With a baby in each arm, a lunch box, a briefcase, two diaper bags and a set of car keys, Matt hustled out of the house earlier than usual this morning so he could log a few extra hours into his already long work day. Moments before the door closed behind him he did two awesome things. First, he wrestled the kiddos into our bedroom so we could all exchange kisses (our rule is daddy and mommy always get the first kiss) and then told me I looked beautiful. Folks, I can assure you that these days I do not look anything close to “beautiful.” I’m rocking 3 day old pajamas that have collected several coffee stains from awkwardly sipping coffee in a horizontal position in a sea of pillows, I’ve been “showering” with dry shampoo and baby wipes all week, I’ve opened my makeup drawer once since October 27 and I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet.
After daycare drop off he swings through the coffee shop and brings me an extra large, piping hot cup of hazelnut coffee with the perfect amount of sugar and creamer. And honestly, none of this is a surprise to me because my husband is awesome. Like, really awesome, and does things like this for me all the time, not just when I’m a patient. So today he deserves to be bragged on because I often fail to recognize that I truly won the husband lottery.
And before I dive into my public profession of love for my husband, I want to add a disclaimer that we’ve been through a lot over the years and things aren’t always perfect. Marriage is hard. Then throw in two little ones and everything becomes even harder. And exhausting. I wouldn’t trade our babies for the world, but sometimes I do reminisce back to the days before we were a mommy and daddy. We had more money. More time to give one another. And things were a lot less complicated. But that’s a post for another day. I digress.
Recovering from a double mastectomy is similar in a lot of ways to recovering from labor. There’s a flood of gross body fluids, lots of pads and bandages to change often, you need assistance getting out of bed and to the bathroom, there are tons of medications required to keep your pain under control and more. But the biggest and most important recovery difference is that with a double mastectomy you 100% loose the ability to use your arms for the first week. You are forced to completely depend on another person (in my case, my husband) to do all of those lovely tasks previously mentioned (and many more) for you. Matt took dang good care of me during both of my recoveries after the birth of our children. But this recovery has not only humbled me in all sorts of new ways, it has also reminded me of all the reasons why I married this man of mine.
I am so grateful for our moms for taking care of our kiddos, keeping our home clean and making sure we were all fed. But while mom was running around vacuuming, folding laundry and whipping up freezer meals, Matt was laying in bed next to me, worried about my pain, fluffing my pillows, placing pills in my mouth every two hours and lifting my straw to my lips. He slept less than I did (and I barely slept that first week) in fear that I may need something. Each time I needed to use the bathroom he cleared a path in the bed for me and carefully lifted me out of our bed, holding on to me as I very slowly walked to the toilet. Then he had the lovely job of pulling down my underwear, waiting forever for me to pee (thank you, catheter), wiped me and redressed me. And every few days when I mustered up enough energy to shower Matt was there. He’s wrapped and unwrapped my bandages dozens of times, applied ointments to my nipples, emptied, measured and cleaned cups of my blood and tissue from my drains several times a day and more.
As if taking care of me wasn’t already a full time job, Matt has been running off of fumes as he cares for Caroline and Thomas on his own. He’s up with Thomas at 4 am to feed him six ounces and a few hours later he’s swooping Caroline out of her crib and setting her down to a plate of waffles and Mickey Mouse while he scrambles to shower and dress himself for work. Halfway dressed, he rescues Caroline from trying to jump out of her hi chair, smearing just a smidge of syrup onto his suit pants in the process. Both kids are now screaming for attention yet one parent is still down so he’s forced to power through a hectic morning of diaper changes, wash and make all of Thomas’ bottles, pack daycare bags, dress himself and both kids and get out the door. But of course, one or both poop minutes before departure so there’s another round of diaper (and sometimes another outfit) changes. At some point during all of this he makes sure to carefully organize a combinations of six medications into pill containers for every two hours while he’s gone. He knows I may sleep through a dose so he then sets five reminders on my phone to tell me which medications to take and when. Finally ready to tackle the double daycare drop off, he sweetly comes into our bedroom for the aforementioned kisses, i love you’s and goodbyes…only to return 30 minutes later with a cup of coffee before putting in a 10 hour work day.
In those eerily quiet moments in our home I am reminded that Matt is the glue that keeps our family together these days. He is a dedicated daddy, devoted husband and I’m so lucky to be the one to snuggle into his arms when he collapses into bed at the end of the day (after he’s cleaned the dishes, bathed the kids, read books and tucked both babies into bed). I love this man with my whole heart.