Umbilical Hernia, Ventral Hernia, Diastasis Recti and more.

I am now in recovery from abdominal surgery, and it was pretty bad in there, my friends.

The night before the surgery, I was afraid that something would go wrong. There was a lot of build up to this moment, which means I had a lot of time to think. (Not a good thing in my case.) When I tucked my son in the night before the surgery, I wondered if it would be for the last time. When I kissed my baby girl’s cheek, I savored her baby smell. As I gathered my belongings the morning of the surgery, I took a picture of my kids with me. As we drove away, I looked back at the house hoping I would see it again. My Mom, who was going to take care of the kiddos, gave me a hug and said that if I was uncomfortable, don’t do it, but I said in response, “I have to do this.”

Yet, I still had fears.


umbilical hernia


When I saw the doctor for the surgery preparations, he mumbled “Wow” about three times when he was marking me up for the surgery. I remember, jokingly, telling to the nurse that it is never a good sign when the doctor is shocked. He hadn’t seen me in a couple of months, so he was stunned again. I have to say, it was at that very moment, that the fears went away and a feeling of confidence over came me, and I knew I was definitely doing the right thing.

The surgery took 6 hours. The doctor and operating nurse informed my family that it was worse than they had expected. The umbilical hernia and a ventral hernia were bigger and the abdominal separation was greater. They reconstructed my abdomen and, after being extended for so long, they removed the excess skin once my torso was back together again. I did manage to get a belly button back (yay!), but my tattoo is gone (sniff). I won’t go into to many more details, but I am not joking when I say they pulled off a miracle and I am so grateful. Not only to be ‘put back’ together, but to be alive and well, to spend another day hugging my kids and giving them kisses.

As a result of the severity, my recovery is going to be a bit longer than expected, and the pain is going to be greater. But you know what? I don’t care. I am fixed. I am alive. I am going to feel better in a matter of weeks. There is a sense of hope and a renewal that I haven’t felt in a long, long time.

It was a tough decision, even though it was the right one for me, because as soon as I walked into the surgery, I knew that it meant we would not be having any more children. It is hard to make such a definitive decision just seven months after having Baby G. I would have preferred the option of choice, of flexibility, of the right to change my mind a year from now or three years from now. But I knew that my condition was such that I might not be able to have a safe pregnancy, and that sometimes, life makes the decisions for you. I could curse the world, be angry, be resentful, but I have two beautiful children. I need to be grateful for what I have and enjoy the children I do have. While the face of a future baby fades from my head, and my heart, it allows for more love and devotion to the children that I have now.

Here I am, 24 hours later, feet up and trying to avoid the vicodin. Despite the fact I am only Tylenol, I learned that sending an email, when still under the after affects of the anesthesia, like the one I sent to Kelly at Tiny Sophisticate, is not the best idea. Between the drugs and the iPhone auto correct, it was a…ummm…an interesting email. Probably like this blog post.

So what will my next blog post be about in this journey? Keep reading!


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  1. Wowee! You did it! 6 hours is a long time. Hugs to you–hope recovery is better and faster than you expect. And think how awesome and different life will be once you’re back on your feet!!

    Congratulations for having the courage to make the decision for surgery and for telling others your story, so that other women will know they, too, can get help for this and that it really IS a serious condition.

    To your health!

  2. Your email made me chuckle! I was just so happy to hear from you so soon after your surgery! Wait… have….had a tattoo?????

  3. So glad everything went well. Here’s to speedy recovery, Charlene!

  4. Hello charlene I’m so inspired by ur bog about ur diastasis recti. I have that same issue now and my hernia is getting worse. It gives me constant lower back pain and a 4month pregnant belly. I have two kids and I’m 4 months post preg. Right now but the dr says I need to get the surgery right away. I’m scared! I don’t like to feel weird. Did the drugs feel weird?? I don’t want to panic in there and at the same time the relief from getting this painful hernia repaired is also warring with my anxiety over the anesthesia…. u are so brave and u are helping women find inner strength to face the scalpel and their fears to feel better and regain a sense of self “core”ntrol again. I have not scheduled my apt yet and sure wish I had a good support system. Congrats on ur surgery and willpray for an easy recovery.

  5. Hi~
    I just read your blog, I had abdominal reconstructive surgery 30 days ago. I am struggling with the recovery, the docs haven’t been very helpful. Can you tell me how long your swelling lasted and when you started feeling normal again? I have twin 5 yr olds so its been challenging (although my husband has been wonderful). I wake up feeling good but by mid day I am extremely swollen, sore and exhausted. I would love to talk to someone that has gone through this. Thanks!

  6. Brenda
    I’m so sorry to hear you are struggling and that you aren’t getting much help. It can be even more frustrating recovering with kids too! It took me almost 3 months to start feeling like myself (not as tired, not in as much pain) but I still have swelling. My doctor told me it would be about 6 months or more for the swelling to go completely down. And the swelling would get worse as the day went on if I spent a lot of it being active (cleaning the house, chasing after the kids.) To get me through everything, I just think about this time next year and how it will be a distant memory! But you are doing great! Hang in there. Keep checking in with your doctors too in case there is something wrong, but I am having similar issues and my doctors told me it would take some time. Hugs!

  7. I’ve the same issues…not to your degree though.

    I read here that with the surgery you’ll no longer be able to have children safely. Is it because of the mesh?

    Quite curious as I’d love to have mine fixed…


  8. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know for sure, but I was told that it would be a problem if I had the mesh. Luckily I did not. However, it is still a problem for me because of the hernias I had as well. So if I got pregnant again, they warned me that they might not be able to fix everything a second time. So depending on your circumstances, one could get pregnant again, but like me, I could not in that I might not get it repaired again, and it is not a risk I want to take. Plus, there is the money factor. 🙂

  9. Reading this post was just crazy. I too made the decision to have the reconstructive surgery after a trip to Disney with my family and being bent over in pain. I was born with diastasis recti and have had 2 hernia repair surgeries and now after two children I have even worse diastasis recti and a third umbilical hernia!! Thank you or your inspiration because I am a little scared but also happy to have this done and get back to my life!!

  10. Thanks for your comment Sara! Sometimes our bodies can’t handle pregnancies as well as we would hope, and it is hard to realize, it may be more than what a PT person can fix. But it is comforting, in some way, to make the decision embrace it or embrace changing it. Good luck with your recovery too!

  11. Hi Charlene,
    wow….totally amazed at your post on your surgery. I think what I liked the most about it was as i am reading it i felt i was right there the whole time you are. great job…i think that your story solidifies what I’m going through… I have used that term before. “i look like i’m pregnant all the time!” just recuperating from umbilical hernia and gallbladder removal one week….my upper stomach has not gone down one bit. always had that feeling of my organs pushing through and feeling distended all the time. time to do a little more research for myself and make some decisions. Carla in Arizona

  12. Hi Charlene, thank you so much for sharing your story!! I was hoping for an update on your recovery 🙂 I have diastasis recti and an umbilical hernia, I have started training for my first run but have in the process taken a big step backwards and am now in a ton of pain from the hernia. 🙁 Also I have a private group on fb just for moms dealing with diastasis and they could totally benefit from hearing your story 🙂

  13. Im soOoOoo glad i stumbled upon your blog!
    I have a nasty case of diastasis too (i’m frequently given the “Congrats! When are you Due?” treatment….super sad!!
    For years i suffered from abnormal abdominal distention only to be told by several doctors that it was a case of IBS.
    I wasn’t convinced since i didn’t exhibit any of the typical IBS symptoms (apart form the appearance of the tummy).
    Can you please tell me wha kind of doctor you went to for you surgery? was it a plastic surgeon?

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