A few days ago, I was talking to a co-worker who was about to become a new grandmother.
“When’s the baby due?” I said.
“My daughter’s due Sunday,” Leslie said. “But if the baby doesn’t come by then they’re going to induce on Monday.”
“How’s your son-in-law?”
“Is this their first child?”
I leaned forward. “Can you give your son-in-law a piece of advice from me?”
“The night before he takes his wife and baby home,” I said. “Tell him to go back to their house and sleep in his own bed.”
“You know,” Leslie said. “That is good advice.”
Somewhere it is written that a new father should stick by the mother’s side for every second of her hospital stay. I did that when my daughter was born and can now say with absolute certainty that’s complete bullshit. Of course, I was with my wife every moment of her labor and delivery, but hospitals are not restful places and I only got seven hours of sleep over the course of three days. So, when It came time to drive my wife and precious newborn home I was the functional equivalent of a drunk driver. Not good. And, when we finally arrived home my wife, weakened by the ordeal, crashed into bed for two days. Because all the feeding and diaper changes fell to me, my sleep deprivation continued until I was certain psychosis was imminent.
As a result, I always tell expectant dads to go home the night before they drive mommy and baby home. Even if your partner, parents or in-laws protest – ignore them. You need to take a shower in your own bathroom, eat something not prepackaged from a cafeteria, and get a solid eight hours in the comfort of your own bed. That way you’ll be frosty for the drive home have the energy to take care of two people.
And trust me when I say this, after the drama and high emotion of childbirth your partner, even if she won’t admit it, probably needs a break from you.
Enjoy the ride guys.