I had my Stage 2 on Friday, and I’m just now getting out of the anesthesia fog enough to keep my eyes open for more than a half hour. As my gut told me, Stage 2 did not go all perfect and easy as I was told it would. First of all, Dr Gimbel was running rather late. I got to the hospital at 9am for my 11am surgery. It was closer to 1pm when I was taken back to the OR. This sort of thing doesn’t really bother me (other than the fact that I was starving since I hadn’t eaten since 6pm the previous night). I see it as a good thing – he is taking care of his patients, taking his time, doing what’s necessary. I don’t mind waiting for that, especially since I know he will take his time with me to make sure everything is as perfect as possible. But my husband – this drives him crazy. There were many occasions when our OBGYN was more than an hour late for our appointment while I was pregnant. Despite trying to explain to him that she was probably helping someone deliver a baby, he still got very frustrated at this. And his frustration with Dr Gimbel definitely added to my own stress over the whole thing. Eventually, however, Dr Gimbel did come in and made his drawings on my body. I was then visited by the anesthesiologist, and soon taken back to the OR.
When I awoke in recovery, my mom and husband were there. It was almost 5pm. My mom left to go pick up my son, and my husband stayed with me. The nurses were great, but they clearly wanted me up and out of there. Within only a few minutes, I was moved into a chair. Then the bed disappeared. I was given a cup of apple juice and before I knew it, the wheelchair was there to take me to the car. I definitely felt pain in my abdomen. I felt a bit of pain underneath my left breast, where I assumed he’d made a cut into a part of my skin that wasn’t already numb from the original surgery.
When we got home, my parents were having dinner with our son, and I went upstairs to get into bed. When I took off my shirt, I noticed a blood stain on the surgical bra underneath my left breast. It was wet and clearly growing. I took a picture and sent it off to Dr Gimbel, then also called the plastic surgeon resident on call.
While I waited for their responses, I was kicking myself. Hadn’t I predicted that this wouldn’t go well? Hadn’t I told myself that it wasn’t worth it to have surgery for purely aesthetic reasons? I of course began to envision the worst, and imagined my husband taking me back to the hospital to have more surgery. But when the resident called, he coached me through removing some of the bandages to check for active bleeding. When I did, I could tell that it was really nothing. The bleeding had stopped, nothing was open, and he said this was completely normal. I also received an email back from Dr Gimbel explaining the same thing.
I didn’t see Dr Gimbel after the surgery, but my mother reported to me that he had explained to her that while the breast part went well, he had to do more abdominal work than I think he originally planned for. I had asked him to try to smooth out the major drop-off from my belly, and I think he was able to do that, but it meant opening up the entire hip-to-hip incision again. So even now, three days later, I am still extremely sore. I also have a few spots where I feel burning – like a paper-cut, under my left breast and in a few places on my abdominal incision. While I’m comfortable laying down and I’m comfortable standing up, it is very hard to sit down and to get up from being in bed or sitting on the couch. It’s definitely not as bad as it was after my DIEP surgery in January. I’d say right now I feel like I did about two or three weeks after that surgery – sore, but at least able to do things for myself. Once again though, I am not allowed to lift anything heavy, and that means my son. This is a bit tricky since he is on vacation from school for the next two weeks. My parents are going to take some shifts with him, and one of his teachers will come to babysit for a few of the days.
I’m definitely happier with my breasts – they’re higher, more solid, and a bit smaller, which is what I wanted. I haven’t taken a really close look (I showered yesterday, but there was still a lot of gauze stuck to the glue that’s holding the incisions together). I can’t say they seem perfectly symmetrical (although who has perfectly symmetrical breasts), but I’m also guessing there’s some swelling that will have to calm down before I can really tell what everything looks like.