“OH! I didn’t know you were pregnant again! When is your baby due?”
This is one encounter that no woman who has decided she no longer wants to have children (and has went to great measures to ensure she doesn’t!) wants to hear.
Not just once, but again and again and again.
Last year, my youngest daughter had just turned three (my oldest was turning thirteen!) and I was still carrying a pregnancy “pouch.” My clothes didn’t fit and I had a perpetual frumpy look. Everywhere I went, someone would make that dreaded comment. A friend I saw in the grocery store, my sister-in-law, a guy at church, my neighbor, and the list goes on. I would have to smile and tell them in the politest way possible, “No, I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat.”
Their embarrassment only added to my own and conversation at that point was beyond difficult. At only 34-years-old, I knew the last thing I wanted was to have these awkward moments for the next 10 to 15 years, praying for the day I would finally be menopausal and too old for people to think I was having a baby.
So, I decided to have a tummy tuck.
The first step was finding a plastic surgeon. I am going to be totally honest when I tell you that stripping down to your birthday suit and bearing all to a stranger is not exactly glamourous or fun. Even though he was totally professional and really reassuring through the whole situation, it was still a little weird. I am going to describe the moment as best as possible:
“I am sitting in the surgeon’s office in one of those hospital gowns that opens in the front. My husband is sitting quietly beside me when the doctor and his nurse walk in. He has me stand up and open the gown, revealing my body in all its sagging glory. He grabs my stomach with both hands to start his examination….
It is at this moment, where time seems go into slow motion, in an exaggerated fashion (like you would see in a movie), I see him moving the handfuls of fat in an up-and-down motion, causing my whole body to vibrate. My husband has a perplexed look on his face, a kind of awed, wide-eyed look that says ‘I didn’t know my wife’s stomach wiggled like a bowl full of Jello.’ I was mortified!”
That moment helped me to solidify my decision.
I was nervous. It had been determined that an extended abdominoplasty would be best for me since I also had extra fat and skin around my hips. This meant I would be cut (and have a scar!) from the top of one hip to the top of the other. Whoa! But, I knew I wanted it and wanted it bad!
I scheduled my appointment for January 11th of this year. I went straight into planning mode. I enlisted the help of my mother-in-law for two weeks of post-surgery care, ordered the necessary items, rearranged my furniture so I would be comfortable, etc… I read every article I could find and made sure that I understood the recovery process as much as possible.
The day quickly arrived.
My husband took me to the surgery center and I was surprisingly calm. I don’t remember much about my wait in pre-op or much about the whole day really. Anesthesia will do that to you! My husband told me later that after surgery I would tell everyone who walked by, “I did it! I actually did it!” I guess I wasn’t as sure as I thought I was! The next day, I went back to the surgeon’s office and he checked my drains and incisions. This is the first time I remember feeling pain. It hurt to ride in my car, and especially to walk. I was bent over at the waist and every step I took was excruciating. Once I was home and resting in my chair, I felt more sure about my ability to make it through the recovery process.
My first two weeks flew by. With the help of my mother-in-law and my husband, I was able to rest and take care of myself properly. (I HIGHLY recommend recruiting as much help as possible!) I would walk a little each day, I made sure I was eating right and I napped when I felt like it. I was so pleased with my initial results. The incision was nearly perfect and I could already see a big improvement in the contour of my stomach. I was ready to tackle the world, or at least the beach!
After two weeks, my mother-in-law went home and my husband had to return full-time back to work. I had a three-year-old at home and had to transport my older daughter back and forth to school every day. I will tell you, it got much harder after that! I was exhausted! My swelling was more pronounced at the end of the day and I was incredibly sore. I began to notice a small spot had popped up around my incision. It was a little tender, so I went back to the surgeon to have it checked. It ended up being a seroma, which is a pocket of fluid that has to be drained. Although more of a nuisance than a complication, it was still something to cause me to worry. After having it aspirated a few times in the doctor’s office, it went away, leaving as fast as it came.
So, to summarize it all up, at this point I am six weeks post-op. I am still exhausted. My incision looks awesome! I still have swelling in the evenings, but it is getting better every day. I am back to my daily activities minus exercise. I look awesome in my clothes, even with the swelling, so I am looking forward to seeing the final results when the swelling is completely gone. I haven’t been asked “the question” since my surgery. Most importantly, I would totally do it again!
If you are ready for a new you, just know it is totally worth it. Contact a plastic surgeon and schedule a consultation! You WILL be happy that you did!