36 Years Old, 3 Kids - Finally Tummy Tuck & Lipo for Stubborn Spots

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I have 3 kids (youngest is almost 2) and I've...

I have 3 kids (youngest is almost 2) and I've breastfed them all. I'm 5'7" 126lbs., very active and healthy. I workout every day mixing in both cardio and weights. After what felt like forever debating what I wanted my own mommy makeover to look like, I finally made my decision and had a tummy tuck and lipo of the flanks and outer saddlebags 8 days ago. I'm relieved to finally have it over. Since I'm still in the middle of swelling and resting I'm not feeling as excited as I know I will at 2 months out. I'm trying to be patient with my body and rest.

I seriously considered getting a BA too and just couldn't get over the risks involved - namely what if my body rejected them or I got capsular contracture or just didn't like the way they looked on me and then had to pay another huge sum to get them removed and then have even worse breasts than when I started? That's just too risky for me. Then I thought about fat transfer to the breasts. I really, really thought hard about this one and saw a couple surgeons about it. But because I'm thin, both surgeons estimated getting at the most 75cc into each breast (with as low as 50% retention) and they both said they didn't think it would be worth it to me but that they would do it if I wanted them to. But the thought of perhaps aggressively lipo-ing my legs and risking a part of my body that I like for a potentially unnoticeable increase in my breasts was also too risky for me. Also Dr. Emily Williams who I went with is a fantastic breast reconstruction surgeon and has seen it all in terms of breast cancer and she warned me that there could be some cancer risks involved (although none proven).

So I decided to narrow it down to tummy tuck and lipo to the flanks. At the pre-op appointment Dr. Williams took photos and showed me how my saddlebags are out of proportion and recommended I have her lipo those a tiny bit too. I agreed when she told me that it definitely would not make my butt droop and that it would be a very, very small amount. And then on the morning of my surgery, with my IV in arm, I reminded her to take just a tiny bit out of my saddlebags and no butt droop. I was really anxious about getting a drooping butt!

My first week of recovery

Being as active as I am, and because I had 3 kids, I really expected to bounce back super quick. The first week was really rough. Everything was swollen - including my hands, feet, face, everything! My PS did a lot of muscle plication and had to pull muscles over my previous hernia repair so I was in a lot of pain recovering. I took oxycodone the first 48 hours and then switched to ibuprofen and tylenol as directed. I didn't like the way the heavy meds made me groggy and slowed my bowels. :( So I was glad to be done with those. I was up walking around really hunched over the whole first week, and not until today (day 9 PO) could I stand up straight enough to leave the house without someone wondering what happened to me. I get tired of walking upright and need to take breaks often. I had a lot of help from my husband the first 48 hours, and then after that he really just focused on the kids and I could take care of myself. I took care of my own drains after I was off heavy meds. I have been taking arnica montana 30X (my PS approved it) and I believe it has helped with the swelling. The only thing that is still swollen are my surgery sites. I still can't squeeze into my pre-op jeans but I think I tried too soon. I will try again at 3 or 4 weeks. I am thrilled that my tummy is without extra skin - it's still very swollen but I can envision how great it will feel in a month or so.

I was back to work from my laptop at 3 days PO. Yesterday my PS gave me the green light to walk outside so I went on a long leisurely stroll for 45 minutes. It was fantastic to be out and walking.

I'm trying to eat really healthy (lots of fruits, veggies, and water) so I don't gain weight during recovery.

It's been difficult to not play with or lift my almost 2 year-old. Now my little one knows something is up and doesn't ask for me to hold him often. :( When I want to spend time with the kids I sit on the couch with them and read with them. Even my little one will sit next to me and let me read like that and that makes it much better.

I can't wait to get back into non-yoga pants!

Day 9 Post Op Photos

Swollen and bruised but no extra skin. Yay! PS said belly button is swollen and it will (should?) heal as an innie with a hood.

Day 14 and better each day

I never thought I would make it to day 14! I read over and over that regret was common the first two weeks and I can confirm that. I healed quickly and even still those first few days I wondered if I made a mistake going through all this. But today as I was waking up I could see my hips again (before they were hidden under the swollen skin) and all of the sudden I see the light at the end of the healing tunnel!
My compression garment started off a little too big and as time went on it became really loose but my surgeon's office didn't want to give me another one because they're too expensive so they recommended I wash and dry it and now it fits more snug. My PS says I can transition to Spanks now. But I have had nerve pain on my left hip just under my TT incision and this poses a challenge for having to pull Spanks up over my hips. I have a high tolerance for pain and have tried to put on Spanks three different times and each time I say, no, this isn't worth it. At first the pain was a sharp, burning, shooting pain that I felt every time something touched that area. Now it's less sensitive but anytime there is pressure there I feel it again. I might need to go buy a bigger size Spanks to avoid that nerve pain, but for now I'll just keep wearing my CG.
I have an appointment with my doctor next week and she will take off bandages and start me on scar treatment. How exciting!

How I'm coping without my regular exercise habits

Not working out has definitely been the biggest challenge for me. Before the surgery I worked out every single day. I need it to feel balanced, but for the first week after the surgery I couldn't do anything more than walk around the house.

Since about a week ago I have been doing really light gardening (no lifting) and have been going for a walk - about 10-45 minutes depending on how I feel that day. I stop whenever I feel tired or like the swelling is increasing. I even went to the gym today and did really light treadmill walking for 30 minutes. That felt so good!

I have significant swelling just above my TT incision that gets a little worse at the end of every day whether I go walking or not so I might as well get up walk around. I'm still taking arnica montana (30X strength) 4 times a day to help with the swelling. I'm not taking much for the pain - maybe one regular strength Advil every other day. Sneezing and laughing still hurts.

Mama's got a new pair of Spanx!

Happy to report I got a new pair of Spanx and have been much more comfortable the past 2 days since I've been wearing them. Still not lifting kids or anything heavier than 10lbs. I go to the gym for 30 minutes every other day and do very light weights on my arms (5 lbs each) and only 2 sets of 20 or so. I wear my real compression garment to the gym for added security. I stop whenever I feel tired and don't do anything that puts any pressure or strain on my tummy. I also go walking about 30 minutes on my non-gym days. Once my PS gives me the green light I'm going to do the 30 Day Squat Challenge!

Swelling is still significant on the ledge above my TT incision. Still spending a lot of time resting in bed. Taking arnica montana and one advil and one sennacot everyday.

Happy healing!

Day 18 PO

I should add that I still can't get into my pre-op jeans - I realized the ones I wore to my work meeting last week were jeggings and those don't count. :) My pre-op jeans don't close by a couple of inches so I know there's still a lot of swelling.

Day 22 Post-Op

Just got back from the PSs office. They removed the steri-strips and I got to see the scar. It's a little higher than the bikini bottoms that the PS said she would get it into - I was bummed when I first realized that - but PS said it will settle. Plus other TT veterans on RS have really helped me think about other bottoms options that I can find.

I'm posting photos of me with the silicone sheets on the scars.

My PS gave me the ok to keep increasing my workouts and to just stop if I feel any bad pain. She said I can run in 1-3 weeks depending on how things feel - just to stop if I feel pain.

My new belly button

My PS saw me last week and told me she wasn't able to make a true innie because I didn't have enough space/fat in my belly. I'm using Scar Recovery Gel and silicone strips daily. I took them off because I'm about to go to the gym so I thought I'd show my new bb. It's an improvement from before. My PS says the pink scar below the bb will fade and I think as that happens it will look more natural. She made a little hood, which I'm thrilled about. Still swollen and can't comfortably fit into my pre-op jeans. Got some cute dresses - what better excuse than this, right?

One month PO

I never thought Id make it past the first month. I hear all over RS that it just gets easier from here. I had been taking a few Advils a day and a few doses of arnica Montana to keep the swelling away and I completely forgot to take any all day and boy did I pay the price. I also forgot to take the stool softener (still taking one of those a day) and I wasn't able to go #2 as a result. So I was better today at making sure I was keeping up with the meds.

I can now button my pre-op jeans but they are still uncomfortable with all the swelling so I'm still in skirts and dresses and yoga pants.

I ordered Embrace Scar Therapy yesterday and it should arrive tomorrow. In the meantime I'm using Scar Recovery Gel and silicone strips. I left the silicone strips on for about 36 hours straight and I actually think that helped make the incision flatter. Before I was changing them every 12 hours when I showered but yesterday and this morning I just left them on in the shower and I actually think it worked just fine.

I'm back to working out doing elliptical about 3 times a week and running or power walking the other days. My PS gave me permission to get back to exercising like that but I still can't and don't lift weights more than 10 lbs total (5 lbs in each hand). Maybe I'll come out of this with long lean muscles. Ha!

I tried to take photos with my phone but can't get the butt shot very easily.

Almost 2 months PO

Hey girls! That first month eeked by and now time is going faster! I'm back to working out daily (50-60 minutes each session) and I stopped wearing my CG. I had been getting recurring yeast infections (probably from the CG) and since quitting that I've been ok. CG + summer heat = bad.

I'm still a little swollen but can comfortably fit into pre-op jeans and I fit pre-kids work pants (probably a little tighter than they were before but it still counts!). Still not in pre-kids jeans and might not ever be. It's ok. I'm still at a vast improvement.

None of my friends suspect anything so it's not much of a difference unless I'm naked or in a swimsuit and then it's so much better than before. But even when I'm fully clothed I still feel a lot more confident and comfortable.

I spent a couple weeks from day 21 PO stressing about my scar placement. It still isn't completely hidden within my bikini bottoms that my PS said she would get them into. But it's really close (less than 1/2 inch away) and I'm hoping as the swelling all goes away it will get better.

Trying on swimsuits

I'm having a hard time finding bikinis that completely cover the scar. This is me a couple weeks ago (day 45 PO).

The scar is still a little high

these were the bottoms I brought into the pre-op for markings. She said she would be able to get the scar to be hidden no problem. I'm hoping the swelling will still go down more so the scar will be fully hidden within them.

More close-ups of pre-op tummy

Here are some close-ups of my pre-op belly. With all my stressing about scar placement it's good to look at these and see the improvement already.

10 week update - scars healing nicely

Everything is going really well for my healing. I have a couple more weeks of embrace. I'm doing as much and as intense cardio as pre-surgery. Lifting 10lbs per arm. After the 12-week mark I can do core exercises again. I did a lot of squats this month to perk up my rear after sitting around for a month. I see the difference already.

I was sad for a couple of weeks, regretting not getting fat transfer to my breasts. There's no way I can get it now because I had lipo done with my TT and that pretty much eliminated any little bit of fat transfer potential for me because PSs said I didn't even have enough to make a difference to begin with. But I've pulled myself out of that funk - really thanks to all you RealSelfers who share your stories and remind me that there's no such thing as a perfect body and the closest we can come to that is when we embrace all of ourselves as perfectly imperfect.

3 months PO

Cleared for core workouts! Excited to be almost all better. I'm still a little swollen here - started my period today and even when I'm not on my period my incision line is a little swollen but it's not too bad.

One year done and so happy

I'm so relieved and happy to be done. I can't believe it's been a year. I saw Dr. Williams 2 days ago. My belly button didn't quite heal right (it was not quite an innie and not quite an outie) and I had a hardened scar tissue that showed through tight dresses. So Dr. Williams took care of me and everything. Everything looks amazing. I can't wait to be in a swimsuit. :)

1-year post-op (and close-up of BB revision)

Here's the close-up of the BB that my PS revised 2 days ago. You can also see a couple of inches below the BB I have a little vertical incision - that was where the hardened tissue was. My PS said the my body created hardened tissue around the end of a suture or something like that. My PS went in and removed it. Before she removed it the harder tissue was visible in tight dresses or bathing suits. It also was sensitive when my jeans rubbed against it. I'm so glad that's done!

I had 3 kids and was very healthy and active but...

I had 3 kids and was very healthy and active but couldn't get rid of the flap of skin that hung over my jeans. I interviewed 6 doctors between Spokane and California and chose Dr. Williams. I am so thankful for her. She was amazingly patient with all of my questions. There was even a problem with the way my scars healed (no fault of hers) and she fixed them this past week. Everything looks amazing. I couldn't be happier. She is truly a perfectionist.

This is a close-up of the scar tissue my ps fixed

Spokane Plastic 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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