Mother of Three
After my daughter was born I began thinking about plastic surgery. At age 19, I never thought about how I would look or feel about myself after my child was born. The reality was stark. I went from a bra size 34B to a 38D while breast-feeding, and from a size five to a size nine within a year after childbirth. I had a road map of wide stretch marks from my pubis to above my belly button with an overhang of flesh above my cesarean scar. Smaller stretch marks covered my breasts. My breasts went back down to a size 34C, but I had lost so much volume that they hung low.
I was suddenly ashamed of the body I once loved for its strength and beauty. The hardest was when I felt it almost impossible to be naked with my husband ever again.
Fast-forward 20 years and two more children. I've maintained a size seven for the last 12 years and I workout at the gym three to four times a week. I once again love my body for its strength.
My stretch marks have turned a more forgiving silvery color, but the overhang from my cesarean deliveries was going to be with me always. I yearned to see myself with the flat stomach thousands of sit-ups could not help me achieve. As for my breasts, while I rejoice in the fact they are healthy, and have nourished three infants heartily, I wanted a fuller, perkier look.
Working in the medical field I did research, listened to co-workers and physicians, and found the best doctor in his field. After meeting and working with the doctor, as well as seeing his patients after surgery, I was convinced he should be my surgeon. After talking with him, we decided I should have a standard abdominoplasty and a bilateral breast augmentation. I also needed a benelli breast lift on the left side.
My husband and I discussed every thought, possible complication, implication, or ramification. In the end we were both excited about the possibility of a somewhat new me.
Once inside the operating room, things happened fast. My nurse anesthetist started my I.V. with ease. I sat on the edge of the table with my back curved to help my spine open so the epidural could be started. I remember pressure in my lower back, but no pain. Once it was started, I laid down on the table and was given Versed. I drifted off to sleep.
My next memory is hearing voices saying it was all done. I felt tight and full on top, but not much feeling on the bottom. The nurses were putting on my abdominal support garment. As I drifted in and out, I vaguely remember seeing and talking with my husband.
The Weeks After
I have no recollection of getting in the wheelchair, or the ride home. My husband tells me I slept off and on for the rest of the day. He fed me, gave me pain medicine every four hours around the clock, and took me to the bathroom. If it weren't for the support and loving care I received from him, I would not have made it through.
I did not have any abdominal or pectoral strength, so getting out of bed was impossible for me to do alone. I would put my arms around my husband's neck and he would lift me out of bed. Walking was difficult; I was stooped over and moved slowly. When I was in bed, my chest felt very heavy. It was hard to take a deep breath but I made a conscious effort to do so.
The first two days were by far the hardest. I was walking upright four days after surgery. All abdominoplasty procedures require a drain be placed to collect fluids postoperatively. My drain was putting out very little fluid, so it was removed three days early. I got a glimpse of my stomach, but only a peek. My true unveiling had to wait another three days.
As we drove to my post-op appointment, I felt apprehensive about seeing my new body. I had a benelli lift on the left side and was anxious about how it would look. What if I don't like it? How will my scars look? How will my husband feel?
In the doctor's office the nurse explained what would be done. They removed all garments, straps and bra. All bandages on my abdomen were taken off and stitches were removed from both my new belly button and areola. As each layer was peeled away, I felt an overwhelming feeling of awe. This is the new me! A flat stomach! Full breasts! I sat in the chair and cried with joy.