SO SO SO Worth It!!!!!

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Today I scheduled my mommy makeover. I have...

Today I scheduled my mommy makeover. I have wanted to do this for five years, and it's finally happening.

A little bit about me...I am a 32 year old mother of two sets of twins - all girls. My first pregnancy was very difficult, and I gained over 80 pounds. After the first twins were born, I worked very hard to lose all the weight (plus a little bit - I lost close to 100 pounds). But no amount of weight loss can reverse what carrying multiples does to your body. I started talking about having a tummy tuck, and my husband started talking about trying for another baby. We decided to try for another baby, and agreed that I'd have a mommy makeover after baby #3. Well, in our attempt for a son, we discovered I was pregnant with another set of twin girls. I had some more complications with the second pregnancy, and gained another 80 pounds. I'm still in the process of losing that weight, but there is no question that I will need surgical intervention to handle all of the damage that two twin pregnancies has done to my body.

I am currently 185 pounds, and 5'7". At my heaviest (just before delivery of my second set of twins), I was 252 pounds. I have always been curvy, and am comfortable around 150-160 pounds. I'm trying to get down to 165 before my surgery - after all the weight I've lost (and gained - and lost again), 20 pounds seems like nothing, and I'm not worried at all about losing it before the surgery.

In choosing a doctor, I asked my OB at one of my follow-ups after the twins if there was a plastic surgeon she would recommend. Without hesitation, she recommended Dr. Chen, and gave me his phone number. I scheduled a consultation with him, and went to see him a couple weeks later. I trust my OB without question, and if she recommends someone, I know that recommendation is given with the highest endorsement, so unless I was REALLY uncomfortable at my consultation, I knew I was going to be using Dr. Chen.

Thankfully, I was very comfortable during my consultation (outside of the obvious discomfort of showing all my droopy saggy lady parts for everyone to see). The staff was fantastic, Dr. Chen was very personable and receptive to my questions and concerns. I am going to have a full tummy tuck, a breast lift, and lipo basically all over. I am still undecided on a breast reduction - I have been well-endowed my entire life, but having babies made them get out of control. I was wearing a 38H while I was pregnant (and during my consultation with Dr. Chen), and I'm down to a 38F now...I dream of a full C cup, but Dr. Chen said we would need to wait and see where everything landed after losing the weight and letting my body recover from pregnancy to see if I want just a lift or a reduction as well. No matter what I decide on size, my primary goal is for them to be relocated north of the border and happy to see everyone again. I'm having lipo on my hips, back and flanks (to include under my arms and my bra fat). I'm also undecided on lipo on my thighs. I figure if I'm paying for my dream body, I might as well have it all done at once. I'll talk about all of that at my next consult with Dr. Chen.

My husband is going to take time off of work to take care of me and the kids. I'm planning to take two full weeks off of work, then telework after that for a couple of weeks. My mom is going to come help out as well. My desire for a mommy makeover has been no secret to my family for many years - I'm sure they're all glad I'm finally doing it so I'll finally shut up about it. :)

For now, I'm just starting my countdown and trying to get the rest of the weight off. 88 more days!!!!

O. M. G. I look WAY worse than I thought...

Okay. Finally time for the dreaded "before" pics. With surgery scheduled for Monday, and knowing how much everyone else's pictures have helped me...I finally decided to man up and post these. I really thought I looked clothes, at least. Nothing like brutally nude to speak the truth! It doesn't matter. I've worked hard to get here, losing 70 pounds since my last pregnancy. I'm comfortable in a size 10/12 right now, and a 36 DDD bra. (How could I not have known how weird my boobs look??? I own mirrors, for Pete's sake!) I had my pre-op appointment on the 5th, and my PS was thrilled with my weight loss, since I've lost almost 40 pounds since my initial consultation. We decided on the final plan of action - Full tummy tuck with lipo of back, flanks, abdomen, hips, and inner thighs. (OUCH!). I'm not having a reduction, just a breast lift, though he will reduce Lefty some and make sure the headlights are pointing in the right direction. I relieved my wallet of a considerable amount of money. In short, I CAN'T WAIT. Monday literally can't get here fast enough. My PS was very enthusiastic about my results, and I'm so happy to be reclaiming my body. The guilt I've been feeling leading up to this is waning...everyone who knows about this has been amazingly supportive and encouraging. I'm so excited for my first summer in a very long time where I won't be embarrassed by my body. My hospital bed will be delivered on Monday, my help is lined up, I have all my prescriptions and I'm just going to enjoy one last pain-free weekend with my hubby and kids, and count down the minutes to Monday morning!!!

Here we go!

On my way to the hospital! See you all on the flat side!!!

On the Flat Side!!!!

The pain. WOW. But I love the results already! Will post more when I'm no longer in a morphine haze!

Post-op Day 1

First, I have to say I'm SO glad I stayed in the hospital for one night. I'm not sure I would have gotten through the first night without a catheter and round the clock care. The pain difference between the day of surgery and today is astounding. I'm still on a ton of pain, but it's MUCH better today. I'm also very glad that I rented a hospital bed. I'm not sure how I'd be able to get in and out of bed without it. I had morphine every 2 hours in the hospital, and around 1:30 this morning they switched me to Percocet. Stay ahead of the pain. Don't be a hero. :) I LOVE my boobs. I'm still probably a D or DD, which is fantastic, and they're VERY perky. I wasn't sure if be able to achieve that without implants, but so far it looks like I did. He removed about 5 lbs of skin and fat, took almost 12 lbs out via lipo. I look like I've been hit by a truck...but I love it. When can I expect the edge to wear off of this pain? When will I be able to stand up straight? I'm going to try showering tonight...will take more pics to post then!!!

Tried to shower...

I tried to take a shower last night. Got into the bathroom, got the compression garment off, and started removing the dressings, and I had to quit. Too much too soon I guess. I have a shower seat, but I felt like I was going to throw up if I stayed out of bed any longer, so my husband helped me back into the CG and back into bed. The pain is a little better today than it was yesterday. Hopefully everything just continues to get better. I'm going to try showering again tomorrow night.

Post Op Day 3

I have the best husband ever. I look like the bride of Frankenstein right now and he's in this with me 100%. I decided to try the shower again today, and was successful (in a shower chair, and with a lot of help). My hubs took all my bandages off, helped me lay down when that became too much, took some pics of me while I was laying down, even though he can't quite figure out why I want to commemorate this phase, then helped me into the shower when I refused the idea of another sponge bath. Then he washed my hair. I feel so much better now. All of my incisions look great - I'm in love with my boobs and I can't wait till all this swelling goes down. I'm SO excited for my new body and getting back into the exercise routine. I had a lot more nausea than pain today, so I dropped back to one Percocet every 4 hours, and have been taking zofran three times a day. Today I finally ate without throwing up. So that was a nice change of pace. I'm thrilled with my results so far, and I feel a little better every day. SO WORTH IT!!!

Post op day 4

I've never been so happy to be in so much pain. All the worry and fear and planning is done, I made it to the flat side, and every time something hurts or I have trouble sleeping, I look down at the body I never thought I'd see again and just smile. Of course I'm all bound up in my CG, but it only gets better from here! I worked a little this week (as my brain and body would allow - I work from home). I took a shower. I have hugged/cuddled with all of my kids. My husband is a rock. All in all, it has been a fantastic (though unbelievably painful) week. I couldn't be happier. I'm a very blessed woman. Happy healing, all!

Post op day 5

I took a walk today. Went about a half a mile, pushing an empty stroller for support. It completely wore me out, but it was too gorgeous to stay inside. It felt great to get out of the house. I'm still not standing up straight, but that's getting better every day. My husband helped me with a shower again today, and washed my hair again. I could get used to that. :) He washed my sheets and my CG, and faithfully sat on the floor cutting maxi pads to redress all of my incisions. I knew I had a good one. I didn't know how good until we embarked on this journey. He set up a full length mirror for me in our downstairs bathroom and I just sat and stared at myself today. I still can't believe I'm looking at my own body. I'm so happy with my results so far. Now for the down and dirty...I'm still waiting to poop. I took a stool softener for the last two days with no results. I did a good, strong cleanse the day before my surgery so I wouldn't worry about it for a couple of days, but the time has come. I finally took a dose of miralax today and am awaiting the joy that will bring. Hopefully it will be uneventful, but at 5 days PO, it's time to get serious about poop. Wish me luck. I didn't get any pics today - I look basically the same as two days ago. My husband says I look like a living corpse...but a sexy one. The man has a way with words. :) My kids are being unreasonably well behaved and cooperative...I'm starting to wonder what expensive thing they've broken that they're not telling me about...but I'll just enjoy it for now. Thanks for all the support!!!

Post op day 6

Oh, the poop. That was considerably more excruciating than I was hoping for, but alas, it's over and done and we can all move on with our lives. As many have suggested, Miralax is your friend. I added a considerable amount of pear juice and got the party started finally. I feel SO much better. Don't wait till post op day 6 to fix that. It was miserable. On to better news - I spent more hours awake than asleep today. That was a win. I also only took one Percocet all day. The pain is certainly more manageable now - I'm not even taking anything over the counter, though I probably should have. I spent a lot of time outside in a lawn chair with my kids today, and tackled the stairs in my house a few more times than was probably good for me. I'm exhausted, but in a good way. I'm sleeping in my own bed tonight, instead of in the hospital bed. I really missed my bed. I'm still using a lot of pillows to stay reasonably comfortable, but considering where I thought I'd be less than a week out from surgery, I'm very pleased with my progress. I hope the rest of this journey continues to go this well!

Post op day 7

This must be my "hit the wall" day. This is the first week on my own (our wonderful nanny stayed with us last week and took 24/7 care of the babies). She went home Sunday morning and yesterday was my dry run for how this week would be. So my day started with screaming babies at 3am. My husband is back at work this week, and he leaves at 3am to get I had to figure that out. They normally sleep through the night. I had to break the "don't lift anything over 10lbs" rule to get them fed and back to sleep...but I didn't carry them far - just one baby into the other's crib so I could feed them both at once. And they're only about 15lbs, so not too far off. Then, at 6:30, I got the older girls up and ready for school. I looked for the van key to drive them to the bus stop...and my husband accidentally had both of the keys with him at work. So I had to walk them to the bus stop (good thing I had a couple of good walks under my belt already!). Somehow we didn't miss the bus, the nanny arrived early, and I got back in bed. This whole process seems like two steps forward and one step backward. Today I stepped backward. Tomorrow will be better. I slept A LOT today. Just couldn't keep my eyes open. I've been trying to work, but I just can't keep my brain on it, and I'm too uncomfortable to sit at my desk to really get "in the zone." I guess I was hoping as SuperMom that I'd be feeling a lot better by now. My husband has to do the grocery shopping after work today, so he'll be getting home late. I really want a shower tonight and hope we have time to make that happen. Ah, well. Pity party is over now. My tiny waist and perky boobs and I are going to lay in bed and try to enjoy another day off without further complaint!

Post op day 8

Today was better than yesterday. I still spent a lot of time in bed, but my brain was in a better place, so I was able to work. I even managed to work at my desk for a few hours today. That was a nice change of pace. The pain is manageable - I'm mostly really sore now. There's very little pain if I'm sitting still, but standing up is tough, and I get really sore trying to walk standing up straight. I have my follow up appointment tomorrow, and I was hoping to get my drains out, but I think they're still draining too much. :( I have to go into the office for work on Monday...if they're not gone by then, I'm going to need some tips on how to hide them under nice clothes!! My incisions all look really good, and I feel basically okay...but these drains are driving me nuts! Wish me luck for a drain-free day after my appointment tomorrow!

Post op day 9

Today was a better day. I was up at 4am feeding babies and feeling GREAT. I got a ton of work done for my job this morning after the big kids got on the bus and while the babies were still sleeping. I was standing up almost straight, and had more energy than I've had since the surgery. I drove myself to my post op appointment today, and that was fantastic. My PS was thrilled with my results - he was very enthusiastic - even said "WOW - look at your back! You look completely different!" So true. Unfortunately, my drains are still draining too much to come out...but I have an appointment on Friday to have them removed. I can live with that. With how gross this stuff is...I'll steal a page from Shrek's book and say "better out than in." I had a bunch of staples removed and a bunch of steri strips taken off. My PS said my homework is to start removing those every time I'm in the shower. I'm thrilled with my results so far. I'm posting a pic from today - my boobs look less symmetrical than they really are because I had one hand behind my back holding my drains. I can't believe the difference and I'm SO happy!!!

Post op day 10

At my pre op appointment, my PS told me that I'd be feeling a ton better about 10 days after surgery. With the amount of work I had done, I was skeptical. But he was right. It's day 10, and I feel almost normal...with the exception of these godforsaken drains and the fact that my body is basically covered in steri strips. :) But I'm moving well, I'm not having a lot of pain, and I'm getting my energy back. I'm still having to get creative about picking the babies up. I'm not supposed to pick up anything heavier than 10lbs for a total of 4 weeks. My nanny is working extended hours for me still, but that can't go on for two more weeks, and sometimes I just have to pick them up. They're about 15lbs each...I hope I'm not doing any damage. I feel good and nothing hurts...but I suppose I should talk to my PS about it - at least for peace of mind. In other news, I feel like my CG is getting too big. It's not really giving me as much compression support as it did 10 days ago. I know the swelling is going down, so this is to be expected...but should I get a smaller one? I feel like if I have to wear the darn thing all the time, it might as well be doing its job, right? Also, I almost pulled one of my drains out last night. I had gotten out of the shower and was laying in bed in my robe drying off. I went to sit up to get dressed and had my hand on my drain tube when I sat up. I'm still so numb on my sides where my drains are that I didn't realize I was tugging on it until I felt the tube under my hand. I'm not really squeamish, but the thought of accidentally ripping my own drain out caused a bit of nausea, so I had to lay back down for a few minutes. It bled some around where the tube goes in, but thank god it's stitched in really well, or that sucker would have been making a mess all over my bed while I was passed out on the floor... Lesson learned. Always be aware of your drain tubes. I sincerely hope these things come out tomorrow!!!

Post op day 11 - THE DRAINS ARE GONE!!!!

Thank the dear sweet mother of little baby Jesus I'm glad to have those things out. Last night was AWFUL - I almost went to the ER. Starting in the afternoon, the muscles around the drains started to get rock hard and very angry. Over the span of several hours, all of my lower ab muscles started to tighten like that. I called my PS around 4:00, and they told me that as long as I didn't have a fever or suspect infection (I've been on post op antibiotics, so I wasn't too worried about infection), they could wait to see me at my appointment today. I wasn't so sure. I kept ice across my abdomen all night, and I woke up with a little less pain...but I needed those drains out. I showed up at my PS appointment two hours early, and asked them to work me in early. I figured it would be hard to say no with me sitting in the waiting area. :) I waited less than 10 minutes and the nurse called me back. She sat me right down and removed the drains. INSTANT relief. I feel SO much better without them. I'm wearing a fitted shirt and yoga pants today and I feel HOT. :) So happy!!!

I can't wait for summer!

I was playing around with some of my long-forgotten bikinis since those drains are hubby grabbed my phone and started taking pics. I can't wait until I can start running again and get my legs back in shape. I'm SO happy with my shape!!!! I'm going to wear bikinis all summer this year!!! :)

Post op day 12

Today is my birthday. I put on my skinny jeans, a nice fitted top, and took my older girls to get pedicures with me. Then we went to lunch, and did some shopping. I was out and about for probably 6 hours or so and I am exhausted and so sore!! But I had a great day. My parents brought me dinner from my favorite restaurant because they figured I probably didn't want to go out again today (they were right). Now I'm laying in bed resting and trying to get control of the pain and my hubby is taking care of the bedtime routine for all the kids. I'm a blessed woman. I feel like I've given myself the best birthday present ever. It felt great today when the sales lady at the store said "You have TWO sets of TWINS?? Girl, you look amazing!!!" I'm on cloud 9...I would do this again in a heartbeat. All of the planning, worrying, and pain is more than worth it. Also, for reference, the jeans I wore today were size 12. My 10s and 8s don't stand a chance yet. But I rocked the 12s. :) I'm going to take some measurements this week and compare them to my pre op measurements. All in all, I had a fantastic birthday, and I'm really excited for the rest of this year!

Post op day 13

Today was just a normal day at home. It was gorgeous outside, so between loads of laundry and dishes, I went outside and played with the babies and watched the big girls jump on the trampoline and cover the walkway with sidewalk chalk. We had all the windows in the house open and it was so nice to let the fresh air in after how awful this winter has been. We spent the rest of the day preparing for the snowstorm that's coming tomorrow. This weather is insane. I felt like I moved around really well today. I was standing up really straight. I didn't realize how hard I work to do that until my back muscles started burning as the day wore on. But overall, I feel really good. I have some big time swelling since the drains were removed. I'm keeping an eye on it - I'm worried about hematomas, but I'll cross that bridge if I have to. I couldn't have handled those drains any longer than I had them. I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since my surgery. It feels like it's been FOREVER, and at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday. Hard to believe I needed so much help just to take a shower a week ago, and today I chased after 4 kids, washed, dried, and folded mountains of laundry, and did a bunch of other chores. Almost back to normal...except I fight for my energy and wear out very quickly. Happy Sunday, RS friends! Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

*Seroma. Not hematoma.

My brain is tired. :)

2 Weeks!

2 weeks ago today, I had my mommy makeover. It has been a painful, gross, glorious and wonderful two weeks, and I can't wait to see what another week brings. I'm no longer on any kind of pain medication, but I'm definitely still very sore. Tylenol just doesn't touch it, and I can't stand the narcotics anymore. I'm very swollen - probably the most swollen I've been since the surgery (is that normal?). I'm 99% sure I have a seroma...I will call my PS in the morning. It's under my incision, in the mons pubis area. When I press on it, it looks like a waterbed is shaking above my incision on my right side. It's gross...but not painful. Can those be absorbed, or do they have to be drained? I guess I should have kept the drains for a couple more days, but I just couldn't. I was down to 25cc in the drains in a 24 hour period...but I guess these things just happen sometimes. I know it's not a big deal, it's just a pain to have to drive all the way to the PS to have it taken care of. But - still totally worth it, and I'm not at all worried about this small bump in the road. We didn't get as much snow as they were expecting today, but the kids were out of school and it's COLD. I'm ready for summer. Well, in a few more weeks when I'm more healed and less swollen I'll be ready for summer...but I'm definitely ready for it to be warmer than 10 degrees outside!!!

Post op day 15

Well, I went to the PS today for the seroma. He took one look and said "yeah, that definitely needs to be drained." It wasn't overly painful...just gross. He numbed me up, then got out a huge needle, attached to a massive syringe. I could feel him stick the needle in, but it wasn't altogether painful. I could feel him pulling the fluid out, which hurt, but it wasn't awful. I was okay until he told me he needed me to stand up to make sure he got all of the fluid and had to go in again while I was standing. I still get a bit queasy while standing if I'm dealing with bandages or anything related to my incisions. I'm fine sitting down, but not so fine standing up. But I had to stand up for this, and I nearly fainted. Lesson learned - don't watch the doctor drain the seroma while you're standing up. I was so embarrassed - they had to get the smelling salts. My vision got blurry and my ears were ringing...I thought I was tougher than that. :) But, the seroma is gone (for now), and my PS doesn't think it's going to return, but told me to just call him if it does. I hope I don't have to repeat that experience. But it was great to see him smiling, saying "I still can't believe how amazing you look. You're going to have so much fun shopping for new clothes." I feel amazing. I'm so so happy. And he's right - I really can't wait to go shopping. :)

A view from behind...

Before & Post op day 16. A definite improvement!

Post op day 16

Not much to report today. The kids are still out of school for the snow that has all melted now. If they don't go back tomorrow, I'm considering selling them to the circus. :) The seroma is growing again - I'm sure it'll have to be drained again. I guess I'll call the PS tomorrow to see what I need to do. I suspect this is going to be a pain to deal with over the next couple weeks, but that's okay. If this is my only complication, I consider myself quite lucky. My incision looks fantastic - it's already flat and barely visible in some places. The scars on my boobs are going to be practically invisible, which is awesome. I felt really good all day, and noticed that I'm standing up straighter with less effort. I have more and more energy every day. My kids have noticed my different shape, and they keep saying, "Mom, how did you get so skinny? You look really pretty." :) I can't stop smiling when I look at myself. I can't remember ever feeling this good about myself!!

10 Things I've Learned in the last 3 Weeks

1. This isn’t a makeover.

I researched and soul-searched and worried and wondered and hoped. And I settled on a Mommy Makeover. When I think of a makeover, I think of learning a new way to apply makeup. Or a new hairstyle or hair color. I did not have a makeover. I had a complete overhaul. I had an extended tummy tuck, a breast lift, and lipo of my upper back, under my arms, abdomen, flanks, and inner and outer thighs. These are not simple procedures. These are not procedures that come free from complications. These are not, necessarily, outpatient procedures. In my blissful ignorance and undeniable hope, I did not adequately prepare for what I put my body through. Know what you’re getting yourself into. Talk to people who had the same combination of procedures you’re having. Know going in that you’re going to look like a completely different person coming out…and make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared for that.

2. Trust your gut.

I consulted one doctor when choosing my plastic surgeon. And that was my OB. She carried me through two extremely difficult and complex pregnancies. I trust her completely. She pointed me to my plastic surgeon, and I never looked back. People ask me why I didn’t interview three or four or more plastic surgeons…it’s because I didn’t need to. This is a very personal choice and you’re going to have a lot of people share very inappropriate opinions with you about this very personal choice. Tune out the noise and go with your gut. You know what’s best for you.

3. The pain is worse than you’re imagining.

You think you’re ready. You’ve read everything about it, you’re a tough chick, you know how to manage pain. You know it’s going to hurt, but really, how bad can it be? Women do this all the time, right? I’m here to tell you that you’re not prepared for this kind of pain. I’ve survived two twin pregnancies (and c-sections), three back surgeries (one to keep me alive after a severe staph infection in my spine), and multiple broken bones. I used to ride horses for a living as a show jumper. I know pain. I know how to work through pain. I’m stoic and I’m tough – to the point of stupidity sometimes (often). I wasn’t ready for this. I came out of surgery in pure agony. The pre-op literature I was given indicated that I would feel “moderate discomfort” after surgery. False. I felt like I had been run over by a steamroller. Repeatedly. And it’s not the kind of pain that’s bearable when you’re not moving, but flares up when you try to get up. It’s constant, and it’s agonizing. For the first day or so anyway. Take the prescription medication. Take it on time, every time, and do everything you can to stay ahead of the pain. The first week is absolute misery, but every day is a little better. Don’t be a hero. Take the drugs.

4. Take time off work.

I have the luxury of working from home. Given that luxury, I didn’t think I needed to take a lot of official time off of work. So I didn’t. And I should have. I had surgery on a Monday, and I was working again by Wednesday. This, my friends, is a bad idea. I’m probably the only one who needed to be told that, but just in case I’m not, I’m telling everyone else. The first problem was that I was on heavy narcotics. Percocet messes with my memory big time, so I would do something on Wednesday, and completely forget about it by Thursday. Also, I would fall asleep at inopportune times. Like on conference calls. If I were to do it over, I would have taken at least an entire week off. I was up and moving off of the narcotics by the second week, so working from bed wasn’t bad, but working the first week was dumb. Don’t do it.

5. You need help.

Did I mention this is not a makeover, it’s an overhaul? I’m going to assume that the majority of women who consider a mommy makeover are, in fact, mommies. I’m going to assume that many of us work outside of the home as well. If you’re married, I’m going to assume that most of your husbands also work outside of the home. I realize this may not be the case for everyone, but I’m taking a chance and casting a blanket assumption. Your house will get disorganized and messy. Your kids will need attention that you don’t have the energy or strength for. Your husband may be a saint, but he doesn’t do things like you do. If you have babies or small children, your husband will struggle to take care of you and the children. Balls will get dropped. All of this is okay. But you will need help. I have a wonderful nanny who watches my infant twins (they were 8 months old when I had my surgery) while I work at home, and while my older twins (age 6 at the time of my surgery) are in school. She agreed to stay at our house for the entire week after my surgery to help. She did nearly everything for the kids while my husband took care of me. She handled the laundry, dishes, light cleaning, etc. so my husband could focus on just keeping me reasonably comfortable. If you have someone you trust that could stay with you and do that for you (nanny, mom, sister, really good friend, even a teenage babysitter that you trust), I highly recommend it. If you don’t, I urge you to consider looking into a part time nurse or some sort of home health care that can lend a hand. I needed A LOT more help than I was expecting…and I had A LOT of good help. You need a support system, and you need to be mentally prepared to lean on them. This is a tough one for us independent super-moms…but trust me, you’ll be happier and have a more stress-free healing period if you know all of your ducks are in a row while you’re passed out in a narcotic coma for a week (or more).

6. Never underestimate the benefit of a catheter.

If you are having the amount of work done that I did, I very strongly suggest a) having your surgery in a hospital, versus a surgical center and b) staying in the hospital overnight. Unless your plastic surgeon’s surgical center allows for overnight stays and has 24 hour nursing staff available – then do it in the surgical center (less chance of infection). Being in the hospital, I had a catheter, so I didn’t have to try to move or use a bed pan for the first 24 hours. I’m not sure I could have if I had to, so this was a huge benefit to me. Also, I had a nurse responsible for tracking the amount and frequency of my pain medication, so all I had to do was sleep. Also, I had morphine. That’s a pretty big plus after this surgery. They also employ all the techniques necessary to avoid blood clots (especially important after lipo), and you’re in exactly the right place if there are complications or questions right after surgery. If I had to do it over, I would unquestionably pay for a one night hospital stay again, and I highly recommend it.

7. You’re not a stomach sleeper anymore.

I’m a stomach sleeper. Or I was. And if I can’t sleep on my stomach, I’m a side sleeper. What I’m not is a back sleeper. And what I’ve had to be for the past three weeks is a back sleeper. After three back surgeries, this is not fun for me. And no amount of pillows can make it fun. I’m just starting to be able to sleep on my side, and because my thighs are still really sore from the lipo, I kind of toss and turn all night moving from one side to the other. And having my boobs back where they belong makes it hard to figure out where my arms go when I sleep now. All this will sort itself out in time, but right now, it’s pretty darn uncomfortable. I don’t really have any advice for this – I sleep with a pillow between my legs, and it’s getting a little easier day by day. But this has been a tough one for me. And while we’re on the subject, I couldn’t have gotten through this without the hospital bed I rented. It was reasonably priced, and my local pharmacy delivered it and set it up. Having that made it infinitely easier to get in and out of bed, and infinitely more comfortable to sleep. I only kept it for 8 days or so, but it was absolutely worth it, and if you have the space and resources to do that, I definitely would.

8. Step away from the stairmaster

If you have a two story house (or more accurately, if your bedroom and bathroom are on the second story of your two story house), you’re going to have some trouble. I have a two story house. I may not have been fully prepared for the pain, but I was cognizant enough to realize that going up and down my stairs the first week after surgery wasn’t an option. My husband moved our loveseat into the dining room, and I had my hospital bed set up in its place – right in the middle of all the action. We have a shower in our laundry room and a half bath downstairs, so I was all set for single-story living for as long as I needed it. I didn’t brave my stairs until about 7 days post op…and they kicked my butt. So if you can get by with without using stairs…I would advise it.

9. This isn’t what you thought it would be.

All of us go into this type of surgery with some sort of “wish picture.” Some sort of preconceived notion of what we’re going to look like. We get our hopes up. We buy clothes that we have no idea how or if they will fit. We play with photoshop to try and make ourselves look how we want to look, while we obsessively count down the days to this life-changing choice that we have made. We have over-analyzed every part of our bodies that we hate, and we tick through the minutes until surgery hating our current selves and wishing for our new bodies. Maybe not all of us, but I’m casting another blanket assumption here. On the “flat side,” you will see improvement. You will also see swelling and scarring and bruising and you will look exactly how you feel, for a few days anyway – like death. Not exactly what you imagined, right? I’m learning patience and perspective. I loved myself before this, but I hated my body. HATED it. I picked apart every flaw and despised looking in the mirror. Now, I can’t stop smiling. I don’t look like what I imagined. There are still flaws I could pick apart all day long. But I don’t. Because despite the fact that I don’t look like what I thought I would look like, I love my body now. I’m motivated to stay fit. I’m motivated to eat right. I’m motivated to teach my kids about a healthy lifestyle. I’m motivated to maintain this body that I’ve worked so hard and suffered so much for, because now I don’t just love myself…I love how I see myself, and that makes the reality of all of this so much better than anything I could have imagined.

10. This is for you.

There are a million reasons to choose plastic surgery. There are a million people who will tell you you’re being vain and selfish. There are a million people who will be jealous and show that jealousy to you in ways you could never have thought possible of people you considered friends. There are a million people who will not believe your reasons for making a choice like this, no matter what you say. I did this for me. Myself. I. I chose to spend the money and take the time and carve a month out of my crazy life to focus solely and completely on myself. Well, as much as my kids and job will allow. My husband fully supported this. My husband was excited about this. But I did not do this for my husband. I did not do this so other people would look at me and say “wow, she has four kids??” I did not do this to make my friends jealous. I did this so I can look in the mirror and not be disgusted. I did this so I can feel good about myself again. I did this so I can throw all of my spanx away and never spend a sweltering moment sweating in that awful spandex under a cute dress at a summer wedding again. I did this to avoid the awkwardness of yelling “YOU DID THIS TO ME!” when my kids laugh and say “Mom, why are your boobies so long?” (Yes, they said that. No, I did not respond. Yes, I may have eaten more ice cream than probably was necessary after that incident.) I. Did. This. For. Me. And I am so happy I did. All the work and worry and pain…so totally worth it.

Good luck to all of you counting down to your surgery dates, and good luck to all of you who are recovering. This sure is a long road, and I know reading about everyone else’s experiences has helped me tremendously. I hope by sharing my experiences and thoughts, I can help a few people too. Happy healing, all!!!

4 Weeks post op

The fact that in spending more time out and about and less time updating my RS profile should tell you that I'm healing really well. :) I'll take some more pics later tonight, but wanted to post one in clothes from earlier this week. I was laying down because I'm still pretty dang beat by the end of the day (hard to say if the exhaustion is a product of recovery or of the fact that in a working mother of 4, but I digress). My husband snapped this pic because he loves my shape and doesn't think I can see it in the mirror. :) I love tucking shirts in now - no need to hide the gross gut. I love low rise jeans now...and I NEVER thought I would say that. The swelling is going down (very very very slowly), and if I don't wear my compression garment, I look like a microwaved Peep by the end of the day. But the pain is virtually gone. I'm focusing on getting my diet back in the right place (it was pretty easy to justify eating my feelings while dealing with the recovery pain...but I didn't work this hard and spend this much money to ruin it with thin mints). I'm about 5 pounds lighter than I was on the day of surgery, and I expect that to keep melting away as my eating improves and the swell hell starts to recede. I feel terrific and can't wait to start exercising again. I feel like I could run for miles...though I'm sure that sentiment will change as soon as I actually get out on the trail. My seroma is almost completely absorbed, without the need for further drainage (thank goodness). My scars are looking amazing - barely visible on my boobs and already flattening out on my tummy. I can't adequately express how happy I am that I did this, and how much it has changed my life. My kids hear me say "I love my body" ALL the time now...instead of hearing me talk about all the parts I hate. That's huge, and makes all of this more than worth it!

Really love my new belly button! :)

5 Weeks Post Op

I had a follow up appointment with my PS this morning. He said I look great, and cleared me for running. Thankfully the weather is finally looking up, so I'll be hitting the trails by the end of the week! I'm more than ready to get back on track with exercise. He asked if we could take some "after" photos for the website and I agreed - I must be looking pretty darn good if he wants me on the website. :) My clothes are all starting to fit really well, and I'm slowly weaning myself off of wearing my compression garment. It's itchy and hot...but I feel so much better with the support it gives me that it's hard to not wear it. I'm trying to only wear it to bed now. It's really nice to wear a real bra again (though it's also really nice to not wear a bra and still have the girls north of the border...). I feel skinny. Previously, I have felt fit. I have felt healthy. I have felt "no longer obese." I have never in my life felt skinny. It's a really good feeling and I'm going to do everything I can to maintain it. :)

6 weeks post op

So I started running this week. It's harder than I thought it would be. All the areas that had lipo burn basically with each step. I wear an industrial-strength sports bra and compression leggings when I run - but it's still pretty rough. But - I'm doing it, and it feels great to be active again. Swell hell sets in BIG TIME after exercise - I've started wearing my compression garment for a few hours after exercise to help with it. I'm not sure if it's doing any good, but it makes me feel better. :) My stage 2 CG is getting too big now...I don't think I want to spend another $150 on a size smaller, so I think I'm just going to switch to my spanx when I feel like I need the support. I've been into the office a couple of times now. People keep asking me how I lost all the baby weight so quickly. :) I feel fantastic. The confidence that I have when I put clothes on can't put a price tag on that.

I'm posting some new pics - one is of my favorite new bikini - a STRAPLESS top!!! It used to take a crane to hoist these puppies up where they needed to be, and now I'm wearing a strapless top!!! I am so unbelievably excited about that. Another pic is the bare naked before and after - my scars are looking pretty good. I have some puckering on the edges of my tummy tuck scar, but I truly don't care. I also posted a pic of one of my work outfits.

So so happy. So so worth it.

Real Life Update

February marks the 2 year anniversary of my mommy makeover. I'm so far removed from the pain, swelling, bruising, drains, and scar treatments that it's hard to remember going through all of that. On to real babies are 2 1/2 now and my older children are 8. We're busy. I've never been happier. I look in the mirror every day and love my body. I love it. I'm so happy with myself and so confident. This was hands-down the best decision I ever made for myself. My husband can't take his eyes (or hands) off of me. My clothes fit. I have 4 kids and I wear bikinis. I maintain a weight of roughly 160lbs, and I wear between a size 6 and 8. My bra size is a comfortable 36DD. For anyone questioning whether this is worth it or not - it is. Do your homework, choose a doctor you trust, make the choice for the right reasons...but it's absolutely worth it.

Real Life Update (Photo)

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