Hello, I’m Jasmine, 28 year-old owner of Hey Baby Ultrasound Boutique, mother of Irish twins, and wife to a super soldier. One year ago, I walked into Dr. Diane Alexander‘s office totally unsure of what to expect. I was partially convinced she would send me right out the door. “You’re young sweetie, you’ll snap back.” Or the dreaded “just exercise and use a belly band.”
Dr. Alexander was literally my last option. After her, I was not sure what else I could do to be heard.
When I was pregnant with my first, my belly button disappeared when I was 4-5 months pregnant. I was told I had a umbilical hernia, and that it would more than likely go away. After my 8 hour labor with my sweet boy, I could not breath fluidly. I could not take a complete full breath and the more I would think about it, I would panic. My midwife was unsure of what was happening, but my vitals looked well. She assumed I was exhausted. For days on end, I was still having trouble breathing, and my back was in pain, but I associated it with labor.
After 2 months, I still looked 6 months pregnant, and I was told, “it happens.” I researched diastasis recti and I knew that’s what I had. The information I found online suggested : exercise, belly bands, and pictures of botched tummy tucks. Oh great, I’m 27, and I have to look pregnant and wear shape-wear forever?
Well, I found out I was pregnant again. My husband was in the Army and came home from a deployment, and you know the rest. Two babies, a home, and a business, and a husband in another state. One of the most challenging years of my life. Life was hard mentally, and with diastasis recti, it was rough physically.
After delivering my second angel, again, I could not take deep breaths. I was in a hospital with this delivery (the previous was a home water birth), and they advised me to exercise, undergo physiotherapy, and belly bands, as my options. I told them I had tried that and I asked for a referral to a surgeon. They literally ignored me and gave me a card to a therapist.
After that, I was waiting in Artisan Plastic Surgery waiting area with layers of clothing on to hide my figure. I could tell Dr Alexander was puzzled when she saw me. What was I doing there? I lifted my shirt, and her reaction almost brought me to tears. She saw me, showed empathy, and she saw my pain before I could even express what was going on. I gave her details about my pain and concerns. She said, “Yes, I will take care of this.” I held back my tears, and told her thank you.
I indeed had diastasis recti, and Dr. Alexander said it was on her top 3 worst she’d ever seen list. You could put your whole hand into my belly. When I would lay down, you could see my intestines moving. I had no abdominal wall/ support, so my back was shot. I was a complete mess. You can tell by my posture I was in pain.
The process was easy. I was told the pricing. I gathered my money and paid for it all upfront, which is a good feeling. I entered surgery on my own because my husband had to watch the babies. The nurses and doctors were so kind. The surgery went smoothly. The healing process was tough with a new born and an infant. But now, I can stand up straight, I have no back pain, I am able to workout, I cannot see my intestines moving, I can no longer hear my intestines moving, and I also no longer look 6 months pregnant!
I wasn’t going to share this story because of the fear of ridicule. I’m a young mother and I’ve heard people shame mothers for getting plastic surgery for a “quick fix.” That wasn’t the case for me, but how would I tell each person my story so they would not judge me?
I’m sharing my story because I know it will help someone. There are so many women who suffer from severe diastasis recti and feel like they have no options. Many have had the same experience as I did; exercise, belly bands, and botched tummy tuck images. What options do we have? A tummy tuck IS an option. It’s not about removing fat, but repairing the separated muscles. Even if a mother wanted to remove fat from HER body, why not?
If a woman wants to change her body after carrying and delivering a human being, good for her. As long as it is her choice, that’s all that matters.
I cannot thank Dr. Alexander enough for seeing me, empathizing with me, listening to my pain, and believing me. Thank you for giving me my life back.
Thank you from
Jasmine, Arron, Asher, and Zoë