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There’s no amount of reading or mental preparation that can be done to prepare you for the experience of taking home a newborn. Besides that inevitable things like crying, feeding, and diapers, the exhaustion is something that can’t be quantified. For the people who raise a baby with their families nearby, they have such an advantage over people who are in our situation. Our nearest family members are hours away, and not really in a position to help more than a few days here and there.

As a result, we’ve had to begin taking the baby in shifts. I sleep from like 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening until my husband reaches his limit, which is normally around 11:00 or midnight. I take over until I need a break, which I try my best to push to about 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. During the day, I take him, while my husband works. I feel most for him, because in addition to being my relief, he still has to work full time, most of the time from home.

We haven’t crossed the bridge yet, but my husband’s job requires overnight stays. I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to go down, and frankly, I’m terrified to not have any relief. I’m planning on calling some friends to help, but it’s not like I can ask people to come by at 4:00 a.m. to give me a break. We had to convert our spare bedroom into the baby’s room, so I don’t have any space for someone to sleep over. His next overnight is scheduled soon, so ready or not, I’ll have to make it work.