a not-so-hot-bod update

Several months ago, I addressed the postpartum (post-twin) body situation.
I decided to write a little update, because I’ve been sort of blindsided by an update of my own. Here we are nine months postpartum:

I just took this with Photo Booth. Disregard my sit line… certainly need to work on my posture, huh? Anyway – The linea negra and stretch marks are fading, but the belly button seems to be here to stay. It’s obvious enough to show through my shirts. I also have a hard time sucking in. Like, I can’t. And I still can’t sit up from a lying-down position.

A week ago, I got to talking to a surgeon at work. I asked him if he did plastic surgery, because I wanted my belly button fixed. His response was, “What do you mean? Are you sure it’s not a hernia? Belly buttons don’t just stick out for no reason. Maybe your twins blew you out.”

While it’s obvious to me now, I dismissed that by rambling on about pregnancy and skin and outies and how it seemed simple enough to just sew the top part back in. I lifted my scrub top enough for him to see it what I meant. Don’t worry – there were several onlookers, we were in the nurses station, and my husband knows.

Here. See, doc? Right here.

He did what any doctor would do. He poked it – hard.
Ouch! That hurts!

“Have you not poked it yourself before? Do you not feel that little hole, where you can push it back in? You have a hernia.”

No way. Hernias are what happen to old people after surgery, or little boys who play too hard. And apparently – pregnant women. He also confirmed the diastasis recti I’d already suspected. Basically, my belly is a hot mess these days! I don’t want to worry about the latter just yet. He said he could see/feel a two-inch gap running vertically down my abdomen, where my muscles aren’t meeting. It’s painful at times and I feel like I’ll never be able to do a perfect sit-up again. BUT… there’s a chance that will improve and even resolve over time, and the surgical repair sounded like a cross between a c-section and a tummy tuck. There is no way on God’s green Earth that I am willingly subjecting myself to a recovery like that ever again.

But the hernia? I have a hernia?! Every time I laugh or cough or pick Ames up, I think about it. I envision my guts squirting like sausage links through my abs – or rather, whatever is currently taking up residence in their place. I find myself protectively placing my hand over my belly every time I think about it. I have a hernia?!

I know it needs to be fixed. I found this story and very much relate to it. We don’t want it getting worse over time, and it may help with some of the tenderness I’ve been chalking up to c-section recovery all this time. Umbilical hernias seem to be the least complicated type, and they’re repaired on an outpatient basis with a quick recovery. Not to mention (okay, to definitely mention) – I’ll have an innie again!

But I am a nurse. Which means, I am a terrible patient. My mind is racing a mile a minute, like who will do my surgery and should I wait until the sisters wean and will I be unconscious or just sedated? Oh, and I keep googling pictures of people with hernias.

Any experience or encouraging stories, to help a sister out?

21 thoughts on “a not-so-hot-bod update”

  1. Wow thank goodness you are a nurse so you could ask someone about it. I’ve been having issues since I had my C section and am due for an internal sonogram once Kaiser finally calls me back to to schedule (been waiting a month).

    Good news, you’ll have a flat belly button after surgery
    and even MORE good news your one dang hot mama after having twins!!! Twins after having a son just a year before? Greater news you probably personally know the best person who can do the surgery on you and you will get treated really well in the hospital because they know you :-)

  2. I’m a nurse too, and as I was reading, hernia didn’t cross my mind. Though, it’s obvious on my patients when they have one. Interesting…

  3. I have a hernia from my last pregnancy, too. I’ve decided to hold off on correction until we’re done with babies, though, so I don’t have much insight….I can just commiserate with you on the new appearance of my once innie belly button!

  4. I’m not sure with a postpartum woman, but my son developed a belly button hernia a few weeks after birth and I was told he would need surgery to correct it, if it didn’t resolve itself within 4 years. He is 10 months and it has already gone down a significant amount, but it’s still there!

    Good luck, and you look amazing and not at all like you’ve had three babies!

  5. I had one with my first, too. I waited until mine was around 11 months and could drink from a cup. If you do get surgery BE SURE to emphasize repeatedly that you are nursing and want to go back to nursing ASAP. They told me to pump and build up a stash. I WOULD have been released to nurse immediately, but the nurses gave me something verboten when I woke up. I’m not sure why, I wasn’t upset, was perfectly happy, etc. I remember being cold, so maybe they did that, but a blanket would have been just as good.

    ps TALK to the surgeon ahead of time. Mine asked as they were putting me under if he could just cut across my belly button. Wha? Yeah now I have NO belly button. It wasn’t necessary, but it was easier for him I guess.

  6. Ok. Kind of funny, kind of not- because its painful. But its funny cuz you thought it was your “new belly button!” haha.

    I had a hernia while pregnant, too, on the underside of my belly. It hurt like words I’m not gonna say.

    Just spray some windex on it, it’ll go away.

  7. I don’t know about hernias, but I know for sure that I have diastasis. I can really recommend a book called “Losing your Mummy Tummy” which sounds like a weight loss book, but it’s really all about managing your diastasis bod. Sit ups are a big no no apparently! Let me know if you want to borrow it!

  8. First, I think your stomach looks amazing for having had twins. Even surgery wouldn’t help me look like that.

    Second, my friend Leah had the separated abdominal muscles after her second baby. She kept getting these weird hard spot on her stomach that stuck out – turns out it was part of her insides poking in between. But before she finally saw a doctor she did about a zillion sit ups thinking she could get her “body back” that way. YIKES. I can ask her more about the procedure if you want first hand details, but I’ve seen her a few times since then and she hasn’t had any horror stories.

  9. As soon as I saw the picture I said to myself wow she has a hernia. I only know because my sister had one after baby number 3. She just got it fixed this summer. the recovery was tough because she couldn’t lift anything bigger than a gallon of milk for 6 weeks, but she said it was worth it. Good luck.

  10. Jill, thank you so much for the tips!

    Erin, I am a one-piece girl for life as well.

    Kate, thanks for sharing! I need to think about the recovery process.

    Thanks for all of the positive feedback about the tummy. I really appreciate it! We are all our own worst critics.

  11. Well, I don’t have a story to relate about having a hernia, but I can tell you that your tummy and stretch marks look better 9 months postpartum than mine do 14 years postpartum!

  12. Thanks Rachael. You just diagnosed my exact same problem. I was thinking that’s what happened to my belly after four pregnancies…hopefully I’ll have steady insurance soon and can get it repaired.:)

  13. My mom had that type of hernia, and she recently got it corrected. She was laid up for a few days, even though it was outpatient. Overall I don’t think she was in too much pain. It was more the swelling that bothered her and the sensitivity to touch.

  14. that’s crazy! hope it can be resolved for you. random, hudson had a hernia when he was a lil lil guy. belly button was swollen, squishy (GROSS!). my midwife suggested putting a quarter over it and wrapping it with an ace bandage around his belly and within a week or two it had healed up and stayed in. crazy, huh? unfortunately, i doubt something that simple would resolve it for an adult, but here’s hoping you’ll have an innie again someday! :)

  15. i just found your blog by doing the exact same thing.. googling herniated belly buttons. my tummy looks alot like yours. my twins just turned six, and i really want to get it fixed, but i’m super scared. going to start looking into it though, because it has become more painful and uncomfortable at times, and is definitely not going to get any better. :o/ please let me know what you decide to do. it’s really difficult to find any info about all this. my email is angieg076@aol.com ~thanks for making this blog! :o)

  16. I have no idea how to search your blog to see how you ended up resolving this! I have diastasis recti myself, but yours really doesn’t look that bad. It seems like awareness is slowly increasing, though I still got no help from the OB/Gyn…they regard it as a “cosmetic” issue. I’ve heard of Tupler and similar programs, but the one I settled on is Fit2B. They’ve modified all their workouts to be “safe” for anyone with an abdominal wall separation. Mine isn’t closed yet, but I’m slowly getting some strength back. I’m wondering if my belly button will ever be an innie again. Right now it’s like an “outie,” but pointing down…

    1. There hasn’t been an update because I’m JUST NOW reaching some resolution! Actually working on a post now. And I never took photos with the yucky part showing because it hurt… but when I flexed or leaned back, there was a ridge of intestine running sternum to pelvis. I probably had three to four fingers’ width, and I’m down to two now! Stay tuned ;)

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