first 36 hours but you can do it after that point. The last 'hurdle' I want to get over is the bowel movement but I'm doing everything I can- taking daily fiber, stool softener, and Miralax.

I keep looking at the picture from shower time as motivation since that's the only time the binder has been off. You can see the hourglass figure and the future is looking good!

Let the Swelling Begin!

Hello ladies, today has been not so fun. I've gained 8 pounds since surgery! I woke up to the biggest vagina ever and my thighs are literally stuck together with all the fluid. The good news is that I found a huge pair of sleep pants to accommodate my growing self. The extra fluid is so uncomfortable!! I think that 'pain' isn't exactly the right way to describe today but I feel 'unsettled' since I can't get comfortable with all this weight. Also, I'm starting to feel more tummy pains and the tightness so I guess the Exparel is wearing off.

Yesterday I backed off to one pain pill every 6 hours and today I am going to Ibuprofen only every 4 hours today because the pain meds make me feel like the room is spinning. Oh, and the Soma-I'm taking Soma every 8 hours too. My appetite is non-existent but I'm drinking Muscle Milk and having root veggies and fruit.

So, today is not awful- just different. Patience is the name of the game here and today sucks a bit. I also have to stop looking at my belly when I go to the bathroom. It has all that pleating and just looks nasty- highly unmotivating but I keep doing it!! On the bright side, I really can't imagine that tomorrow will be worse with the swelling. It's not physically possible:)

Patience, Patience, Patience

Last night I decided to go back into the pain med regimen- it was just too much for me with the swelling. I slept great in the recliner and woke up with much less pain. I'm still super puffy and that is making me uncomfortable. I can't walk very far without leaning on the walker. My back is so hunched over its crazy! I took another shower today and was able to blow dry and straighten my hair by myself but it is exhausting. The silver lining was looking at my tummy (with clothes on) and seeing that it wasn't a giant roll of flab. And my boobs- bra-less and perky!

I admit that the no-drain method really is gross to look at in recovery so I'm choosing not to post for now. My tummy looks exactly like it did on day 2- quilted and bruised and puffy. YUCK. By breasts have already softened a ton and I have sensation on one nipple but not the other. Hoping that the other breast regains sensitivity but if not, it was still worth it on the boobs!!

On the digestive front, still no action. I've been taking Miralax and stool softener daily since the day before surgery with no results. To be honest, I haven't even been able to pass gas (who knew that it was ab exercise to toot?) So, I took a dose of Milk of Magnesia this morning and hoping that it will help me out. Got Smooth Move Tea as a backup as well.

So, today's lesson is about patience. I want to look better NOW and I definitely do look better with clothes on but naked is terrifying.

End of Day Reflections

It's amazing how much our minds control our emotions. I was feeling pretty down about recovery until hubby pointed out that I am over the 'hump' and my swelling has gone down since yesterday. I have gone down to two pain pills today and am able to do most things on my own. I took a shower and did my hair twice since surgery all by myself and I need to celebrate the small things. I'll be alone all day tomorrow and I'm not the least bit concerned about that.

Emotionally, I had the hardest day today--today is the end of school break for the kids and my 3 year old is going to Pre-K with his 5 year old brother for the first time tomorrow. I wish that I was able to get him dressed in his uniform and take him. The kids are doing well with me plastered to the lift chair though and really are fine. I just need to chill. And I have become preoccupied with my bowels! So I am trying the smooth move tea now. Hoping for magic:)


Ladies, for the past 2 nights I have been waking up from 3a-5a with sore muscles in my back and neck. I take the Soma at bedtime and a pain pill but sure as shit, two nights in a row I wake up like this. Last night I just suffered awake but tonite (3a) I have taken another pain pill in pursuit of sleep. I'm frustrated because I want off the Percocet!

In other recovery news, my first day alone went fine. Lots of HGTV but no update on the boobs/tummy. Occasionally I will get
Sharp pain when I move in different directions but nothing unbearable. I'm still using the walker most of the time because the tightness and back cramps come and go. Definitely not straight yet! My belly is getting more feeling and the puffiness is still very much there but the swelling has not increased.

Emotions have been more in check over the past 24hrs. I will say this procedure is a true test of patience--and I hope I stay in the path of positivity:). Here's to getting more night sleep!!!!!

Post Op Appointment Tomorrow

PostOp Complete

Hello Ladies, just left the appointment and all is well. I was given the gift of the second undergarment (yummee tummee) and this device is a different set of complicated but feels MUCH better on. Now instead of chasing your tail to clasp the crotch of the garment- we get the joy of shimmying into a super tight spanx like contraption that goes to your boobs.

In the past 24hrs I feel like I am living again. I was able to go up and down the stairs a few times yesterday and today. The car ride was super easy and I plan on driving to pick up the kids from school beginning next week. I am still hunched but up 75% into midafternoon. At nighttime though I pretty much sit.

So hang in there- every day is easier!

Turned a Corner!

Today is going really well. I'm able to get in and out of bed more comfortably and slept all night long for the first time since surgery. Doc said it was safe for me to take Melatonin and I was out for a solid 8 hours and woke up without discomfort! I took two Ibuprofen at 5am and headed down to get the kids ready for school.

This is the second day that I haven't had to have a morning nap so yay for that too. I still do absolutely nothing around the house though and hubby is looking tired but his attitude is great and I am thankful for that.

I'm about to take my shower- every other day since surgery has been my routine and I figured I'd post a photo update. The scars freak me out so this one is with bra and underwear- I find these shots to be super motivating!

Today's Update

Today was a great day. I was up and about - even went to Target (more on that to follow). I'm still hunched over and scared to stretch too much but feel pretty good! I loathe the new garment because of the difficulty of pulling it up and pulling it down to go to the bathroom. I've been wearing the original garment 50% of the time but the swelling has moved to my thighs.

The doc was able to say that he took 200 CC's of fat from each flank- so it really wasnt a ton. I gained 8 pounds from day 2-day 6 but I'm only 2 pounds more than pre surgery weight. So, I started trying on my clothes and holy hell- I can't fit any of my pants - like not.even.close.

This brings me to Target run. I was going in search of an undergarment with a crotch that could open and work pants. Ladies- I have gone from size 8 to size 14 in one week! And my weight is only 2 pounds higher than presurgery.

On the brighter side, I look great in my shirts:) and I bought a pair of size 14 pants so I can go to the office next week.

Picture Update

Feeling good but now even the XL granny panties won't fit! Solution: hanky pankys underwear- they feel great!

Just Gets Easier and Easier

Hello Ladies, these past couple of days have gotten easier and easier. I'm able to drive with ease and can buckle my 3 year old in the car seat (a huge personal victory). I have really been taking it easy though. I was home with kids alone for the past two days due to snow days around here- and enjoyed it. Kids watched a lot of TV but I was not feeling like I couldn't take care of them or me. I've also stopped napping and am not overly exhausted after a shower/makeup routine. I'm still taking Soma to try to get myself upright- I'm like 90% MOST of the time. I get up and down with ease but my posture just isn't where I need it to be.

My swelling has gone down to the point that I can wear the new bicycle short getup with ease and am back to my pre-surgery weight. My thighs are still thick so am up a size but I've always had curvy hips - and my body has always retained water after anesthesia. I think that my results aren't immediately rewarding because of the water retention.

I am SO glad that I'm not returning to work at the 14 day point. While I think I could do it, it would have caused me too much anxiety. I am going back to work on Monday with clients. Still have to get a bra so might do that shopping tomorrow. But again, this recovery has been smooth and steady thus far. No huge whammies - just a lesson in patience.

Day 15~ Body Debut with Sister & Bra Shopping

Good morning ladies, I went out for the first time by myself yesterday. Headed to Nordstrom to find Size 32 jeans (grr) and a new bra. My new size went from 34 D to 34 DDD but it really is mostly due to swelling and my desire for a full coverage (i.e. nonsexy) bra:) But I had fun buying a bralette and easily fit into 34D for those.

After that fun, I met my sister for lunch. She is only one year older than me and the very 1st person to see me since surgery (other than hubby). Well...she said that she cannot tell at all that I got my boobs done (clothes on) and of course, I don't look any smaller since I really am not any smaller at this point (clothes on). However, she was quick to point out that I am still moving like a sloth- I thought I was doing pretty good! But she is right- it's all about perspective and when you go from not being able to move at all to being able to cruise through Nordstrom and try on clothes...confidence was up:)

I left the house at 9a and picked up the kids after school so I didn't get home til 4p. And I was totally fine- no pain, stiffness, nada. But I fell asleep promptly after putting the boys down at 7pm! I woke up this morning and am good to go. Still swollen but the exact same as before the epic day on the town. Ha!! And I'm able to bend over with ease now and get up and down without thinking about my tummy. So, healing vibes to all of you (even if you have a setback) that your body will perform for you again. One day at a time.

Day 15 Pic with Clothes On

This view is much more inspiring:)


Well, I've joined the league of rare and temporary complications and succumbed to bronchitis. I have been hoping that this would pass but alas, it has just gotten worse. I have struggled with deep breathing since surgery and over the past week I have gotten much worse. When I inhale deeply I cough...and cough...and cough with mucous and rattling in my chest. Yuck a duck. I emailed Molly and she told me to go to my PCP. I did and am on an inhaler and antibiotics.

My biggest fear is that these coughing spells are going to loosen the muscle stitches. It hurts like a bitch every time I cough and its been going on for about 5 days. Red flag was coughing on the bra fitting lady- I'm sure she was less than thrilled with that. But I have a tendency to push on and didnt realize how sick I'd become. At the doc I got faint and dizzy doing the deep breathing for him to listen to my chest. Geez. So, here's to moving past this complication and praying. Praying that I haven't popped a stitch and undone the work. Molly says no worries and that it is just enduring the pain of coughing. I look forward to seeing how I feel recovering WiTHOUT bronchitis. Geez. I am going to try to sleep away the day now...

Back to Work Tomorrow

Good evening ladies, headed back to work tomorrow and still feeling shitty with bronchitis. Boo. With regard to the surgery recovery, I feel good. I didn't tell anyone and I'm feeling confident that my clients and employees won't notice the change under my clothes. So, wish me luck - I have a full week ahead!

Oh- and the medical tape is peeling off on the ends of my incision. I emailed and looks like we are supposed to re-tape the ends that are coming up. Figured I'd share in case this is happening to you ladies, too.

So, happy healing to all of you. The past 24 hours have proven that my tummy/boobs aren't a big deal anymore. I am literally forgetting about it a lot of the time. This could be because the bronchitis is SO MUCH WORSE. But, I'm not thinking about sitting/getting up, reaching, bending down. You know...much much better!

Emotions of the Day

Hello ladies, the return to work hasn't been too bad! Since I'm so puffy everywhere, not a soul has noticed a change yet. For me, this is a good thing since I dress super conservatively in my profession and didn't want clients or co-workers to know why I has out for 2.5 weeks. I'm back to taking kiddos to school and picking them up but super beat by 7:30p which brings me to the emotions...

I have found that once I was out of the fog of medicine and regaining mobility I was feeling optimistic. This past week has been more difficult on an emotional level as I'm still not 'fun'. I can't hug the kids or pick them up with the same exuberance that I'm used to giving AND I can't cuddle because it hurts. I think I really underestimated how much I value touch- big hugs,little hugs, you know...I MISS HUGS. I've also found these past few days to be a stall-out period in recovery. I don't think about my tummy with every movement anymore and am able to do things without too much discomfort BUT I am swollen as hell and just want to hit fast forward.

Patience. This is all about patience. And I'm running short at the moment. But I'm also thankful. I'm thankful that I did this in the winter so I'm not swollen AND hot. I'm thankful for the opportunity to do this. I'm thankful to see that my boys (big and little) are being patient with me. They love me even when I'm a lump of blah.

It is of note that today is my last day of antibiotics for the brutality of bronchitis and I started my period. So, take this update for what it's worth:) And I really do know this is all worth it (come pool season).

Three Weeks

Hello ladies, can't believe it's been 3 weeks and life is finally getting back to baseline. This weekend I was able to be a mom without as much stiffness and hunching over at the end of the day. I'm still super careful about not lifting but I move pretty freely again. I changed out my tape and it really felt great. That tape was so disgusting and after hearing another RealSelfer take the plunge I was on it! I still have lots of puckering by incision line and weird hard swollen lipo spots but I don't care at all. I'm getting excited about dressing this new body but I don't have any tight tops. Shopping soon...

Best Post-Op Purchases

It's been one full month since surgery and I would be totally remiss to forget some shout outs for must-have items in recovery. There were a few but this one tops the list:

1- Bones Chiropractic Pillow - Best $15 purchase ever. This pillow keeps your neck straight when you sleep on your back. I bought it on day 6 and slept SO much better. Don't doubt me. Just buy it. It's been one full month and I'm still sleeping on my back and I'm still using this thing:


2- Hanky Panky Underwear- Now ladies, lets get real on some flank lipo. That shit hurts and that shit swells up. We already have to wear a tank top under the compression garment so easy on the panty lines. These are pricey but they wash well and they are so so comfortable with the stretch. Again, just do this and you will thank me later


3 - Cute pajama pants one size bigger than your normal and long tunics. Your butt will look ridiculous in the original compression garment. Think wicked tight granny panty butt. YUCK.

4- Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo - The very best for brunettes (in my humble opinion). This stuff will get you through to 3 days smelling fresh and looking clean. For those days when washing, drying, styling are simply not worth it.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00VVS9O6G

5- 3M Medical Tape - This will be a mixed bag since our doc technically does not want us to remove the tape on our incision for 6 weeks. But...that gets nasty and forlorn on the edges by 3 weeks max. Plus,my curiosity was killing me so I changed it out and suddenly like magic, I felt better. Your choice ladies but this was a game-changing day for me when I switched it out around 3 weeks.

6- A sense of humor. While laughing out loud will sear you from the inside out for the first couple weeks, laughing on the inside will save your soul. From chasing the tail of the undergarment to recognizing that farting uses your ab muscles, this can be really funny as you are going through the recovery. It's a long time to be too serious. This is totally worth it- I promise.

4 Weeks

Still lots of pleating and swelling on flanks. My stretch marks look crazy huge on flanks. But...I'm back in my old jeans! It's the small victories:)

5 Weeks

6 Week Follow-up

Hello ladies, I had my six week follow-up yesterday with Dr. Pyle yesterday and all is well. I am so glad that I did this. The past four weeks seemed to move slowly but I haven't changed much at all over the last two weeks. I still get hunched over and my tummy is still super tight. I only have feeling in one nipple but I'm hopeful it will return .I no longer wear the silicone strip, medical tape, or undergarment! Dr. Pyle gave me freedom to return to 'life as usual', including underwire bras. The visit was quick and painless.

I am doing really good at this point! I have not gained or lost any weight- I'm exactly the same post op as pre-op now. I'm still not able to sleep on my sides because of pulling sensations on my upper ribs but hey, that's a small complaint.

I am SO ready to go shopping for bras and new clothing. I had done such a good job of dressing my post baby pooch that I don't have a single form fitting top. I'm proud that I've waited this long to go shopping but I feel like I need someone to guide me to what will now look good on me! I find myself grabbing the same styles as before...steep learning curve ahead. I will update again at the 12-week follow-up!

Week 7!

Not Much New

Hello ladies, life is pretty much back to normal from an outsiders perspective. On the inside, my abs are still sore and super tight and I have sensation in only one nipple. Sigh. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!! I hate the scar but as we know it is a tradeoff and I'm proud of my choice to do this. I still haven't gone shopping for new clothes because I'm still getting used to seeing the new me and accepting it! I am so lucky to have been able to do this - now I need to get working on my flat back side;)

Oh and I still have significant pleating by my scar line. It's not super noticeable standing but sitting it's super obvious. I'm hoping it will fade over the next couple months like it has over the last two. Fingers crossed- My body has changed so much since December 29th that I'm trying to be patient and cool;)

12 Weeks

Day to day life is still going great! I am able to go braless without any discomfort and my posture is so much better. I still feel sore in my abdomen in the morning and tight when I stretch out. Oh and my incision line really hurts when my kids or dogs sit on it. Phantom itches have happened and make me laugh every time. The most surprising happy place with this surgery has been on my vaginal lifting:) I look so much better in underwear without the saggy baggy mons. Who knew!I went for my 12 week update today and continue to be impressed with Dr. Pyle and his staff. I was seen promptly and posed for my "after" pics. Dr. Pyle confirmed that I have hypertrophic scars and I was prepared for this, given that I got the same scarring in the past with surgery. I was given silicone sheets for daily use over the next 3 months in hopes of reducing the scarring. I was also told that scar revision may be necessary if the last bit of pleating doesn't go away but I still have lots of swelling. And my last concern was the placement of my nipples since they seemed a bit low. He was in agreement and thinks that as the implants drop it may take care of it. If not, it's another simple and quick revision and he made me feel totally at ease about my concerns. He validated them without being dramatic and ensured my faith that he wants an excellent outcome as much as I do. So, off to Patience Land, as I wear silicone sheets and return to see him in 3 more months.

First Time in Bikini

So, this is me sitting down- baring my belly in the sun for the first time in years!

It's Bikini Time!

I still haven't worn a bikini out in public but I have purchased one. I cannot believe how incredible this feels to have breasts that don't feel super heavy and droopy. This is amazing. I have pretty bad scarring around my belly button so I don't feel confident enough to wear it yet. But maybe one day I will feel brave enough to wear it!
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

This office is really top notch. After other consults where I was left waiting and feeling very anxious, the difference was palpable from the very first email I sent. The email inquiry was responded to by Peggy after-hours and she was kind, warm, and the email showed her sensitivity to patient experience. Jessica really went out of her way to schedule my consult and surgery around my very limited availability and did so with grace - she never made me feel like I was inconveniencing her with my requests. True customer service before I even walked in the door! I was called back on-time and my follow-up appointments were also on time. Any questions that I have had for the nurse, Molly, were answered very quickly and she was thorough in the response in order to calm my nerves about normal recovery concerns. And the grand finale is Dr. Pyle's bedside manner and surgical outcomes. My husband and I were impressed by his confidence because he carefully balanced the consultation discussion with the explanations of the trade-offs of plastic surgery. He is easy to talk to and I'm so thankful that we trusted him for this surgery. Huge kudos to Dr. Pyle for being an excellent surgeon and managing to create an atmosphere of care and concern in the office around him. That is truly where healing happens-- and this surgery has been life changing in so many ways. Thank you all!

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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