My Diastasis Recti Surgery | Introduction

{This is a long post on my experience with surgery to repair diastasis recti while breastfeeding twins.}

I’m not sure where to start so I guess I will first tell you what exactly Diastasis Recti is:

Diastasis Recti: According to MayoClinic

During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to separate — a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis. Diastasis recti might cause a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate. The condition might be noticeable only when the abdominal muscles are tense, such as during coughing.

Diastasis recti develops in late pregnancy, but is usually most noticeable right after delivery. The muscle separation often lessens in the months that follow. However, some degree of separation might remain up to a year after childbirth and beyond. Diastasis recti can weaken the abdominal muscles, causing lower back pain and making it difficult to lift objects or do other routine daily activities.

You might be more likely to develop diastasis recti as a result of pregnancy if you:

  • Are older than 35
  • Have a multiple pregnancy – check!
  • Deliver a baby who has a high birth weight – check!
  • Have repeated pregnancies – check!

During pregnancy, aggressive abdominal exercises after the first trimester also might contribute to the development of diastasis recti. – check! (Wish I would have known to not do any abdominal exercises while pregnant with my first!)

If you think you have diastasis recti, consult your health care provider. After childbirth, certain exercises can help you regain abdominal strength. A physical therapist can help determine which exercises would be right for you.

If abdominal muscle weakness associated with diastasis recti is interfering with your daily activities, surgery might be recommended to repair the muscle separation. If you’re bothered by the bulge in your abdomen, you might also consider surgery for cosmetic reasons.

 

An example of diastasis recti

An example of diastasis recti

My answer: pregnancy made my stomach muscles split (or in my case rip apart), resulting in extra saggy skin, a pooch, and eventually surgery being my only option.

In less than four years, I’ve carried and birthed four amazing girls in my tummy. My abs were very strong to begin with, but they have taken a beating!  Before I got pregnant with my first back in 2010 I was very active, playing volleyball, and working out at least 5-6 days a week doing Insanity.  When I found out I was pregnant, I for the most part continued those activities, making modifications as the belly grew, with permission from my ob/gyn.  After my first was born I had a 2″ gap in my stomach muscles (which is normal and should close by 6 weeks post pregnancy) that never went back together.  Then 15 months later we had our second baby girl, who was a 9 pounder!  Due to my gap in my abs I have lost the baby weight but continue to carry around this small pooch with saggy skin.  I always meant to set up an appointment with a physical therapist to see what I could do to correct the gap(diastasis) but never did.  Then we had our twins…which I carried to 38 weeks and had a combined weight of 13lbs!

I knew it was going to take some time to get off the baby weight from a twin pregnancy but I also wanted to do the abdominal excercises correctly to maybe help close the gap in my belly, which was now huge after the twin pregnancy!  So at my 6 week post pregnancy appointment I asked the doctor to send me to a physical therapist.  In October, I had my appointment with the physical therapist.  As soon as she had me lay down and lift my head she was speechless, my diastasis was the worst she has ever seen.  She had a partner of hers come in and give a second opinion and she was also speechless, but confirmed that I was a surgical case.  The physical therapist proceeded to tell me that there was absolutely nothing she could do to help me, and then gave me a long list of all the things I shouldn’t do so I don’t cause more damage.  I was told that I needed to immediately go purchase a binder for my stomach and keep that on until I have surgery to give me a little protection.  Protection?  From what?!  Well she said I had such a big gap that it was about as wide as her hand and that I only had a very thin layer protecting my organs and any kind of hit to the stomach would do some major damage to my organs.  There is also a risk of developing a hernia but thankfully I didn’t.

The following Monday I was on the phone requesting a consultation with a plastic surgeon, and had an appointment for the next day, October 28th!

So the hubby and I go to the consultation… they first had us watch a video that educated us about the type of surgery I needed, and then we were taken to an exam room to meet with the surgeon.  The surgeon comes in and introduces herself and then asks us some questions, and then examines my belly.  She at this time told me that she has seen a much worse looking diastasis and that this would be no problem to fix!  We asked her if she thought insurance would cover this procedure since it was a result of pregnancy and she said we will try, she said she would write a letter and would take pictures of my belly and send along with the letter to the insurance.  We then headed on to the finance manager and found out the cost of the procedure if insurance didn’t cover it and that it would need to be paid in full before the surgery.

With a lot of prayer and patience, followed by a few friendly phone calls with the insurance company and the surgeons office, and the hubby contacting his work’s insurance representative, who contacted the insurance company herself, we finally got an answer!  December 8th late in the day we were told the insurance approved the surgery and that the surgeons office should have the answer within the hour, and to contact them in the morning to verify it had been received.  On December 9th I talked to the surgeons office and was told they would call me back the next day to schedule the surgery.  December 11th I get a call around lunch time asking if Monday December 15th would work?!  As I’m thinking out loud saying I would have to check with the hubby and his work schedule she told me they had already made the arrangements with the hospital to squeeze me in for the day, well then I guess we will make it work!

Now that you are all up to date on how I developed this and how we decided to fix it I will have another post (with pictures) that goes over the surgery and recovery.
Here you can see my recovery
Here is one year post op
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One thought on “My Diastasis Recti Surgery | Introduction

  1. Pingback: My Diastasis Recti Surgery | One Year Post Op | Surprised with twins!

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