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My recent blog post on my journey with breastfeeding has proved to be one of my most popular posts this year! I received hundreds of emails, private messages and comments from mums all over the globe congratulating me on my courage to talk about my breasts and the possibility of repositioning and enhancing them. I also received a couple of messages from women who expressed their thoughts on proceeding with caution and some who mentioned that it’s not something they would get done themselves. I read all of the messages and took a little bit from each of them. So before I get stuck into this post, I just firstly wanted to say ‘thank you’. I know it seems cliché and often repetitive, but I really am blown away by your interest in my journey and your words. I know how busy each of you are with your own households, so the fact that you take time out of your day to read my posts and then go ahead and message me really means a lot. A LOT.
AS I mentioned in my initial post, I had been looking at undergoing breast surgery to fix my right breast that sits a lot lower than my left side (as a result of feeding the twins) and get back to my original shape and size after breastfeeding all three babies for around 10 months. If you missed the first post, head over and have a read here .
I am excited to share with you today that the decision i made was to go ahead and get my breasts done and that i actually had the surgery two weeks ago. I’m in recovery mode for another four weeks and am so excited to be able to finally share this news with you. Even though i’ve never met you, i feel like we’re a tribe of old friends and i’ve been bursting at the seams keeping this from you. But, i wanted to go on this journey alone, for the right reasons and share my journey and ultimate recommendation based on experience, not talk. That’s what i’ve built my entire name on.
As you know, this has been an extremely private decision for me and it’s one that i didn’t take lightly. I had done several consultations with different surgeons over the course of a year. I’ve done in-person consultations with local surgeons, i’ve done skype consults with certain interstate surgeons and i’ve travelled several hours to meet some in person. I am based on the Gold Coast and while I’m not comfortable listing each surgeon and consult that I’ve been to, i will say that the one i chose to perform my surgery was undoubtedly a standout ‘leader in the field’ for me.
The surgeon who ‘we’ (my husband and I), decided on boasts decades of experience and is someone who I recognised as soon as I met him. His name is Dr Andrew Greensmith and he is based in Melbourne. Dr Greensmith was in the spotlight and on every TV station and news outlet a few years ago for his work as the head surgeon who managed the separation of conjoined Bangladesh twins, Krishna and Trishna. I followed that case in awe of the amazing spirit of those little girls and was totally amazed by the medical team who performed the three-day operation! Something felt immediately ‘right’ when I spoke to Andrew and his team.
In every consult that I had done previously – I always walked in nervously (which I guess most women would do when you know someone is about to look at your droopy breasts from every angle in front of your husband) – but I always left the consults still feeling ‘unsure’. I was always 50/50. Should I be messing around with nature? Why am I constantly researching this subject? I’d let the idea slide for a few months, but it would always surface again and again. I feel the main reason it continued to surface was because I knew my right breast was getting droopier and droopier and to be honest, I felt my womanly persona and confidence going further downhill with them. My dear husband always said to me that he wasn’t concerned with how they looked but he knew I was starting to feel ‘embarrassed’ infront of him and (bless him), held my hand in every appointment that i went to.
So, back to Dr Greensmith. His name had been on my list for a while as a possible option. However, he’s a 2.5 hour flight away and that means accommodation, flights etc. And cost is something that I’ve definitely had to take into consideration. I had been quoted everywhere from $5,500 to $13,000 for this procedure. That’s kind of a big difference isn’t it? Everyone promised me the same results, yet I couldn’t for the life of me work out why the quotes were at opposite ends of the scale. That was until I dug a little deeper into my research (just call me inspector Stay Strong Mummy!) – and I started really looking into the qualifications of all the ‘surgeons’ as well as the actual ‘implants’ that they use. I soon realised that there were a lot of ‘cosmetic physicians or GP’s’ out there performing the surgery in ‘medical rooms’ or ‘centres’ or that some consults were done with just the nurses and you only met the surgeon on the day of your operation. Some were only ‘sedated’ during the procedure and not given a general anaesthetic. While I know a lot of people are attracted to the idea of going to Thailand on ‘cosmetic’ holidays, it was never something that I would do. I guess that’s just me. Through my research I have heard of some satisfactory jobs done over there, but I have also seen a massive amount of ‘problems’. Maybe I’m too pedantic, but for me personally – I wanted a trusted and qualified plastic and re-constructive surgeon that had a stack of experience, would make me feel comfortable, be affordable and just make this process an ‘easy decision’.
I inquired on price with Dr Greensmith’s practice about a year ago and it seemed ‘ballpark’ figure. However, I saw an article online in the Herald Sun a few months ago that quoted Dr Greensmith and he expressed his concern that the higher end market of plastic surgeons had priced themselves out of the breast augmentation industry – with figures showing that Australia had lost 40% of its business to overseas ‘cosmetic’ practices and cheaper operators. So, he had joined forces with a team of other qualified plastic and re-constructive surgeons and launched a new institute that focuses just on cosmetic breast surgery and announced that they had lowered their prices significantly to get that lost business back. (You can read that article here: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/melbourne-plastic-surgeon-fears-shortcuts-in-thai-surgery-standards-will-lead-to-hiv-hepatitis/story-fnjhc0h7-1227441616783)
My heart started racing with excitement when I saw the article and I quickly researched the price. They were now starting at $6,950. I knew this guy was the goods and I rang my husband instantly! Two weeks later we flew down to Melbourne for the day to do a consultation in person with Dr Greensmith. I walked in nervous, I walked out excited, calm and finally at peace with the fact that I knew i had finally made my decision, i was going to get them done.
During the consult I met with a gorgeous lady initially who made me feel so comfortable. I sat in a stunning waiting room, enjoyed a cup of herbal tea and then she took me away for some photos. Standing in front of a complete stranger with your top off is a daunting thing for me – yet within seconds we were having a giggle and chatting about anything and everything. Before I knew it, she had taken almost 20 photos of my breasts and was taking me into another waiting area where my husband was. We sat there for a minute before Dr Greensmith came and introduced himself and directed us into his office. Here I was sitting at a giant desk with one of Australia’s most acclaimed plastic surgeons and my dear husband staring at photos of my breasts!!!!! From every angle possible!! I could feel myself burning up and a red rash forming on my neck. But as soon as Andrew began talking, I took a deep breath and everything calmed down. He spoke so professionally yet in a relaxed and casual manner. He made us feel like he had all the time in the world for us and talked us through all of my options. Some of the advice he gave me was completely different to other recommendations i had received, yet when he explained his reasons, it simply made sense and i just felt like i was in ‘professional’ and ‘trustworthy’ hands.
We were in his office for 1.5 hours, spoke about suitable implants, sizes and shapes, how i could fix my right side and I got to look at the Vectra 3D imaging to get an idea of the post-operative result. I could tell that he knew I wanted an extremely natural result and I was so pleased when he said ‘I wouldn’t do anything other than natural’. Aside from Andrew and his associated expertise, I had also done my research on the actual implants themselves. I knew Andrew used EuroSilicone and that was another major drawcard for me. Aside from being a leader in the industry and manufactured for over 30 years, EuroSilicone offers a lifetime guarantee against Rupture and Capsular Contracture (http://eurosilicone.com/patients/guarantee/). I got to look at all of the implants, the different textures and shapes and try on all of Dr Greensmith’s recommendations.
Needless to say, I walked out of his office with an extra spring in my step. He directed us into his personal assistants office, Lee – who made me feel even more welcome. She could tell I was excited and was smiling from ear to ear with me. We talked through all of the extra information and she mentioned all of the post-operative care and how Andrew does all of the follow up consults himself, not his nurses. I told her we would consider the decision and get back to her. The next morning, I rang her and booked in. Lee continued to email me to answer any of my extra questions over the following weeks.
I arrived in Melbourne a few weeks later (which was two weeks ago. I got an awesome deal on flights!) I had arranged to go down on my own, extended the kids family daycare hours, got family and friends to help on the other three days, made a stack of dinners for the freezer and feeling a little anxious (i hadn’t left the kids for more than 12 hours in four years!) arrived on the doorstep of a dear friend who allowed me to stay with her family while i was down there. Andrew recommended I stay for five days, so i had my surgery on a Monday morning and flew home (my mum came down and flew back with me as i couldn’t lift anything) on the Friday, feeling absolutely fine.
When i entered the surgery on the Monday morning, again i was greeted by amazing service and felt like my ‘hand was being held’ for the entire process. I really didn’t know what to expect, aside from having the twins via c-section, i’ve never really had “surgery”!! I had butterflies of anxiety and excitement.
A lovely nurse by the name of Chantel came out to get me ready for the procedure. I knew i had made the right decision as soon she put her arm around me as we walked into a treatment room and warmly said, “this is such a beautiful procedure.” She was a mother herself and knew why i was there. She got me ready for the surgery and Dr Greensmith entered the room. He did his pre-operative markings and reassured me of everything. Chantel then directed me (literally holding my hand and still rubbing my back!) into the theatre where Dr Greensmith and the nurses were waiting. I remember thinking to myself (gee, it’s nice to be in hospital and not expect a baby to be delivered for once!! I’m a Gemini, i get side-tracked very easily). Chantel gave me some warm towels as i laid back and as the anaesthetist performed his magic, i remember telling him how old the twins were and then……. nothing!
I had Chantel gently saying my name and waking me up in the recovery room. I remember breathing so slowly and peacefully and she had the biggest smile on her face. She genuinely was so excited for me!!! I smiled back and she assured me of how well the surgery went and instructed me to just rest for a little while longer. Dr Greensmith came in to check on me and again, assured me that everything went to plan. I was all bandaged up and feeling a little “tight” chested and after about an hour, enjoyed a cup of tea, apple juice and sandwiches (apple juice never tasted so good as i hadn’t been able to eat or drink since midnight the evening before!).
One of the nurses gave me a sneak peek down my chest and let’s just say – that smile is still on my face to this day. When i was ready to head home a few hours later, my friend came to collect me and off we went. While i felt tight-chested, i was fine to walk and felt quite comfortable. I went home to rest for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. (I was surprised when my phone rang at around 7pm that night and it was Dr Greensmith on the other end, just checking up on how i was feeling!) I did have to sleep upright on some pillows, but i had good sleep. I went back into the institute the following morning to have my drains removed. A few people had said to me that the “drains” were quite ‘scary’ – but i really wasn’t too bothered by them at all. While it was uncomfortable for about 5 seconds getting them removed, i didn’t actually think that they were a big deal at all. Maybe after having kids, i’ve toughened up a bit 😉 It was in this appointment that i got my first “full” look of my breasts. And after the nurse left the room for a minute, i remember looking at my girlfriend with tears in my eyes – i just felt like “me” again. I felt womanly and i felt like i had come full circle again (pardon the pun). They were a little swollen and i was advised that they take a few weeks to really settle down properly. But, i knew then and there that i had made a life-changing decision for me on a personal level (and i may have sent a sneaky photo to my husband!)
Over the next few days, i just enjoyed resting. Before i had arrived in Melbourne i was quite nervous about leaving the kids. I hadn’t been away from them for more than a night in almost four years. But i was really surprised at how relaxed i felt. I’m usually a control freak, making sure the house is running smoothly and everything is going to plan or checking up on everything, but I knew this was special time for me. I caught up on some sleep, i enjoyed basically doing nothing! I realised just how ‘busy’ my daily life has been over the past few years having three children within 19 months, and i just felt so calm and content being on my own for a few days to enjoy this process. My husband would ring me each morning and night to Facetime call me with the kids and it was just beautiful. I asked my three year old if she wanted me to come home and she replied “no thanks, maybe in a few weeks!!” – so i knew this break was a good thing and that everything would be fine (maybe a little too fine for them. I’ve since found out that Daddy took them out for breakfast and dinner nearly every day! So much for my food prep in the freezer that week!)
I really feel that getting “away” for this procedure really helped my recovery in those first few days. If i had come straight home to the kids that afternoon – while i know i would have had help, i would have been trying to sleep but waking whenever i heard them or just helping out here and there, when i shouldn’t have. This little getaway was for me. Yep, i felt guilty when i left them all on that Sunday night, but by Tuesday, i knew i had made the right decision to be in Melbourne.
My darling friend who i stayed with was an absolute angel. She has two girls and runs a busy household, but bought my breakfast, lunch and dinner up to me in bed every day!!! She got me coffee, magazines, had candles in my room, had the lovely job of brushing my thick, frizzy hair (!!), got me dressed and i know this entire process was so relaxing and somewhat effortless because of the amazing hospitality she and her family gave me. I’m forever grateful for you for welcoming me into your home.
So – i’ve been home for two weeks now and the recovery has been tricky at times, but manageable. I can’t lift anything heavy (including my children) so i’ve had to get some help here and there (thank you, yet again mother dear!!!) but all in all, i’m feeling comfortable. No exercise for another four weeks is playing on my mind as it’s absolutely my form of stress relief (!!), but i’m enjoying some light walks pushing the pram and giving my body the time it needs to recover fully.
My breasts have settled down a lot and i’m wearing a special compression bra day and night until the 6 week recovery mark is up. I’ll then be doing some new bra shopping (something i haven’t done in years!) and also investing in some special sports bras. The post surgery bra market is a big one and i’m going to be blogging about that in the coming weeks. (I want to make sure i take care of my new ‘twins’ so to speak).
I look at my breasts every time i get out of the shower and just feel so alive again. I know it sounds silly, i mean – i’m healthy, i have an amazing family, i’ve had healthy children and i’m married to the man of my dreams – but i just feel like i’m “whole” now. It’s been a big journey emotionally for me. I wasn’t going to share it, but i’m so glad i have. So many of you that reached out to me after my initial post had similar thoughts and emotions. Whether it was feeling embarrassed in front of your partner (some of you not allowing your partner in the bathroom when you shower, or feeling the need to wear a shirt when intimate) or just feeling self-conscious and having lost the feeling of being (dare i say it when we’re a bunch of mums), but…. sexy and womanly. Just know, that i get it. I’ve felt all of those things too and trust me, in the hundreds of messages i received – you’re not alone. It seems such a common issue after breastfeeding or even weight loss. While i have come to terms with postpartum marks and excess skin in certain areas of my body, the one area that i felt i wanted that extra help on was obviously my breasts. And, i’m not afraid to tell you because i’m so proud of myself for having the courage to get this procedure done and share it – because sometimes as mums, we feel we’re silly or being ungrateful for even thinking about it. But we’re not. I had my right breast lifted, i went to a C Cup size and I got a ’round’ shape implant. All of these decisions were made on my surgeons recommendation of my desired look.
The hot question you all asked me initially was where was i going to go? I didn’t want to answer that question until i had experienced every aspect of this journey myself. I am now comfortable in sharing those details:
Dr Andrew Greensmith
He is based out of the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery and the new arm of the clinic is called Your Breast.
The Your Breast website is http://www.yourbreast.com.au/
Feel free to email me and ask any more questions, as i said intially – i’m here to chat with you on your journey too. You guys give me so much support, and this is one area that is super personal and i’m happy to email privately on this one.
**Approval was granted by Dr Greensmith for me to take and use this consultation photo.