Ahhh…to be 20 again…

Ok, so I am not 20 again, and actually almost 40, but at least my stomach is as flat as it was(if not flatter) than BC….that would be before children!

Now…be forewarned…I am an open book – so if at any time, the info becomes TMI…stop reading!

I can’t believe its over. Truly. I was so scared going in on Tuesday morning. My dad arrived at about 530am to stay with the kids while Mike took me to the surgery center. We got there, I got into a gown, same ol‘ thing – nothing on, opening in the back…blah blah blah. The nurse came in and started my iv. I was still feeling ok. Then Dr. Schwartz walked in. He was rearing to go – excited as could be…me on the other hand, was thinking where the closest exit was. We talked about what was about to happen…then it was time for his Rembrandt side to come out. With 3 different color sharpies, he began to draw, circle, color and highlight different parts of my body – something along the lines of what I had seen in a movie once during a sorority hazing scene. It is with that that all modesty went out the window. When he was finished, I felt like one of my 4 year olds art projects and with that, I was walked into the surgery center.

The next thing I remember is waking up and them telling me it was all over. I know the doc talked to me, but at that point had no recollection of what he said. After about an hour I was taken by car to a 2 bedroom suite at the Westlake Village Inn, where I was going to recover for the next 2 days. The surgery that was supposed to be 6 hours, was 8. Almost 10 lbs was removed from my body, something typically only seen in a gastric bypass patient. This information made me even more sure that what I had done was the right thing.

I did a lot of research before the surgery, everything from how to choose a doctor, to what to expect during recovery to final results. Most important was choosing a doctor in which I had 100% faith in, felt comfortable with and for me, knowing prior patients to personally see the outcome. During the interview phase months ago, I met with 4 different doctors that were all highly recommended. From the moment I walked in to Dr. Schwartz’s office, met his staff, had the consult, toured the surgery center and talked about the procedure, I knew he was going to be the one to do it. (http://www.drschwartz.com/)

For the recovery, most of the people that I knew that had had it done, went to some type of aftercare facility. Dr. Schwartz’s office is just down the street from the Westlake Village Inn and that is where most of his patients recover – In a gorgeous room, with separate quarters for the caretakers, a jacuzzi tub(which of course, I could not use), fireplace, cozy beds and a buffet breakfast every morning! I was told to hire a nurse to take care of me. After reaching out to almost every single RN that I knew, unfortunately, that was not going to happen, as the amount that each wanted for a 24 hour period was not in my budget, to say the least. The care needed consisted of emptying my catheter(yes, that is in for 48 hours, so that you don’t have to get up to go to the bathroom), 2 drains, giving me my meds every 4 hours(ON THE DOT!), logging my med intake, and getting something to drink/eat as needed all with tender loving care. Nothing fancy, and I am an easy patient. So…with my thinking cap on and Jens List at my side, I thought about Shannon. She is a certified Doula (prodoulaservices@yahoo.com) who has taken care of not only my brothers babies at birth, but many other friends children as well. I called her, talked to her about what I needed and she JUMPED at the chance – for her, 48 hours in a hotel room with a drugged mom and no baby sounded like heaven to her. She was AMAZING…and I told her that I think I just helped find a new calling for her! She took care of me perfectly. Loved having her around, so gentle, soothing, calming…everything I needed to heal. After going thru it, I know now, I could do it for a friend too!

The morning after surgery, I would say was the roughest. I had heard everything from its like a c-section to being run over by a truck. I just couldn’t move, could not get comfortable and just slept most of the day. The doctor came at 7am to check on me and all was well. The whole day I never turned the TV on, just listened to soft music and dosed in and out. That night, I had some additional bleeding that Shannon was concerned about, so Dr. Schwartz stopped over before heading home to make sure everything was ok. It was. I slept better that night and woke up and actually felt like having breakfast. After a half of a bagel, I was done, but that was better than a few crackers here and there the day before! At 1:30pm, we checked out and headed back to the doctors office. He removed the catheter and took off some gauze and padding around the surgery site. It looked amazing. My stomach was FLAT. So flat, it actually caved IN a little bit…like when I was 14! Unreal. Unbelievable. As my husband said, he was a bit jealous…he has been working out for the past 20 years to get what I got in a few hours. I quickly reminded him that he has 5 kids that came out of MY body!

So, I have been home now for a few days. Each day, getting stronger and stronger. My mother in law flew out from Texas to help with the kids and all of my friends have been amazing. We have had dinner brought over every night and that has been terrific. The older kids are keeping busy and its the babies that don’t understand why mommy cant pick them up. Thank goodness they wont remember this. Being home, all I wanted to do was shower… but that cant happen until the pain pump comes out in a few days. So, a friend, who has a beautiful salon in her home, Kelli Acevedo, said she would wash my hair in her salon sink. Whoo hoo. I scored. Mike loaded me in the car, we drove up the street and i got my hair washed. Thank goodness for the Brazilian Blowout…i combed it and its dried straight. I feel a little better between that and a sponge bath! Nothing is gonna beat Monday though when I can actually step IN the shower for the 1st time in a week!

Slowly but surely, i will heal. The after photos are taken in 6 months. Being 4 days post op if you asked me if i would do it again, i would say HECK YA. I think because i was SO prepared for the worst, that it really was not that bad and the outcome is worth it! If only there was something on TV to watch other than MJ news….the experience would have been flawless!

Back to bed I go….more later.


  1. wow Jen! I am so proud of you. I had a similar surgery (in a different place), after my third baby. But after my fifth I have had to work my BUTT off to get a flat stomach. So I am jealous! Can’t wait to see the pictures. I bet you look great. Did they say it will come back if you don’t eat and work out? Or are you set?

  2. Good for you, Jen. I’ve heard great things about Dr. Schwartz. I’ll be heading to his office in the next couple of years. Now go get some rest! πŸ™‚

  3. hello. my friend, alex, just told me about your incredible site, and i am really enjoying your blog πŸ™‚ thanks for your candor!

  4. Hi Jen…I’m so happy you are doing this FOR YOURSELF, and thank you so much for sharing the process with us.
    Your post made me think of this website (which, BTW, always makes me feel a tad better when I flop my own “roo” around, lol)

    Wishing you all the best,