Lindsay McLaughlin

Bariatric surgery helps young woman realize her dream of having a baby.
Lindsay McLaughlin, Williams, AZ

After gastric bypass surgery, Lindsay McLaughlin was finally able to have a baby. Married five years to Christopher, the rosy-cheeked 25-year-old from Williams hugs her pixy 9-month-old daughter to her hip - the picture of wellbeing and happiness.

“To be honest, when I looked at my wife, I never saw her weight,” Christopher said. “She’s such a beautiful, loving person, she makes it easy to love her. But, this surgery and the weight loss has helped her to be the person on the outside who I’ve known she was on the inside all along. She was beautiful before, but how happy she is now makes her radiant. I’m so proud of her and so happy to have my two beautiful girls.”

"I topped out at 315 pounds,” Lindsay said. “I just thought if I didn’t do something, I’d die and I would never get to be a mom. My body was out of control and I knew I couldn’t get well on my own.” Lindsay attended Flagstaff Medical Center’s Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Center Information Session to learn about options. After hearing the success stories of other patients and learning about FMC’s program, Lindsay set up a meeting to begin the process. Under the care of Robert Berger, M.D., F.A.C.S., medical director of the program, Lindsay chose to have gastric bypass surgery in 2008.

“Our program takes a comprehensive approach to weight loss surgery,” Dr. Berger said. “Individuals undergo extensive education along with a medical and psychological work-up beforehand to make sure they are prepared to make all the changes necessary for the surgery to be successful.”

“The support and education was why I chose FMC’s program,” Lindsay said. “The staff was amazing - so gentle, supportive and kind through the entire process. They understood my goals and wanted to help me meet them.”

After surgery, she set conservative weight goals with a counselor and quickly surpassed them to lose 60 pounds in three months. “I wasn’t trying to break any weight-loss records, I just wanted to get to the weight that was natural and right for me. As for exercise, I just did what was fun for me - lots of yoga and walking.”

Six months after achieving her goal weight, Lindsay found out she was pregnant. “I was so excited, but I was also nervous,” she recalls. “Having a baby had been my dream for so long. At first I was worried the baby wouldn’t get enough nutrients because of the surgery or that something else might go wrong.” But, the hopeful mother ate carefully and healthfully, gained the recommended amount of weight and, on her due date, had her daughter, Verbena. “It was one of the best days of my life - getting to hold my baby. I never thought that day would come.”

Dr. Berger said, “We wanted to help Lindsay get healthy and maintain her weight, so she could reach her dream of becoming a mom, as well as all the other things she wants for herself. It is always an honor to play a part in making people’s lives better.”

In addition to her dream-come-true of being a mom, another one of her dreams is within reach. “I always wanted a career in medicine, but I never felt it would be appropriate for me before because I was too overweight and unhealthy. After losing the weight, I applied to Northern Arizona University’s accelerated nursing program and recently found out I was accepted.Without FMC’s bariatric surgery program, my dreams of being a mom and a nurse would not have been possible, now they are becoming a reality.”