A few weeks ago my friend Kami posted photos of herself in a bikini. I have known Kami for years (She is a work colleague in addition to being a friend) and she she has always been petite. Now she is also ROCK SOLID.

The next week Linda posted photos of herself in a bikini over at Bodies in Motivation (I would kill for her thighs.  Well, not her thighs, but for mine to look like hers do.)

That same week Catherine from Her Bad Mother posted photos of her belly, and shared her thoughts on it.

(Are you sensing a theme here? And yet I still had no desire to bare my belly.)

Then my friend Loralee did post showing her belly. Loralee had her gall bladder removed and also had gastric bypass surgery. She has a scar that runs from her belly button North. Looking at her belly made me sit back and blink. For I, too, have a large scar on my stomach that looks much like hers.  We messaged back and forth that night and she encouraged me to tell my story.

So. Here I am.

What I am about to tell you is what I remember from the stories that my mother and my father have told me.

When I was a newborn baby and but a few days old I was vomiting. A lot. It was vomiting of the projectile variety and it apparently flung six feet out of my wee baby mouth. My parents went to see their family doctor where the nurse told them I “had the flu” and just needed “a little brandy.” The Seventies were SO AWESOME.

At three weeks of age I was laying on the floor at my Nana and Papa’s house. My belly was distended and rock-hard. I was spewing milk across the room. I was listless and my Papa told my parents to get me to the ER, and to make it quick. My parents brought me in and I was admitted immediately. My parents were sent home (as was the custom back then) and told to return the next morning.

My mother arrived at the hospital in the morning, walked into my room and…I was not there. The bed was made and there was no sign of her baby. She didn’t know what to think. I talked to her this past weekend and as she told me this we both burst into tears. I simply cannot imagine what emotions must have washed over her at that moment.

The doctors knew that what I had was more than the flu and had rushed me to a bigger hospital and into surgery. I had a condition called pyloric stenosis. The doctors told my parents that if they had not performed surgery that very night, I would have died. It was that close. If my Mom and Dad had not listened to my Papa I would not be sitting here typing these words right now.

(I cannot help but cry as I type those words. For if I had not made it there would be no Graham, Nathan, Emily…)

The incision from the surgery starts at my belly button and runs four inches North. If you put this into the context of a three-week-old baby, my entire belly was sliced open. While I had always thought this was a little scary, now that I have children of my own I have cannot imagine the fear that my parents must have dealt with. If I even try to fathom it I am a mess of tears and snot.

I survived the surgery (obviously) and had no complications. All I was left with was a scar that starts at my belly button and runs North for four inches.

The scar is something that always bothered me. It started at my belly button and looked like a deep crevasse on the landscape of my belly. If I wore a fitted shirt you could see the dent. Some people mistook it for me being “cut” but that was so not the case. I was a good thirty to forty pounds heavier than I am now.

In my early twenties I was single and living in Vancouver. I would often gripe to my roommate Jasmine about how much I disliked the scar.  I was too uncomfortable in my chubby body to wear a bikini so it was not as though anybody was going to see it.  While I was thankful for the reminder that I was alive, I was horribly self-conscious about the look of the scar. One day she turned to me and stated matter-of-factly, “If it bothers you so much, get it fixed.”

So I did.  My doctor referred me to a plastic surgeon who basically took both sides of the valley that was my scar and sewed them together. Four hundred dollars later I was a woman who still had a scar, but it was so much better than it had been. I don’t regret it at all, though saying the words, “I had plastic surgery” still sounds weird to me.

Without further adieu, my belly.

MAH BELLAH

(I thought of wearing my bikini top but that much exposure to my pasty winter skin would have most definitely blinded you.)

It could probably be more toned, like others’ bellies are.  However. I work out every day as it is.  Boot Camp twice a week and the 30 Day Shred/Wii Fit the other five days (After five months straight of Jillian I am a little tired of her; home workout DVD recommendations would be swell).  I could cut out the Friday Night “eat-whatever-I-want-with-no-guilt” dinners or the hourly daily occasional glass of wine/cocktail, but THAT WOULD BE NO FUN.  I also know that the scar will prevent me from ever having a six-pack no matter how hard I work at it.  Here is where I confess that I am pretty content with the state of my belly (My thighs, however, are a whole ‘nother story).

My belly has been stretched to its limit with three different babies and left me nary a stretch mark (If only my ta-tas could say the same thing). While I can sometimes obsess over the extra little pouches on the side, I am not willing to sacrifice my minor indulgences to get rid of them. It’s all about balance, you know?

So.  How about you? Care to join the Belly Brigade?

* I am kind of liking the double entendre of the title.

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Comments:

  1. Loralee March 10, 2009 12:12 am edit

    You posted it! I am so freaking proud of you!!!

    Your poor parents must have been scared to DEATH for you.

    And?

    Not to go all creepy “Your body is a wonderland” on you, but holy hawt abdomen, Batman!!!!

    Would kill for that bod. (But apparently not enough to get my rear end of headcheese up and do boot camp. Heh.)

    Loralee’s last blog post..Sideblog:New music find

  2. Eric's Mommy March 10, 2009 4:16 am edit

    Oh how I wish my belly looked as good as yours!

  3. Sizzle March 10, 2009 6:01 am edit

    You’re beautiful and brave to tell your story.

    How scary for your parents! And back then they didn’t call when they were going to perform surgery on a child?! Sounds bizarre but it was, afterall, the 70s. I’m glad you made it. :-)

    (I would never ever have the guts to take a photo of my belly.My belly and I are enemies.)

    Sizzle’s last blog post..What I Woke Up Thinking About

  4. hillary March 10, 2009 6:35 am edit

    I’ve really been loving all the belly posts I’ve read lately (that sounds creepy but isn’t intended as such.) I think it’s awesome that you posted a picture of your scar. I have one on my back that still bothers me enough that I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to do a post like this. Well done, you!

    hillary’s last blog post..There’s Clouds In My Shower Ghosts In My Arms

  5. Meg March 10, 2009 6:58 am edit

    Wowsa, good for you for posting! I HAVEN’T had three babies, and my tummy doesn’t look anywhere near as good!

    Meg’s last blog post..Relief

  6. Mrs. Wilson March 10, 2009 7:02 am edit

    Me: *giggle*
    Noah: What’s so funny?
    Me: Angella posted a photo of her belly.
    Noah: Is she pregnant?
    Me: Nope.

    Heading out the door to drive Kaylie to school …
    Noah: Wow. Your buddy Angella looks good.

    There you have it.

    ps. WOW – I can’t imagine going through something like that with one of my babies – impossible to think about. I’m glad you’re still around :)

    pps. I’m with Noah. You look GREAT! (And I wouldn’t have even noticed the scar if you didn’t say anything.)

    Mrs. Wilson’s last blog post..Baby, it’s STILL cold outside

  7. bethany actually March 10, 2009 7:03 am edit

    You ARE brave. I will not be joining the belly brigade, thank you very much. ;-)

    Pyloric stenosis is not that common among girls, is it? BOTH my nephews had it, believe it or not. The only good thing about that is that when their younger son started projectile vomiting, my SIL and her husband knew exactly what was going on and got him to the hospital right away.

    bethany actually’s last blog post..it was a pancakes-and-the-beach kind of weekend

  8. angella March 10, 2009 7:05 am edit

    It IS more common in boys. When I was pregnant with my own kids, my doctor told me that it was something along the lines of 90% of babies who got it were boys.

    Having two boys in a row made me a little nervous, but we have ultrasounds nowadays:)

  9. Kami March 10, 2009 7:13 am edit

    Scar? What scar? You got your $400 worth on that, I would never have known it was there and even knowing I still find it hard to see. Now if $400 would make my belly button small enough to have the opossums move out…..

    HAWT!!!! That’s what you are my dear!

    And the whole situation surrounding your scar. Holy Hell!!! Thank God for you Papa!

    Kami’s last blog post..Put me out of my misery already

  10. Jazz March 10, 2009 7:32 am edit

    You look awesome!!!

  11. Sharon March 10, 2009 7:32 am edit

    Wow – you look phenomenal! I’m not confident enough to post my belly, but maybe some day! I’ve still got a ways to go.

    My brother had pyloric stenosis as a baby (he was born in the early 80’s, so it still wasn’t all that common then), and he has a massive scar still. It was a very scary time for all of us, but obviously my parents were a little more freaked out than I was. Just like you, the Dr’s discovered it just in time. He had been starving to death, but nobody knew what was going on until he was seen by a specialist. I’m so glad they discovered it when they did.

    Sharon’s last blog post..You want U2? You got it

  12. Vicki March 10, 2009 7:37 am edit

    yeah. no. you look fantastic (I actually saw you at boot camp last night – i was watching at swim club – and i couldn’t help but miss being there myself). time is not on my side these days for anything like that. soon, though. as for my belly…i can’t say when (if) that will be making an appearance.

    Vicki’s last blog post..TwentyFive because now I’m ThirtyOne

  13. monstergirlee March 10, 2009 7:49 am edit

    Your belly looks quite nice, really. No worries showing that.

    monstergirlee’s last blog post..Washed Out Black & White

  14. Jeff March 10, 2009 8:43 am edit

    I photograph bellies when they are usually 7-8 months pregnant and you have obviously really worked on getting your back into fantastic shape. As a guy I won’t comment but as a photographer I can say… You go girl! :-)
    I just wish I could motivate myself to get out more and wear some of mine off… but I have to try and make a living… Anyone need a portrait?
    Jeff

  15. joyce March 10, 2009 8:49 am edit

    you’re friggen hot, scar and all.

    my c-section scar looks like a fat purple earthworm across my privates. it’s insanely gross…but it’s the result of my child being born so it’s a love-hate relationship.

    joyce’s last blog post..Another Dream Come True…

  16. Sherry March 10, 2009 8:50 am edit

    You look fantastic. I’m debating joining the belly brigade. Overall I’m happy with mine but it could definitely use some toning. Now that we have a Wii I’m hoping to get a Wii Fit in a month or so, because I know I’m more likely to use that than I am to join and go to a gym!

    Sherry’s last blog post..A stunning conclusion

  17. gorillabuns March 10, 2009 8:50 am edit

    You look fabulous and I must say, I’m slightly envious. There is not way in hell I’m showing my 11 week post-partum mush.:)

  18. Domestic Extraordinaire March 10, 2009 9:33 am edit

    I really had to look to see the scar. Your tummy looks awesome girl! I have thought of posting mine, but need to find a decent mirror in this house. The one in the living room is really old and when you photograph it the mirror looks dirty, the bathroom mirror is too high and the one in our bedroom on the dresser, well, our room isn’t big enough.

    I think I need to go and buy and full length mirror at Wally World or something-they are less than $10.

    Domestic Extraordinaire’s last blog post..Weekly Winners

  19. simon March 10, 2009 11:37 am edit

    For the record, I would kill for Linda’s thighs, and unlike you, I mean her actual thighs.

  20. ali March 10, 2009 11:38 am edit

    i cannot get past this story. wow. wow. so scary for your parents. seriously.

    also, i cannot get past the fact that you work out EVERY DAY! insane! you are awesome! i bow to you!

    ps. i am okay with my thighs and my butt…it’s my belly i hate. haha. maybe i’ll just post a posterior shot!

    ali’s last blog post..if this is 8, i’m scared for 12.

  21. Hannah March 10, 2009 12:29 pm edit

    Wow, what an incredible story, I had no idea that you had such a close brush with death as a baby. How terrifying that must have been for your parents, I can’t even imagine! But I am SO glad you made it through.

    Your belly looks fabulous, if only mine looked like that!

    I will NEVER be showing a photo of mine. NEVER. My belly is not toned, and I have millions of stretch marks. I wore a bikini once in my life (ie. before kids) but will NEVER wear one again.

    Hannah’s last blog post..Ethan’s Ribbons

  22. Kerri Anne March 10, 2009 1:23 pm edit

    I know I would have lost my proverbial poo had someone MOVED MY BABY to another room, another hospital! without telling me. And how strange that back then they would have the parents drop a child off and leave? Um, no way.

    Also: you are beautiful. And I mean that in a completely genuine non-ass-kissery sort of way. But then, I guess you probably already know that.

    xoxo

    Kerri Anne’s last blog post..Revenge Of The Birds

  23. Elaine March 10, 2009 4:31 pm edit

    That had to be SO scary for your parents. Obviously our good God meant for you to stay here to be wife to your man and mommy to those beautiful kids! : )

    And you look great girl! I would LOVE to have YOUR thighs! : )

    Elaine’s last blog post..Just Spreadin’ the Luv

  24. witchypoo March 10, 2009 4:40 pm edit

    How, oh, how, did this take courage? You have much to be proud of my dear. It totally does not look like you have ever been pregnant.

    witchypoo’s last blog post..My Big Day

  25. Kelley March 10, 2009 5:28 pm edit

    I never knew that. I cannot imagine what that was like for your parents. Hunter was hospotalized for 2 nights a couple of years ago. I was by his side for every minute. I couldn’t imagine having to just drop him off and leave him. Let alone coming back and he was not there. :(

    Nice belly shot. :) You look great. I have been working hard to have my tummy look like that. Not there yet but getting closer. I have lost 42 pounds. Since you have the Wii fit have you tried My Fitness Coach? I use that and my Wii fit and it seems to be working. You can tailor the intensity to what works for you which is nice. It can be brutal at times but well worth it.

  26. Fred Vanderbom March 10, 2009 7:15 pm edit

    You look absolutely fantastic – and I say that not as a bloke but as a fellow creature who loves the life God has given me too… what a title line! Make it a capital L – you’ve got it, with Matthew and the trio!
    Your plastic surgeon should be congratulated too: most would not tell you have such a big scar. But medical progress is also great – I’ve considered a scar revision, but hey, my male belly and 40s job will never look as good.
    Love the bit about your mom and you shedding a tear: joy over trauma.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  27. merrymishaps March 10, 2009 7:30 pm edit

    I think I have to start swimming again before I take any belly shots. It’s been a long winter out of the pool!

    And you look amazing. How did any babies come out of there?

    merrymishaps’s last blog post..weekly winners: sushi and sleepy cats

  28. TUWABVBq March 10, 2009 9:28 pm edit

    I think you look beautiful and I love that you got something done to help you feel better about the scar. I had to walk a friend through a similar process – a scar she had received from a car accident that was not her fault – and she felt so vain for having the surgery. You’ll be happy to know that I kicked her ass and she did it. And honestly, your stomach rocks!

    TUWABVBq’s last blog post..Things That Are Pissing Me Off

  29. Heather March 10, 2009 9:48 pm edit

    Yep, you’re hot :)

  30. trish March 10, 2009 11:27 pm edit

    your poor parents – I think I’d age a decade overnight if that happened to me.

    But I will not be joining the belly posts. In fact, I’m finding this whole thing a bit off-putting since so many people don’t have stretch marks. I do and even though I’ve been exercising and losing the weight, the stretch marks are still fugly. Fortunately I’m okay with it, my husband things they are wonderful badges of honour and they don’t show through tight tees. I love my body, but I wouldn’t share it with other people. Is it empowering to share our bellies if we’ve genetics on our side? And I include myself in this camp as I look fine when dressed. (And I live in North Scotland – no need for bikinis over here).

    Why am I writing this here? I know it’s going to seem like I’m disapproving. I think I am writing here, and not just shutting up and clicking off because you also talked about your scar and that takes it from the usual post-partumn competition. Plus you’ve posted about body image so much in the past, and I’m hoping that for you this is all about loving how you are now (because you look fabulous).

    trish’s last blog post..all or nothing ?

  31. angella March 11, 2009 9:50 am edit

    I really hope you don;t feel like it is a post-partum “competition”. Have you read Catherine’s post? It is about loving her spft tummy as a place for her to snuggle her babies.

    I DO love how I am now (for the most part) (Thank you for the compliment) and the point of this post was to talk about the scar that keeps me from wearing a bikini unless I am in Mexico. The other point being that yes, I still struggle with residual body image issues, but am working hard to be comfortable in this body of mine :)

  32. remember moments March 11, 2009 10:05 am edit

    Whoa – you are MUCH braver than me. No belly shots on my blog, especially now, when I am only 1 year post baby and struggling to lose an extra 17lbs. Ugh!

    remember moments’s last blog post..~school is a drag~

  33. Kristabella March 14, 2009 9:58 am edit

    Dude, I would kill for your flat belly! You are amazing and look awesome! You’ve had three kids and NO ONE CAN EVEN TELL! You rock!

    I wish I could tell you the perfect thing to make you stop having these body issues because you’re amazing and look great, but I know, we ALL know, it isn’t that easy!

    Kristabella’s last blog post..Still Tired. And Confused. Now, with Whine!

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