July 01, 2014

Reality on the Good & the Ugly of a Mommy Makeover

I am a little over a week out form surgery and this is the point I was so excited to reach even before having surgery. Seven days out I knew I would know if I had survived surgery, the pain would be manageable, the drains would be removed and I would even be able to get in and out of bed by myself. Since I finally came to the conclusion to let everyone know that I was going to have a mommy makeover I decided it is only right to share all the post op details too! I promise to let you know when the not so pretty pictures are coming in case you would rather skip over those.

The morning of surgery I was actually very relaxed. I got up and took one last shower and used my antimicrobial dial soap like I had been instructed to do. Took me no time to get ready since I couldn't wear make-up, lotion or even deodorant. Thank goodness I could brush my teeth! I had an extra 30 minutes before we had to leave so I ended up throwing together a breakfast quiche for the kids to have when they woke up. Can you say nervous energy being put to good use especially since I was also up til midnight cleaning the house? I was very calm all the way to the hospital and then as soon as we got to the infusion clinic to get my Humate-P for my bleeding disorder is when the major tummy jitters started. I literally wanted to throw up. The first nurse couldn't get the iv in and it's never a good thing when I told her not to even bother flushing it because it was blown but she continued to tell me she thought it was good so of course I ended up with a beautiful bruise on my right hand when the iv was not in a vein. This is when she found out I was a nurse and called for someone else to start my iv!

The last picture we had like this we were getting ready to meet our four quadlings.
Pre-op was a breeze and our story quickly spread among all the nurses so we had quite a few people stop by and ask if we really did have quadruplets. It was also fun to see some of the nurses I use to work with when I worked as a trauma nurse. Anesthesia came in and reviewed my history, my plastic surgeon came and drew a pretty road map all over my body to help guide him during surgery. It was really weird to know that when I woke up my meat mallet skin was going to be gone. A kiss to Paul and I was wheeled away. I remember looking around the operating room and thinking it was so much smaller than the one I delivered the quads in and the very next moment I had someone asking me how I felt and all I could get out was that I hurt. Surgery was done and I was alive. I was happy about this fact for a brief moment and then the pain meds made me want to throw up so they gave me more meds which then made me realize I was still in a lot of pain and this is how it went for a couple of hours. My pain never improved, which is hard to do when your blood pressure is 90/60 to begin with so you are limited on what you can have. My mouth felt like I was sucking on cotton balls and I think I kept asking Paul to repeat what he had already told me ten times.


I had to wait around in recovery until 5pm because before I could head home I had to be wheeled back to the infusion center for another dose of Humate-P. I remember being taken over there but I was completely drugged. I think the nurse was seriously concerned because she kept asking Paul if I was okay. We finally did make it home and I somehow got lifted into bed. Have you ever tried to crawl into bed when you can't lift your own legs because your abdominal muscles have just been sewn together and you can not use your arms because your chest wall has just gotten a couple bra sizes bigger? There is just no possible way to do it and this is one of the only times I cried because I just didn't know how to move. I came home with one drain that I needed to empty as it filled with fluid from my belly and a very tight compression over both my stomach and my chest. At times I felt claustrophobic because of how tight everything was. I continued to have pain and I tried so hard not to complain because I had asked for this surgery and knew pain was part of the package.
This iv lasted 9 days! I was pretty darn proud of myself that through 10 days of treatment I only needed 2 iv's. Yes, nurses get excited over some strange things!
How I was wrapped after surgery
My one drain that I had for a week.
This pretty much sums up everything I needed for about the first 5 days.
The big kids got holy water from VBS last week so I was bathed blessed many times each day by them.
The first night went well except for my nurse, aka husband, not hearing his alarm which got my pain meds off by two hours and totally set me back again. By 7 o'clock in the morning I had to be back at the infusion center and thank goodness the nurse I had that morning had previously had the same surgery and just by looking at me knew I was not on enough pain meds. Within minutes she had my doctor on the phone and more meds ordered. I was so thankful for her because I don't think I would have ever allowed myself to admit I needed something more for pain. For 3 days I had to go twice a day for my iv infusion followed daily then for 7 days. I met some awesome nurses and actually enjoyed mt daily outings.

Day 3 was by far the worst day of the entire recovery period. Throwing up after abdominal surgery is the last thing that is on my bucket list. I had a caffeine withdrawal headache. I needed to poop which thankfully I remembered I had pediatric glycerin suppositories from when the babies came home from the nicu. Day 3 just plain sucked. My back was also on fire from walking hunched over. My back has been use to being overworked since it had to do the job of both my tummy and back muscles for 6 years but walking hunched over made a whole bunch of new muscles work. I cried out to a friend who had a tummy tuck two years ago because I just could not believe how bad it hurt. Almost worse than the muscle repair pain, almost!

My first follow up was Monday and I was still pretty slow moving but feeling better than the day before. The compression dressings were removed and it was a very surreal experience to see my tummy somewhat flat. Very bruised and wrinkly from the dressing but it was flat. And I never heard one complaint from Paul about the new cup size! The drain stayed in and we were to return a couple days later. Slowly, each day got better. Kept up on my Norco's and Valium's and moved around at a snails pace. I realized it was much easier if I allowed myself to do things on my own rather than have others lift or move me. That only hurt worse. The kids were amazing. Better than I could have ever expected. They actually wanted to be such big helpers that I pretty much had everything I needed at all times. I have never seen kids run so fast to grab their mom a Popsicle (Popsicles and Jumba Juices is what I survived off of for pretty much the first week). The babies must have understood mommy wasn't feeling well too because they would come in my room and stand quietly looking at me and then leave. Never whined for me to pick them up or even attempted to get on our bed. And the husband turned out to be a pretty darn good helper too. My mom and mother-in-law where awesome and tried to do everything they could to help me get comfortable.

My entertainment
Content to play with mommy by standing on the step stool
Finally allowed a child to climb up on the bed with me thinking she wanted some cuddles...nope just my water.
My personal nurse
I am the luckiest wife ever! He does this nightly on the days I work. I only vacuum the kitchen while he does the whole downstairs but I will not fill him in on that!
My view from my recovery bed.
Exactly one week after surgery I had another appointment with my surgeon and I actually remember this appointment compared to the first one. The most exciting thing that happened on this day was my drain was removed. I didn't realize that the pain I kept having in my left upper abdomen was actually the end of the drain. The steri strips around my new belly button (yes they actually created a new belly button for me after they pulled all the extra skin down and cut if off) was removed and I was surprised how good it looked. Over the next months as the tissue heals the skin will contract inwards to give me an innie. After our appointment I was feeling so good that Paul and I spent a leisurely two hours walking aimlessly around Target and bought way too much stuff that was on clearance. Besides having to walk hunched over I felt pretty darn good. Was ready for a pain pill when I got home but for the most part couldn't believe that it had only been a week since I had surgery.

Saturday I decided I was ready to be a mom again and took myself off all pain pills and the valium. I made it until about 2 in the afternoon and I was really starting to feel it. Then I had a coughing episode during dinner which brought me into the house and I sat and cried on the couch. Paul came in and reminded me that the doctors told me it would take me two weeks before I could even lift a kid or really do anything resembling my day to day life. I really dislike when the doctors are right but I did start my pain meds back up but am only taking them when I need to and not around the clock. I am finding myself doing really good for about 4-5 hours of being with the kids and then I must rest. Hopefully after another week I will have a little more energy back but all in all I am very happy with how I have done.

Day 8- Before the pain became too much!
Now you may be asking if I am happy with the results? Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! The girls are perfect and I will admit that this was the part of the surgery that made me the most nervous. I liked the size I was when I was nursing and both Paul and I were hoping I would be close to that again after surgery. The one thing I did not want was for my boobs to enter a room before I did. For some reason most plastic surgeons have a very different opinion on what 'big' is when it comes to breast implants. I went over and over many times with my surgeon that in the end I just wanted to look natural and to have breasts appropriate for my frame. I got exactly that. Now for the tummy that is taking a little longer to decide how happy I am with the final results. Reason being is that I still have steri strips on my incision. The incision is still raised and not the most attractive. I am bruised in multiple areas from the liposuction they did. And the biggest reason is I am still very swollen. It will take 3-6 months for the swelling to totally disappear. By the end of the day I look pregnant again because the swelling gets worse throughout the day. I do believe I will have a couple stretch marks once all the swelling goes down but they will be low enough that no one will ever see them. And seriosuly I had seven kids, I am okay with a couple stretch marks! My incision was made below my c-section scar so it will be well hidden when the day comes that I am ready to wear a two piece again. I never in a million years thought I would wear a bikini after having quads out in public. It is exciting to see my new body but at times I will admit I get impatient to see what the final results really will be.

Would I do this all over again as I sit here a week out? Yes I would. The pain was worse than I imagined it would be. Some compared it to the pain that accompanied a c-section but for me this was not the case at all. The mommy makeover was ten times worse but I do believe it was because of the repair of my abdominal muscles (diastasis recti). My surgeon thought I had about a 2cm gap prior to surgery, when he went in to repair the muscle I had a 10cm gap. A huge separation and another reason I am so happy to have had this surgery. I am glad that I had as much support for the first week because otherwise there is no way I could have handled the pain and my children. As far as figuring out a right time to have the surgery, I don't think there ever will be the perfect time. Yes it will be a solid two weeks before I lift my kids but they will never remember that and hopefully now I can fell better about myself which will allow me to be a better mom. I am more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding my experience with my mommy makeover and I will happily give periodic updates for those who are interested. If you have questions feel free to add them to the comments, comment via fb or send me a personal message on fb. One week out and can't wait to see the changes over the next couple of weeks!

Addendum: I had this written last night but wanted to edit it one more time. Well let's just say my good look on life attitude took a complete 180 today. I had some pain but it was mainly pure exhaustion. I could not deal with my older kids so to make sure I did not snap at them and regret it later I pretty much stayed in my room except to prepare meals. I pray I wake up without the funk tomorrow otherwise the husband and the in-laws may be high tailing it far, far away from here. So just know if you go through a mommy makeover you may have some bad days mixed in with the good ones; guess that is how life is too so at least not too much new there!


******Stop reading if you do not want to see bruised post op pictures******











Post op day 3. Dressings just removed.
Post op day 4
Post op day 6
Drain out!! Post op day 7

Post op day 8
So happy that my incision is low enough to be hidden. You can see how my belly swells below my belly button.
New belly button

Post op day 11
I wear a binder all day long except for maybe 15 minutes when in the shower. I feel like my insides are going to fall out without it on. Most people will wear their binder for 6 weeks. I also still sleep upright on a mountain of pillows at night because I can not stretch all the way out yet.
This is currently what my scar looks like. The surgeon reassured me that it will be smooth after a couple of months. I did not have a lot of extra skin to remove so the scar is not as pretty as it is after a c-section because the skin is much more stretchy after you have just given birth. 



3 comments:

  1. What a journey! You look amazing! I don't mind bruise pictures. :)
    Cinda

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  2. I don't know why it didn't post my comment before, but I so appreciate you posting this. My stomach looks much worse than yours after two sets of twins and a single, but I'm nervous about it. I can't say your post made me less nervous, but I appreciate the honesty! It will help me prepare for it. I can't wait to see final results. Thanks again!

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  3. Mommy makeover is a great idea! Some are scared of those kinds of operations because of the pain, and the downtime afterwards for recovery. But with your experience, they will surely think otherwise. Plus, having a good doctor that you can completely trust is certainly a must. This will ensure everyone that they only get the best service available. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your experience, and I hope you’re recovering well now.

    Glenn Lowe @ Knight and Sanders

    ReplyDelete

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