Thursday, June 05, 2008

I've Lost It... The Final Draft.

Down by 60 pounds!
I decided to revise and combine my previous blog entries.
If you've read the previous weightloss entries, you've seen this already.

It took me seven months and a bundle of money to get my triplets into this world and in the process, they revised my body, both inside and out. It would only seem natural that it would take seven months and a bundle of money to get a portion of that back. So, that's what I set out to do seven months ago.

Back in late 2007, I decided on a whim to go to a weight loss clinic. I committed to the B12 shots, the appetite suppressants (phendametrazine), and the practically-no carb diet and began a regular work out regimen. After six long months of sacrifice and determination, the weight came off. What was left behind was an excess of skin that left me feeling a lot like a sharpei puppy around the middle.

First of all, go ahead and say it. I did already. "Ewww, gross!" I finally got the guts to post this photo of the skin I had to lose after my weightloss, three years after the birth of my triplets. This is extreme. Circus-act extreme.
After having consulted three doctors, it was determined that a lower body lift would be the only way to evenly bring my body back to its pre-triplet state. What's involved with that? An incision all the way around the midsection, removal of the skin and over 100 stitches to bring it all back together. That's just what I did.

When Dr. Eberbach first examined me, he said I had the extra skin of someone who had lost more than 100 pounds. That was not me. At my largest, I've been about a 14 (pushing 16) and never weighed more than 200. He noted that I appear to have the genetic makeup found in those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Upon further investigation, I would bet my life that's what it is and it makes a lot of sense in many ways. But I digress.

I'm grateful for the surgery and it exceeded my every expectation. My belly's flat, my tush is flat and I fit in my clothes. I still have some residual stretch marks, but I can quite happily live with those. No problem.

The doctor took off the equivalent of three and a half sheets of paper in skin. Incredible! Here's what that would look like.

I originally posted that embarrassing photo anonymously on The Shape of A Mother, an awesomely empowering website for mothers of all shapes and sizes. Another triplet mom had posted her pregnancy in a photo essay and I was so taken by the beauty and sacrifice (she seems like a really awesome mom), that I thought I'd like to share. But I was afraid. And then I saw the wonderful comments some moms left and began to reconsider...

So, I debated and debated with myself about posting this very uncomfortable photo of my former abdomen in a very open fashion on a blog. Let's face it. You'd never see a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit edition with a bod like that. It's the absolute antithesis of all that is sexually alluring in a female body. And I was repulsed by it myself.

That extra-skin photo was taken after I had achieved my goal of fitting loosely into a Size 4. (Incidentally, I'm now down to a Size 0-2 depending on the pants.) I didn't want to set a weight goal necessarily, but a size I could live with. How disheartening in the end to find that I was SO false advertising. Everyone said, "Oh, my God, Lesa. You look great." But carrying this around under my clothes, my brain and heart told me otherwise.

So, I loaded the dreaded photo up on my trusty iPod and whenever I had the opportunity to share my weightloss story, I began sharing the photo...sort of testing the waters. Nonchalantly, I'd check out the expression on the faces of those who'd seen it. Humorously I noted, the ones who were the most sincere registered the most shocking expression. Those who were trying to spare my feelings, I could see, were really trying to give me no indication of their thoughts about what they had seen.

Now I am numb. I have seen every expression. Heard every comment. And for better or for worse, that was what was left after I gave birth to three of the most amazing people in the world. That is what carrying triplets did to me. And they were worth every inch of extra flesh. But that skin was one souvenir of that fantastic trip-of-a-triplet pregnancy that I didn't need to keep to cherish the memories.

I want to send a big THANK YOU out to everyone who left those wonderful comments on my original blog post. You've empowered me and validated my reason for posting this. And I hope my story is a source of encouragement for many.

Brave or dumb. I'll let the reader decide. Sharing that photo is like telling a deep dark secret. Once it's out there, it's no longer a secret. So there it is, or was, rather. I'd like to say that, as is common on the website, that I was content with my "badge of honor" skin. Not the case. I can now have my cake and eat it, too. Both my babies and my body. And I'm thankful for both.


loren said...

That is quite an amazing picture!

I'm glad you posted it because sometimes I feel like shouting "I haven't always looked like this! My babies ruined my belly!!!" Then I feel like a failure for not being able to get my stomach flat again like every other "normal" mom.

You definitely have the right to be proud of what you've accomplished. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me feel not alone with my extra baggage! My triplets are eight. I think after an 80 pound gain for three healthy children and after 8 years, it's time for a fix for me, too. Thank you. :) :) :)

Mark & Julie said...

I think what you've shared is valuable and empowering to other moms who've had such a large stomach growth caused by a multiple gestation pregnancy. I remember a while ago, reading on TC about all these mom's who had gotten their pre-pregnancy belly back, with NO stretch marks and I just wanted to be sick. 23 and never again to wear a bikini or show off my stomach, I was literally sick and depressed for days.

Your pictures let me know I wasn't and am not alone in this struggle I've had with my body since I've had my kids. THANK you for sharing this picture, you are very brave to do so and I KNOW you will give hope to many other women out there who need to know they are not alone.

The changes is fantastic, you have clearly worked hard and you found a fantastic doctor! You look amazing!

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!! What a wonderfully empowering thing you have done for women by sharing this private information about yourself.

I was very fortunate that my skin rebounded back to it's original shape once our triplets were born, but if I had 3.5 sheets worth of paper in excess skin around my midsection, I ABSOLUTELY would have taken the same steps that you have taken.

Bravo for the courage to do what you have done and even more so, to then share it with the world!!

Anonymous said...

you don't have any idea how much this will help other woment! many of us have been down the same journey...I don't have photos to show it, but I can relate to the hard workout regimen and the decision to take additional help to get it off. bravo to you, you look great, but even more so you'll be such an insiration to ALL moms, not just ones of triplets. u know I've always thought you rocked!

Kerry Lynn said...

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing. I think you did the right thing.
I'm "just" a twin mom (15 months now) and I'm having such a hard time with my body image that just reading what you've written gets me all choked up. I just started slim fast last week because I HAVE to get this weight off of me.

Lea McCarthy said...

It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and open. I am proud of you! Oh, and let it be look like a million bucks!!!

Dorinda said...

So brave!! After five kids including triplet girls (currently 19 months) I HATE my belly. Hate it and I want to hide it at all costs. I'm not sure I could actually post a picture of myself like that even though everyone knows how it got there :)

Maybe after I've joined you in a tummy tuck I could post a before picture but not yet...

Glad to know I'm not alone at least.

Mel said...

Wow! That is amazing! I think it's wonderful that you've shared your experience. You look fabulous!!

stranger said...

You look fabulous! I wish I could have something like that done (my trio is 17 mos)!! Unfortunately I'll have to wait on these lotto numbers to work their


Christa said...

I am in tears! There is hope for me!!! I gained 106 pounds with the triplets, and while I realize that it gave me 3 huge and healthy non-NICU triplets...I look at my body (also 60 pounds too heavy) and I want to cry. I have had my abdominal muscles separate, and I know what my belly will look like after the weight is gone. It scares me, but you just affirmed that I can do it! Thank you for being so open!

Anonymous said...

Hey Momma, Look how sexy you are!!! I have just started a weight loss plan. I pray that I end up looking as good as you!!!

Much Love
Tanna (From TC)