Childrearing

How A Night Nurse Saved My Relationship

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How A Night Nurse Saved My Relationship shutterstock 98223413 640x456 jpgMy fiancé didn’t want the night nurse. “We won’t really need one,” he argued before our baby was born. Flash forward to after the baby was born and him lying in bed at 10:30 at night, sighing happily as he watched a soccer match on television with his arms wrapped around me.

“See?” I told him. “Just tell me I was right.”

I have not yelled at my fiancé once in the past three weeks, nor have I even wanted to yell at him. This is a huge feat considering we have a newborn and that my newborn, like most newborns, gets up every two hours. In fact, my relationship has never been better (and it has always been amazing). I have to say, I give all the credit to the night nurse.

The first time around, when I my daughter was born nine years ago, my ex-mother-in-law begged me to have a night nurse. Like my fiancé, who didn’t have a night nurse for his two children, I argued, “We won’t need one.” And we didn’t exactly need one – we got through those first exhausting three months – but I’m not sure if our relationship ever fully recovered.

First, I knew my ex, like my present fiancé, needed his brain to actually work during the day while he was in the office. So most of the night shifts fell on me. I remember one brutal night, when my daughter just cried and cried and cried, when I actually woke my ex up and cried, “You have to take her, because if you don’t, I may throw her out the window.”

Also, the first time, I was so exhausted that I actually walked into a wall and almost broke my nose in the middle of the night. As I wrote in my book, Knocked Up, my ex wasn’t exactly kind after I walked into the wall, more concerned he was about waking the baby than my wailing, “No, I think my nose is broken. I think I may need to go to the hospital!”

We didn’t exactly bicker, but my ex and I, during those first exhausting three months, were definitely short with each other – and the romance was shot. I was constantly bugging him at work, “When are you coming home?” Also, he was going to his office wearing mismatched socks and driving through red lights. It wasn’t good. We were too tired to even form a sentence.

This time around, I wanted to be prepared, meaning I wanted to plan ahead, and first on my list was getting someone in at night to help out. In fact, I saved money in a special account for “Night Nurse for Holt” long before baby Holt arrived. This is how important it was for me to have someone help out at night. It’s not that I’m a princess. It was all about Saving My Relationship Before It Needed Saving.

This is mostly because I am the type of person who needs a lot of sleep. I’m working on five hours of sleep right now and if anyone comes near me, I may bite you. I’m a person who needs eight to 10 hours of sleep. I’ve always been that way (even as a child). And if I don’t get that sleep than I will be a royal bitch in the morning and if you ask me a question, the only answer you’ll get is a grunt. And grunting is rude, and then we’ll bicker about why I’m being rude and then we’ll fight and I don’t want to fight.

I’ve changed a lot about me in this relationship, but the one thing I can’t kick is my need for sleep. I didn’t (and don’t) want to be a bitch to my fiancé, I don’t want to grunt at him, I don’t want to beg him to come home from work, and I love him enough to actually want him to get a good night’s sleep, too. With exhaustion comes ill will. And I mean, what woman hasn’t thought that, “This isn’t fair!” when she’s up for the third time at night and her husband somehow manages to sleep through the crying? (And after we carried the baby for nine months and had to get it out of us!)

So, yes, I mostly got a night nurse, not because I don’t have the confidence to do night runs, or that I don’t want to deal with my baby, but to keep my relationship strong and happy. When she comes at night, my fiancé and I can talk about our day, we can cuddle and watch a movie, and we even have amazing sex. Obviously, I can’t keep the night nurse forever (although I do have friends who had night nurses for months, until they’re babies were sleep trained) and don’t really need to. But I am going to buy her a dozen roses and a box of truffles and maybe even a bottle of champagne when she leaves. Thanks to her, the romance is still alive in my relationship and we still very much like each other, even in the morning. And that, I’ve learned, is priceless.

(Photo: greggsphoto/Shutterstock)

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