Mommy Makeover Part 2: Surgery Day and Recovery

[Read Part 1: Making the Decision and Planning Ahead - if you haven't already.]

On the day of my surgery, the nerves were in high gear. I had prepared as much as I possibly could so all that was left was to do was to get it over with.

Ricky took the day off work to bring me to the hospital and my mom held down the fort at home making sure the kids got to and from where they needed to be. I arrived on time and everything went smooth. First, Dr. Mizuguchi came into the pre-op room to make his surgical markings - he literally drew all over my chest and abdomen with a permanent marker while standing up. This helps determine where to make incisions so that things are proportionate and in the right area which can be difficult to do while laying down.

They gave me a small dose of medicine to help me begin to relax before wheeling me to the OR. I remember getting situated on the table and them putting the mask on. Then, lights out.

When I woke up I do not recall being in a lot of pain. While in the OR, they put a compression garment on to help reduce swelling, along with an ace bandage type thing wrapped around my chest. They also put the sports bra on that I brought with me the day of surgery and a lovely pair of white compression stockings. I am not quite sure how long I was in recovery before I was sent home as I was in and out of sleep. I think I had to drink a certain amount of fluids before they would discharge us. We had already picked up my prescriptions beforehand so we could go straight home. I remember that they had just started repaving one of the main roads we take to get home which made for a pretty uncomfortable ride back!

Once home, I went straight to my recliner in our bedroom where I dozed in and out of sleep for several hours. I don't remember much from the rest of that afternoon/evening, although I didn't really "sleep" well due to a combination of having to stay on top of pain medications, being in a chair rather than a bed and having to pee more often as the anesthesia wore off. 

Post-Surgery Necessities
Day 2 was bad. No sugar coating here. I had to go to the surgeon's office that morning for my first post-op appointment and I think I may have cried the whole way from my recliner to the appointment. My lower back hurt like hell from being hunched over when walking. The pain medicine took the edge off but I was still extremely uncomfortable. I remember thinking "WHAT DID I DO???"

I was terrified to have the nurse remove the steristrips from my incisions. It hurt to move and I wanted to throw up every time I had to stand, so while I wanted to look in the mirror I didn't have enough energy. Instead, I had Ricky take a few pictures so I could see it from every angle. I remember thinking I looked like Frankenstein but I was excited at the same time -- a flat stomach! lifted breasts!

Days 3 - 5 were rough. Ricky was preparing to leave for a work trip, my mom (who had been there since surgery day) was also getting ready to head home and my cousin Angie flew in from Chicago to take over. I don't think she knew what she was in for, bless her heart. I was attempting to ween off the pain medicine as I was going to have to be more awake and aware to help her figure out the kids busy schedules. Everything continued to hurt, and there were lots of tears, but she did a kick-ass job. The true test of a relationship is when you can trust someone enough to strip you naked and get you into the shower for the first time in a week and then afterwards get you back into a compression garment with about a bazillion hook-and-eye closures all while I cried like a baby. I am certain she went straight downstairs and made herself a cocktail as soon as I got settled back in my chair.

By my 2-week post-op appointment I was finally starting to feel human again. I had some of my sutures removed and was standing a bit more upright. Things were healing beautifully. I continued to wear my compression garment around the clock as instructed and also wore a white stomach binder several hours a day to help hold things in and reduce swelling. 

A few things about the compression...whenever I took it off to shower I would get extremely nauseous and even lightheaded almost to the point where I felt like I was going to black out. I had one pretty scary episode where I actually did black out. I had just stepped into the shower when my vision started to blur then went totally black despite being totally conscious. That sent me into a full on panic attack and I could hardly breathe. Ricky was thisclose to calling 911. The whole episode lasted probably 2 minutes but it felt like forever. We immediately called my surgeons office and they explained that the combination of removing the garment, standing upright too long and being in the hot shower water with too little ventilation was likely what caused me to feel that way. It was extremely scary. This is why I STRONGLY recommend using a shower bench or seat for at least the first month and to also make sure the water is warm (not hot) and you shower with the curtain or door open a bit to allow extra ventilation. 

By the end of the second week, my cousin had to head back to Chicago and Ricky was back to work in the office everyday after his business trip. I was on my own. I had completely stopped the pain medicine so I could begin to drive the kids to school and to their activities. I had to make sure to get a LOT of rest during the day so I didn't get too worn out. 

By week 3 I would say I felt about 75%. For several more weeks I needed to allow myself lots of extra time to get simple tasks done around the house and still required numerous breaks/naps in order to function. It took 8-10 weeks for me to really feel 100% back to normal.

I did not have any major complications during surgery or recovery and for that I am so so grateful. That was one thing I worried about the most. We have lots of surgery experience with all that my son Aiden has been through and infection during recovery was always one of the major risks we were aware of. I am confident that selecting an experienced surgeon who is VERY careful in his technique to prevent infection and promote healthy healing is of the UTMOST importance when having any kind of procedure. Not only that, but someone who is responsive afterwards and will answer your questions to ensure you feel confident during the entire recovery process should also be high on your list. 

I am currently 9-months post-op and I can confidently say that I am so happy I went through with this. My results have without a doubt exceeded my expectations. I can't wait to share another update with more pictures of how things currently look very soon!

*If you are in the Louisville, KY area (or beyond!) and are interested, the surgeon I chose was Dr. Nana Mizuguchi. You can read more about his practice, Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery, via his website: Follow him on Instagram @goldscalpel to see more about the services he provides. I highly recommend him and his entire team!