That Time I Hired Overnight Care for My Newborn
I was that kind of deep exhausted, where it went all the way down into my bones. After a 40-hour labor ending in a Cesarean, I thought I would finally get some relief, but the nurses came into my room in a neverending stream all throughout the night.
By the time we got discharged and headed home, my baby had realized he was born and wasn’t going back into my dark, quiet womb. He woke every hour and a half on the clock, wailing for food. By the time I groggily filled his tummy, burped him, changed him, and got him back to sleep, I had about 45 minutes to try to go back to sleep myself until the next feeding.
I could feel the toll that sleep deprivation was taking on my health, my mind, and even my marriage. I snapped at my husband and eyed my baby with weary resentment if he made a twitch or grunt in his sleep that might have indicated wakefulness.
It had to stop.
I knew that there were any number of 18 year old girls out there who would theoretically watch my baby at night while I slept, but my creeping anxiety needed to be reassured. I went in for a newborn care specialist, who had extensive training in infant care and working with families on a professional level.
At 9:00 PM, my doorbell rang. I wondered how this was all going to work, but felt a cautious sense of relief in my gut that I was about to be saved.
My newborn care specialist was here. I didn’t want her to see the bags under my eyes or the laundry on the couch, but there was no judgment emanating from her, only compassion and a feeling of “everything is going to be okay”.
I showed her my baby’s room, showed her where the diapers and feeding logs were. She asked me a few questions about how I wanted my baby to be cared for. I thought about turning on some mindless TV, but my newborn care specialist encouraged me to get started on my full nine hours.
I crawled into bed and turned on a white noise app. I knew my baby was being watched over.
The next time I opened my eyes, the sun was coming through the cracks of the curtains. I sat bolt upright in bed, gasping as I momentarily forgot where my son was. I tiptoed to his room, noticing that I actually felt rested for the first time since he was born, two weeks ago. My newborn care specialist was dressing my son in one of his new rompers for the day. He gurgled happily and waved his fists.
Over the next few months, our newborn care specialist came back a few nights a week until my son was old enough for some sleep training routines. I got my vitality back and could get things done during the day. My son was happier having a mom who was alert and patient with him, and the tension in our marriage melted.
It really is that simple - my overnight newborn care specialist gave me a rich and happy life with my spouse and new baby. This is my love letter to her.