Sunday, June 13, 2010

The leftovers

When you're pregnant with quadruplets, the only thing you really care about is getting those babies here safely. For me, that meant doing everything my maternal-fetal specialists recommended, including gaining a grand total of 80 pounds over the course of my 33-week-plus pregnancy. From the start, the doctors worried that my 63-inch-tall frame would not be able to accommodate the babies for as long as it needed to, but—as we all know—the Fab Four ignored conventional wisdom and made room. The five of us grew and grew and grew, and on the day I delivered, my waist measured 57 inches around:

More than ready for my C-section!
After the babies were born, my body did its best to remember what it used to look like. Indeed, on my very first day as a mother, I lost a whopping 35 pounds—fully half of which was babies! Within 5 months of the birth, I'd dropped another 35 pounds without even trying (call it the no-time-to-eat-or-sleep-because-I have-quadruplets diet). Now, 13 months after losing the first 70 pounds, I am actually back to my pre-pregnancy weight—but you certainly can't tell by looking!

On the day after I found out I was pregnant (left), and
at the same weight exactly 2 years later
pinching
and lifting my extra skin (center) and not (right)

Yep, carrying that much baby does a number on your midsection. The pregnancy twisted and rotated my pelvis (a condition that took 6 weeks of thrice-weekly chiropractor visits to fix), and my belly button is herniated. On top of that, my abdominal wall no longer connects in the center, which makes my belly protrude as if I were still pregnant. As for my skin, it looks like a big, deflated balloon—and I suppose that's exactly what it is. The stretch marks extend all the way up to my ribcage and around my sides, but they're nothing compared to the handfuls of wrinkly skin that hang from my belly.

What's really frustrating is that no amount of sit-ups can repair the damage to my muscles, and the more weight I lose, the more excess skin I have. In fact, I've been told by several doctors that, if I ever want to look "normal" again, I have only one option: a tummy tuck.

I never thought I'd consider plastic surgery, but I also never imagined that my body would be asked to do what it's done. And after nearly a year and a half of watching my post-quad body take shape, I know without a doubt that I do want to look normal again. Not just that—I want to feel like myself again.

So I've decided to take the plunge: On Wednesday morning, I am scheduled to undergo a circumferential abdominoplasty (look it up if you want to know how this is different from a regular tummy tuck). My mom is staying with us to help with the kids while I recover, Ted is taking some time off work to take care of me and help my mom, and a few friends and family members are graciously volunteering their time to fill in the gaps. If all goes well, I should be back on my feet after a week, and back in the trenches a week or two after that.

I'm a little (okay, very!) nervous about both the surgery and the recovery period, but I'm also getting more and more excited about the fact that I am so close to having something resembling my old body back again. After all, I already have four beautiful reminders of my extreme pregnancy—why hang on to the not-so-lovely leftovers?

Mi bella familia: Ted and I with
(l to r) Lucia, Isaac, Jude, and Dahlia

22 comments:

Jenessa said...

You go Suz! I'll be praying for you and absolutely think you deserve this and am excited for you!!

Megan said...

I'm SO excited for you, Suzy. Will be thinking about you a lot this week!

Mommy Lisa said...

Yay for Suzy! Glad that you get to do something for you. Prayers will be with you!! Love you! Lisa

nicole said...

I think it is a very goog idea! I only had triplets and just a few very faint stretches, only on the right side...
I had absolutely no problems with my shape, no tummy no nothing.`
But now at over 50 years old... gosh!!!
my tummy is changing so much!! You know I think you are really doing the good thing because with age it gets worse!!
Bon courage!
(in France this operation is free if you have had multiples!)

Samantha said...

I hope that it goes well and that you remember to take the time you need to rest. Just ignore every thought in your head about just helping your mum or husband and just rest for as long as you need.

The Haughs said...

You go, Suzy! I am SO jealous! I really want to have one someday, too. I never thought I'd want a tummy tuck, either. My pre-twin thoughts of tummy tucks mainly judged the surgery as "vanity." But NOT anymore. . . I've got some post-twin damage and have lost over 25 pounds - - - but the tummy - - - oh the tummy. . . it looks awful. Good luck to you and let me know how it goes! Will be praying for you! :) I'm really happy for you and thanks for sharing with us!

Kari said...

I thought I was the only one with that kind of belly after quads! I only gained 43 lbs and my belly still looks like that! Good luck with your surgery.

JEN said...

GOo LUck!

Beth said...

Good for you!! I have considered, but I still have more weight to lose first. Carrying four babies does quite a number on the belly. I'm not the plastic surgery type, but it really does affect you, having all that extra skin.

Good luck on Wed and in the coming weeks. Glad your Mom could come help out!! Let us know how happy you are with the results!!

Beth said...

oh, I forgot-- Good to see your husband has such good taste (in more than his wife.) Go Reds!!

Christine said...

Suzy,
I am very excited for you and hope everything goes smoothly. YOU DESERVE THIS. Will be thinking of you particularly on Wednesday. Please let me know if I can help fill in any gaps. I would also be happy to bring over a meal or two if that would be helpful - I have a couple things in my freezer you guys are welcome to. I also have been thinking it might be fun to let all the kids run around in the yard together one afternoon. I really think my girls could help keep your little ones entertained for a while! Anyway, good luck!
-Christine

♥Kelly♥ said...

Good for you! I will be praying for you, your doctors, your hubby, your mom, the babies, and all your help!! Praying a quick recovery as well.

Melody said...

Good for you. Nothing to be ashamed of. I had only one baby and never thought I'd consider it either, but I find myself thinking about it a lot-- maybe in a couple of years once I've had time to consider whether I want another kid first. Talked to my mom about it and found out that she had a tuck-- over 30 years ago! The docs just took care of it for her after her 2nd was a c-section.

The Middletons said...

YAY!! You deserve this Suzy! I will be praying for you! After 3 C-sections it would be really nice to have one myself....hmmmm!??? :)

Moni Graf said...

yeah! so excited for you suzy! praying all goes well and you feel like your old self again soon. like everyone before me has already said.....YOU DO DESERVE THIS! and kudos to your hubby for the great support.

love,
moni

Linnea said...

You are awesome for posting this and awesome for bringing four beautiful babies into the world. I hope everything goes well!

The Saunders Family said...

prayers for a uneventful surgery and a speedy recovery!

Jenn said...

Wow, Suzy! Thanks for sharing that! Even though I always think you look great, I know it's hard to see what others don't on ourselves! I'll be praying for you and your family and you go through your recovery. I can't wait to see the results!!

Crystal Kurzen said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Suzy! I will be praying for you tomorrow morning. What an exciting time! I look forward to reading about your experience!

Slowish Food said...

Congratulations on taking the plunge. That's so exciting! Here's to eventless surgery today and a speedy recovery!

Jackie said...

That is very exciting. I will pray it all goes well for you. I have to admit that I think a lot about the aftermath on my body. I know it's not the most important thing, but it sure is nice to feel good about yourself. You'll have to tell me what you did to afford this, b/c I have heard that it is outrageously expensive and I know I will want to one day!

Fiat Lux said...

A speedy recovery, Suzy. I remain in awe of what you've accomplished and what you continue to do every single day.

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