I want to point out quickly that doing this surgery meant that I didn’t love myself or my body more. Yes I feel more CONFIDENT now, not to mention am not suffering from pain from my hernia and lower back issues. But I still love myself the same. I love what my body produced, two babies at the same time! Which brings me to my next point.
Stretch marks. You will notice I haven’t really spoken about getting rid of stretch marks. They are the reason why you are left with baggy skin but they didn’t actually really bother me on their own. Tiger stripes as a lot of people refer to them are the result of carrying two babies at one time, my perfect two baby nuggets. Stretch marks may not be pretty but it’s hard not to accept them when without them I wouldn’t have the boys. Some mums are lucky and don’t get a single one, I have a twin friend whose belly was much larger than mine and she doesn’t have any. I think that comes down to genetics. Since they only get rid of the skin from your tummy button down, I kept all my stretch marks above it, which are now below. Weird right! I’m glad those are still there as they are a reminder of how lucky I was to conceive these little miracles and carry them safely into this world. I know a lot of people who would kill to be able t do the same thing. So I have no shame in those little silver marks…It is funny recognising them from where they used to be and now getting used to their new location on my belly.
I’ve been asked not about scars, mine goes from hip to hip but only the front part of my hip. I have seen them wrap further round so I am glad it’s slightly shorter than that. It’s also low that my underwear covers it and mid rise bikinis. My tiniest bottoms show it but only sitting under it by a few mm’s, so I think as it fades I will be able to wear them again. I have a tiny 1 cm vertical scar in the middle where my old belly button would have been and he couldn’t quite pull down that part enough. But it will fade like the rest and doesn’t bother me either. Scars come hand in hand with this surgery so you have got to be ready to live with them. Sadly I see a lot of people come out with rather wonky, or all over the place scars so I’m lucky mine is as good as scars come. To help lighten the scar I’m using long Scarway strips I bought on Amazon and so far so good.
I have to mention swelling as this is something I didn’t think about too much pre surgery. But swelling after this type of surgery is to be expected and not just minor swelling! Sometimes I felt like a square sausage from the fluid build up over my abdomenBasically when your skin is cut like that and moved down, all the lymphatic drainage systems in our abdomen is severed. They do re-connect but that can take anywhere from 6-12 months depending on the person. What does that mean? Well, I am still holding a lot of fluid over my tummy, it’s kind of soft to touch and is much worse at the end of the day or after a tough workout. I had to give myself a reality check when I started to feel “soft” and I thought I was starting to carry fat around my middle. But then I look at photos right after surgery and I can see the definition across my abs before the swelling set in and I know once all this swelling goes I will be back to that. I won’t show those photos as there is a lot of blood and I can barely stand up straight, so you will just have to believe me. My friend who has had this surgery said it looked it’s best from a year onwards. Basically, this aprocess and you have to go with the flow. My tummy looks bloody good and I was so happy. It’s a million times better and actually flat, I can’t believe I can wear jeans with no muffin tops now! It feels amazing being able to wear high waisted jeans too, haven’t been able to do that in 3 years! I have even worn a skin tight dress, without Spanx and felt so confident! Gosh having that flat tummy is what does it for me. Not missing the are you pregnant comments too!
I stayed in the private hospital for the night and so glad I did, I vomit after sedation so there was a lot of puking which was so so sore and I needed to have my dressings changed as being sick made me bleed. I’m so glad it was nurses helping me with that rather than Jay. Recovery from this is no joke, you will need support and help with little ones if you have them. I personally couldn’t even stand fully straight till 3 weeks post op! I was like an old lady walking around bent at my waist. I didn’t do anything other than get up to go to the loo for the first two weeks. Hours upon hours of Netflix was watched. In an ideal world, it would be good to have someone home with you for 5-7 days post op to help with retrieving medicines, cooking your food and generally looking after you. Jay was on full daddy duty with the boys for about 2-3 weeks too as even though I started to feel better I still couldn’t stand straight so couldn’t really get up and about to do things for them. I was very conscious of not doing anything I shouldn’t either it’s such a big surgery it would be a waste to do something silly like lift the kids when I’m not supposed to and ruin my stitches etc. I stuck to the surgeon’s rules of not lifting the boys for 6 weeks too, it was tough but they are old enough that I could explain to them that mummy has a big operation and was very sore. They would come sit on my lap on the couch for cuddles but were great at not expecting me to lift them. I was driving by week 4 and they would climb up into their car seats too which was great. If you have babies it may be a bit tougher with that aspect, although they would be lighter so I would ask your surgeon what they think would be possible for your case. Some people don’t have a Diastasis Recti so just have their skin removed which may mean they can lift earlier.
Getting comfy after surgery at home is important, you need the right set up! Sitting with your legs up and sleeping with them at an angle is the most comfortable position as straightening out is near impossible. Things that made sitting around for weeks at a time easier for me was having an electric lift chair. I hired it for about $180 for two weeks and I had planned on sleeping in it too. It was so good as it would slowly lift you up to a standing position which meant no straining your core – a no go after it has been sewn back up – to haul yourself out of a chair. I slept in it the first night but I still found it uncomfortable, and knew sleeping in bed would be tough as ours is very high and I’d need a million pillows to prop my upper body up and my knees. The answer was back to the hire company to get an electric hospital bed. This may sound extreme but it was $150 for two weeks and so so so so so comfortable. I slept in the living room on it for two weeks and slept really well with minimal pain. I would highly recommend getting one if you are going to do this. You can ditch the chair and just get the bed as it can serve both purposes if you only want one ugly accessory in your living room.
It was definitely painful, I kept bloody sneezing and that was the worst! It was like fire down the middle of my abdomen, this was from all the stitches closing my muscle gap. It hurt to tense them even slightly, let alone sneezing or coughing! The tightness of my skin didn’t really hurt, it’s just the muscles in your lower back that hurt from being strained as you can’t stand straight for a while. Although 3 months on my tummy still feels tight if I do a full stretch or lay on my tummy, I also think that because my abs that have been sewn up feel tight still. I wouldn’t compare it to the pain of a c-section as I found that only had me down and out for a few days versus weeks. Your incision area is also dumb as the nerves have been cut, it’s still numb now but the feeling is slowly coming back. It almost feels like someone is touching me through really thick clothes. It’s quite bizarre. I also was only taking panadol and ibuprofen from day 2, so you aren’t on heavy pain meds here like they tend to give the patients in America. Talking about America, I was on a lot of tummy tuck forums and most of the people were from the states, I would check them out but take what they say with a grain of salt. Their doctors seem to majorly drug them up pre and post op, girls were taking valium to stop muscle twitches, sleepers for night and opiates for pain for what seemed like weeks! That won’t be your experience in NZ.
The biggest pain in the ass post surgery? Compression garments! I was instructed to wear mine for 8 weeks and I hated them. The original ones went from my knees to under my boobs and had a giant hole from your front to back to go toilet out off! It was so weird sitting on a toilet to go but feeling like you had clothes still on. Bizarre! Talking about relieving yourself, for the first 12 hours after surgery I couldn’t wee! I had just watched a Keeping Up With The Kardashians ep where Kim had surgery on her downstairs operation and had to wear a catheter for 2 weeks as she couldn’t wee! I was paranoid that was going to be me. I sat in the bathroom with my hand under a running tap urging myself to tinkle, it took about 4 goes of sitting there for 30 minutes to get it going! He said that the tightening of the muscles around my bladder meant that it could take awhile for it to “let go”. Charming.
I was cleared for working out at the 8 week mark, so I have been back into it for 4 weeks now and gosh I missed it. I definitely put on a little bit of weight from sitting on my arse and not being able to move my body like I’m used too, not to mention I went to see my brother in America for 2 weeks and ate and drank to my hearts content on American beer and way too many amazing dinners out. But I’m still super happy with how I look. I think a misconception about this surgery is that it is a weight loss surgery or that it will make you “skinny”, My stomach is much slimmer due to a whack of skin being taken and my core tightening up, bringing back those organs to their rightful place, but I’m still curvy like I was before hand. Your skin is just being tightened and will showcase even more that type of body shape you have hidden under it. That is unless you do a whole lot of Lipo at the same time, as that is what will remove fat and change your shape.
I hope I answered all your questions, please do ask them below if I missed anything out.
To wrap up I’m stoked I did it and looking forward to seeing how my results progress as they will really start to show from 6-12 months. Since I’m moving to the Mount there will no doubt be a lot of bikini shots over summer! On that note, where do I buy great bikinis from?