I want my pre-pregnancy stomach back! Toronto, ON

I'm going on a consult with my PS next week. I've...

I'm going on a consult with my PS next week. I've done a lot of research and have decided a tummy tuck is in my best interest. After five children, I want to feel more confident about my stomach in a bikini. I have loose skin below my belly button, stretch marks, appendectomy scar, and separated muscles. I'm 5'2" 124 pounds and in great shape. This is something I can't fix with diet and exercise.
My biggest concerns going in are getting a very low scar and a cute natural-looking belly button.
Scared and excited to proceed!

Less than two weeks away...

I just signed and sent back all my consents and paperwork. It's all feeling very official now. Today we went out a bought a reclining chair and hubby set it up in the bedroom next to the bed. I will be more comfortable sleeping there for a while after surgery. Tomorrow I go to do the lab work and my official consult is this Thursday.
In case you're wondering, I have already pre-booked my surgery as I have used this surgeon before (breasts) and wouldn't trust anyone more than him with my body.
I will post some current/before pics soon.
Getting excited!

My Before Pics (tummy tuck)

I wanted to post some before pics to remember where I started. I have diastasis recti thanks to my five children. You can see it when I lean back or do a crunch. It stole my hourglass shape and made me a square. Yuck! I also have an appendectomy scar where my skin pools and lots of loose skin and stretch marks on my lower abdomen. Hating my saggy belly button, too.

Just over a week to go!

Pre-surgery consult went great!

The doctor will be able to go drainless on me, which is wonderful. She said I have mostly skin, not fat, and the surgery will be an easy one. Blood work was perfect. She also said the scar would be very low and not as long as I expected.
My only concern now is the belly button. She said there is no guarantee how it will turn out, but I really hope is comes out nice and natural with minimal scarring. Fingers crossed!

Tomorrow is the day!!

I'm getting really scared and excited. I got my period today and don't know if I should wear a tampon or pad to surgery. I've been having ups and downs. One minute I'm so confident, the next I'm questioning my decision. I'm scared my scar won't be as low as my c-section scar and I'm scared for a fake, ugly belly button. My goal is to look better in bikinis, not worse, so it's scary.
I'm not too worried about pain and won't be taking any narcotics, but only concerned with getting good scars. It will be great to have my big diastasis repaired and stretch marks gone. I will ask if I should have lipo to flanks as the nurse wasn't sure.
I think I have everything prepared. We're staying two nights in the hotel for extra rest those first couple days. I've bought my supplements, lazy boy chair, creams/oils, prescriptions, etc.
Surgery is in the morning so I won't be too hungry. It's a long drive so we'll be leaving very early tomorrow to get to Toronto in time.

I did it!!

Yesterday was surgery. I was nauseated all day but pain was okay. I was so glad to wake up alive I didn't care about anything!
All went well. Scar looks very low even though I've seen nothing yet. I was worried I'd need a higher scar or vertical scar but I didn't. Yay! He had to do 200 cc lipo in upper abs under bra line so that hurts a bit. Muscle repair was moderate.
I have to walk hunched DNS sleep propped up. My back already hurts and I have a headache that won't go away. I could only tolerate e few crackers yesterday so maybe eating and drinking will help.
Scared and excited to see under this girdle. Nurse will be down this morning so I can peek.

PO Day 1 Pics

I'm home. I have to walk hunched over for two weeks. Managing pain with Tylenol. It's hard to tell results at this point, of course. Weird dent in one side. Hopefully it goes away. I can't take off bandages so hopefully belly button looks good.

Discomfort!

Yesterday was all about gas, bloating, and heartburn. I can't pass gas or have a snowed movement so the pressure was painful! I hope something happens today. I started colace yesterday.
Still so sore and stiff.
First post op is April 26th. I'll get to see scars then.
I'm still pre-surgery weight.

Horrible Night

Yesterday was a good day. I took my usual 2 extra strength Tylenol every 4 hours and was able to putter around hunched, sit outside, etc. After dinner things went downhill as the gas pain and pressure started again. It got terrible! Hubby bought me suppositories, enema, and milk of magnesia...nothing worked. The trapped gas was killing me and I couldn't sleep most of the night. After getting into the doggy position in the bathroom at 2 am I finally passed gas which relieved some pressure so I could get some sleep.
So far so good today and hopefully I'll have a bowel movement.
Still sore and hunched. Scar is shorter than I expected but might be higher than he marked me. Too hard to tell all tight and hunched. Appendectomy scar gone and stretch marked skin gone. I
can't wait to be normal again! It's so nice out and I feel like a trapped invalid. Every day I feel a bit better and stronger though.

Progress!

It's certainly true that the first 2-3 days post op are the worst. Yesterday was a good day and last night was the first night I slept through without waking. I hadn't taken a pain pill since the previous afternoon but needed one first thing in the morning, not for pain but serious soreness and stiffness.
My pubic mound is swollen and bruised a bit, so is my upper leg slightly. Some bruises appeared in my upper tummy where he did a bit of lipo.
Still no bowel movement but the fact I can pass gas means no horrible pain. Feel more independent and can get up and down pretty good. Still have to walk hunched...doctors orders.
I still have that dent that I assume is from a retractor, and praying it smoothed away as I heal. I haven't gained weight but my torso is very wide and swollen. I was smaller before. Can't see much difference from day one post except maybe a bit less tight.
I replaced the gauze over my belly button as it was all bloody and gross. There is another gauze half inside which I dare not touch. My follow up is next Tuedday when I'll get to see scars and get stitch knots out.
One week and three days until I can walk upright which means I can go in public again!
Feeling really good just a bit sore and tight.

Feeling much better

This is day 5 post op. I had my first and second bowel movement today. No more pain meds at all, just the antibiotics.
Sleeping good and feel good. Just sore, tight, and hunched.
My surgical tape is Loki g gross but I'm too scared to replace it myself. Will wait until I have my post op on Tuesday. I think the debt might be improving but it's hard to tell.
Bruising moving down my leg a bit.
My binder is closing tighter do I'm assuming swelling is going down a bit. I notice some difference but still feel like a tree trunk.

One week post op + concerns

Physically I feel great, no pain, bowels normal, appetite normal. I'm healing up wonderfully.
The past couple days I have noticed an increase in swelling around and below the long incision. I even get deep dents from the binder when I didn't before. Same weight.

My concerns are all scar related.
1) When the doctor marked me before surgery I had on my favourite undies and the line was well hidden. Now the actual scar is ateast an inch above the top line of those indies. I'm sad because all my bikinis and undies have that low cut.
2) Something went wrong with my belly button! There is a big "V" scar BESIDE where my new belly button is. So no matter how good my belly button turns out I will have a big obvious scar beside it.
The ONE thing I mentioned before surgery was to be caeful with the BB, and now this... I assume he cut the wrong spot first and that left the second incision.
3) the surgical dent is not going away. If it remains it's above the scar line so I'll have a visible dent in a bathing suit on my nice new tummy. My skin is now folding at the dent and I can't see it going away. The nurse said to lightly massage it and it will go away but I do t think it will. It looks like a retractor dent.
Anyway, still early and I'm still hunching for another week. Everything is VERY tight still. Can't wait to move and feel normal. I'm just bigger than pre-surgery still.

Concerned

Today was my first follow up. The PS was on holidays so I saw the nurses. When she removed the surgical dressing from my belly button it was 100% black! She looked concerned and called in second nurse, emailed pics to the PS on vacation, and called another nurse.
I'm so scared it's dead.
I'm instructed not to get it wet until my next appointment in 2 weeks. I have to put polyspirin daily and warm heating pads.
I'll post a pic tomorrow when I tend it.
The size and shape look nice so I hope this all ends well. So scared.

10 days post op

I feel really good, eating well, and doing more around the house. Still hunched for another four days but my back is fine.
I posted some new pics. The swelling is SO much worse in the evening. These are in the morning but although I'm still swollen I can get a glimpse if the final me and it is exciting! I'm down one pound from pre-surgery. He took out 1.5 pounds of skin/fat.
I'm sad my scar is higher than my pre-op marking as most of my undies and bathing suits will be useless but I'll judge when I'm all healed up. They redressed my scar.
You can see my poor belly button. It's a triangle which I think looks better than a circle. I just need it to heal healthy. No pain, fever, or much discharge which is good.
Feeling more positive today and can't wait to see my changes.

12 days post...happy

The nurse said to put a sock under my garment where the dent is to help stretch it out and I noticed a positive difference this morning.
I'm still hunched but not as much. Still swollen especially at and under incision, but it's getting better.
Belly button is a bit pink inside now which is good but there is a weird bump inside. Too early to tell what will happen.
Starting to see a bit of results + feeling good makes me happy.
Two more days until I'm allowed to start straightening out. Since it feels like there's a metal plate under my skin between my belly button and incision it might take a while before it softens enough to let me fully straighten.
I can't believe I gave no more stomach stretch marks! I do feel my breasts are being pulled as they look longer and kind of funky so I'm hoping once everything stretches I will look normal again.

16 DPO update

The 2 week mark was a turn around. I could suddenly walk straighter and felt stronger and more normal. I started sleeping in bed at 14 days and it's wonderful! I still have a slight hunch as I'm so tight but I can get out and not be stared at.
I added some early before and after pics but I am still swollen and lack tone as I'm very early in the process, but I'm so happy with the slimmer me.
My belly button is not so black inside but more white. The bump inside is growing so not sure how it will play out.
I have pleating on one side but I think it will smooth out with time...I hope!
My biggest concern is the high straight scar and higher pubic mound. All the scar or at least the middle are visible in all my undies and bikinis. The hair will be SO high once it grows in. I was marked very low so thisakes me sad. I'll deal with it but I wish it was an inch lower or at least had a dip in the middle.
I have a healing ridge, swelling, and very hard tight skin so if it goes down a bit I will be okay. I'll have to get hair removal do I need to research permanent hair removal solutions.

Doing well

I still have a slight hunch despite my best efforts. Tummy skin is very tight, especially above belly button.
Belly button is healing but very white inside with yellow scabbing. I hope the hole doesn't go away as I love an innie.
Scar is healing very nice except the pleating on one side. Maybe PS will instruct massage or something to help it when I see him next week.
I'm very swollen at and below incision. It's very hard and raised. I'm hoping once all the swelling resolves my scar will appear a bit lower.
I love that I'm smaller from the muscle repair, more tapered and nicer profile. I'd look great in the morning but 6 months pregnant after eating before. Now it's the same all the time like it should be!

I have a waist!

I have a nice curve at the waist now. Exactly what I hoped for. Swelling is better overall but still very present in the lower stomach especially under incision. I am excited for the final outcome. The muscle repair is a wonderful thing!
I have a weird vertical dent between my ribs so I hope that goes away. Belly button healing but still freaky looking. Hope it ends up well. Breasts are kind of long and deformed from the tension. I'm hopeful they will return to normal once tightness goes away. Just as I hope my public area lowers a bit.
Although I can walk pretty normal, I'm not 100% straight even at 3 weeks as areas are still crazy hard and tight.
I see my PS on Wednesday and look forward to updated instructions on my scars and belly button.
I'm getting so sick of this binder! Especially with the nice weather. Hopefully I can graduate into something less bulky/medical.

3 week post op appointment

Yesterday was my second post-op appointment. It was nice to walk in not hunched over.
Apparently I am healing very nicely and instead of 3 weeks until my next appointment, he doesn't want to see me for 2 months.
He said my belly button will take a lot longer to heal than normal, maybe another couple months. He said if it's not nice looking at the next post-op he will do a revision under local. I really hope that's not necessary.
I still have all my restrictions and binder until I turn 6 weeks.
I feel great and more and more like myself everyday.
When I questioned why my scar and pubic area are so much higher, he said it was the tension pulling them up. He said I can get laser hair removal after 6 weeks to get rid of the high pubic hair, which I will!
I'll post pics tomorrow. I'm happy and looking forward for my scars to heal and swelling to settle.

4 weeks update

4 weeks was another big turn around. I can walk normal, sleep on side for first time, and feel better overall. Swelling continues to improve but still have big healing ridge behind scar. Belly button is healing well now, pink and healthy. The strange dent I had since day 1 magically disappeared a couple days ago! Very happy about that.
I ordered a couple more binders because this one has almost no Velcro left. I am getting good glimpse into my results now and it's EXCITING. I even tried on a few things for fun. Once my lower swelling goes away I'll be the happiest girl in the world. 2 more weeks until my restrictions are lifted.

5 weeks post

I'm a few days past 5 weeks now. I get more sore now and lots of weird twinges, aches, and pulls. All normal stuff. Some days I'm more swollen, especially at night. I can't wait to be my old self. The girdle pinches my muscles but without it I get sore. I'm terrified of ruining muscle repair.
Belly button is slowly healing. The big inside bump has fused to the side so I think that might mess up the final outcome.Scar is healing great. I'm in love with my new shape but still have major swelling around incision area like a spare tire across front so it limits what I can wear yet. Very happy I did this. It's great having a nice shape, flat belly, and no loose skin/stretch marks!! Updated scar pics attached.

6 1/2 weeks update

I'll be 7 weeks post op in two days. I love being over 6 weeks as it makes me feel safer. Things are great! I get smaller and more defined every few days. I love being flat all the time. Clothing looks amazing! Still very tight though with hard areas. It still hurts to use muscles, sneeze, cough, etc.
Belly button healing but hope it scars nice. PS said it will take longer than normal to heal due to the rough start. The right side pleating is amost gone. Scar is coming along nicely and the space between scar and belly button has lengthened with healing.
Still pretty swollen in lower stomach but PS said it can take up to a year to fully resolve.
This was a life changer and so glad I did it!!!

10 weeks!!

I'm 10 weeks post op today from my full tummy tuck! Wow!
A few weeks ago I felt strong pops about 3 different times. I thought I ruined my muscle repair but all is well. I've just stopped wearing my binder at night for two days.
Everything looks great but I'm getting swollen easily, especially at night. Scars are still dark pink and need to fade. Still have no idea how the belly button will turn out. The bottom is very dark still, but mostly I don't want it to heal flat.
I am still crazy tight and hard. It's like a metal plate is under my skin but it's slowly improving. Lower stomach still firm and swollen under/above scar.
I am doing more now without issue, but I still get tight after going too much or even sitting in one position too long.
Pleating is nearly gone. No dents or marks left on stomach.
I can see and feel the vertical muscle repair line a long, hard, flat band. When I bent yo the side you can see it contort under my skin, so hopefully that softens up. My skin also feels separate from my body in places, so still lots of healing to go!
I think that's it for now. In a couple weeks I have my 3 month PS appointment. Best decision I've made and no regrets! I know things will only continue to improve.

6.5 Month Update

I haven't updated in a long time...sorry. I've healed well, with just a few issues. Still happy I had this done. I started P90X at 3 months post and have had no trouble doing that hardcore an hour a day. Six pack is very hard to touch but skin is still too tight to see. My skin, especially vertically along center, is still very tight. Skin doesn't feel properly healed or draped just yet. I feel strong and secure, back to normal in capabilities.

The distance from belly button to horizontal scar has continued to increase/lengthen as I heal/stretch which I'm SO happy about. I can wear quite low underwear/bikini bottoms now. I wish I had of asked him to lipo my hips/sides a bit as they don't quite match my flat stomach now.

I feel much more confident in clothes now with the muscle repair. My upper stomach was so bulging before and now is my favourite part. I go on holidays at the end of this month, so I'll see how I fair in a bikini. I'll post pics :)

My current issues are:
1.) I have a skin to fascia adhesion beside my belly button where the doctor made a wrong incision during surgery. You can see the "V" shaped incision beside belly button in my early photos. It attached down so when I tighten my muscles or bend to the side the skin dams up at the scar and it looks really weird and unnatural. He said to massage, but it's done nothing to help. Very sad about that as the result would be so much better without that mistake. Can't seem to find anyone with a similar issue.
2.) Belly button was originally cut as a large triangle. It's healing up but the points of that triangle are scarring closed and marking my belly in thick ugly scars. It was my biggest fear going into this, so it sucks that it's quite noticeable still. I want to feel comfortable showing my belly on the beach, etc. but will still feel very self-conscious about it. Hopefully it gets better.
3.) I still have quite a noticeable healing ridge under horizontal scar. But at over 6 months I'm starting to think it might be residual fat where the flaps were sewn together. I can feel it distinctly like a long, horizontal hill and see it in fitted clothing and it looks weird making my lower stomach look big and bloated.
4.) Scar still red, which I expect until around the year mark. Hopefully it will go white and much less noticeable like my old c-section scars. I still have puckering on the one side. It's not nearly as bad as the early months, but at this point I thought it would be gone. Worried it will stay forever.

Anyway, I just wanted to post my current issues, but overall I'm very happy and still hopeful that things will continue to improve. I was put together abnormally tight because I didn't start out with too much fat/skin so I know it will take extra long to heal and stretch out. Horizontal scar is quite flat and I have been putting scar creams on it the entire time and massaging.
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