People are not lying when the say that having a baby is hard work. I remember the first hour he was home. Do I change his diaper? Do I feed him? What now? I was a mom and should naturally know what to do. Nash woke up every two hours during the night to eat. He slept all day, go figure. I loved holding him. I never wanted to put him down. His warm little body curled up in my arms…his smell. I loved every part of him. I would tell him during late night feedings, “You are the only man I will wake up for at 2:00am and smile at.” I would find myself staring at him…looking for my features and only seeing my husband. He was his daddy. The only thing he got from me was his pale skin, poor kid.
Now this is when I stop sprinkling the fairy dust on how wonderful my husband is and how much I love him. This is when, and many women can attest for this, you want to kill your husband at some point. My sister-in-law Caroline said it best, “Some people have a baby to try and make their relationship stronger, to bring them closer. I say you better already have a strong relationship before you have a baby!”
I remember one night about a week in. It was 3:00 in the morning and I was changing Nash’s diaper, exhausted, half asleep. Nash was crying the whole time. My husband, half asleep, heard Nash, sat up in bed and did the loudest “ssshhhhhhh” I have ever heard before collapsing back into bed; snoring within seconds. I looked at Todd as I was making a bottle. He looked so peaceful, so rested, SNORING! It was then that I thought that if I put a pillow over his face I may be able to claim temporary insanity. I was good at not making Todd get up with Nash. After all he was working during the day and I wasn’t. One Saturday, I heard Nash cry in the very early morning hours. I asked Todd if he could get him. He replied , “Really”? My look must have said it all. He got up immediately. I could hear them on the baby monitor. Todd was trying to rock him back to sleep. I always sang to Nash so that’s that’s what Todd was trying to do when the angriest, loudest version of “Old McDonald Had a Farm” I had ever heard came through the monitor. I laughed uncontrollably. Two minutes later Todd came in with Nash and said ” He won’t go to sleep, he wants his mom.”
Three weeks into being new parents, my exhaustion set in. I became insane…I needed sleep. Nash slept great in my arms but when I layed him down he would cry. One night I did what everyone tells you not to do. I put him in bed with me. He slept through the whole night. I was like baby if that’s what you need, you got it. Todd on the other hand was angry. One morning he yelled at me and he never yells at me. He said,” You are going to kill him! You are going to roll over on him” and I just started crying (something I should do more often because it’s like kryptonite to my husband). He came and sat next to me on the bed. He apologized and said, “I just worry about the guy, and I know if you did roll over on him you would never forgive yourself.”
I continued to sleep with him but tried hard to at least start him off in his crib at night. When he cried, I would bring him to bed. It seemed like a reasonable compromise to me. At first I did it for pure survival. I needed sleep! After a while though he stayed in his crib longer, sometimes through the night. I would miss his warm chunky body snuggled up to me. When he made even the slightest noise, I would run in the nursery, grab him, and put him in bed with me. I slept so much better snuggled up to him. I was NOW doing it for me. I could not sleep without him. My arms felt empty.
Six weeks went by and I had to go back to work. I am a dental hygienist. All of my patients knew my story. The wanted to know everything, and I loved telling them the story of Nash. A close family friend watched him at first and she loved him dearly. The hours were just too much for her. My husband and I work late a lot of nights. We found another wonderful sitter who loved Nash as well…how couldn’t you? I hated leaving him though. It felt unnatural. I went from not knowing what the hell I was doing , to thinking that no one could do it like me. I gave instructions on how to burp him just in case they didn’t know. He burped better sitting up, and you couldn’t stop after the first burp because there was always a second, and if you didn’t get it his belly would be upset.
Todd got home from work before I did. It was his job to pick up Nash and he would have him for about two hours before I got home. At first I would get panicked calls on my way home from work. “Shelly he won’t stop crying, I don’t know what to do!” I would hear Nash screaming in the background. I would race home, walk through the door and Todd would hand him over immediately. No time to even take off my coat. Again, one of those moments where you want to kill your husband. I loved it though, mommy to the rescue. I was the one who he felt comfortable with. He would see me and just stop crying. It would drive Todd crazy. Nash would look at me with huge tears running down his face and smile. He was home in my arms.