First, Why get surgery?
I mentioned in my previous post that if someone wants to get rid of their diastasis recti, they pretty much have three options:
- plastic/cosmetic surgery which would mean a tummy tuck
- general surgery
- Tupler Technique
During my fourth pregnancy, after examining my stomach, my midwife referred me to a surgeon to discuss the diasasis recti. I thought, no big deal, I can go and see what it is all about, see what the surgeon says. So I went during my last trimester.
The First Appointment
I instantly liked my surgeon, she was empathetic and friendly. But she thought I was just there for a hernia repair. She spoke to me for several minutes about what to expect with a hernia repair.
That’s great, I told her, but I dont just want to repair the hernias. I want you to put my stomach muscles back together. Can you do that?
She assured me she could. She had had great results with a previous diastasis recti surgery and knew I would be pleased. She explained that what a plastic surgeon would do, with a tummy tuck, wouldn’t actually be a permanent solution and left the possibility of the diastasis recti coming back. So, what she was going to do was:
- Instead of make the bikini line incision, she was going to make her incision right down the center of my stomach, from about sternum to the top of my underwear. I told her I certainly didn’t mind a scar, I mean have you seen my stomach? Anything would be an improvement!
- She would actually sew my stomach muscles together.
- She would place mesh on top of the stomach muscles, which would grow into my skin and hold them together permanently. I asked about a mesh recall, and she explained she used a newer mesh that has a much lower infection rate, in fact zero in her experience.
- She would repair the hernias and totally take out my belly button. I would have a light scar, but no belly button! She said it was called the “Eve Look” and was popular right now in cosmetic surgery. I had to chuckle and take her word for it.
She also told me that I would have to be done having kids in order to have the surgery. Apparently, I absolutely couldn’t get pregnant anymore – my new stomach would not budge.
This left me dismayed… We had three sons and a daughter on the way, but I always thought I would have more! We had told the Lord we would just take whatever children He gave us, and didn’t expect it to end anytime soon. After discussing it with my husband, and spending time in prayer about it, we decided that my stomach was in no shape to have any more children, with or without surgery. I mean, my stomach had just had it! It was loose, baggy, and I had a lot of trouble during my fourth pregnancy with it being so stretched out.
It was a difficult decision at the time, but now I have settled it in my heart. I am so blessed to have my four children! I felt like this was the Lord closing a door and possibly a chapter in our lives. I was excited to see what He opened next.
So we agreed on the surgery. She told me to make another appointment with her after about three months postpartum, so that she could actually see the separation and better tell what she was going to be working with.
The Second Appointment
Fast forward, now I am three months postpartum, at my second appointment with the surgeon. She was running late and super busy. She came in and started talking about the hernia repair. Talk, talk talk talk talk.
Hernia? Did she remember what I wanted? A diastasis repair? I let her finish talking and reminded her that I wanted my stomach muscles sewn together. Oh! she said. (I guess she forgot? Didn’t write it in my chart? Who knows.) So she examined the extent of separation in my stomach. Four finger widths….. She seemed pleased and said she could definitely work with that.
I had a three-month-old and we decided we would have the surgery in April, when my daughter would be about eight months old. That way she would be eating some food. I was supremely concerned about being separated from her during the surgery and wanted to keep our close breastfeeding relationship intact. The doctor reassured me that I could definitely have surgery while breastfeeding, to discuss that with my anesthesiologist. She said I would be able to go home the same day.
She could tell I was nervous about the surgery but reassured me it was going to go fine.
So that was that. I was going to have this surgery, while breasfeeding an eight month old, couldn’t have any more children, and would have a brand new tummy when it was all said and done.
Read on to the next part to see how the surgery actually played out.