Flat belly, here I come.

Hey RS community! I'm a 33-year old mom to four...

Hey RS community! I'm a 33-year old mom to four beautiful children, ages 13 - 3 (all delivered via c-section). I have been hiding my saggy, loose belly for well over a decade! A tummy tuck was always on the horizon, after baby #1 left me SOOOOO stretched out and with a significant apron following a c-section. Toward the end of my first pregnancy, my lower abdominal skin took on a very strange, watery texture. It never went away completely. I gained 40-60 lbs with each pregnancy, leaving me further stretched and saggy. My boobs and butt always got huge too, lol!

I have a natural hour-glass shape and a healthy amount of self-confidence. But my belly has always held me back! This summer I threw my hands in the air and said, "To hell with it!" I'm going to embrace this body and prove to myself (and anyone else, for that matter) that I can be proud and comfortable in a two-piece, even with a non-traditional bikini body. I bought some bikinis (HELLLLLLOOOOO! Most comfortable swimwear ever!) I'd always hidden behind "tankinis" since I'm so tall and normal swimwear cuts into my (lower everything) too much. The first day wearing a bikini at the beach was exhilarating. Just being able to feel the sun and wind on my belly was a spiritual experience! I have been on a mission to prove that anyone can be comfortable in their own skin, even with rolls, stretch marks, a "demented belly button" (as my pre-teen son told me mine was, haha! to which I responded smiling, "I didn't get this belly by myself-- you four DARLINGS helped!") :D

While I have embraced my body, flaws and all, I'm heartily looking forward to a full TT (possibly a MM too, but waiting until consultations with PS to make a decision about my breasts.) Though I could keep this skin and be comfortable with myself, it does hold me back during intimate moments. My husband has always been so supportive and complimentary to me in every phase of our marriage & childbearing years. He is supportive and happy about my decision, and looking forward to an even freer, more confident me! I've become skilled at camouflaging my belly and apron behind clothing, high-cut bottoms, spanx etc, but I'm so over all that. I'm ready to not look four months pregnant in anything remotely tight-fitting, too. It's my time now. :)

My expectations are pretty realistic. I'm most looking forward to losing the loose skin. I can keep some of the stretch marks... they don't bother me. I'm really hoping for a low scar, and drastically improved belly button. It was always small and a very deep "innie". Not sure what to expect, but I know I will love it more than what it currently is. I had pronounced diastis-recti (sp?) with each pregnancy (with my last one, I could pop the muscle in and out of place! Yuck!) I'm greatly looking forward to having all my inner muscles sewn back together, allowing me to see real results from working out. I'm not a regular exerciser, but I do enjoy light cardio and being active with my family. I hope having a TT will give me more dedication to a regular fitness routine.

I'll keep my profile updated with my journey! Thanks everyone for being a part of this community. It's already been a huge help to me.

Scheduled my surgery! AHHHHH! So excited (and nervous)

I had two consultations on the same day last week with two doctors who I felt would do an awesome job. I THINK this was wise to do because I wanted to get multiple opinions about my body. The only problem is that now I have more questions because these doctors had two very different possible outcomes.

The first doctor said I would need an extended tummy tuck (my scar would reach around my hips toward my back). Yikes! This is due to my curvy shape and amount of skin he'd take out. He also said that my belly button is on the higher side of average, which means my scar would need to be higher to reduce the chance of having a vertical scar to close the old naval opening (which is a bummer! I want a scar as low as possible). I'd have a 10% chance of that vertical scar happening, even with a higher horizontal incision. Overall I was impressed with the amount of time he spent talking to me about a TT. We discussed a breast augmentation but he warned me that without a breast lift, my implants would create a small gap between the base of my breasts and my chest wall. I decided on TT only. His staff was great too. Their office is only a 45 minute drive from my home.

The second doctor... I was kind of already set on him before my consultations. His website is FULL of information and before / after photos. This is so helpful for me because I can't. get. enough. info at this stage of the game. I assume the first doctor (because they are both HIGHLY rated on realself.com and google) has many happy patients as well, but it's a bummer that his website doesn't reflect that. It's part of the reason I am going with doctor #2... Dr. York Yates. He didn't think that my naval was too high, nor that I need an extended tummy tuck. He said my incision can be as low as I want it. He addressed all of my concerns with an almost casual air, like those things were no big deal and that I am a great candidate for a beautiful tummy tuck. :) Yay! We also discussed a breast augmentation without a lift. My goal is to have more fullness at the top. I'm happy with my symmetry and nipple height. He said my goal was totally achievable, and that an implant wouldn't cause my nipples to be lower (which was a concern of mine). He said my breasts would look more or less the same, just with more fullness at the top. I'm opting for just a TT with this surgery and may go back next year, or even five years from now if I do want implants in the future. I pretty happy with my breasts now and will see how I feel about everything after my TT.

SO... I scheduled my surgery for December 13 with Dr. Yates. I'm so thrilled. I'm also a bit nervous because the first PS put into my mind some concerns about my body that I didn't have before. (high belly button, maybe needing a higher horizontal scar, needed an extended TT.) I probably should have only ever scheduled the one consultation since I was set on Dr. Yates in the first place, due to his website and before/afters. Now I'm worried that I'm going with the PS who is promising everything I want. I'm trying to trust, based on my gut instinct and his awesome reputation, that he can meet my expectations. I've already put $500 down toward my surgery so there is no going back. (I should point out that his office is nearly 90 minutes from my home and his surgery costs $1000 more than the first doc.) I'm happy with my decision. But this is such a big deal! Are these feelings normal??? My biggest fear is that I will somehow be disappointing with my results, or have regrets.

More before pics. Just over four weeks to go.

Low-rise pants have always been the enemy. Honestly I'm not sure if I will love them much more even after my surgery. But just for fun, here is a comparison that I hope to follow up with in a few months when my tummy looks the way I want it to.

Quick getaway with the hubby before all the holidays and my surgery

DH and I hopped on a plane and came to the beach for a two-night mini vacay. We've had SUCH a busy couple of months with extended family plans and other unexpected events (sister's wedding, friend's funeral, brother leaving for a two year service mission to Peru!) needless to say, quality time has been hard to come by. We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves, knowing things are only going to get crazier for a while. Here's a couple befores that I can have as motivation when I can work out again post-surgery!

Two weeks and counting...

Put on my PJs tonight and said "Ug!" Can't wait for this baggage to be gone! I'm honestly as exited for how my tummy will look with clothes on as without! Yay! It's starting to seem real. I keep telling myself I'm not nervous... ha! Mostly I'm excited. My new goal is to have all Christmas presents wrapped before I go in for surgery. I'm pretty sure I will not be up my usual 1am Christmas morning wrapping mania this year! I'll be 12 days post op on Christmas and I'm starting to question my scheduling and why I planned it this way… Oh well. I'm sure not everything will get finished in time. I bet the house will not be as clean as I want it to be. but I'm telling myself it's going to be just fine. My DH has a seasonal business so he will be around to help out quite a bit. I have a lot of family and friends nearby, my kids are old enough to help look after each other (and maybe even give momma a foot rub once in a while!) so come what may. I want to put all of my positive energy into having a safe, successful surgery and speedy recovery. I can't sweat the small stuff. So, for the next two weeks i'll keep preparing, and continue to imagine how I will look next spring. In the meantime, more "befores" Cheers and happy holidays, my friends!

More before

My belly is so lumpy. Can't wait to join the flat side. Hopefully it turns out as smooth as I hope!

Active wear

york yates

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