Being Mama: Lauren Roseman Schwartz
Senior VP of NBC Entertainment Publicity, Lauren Roseman Schwartz, was sure of two things growing up: she wanted to work in television and she wanted to be a mom. Refreshingly honest and all sorts of inspiring, Lauren is here to chat about pregnancy rashes, the bright side of not planning too much and welcoming Baby Benjamin into the world in January 2020.
When we caught up with Lauren in her Manhattan apartment, she was just getting her six-week-old baby, Benjamin, up to nurse. Her home more closely resembled a baby goods warehouse due to all the hand-me-downs because if there’s one universal truth about being a New York City parent: it’s that you don’t have much room to spare and when a bouncer or stroller is no longer needed – you pass it on for someone else to trip over every time they walk through their door.
While a lot of new moms are usually in peak sleep deprivation mode around the six week mark and bandaging steam wounds on their hands from over-sterilizing bottles, Lauren was as easy and breezy as a Cover Girl. Her husband, Michael, who was working from home was also incredibly laid back – relishing every moment with his milk drunk baby and warrior wife. Mind you this was pre Covid-19 hysteria.
To give you an idea of the type of determination Lauren has, she started as a NBC Page in 2006 and quickly rose to Senior VP of NBC Entertainment Publicity. Her work on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien and Late Night with Seth Meyers has garnered her the unofficial title of PR Goddess. Obviously, it came as no surprise when she showed the same energy when approaching motherhood.
‘While I always knew I wanted to be a mother, I didn’t know when or how. I have a lot of friends who have their five year plans and timelines, but for me – my decision didn’t revolve around work or a particular year in my life. I just trusted that I would know when it was the right time.’
And just like that – Lauren and Michael started trying. But Two Week Wait after Two Week Wait came and went. Turns out trying to get a positive pregnancy test was harder than she thought.
‘I was trying not to be crazy about it taking so long, which any woman who wants to be pregnant and has access to online forums will tell you is hard to do! The issue I had was accurately determining when I was ovulating. I tried fertility apps, but found them to be off. I also tried the ovulation strips, but because of my schedule, I found it really difficult to make them work either. Luckily, I finally got a positive pregnancy test and started experiencing all of the classic pregnancy signs right on time.
I had terrible morning sickness during the first trimester. If you’ve ever been in New York in summer, then you know that there are some bad smells. But when you’re pregnant – there are even more bad smells. Especially on trash day. I used to have to seek reprieve in a Hale & Hearty while on my morning commute! Luckily, my body was like clockwork and the sickness went on Day 1 of my second trimester.’
For a blissful twelve weeks, Lauren got to enjoy her growing bump and newfound energy. Still immersed in the hustle and bustle of work, she managed to take a few classes with Michael about birth and pain management options as well as an infant CPR class. She also enjoyed listening to the Pea in the Pod(cast) and reading week-by-week updates of how her baby was developing in the What To Expect When You’re Expecting blog. But then she hit her third trimester which brought on the horrifically itchy PUPPP rash. PUPPP, which stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, seems to be triggered by skin stretching and has been described as unbearable. Because of the way it presented in Lauren, it actually took three doctors and a biopsy to confirm this diagnosis. While it can be treated with prednisone, it’s discouraged when pregnant.
‘The only thing that would make it feel better was coconut oil! I seriously used dozens of tubs and jars of coconut oil. I ruined so many clothes because newsflash: coconut oil does not launder well.’
Even without a rash, we can recall just how over pregnancy we got by the third trimester. Not Lauren though. Even though her PUPPP rash lasted right through her pregnancy and for days after, Lauren didn’t ever get ‘over being pregnant.’
‘I just thought it was so wild that there was something living inside me. While I know it’s exciting to get to meet your baby, someone once pointed out to me that when in utero, it’s the safest they’ll ever be. So part of me wanted to hold onto that. It’s also easier to get out the door because you don’t have to bring all the gear and baby accoutrement. On the other hand though, I was a slightly anxious pregnant woman because I had a friend go into early labor. I was afraid that I would miss a warning sign.’
At 40 weeks, Lauren’s doctor advised that they wanted to induce her. Armed with her hospital bag, hubby and Spotify app, they went in for an experience that would span nearly two days.
‘Michael kept trying to put something relaxing on like classical music or James Taylor and I kept asking for Beyonce. I was like – ‘Play the live version of Crazy in Love and restart it at the start of every contraction. Even though Queen B was fueling me, I really struggled when it came to pushing. For starters, my epidural only worked on one side and I was experiencing dead-leg. Aside from being able to slightly wiggle my toes, I was basically paralyzed. Essentially, half of me was in an immense amount of pain and the other half was quite useless. After two hours of pushing, which only resulted in a broken blood vessel in my eye, my doctor advised that she would need to do an episiotomy if I couldn’t get the baby out. Five contractions later, she was rolling out a tray that looked to be the size of a dining room table covered with scissors and metal tools of every shape and size. I kept thinking to myself – if you were ever going to be tortured – this is the table they’d use. But I also thought, nothing can feel worse than what I’m feeling so BRING IT ON. With a quick snip, I was able to push our sweet baby out and since we didn’t find out the gender beforehand, we were elated to meet our little boy, Benjamin Schwartz’
Lauren and Michael opted for delayed cord clamping and got to spend a lot of time staring at their sweet baby boy. While they did chat briefly to a lactation consultant, Benjamin latched with ease and after two nights in the hospital, they went back to their apartment. On the recommendation of numerous friends, Lauren and Michael hired a night nurse named Penny who would help them the first two weeks.
‘Penny was amazing because even though I had read everything to do with what was happening with the development of my baby in utero, I didn’t really prepare for what to do once he came out! She taught us how to set up our change station, change a diaper, swaddle Benjamin and more. Funnily enough – on the first night Benjamin wouldn’t sleep and Penny needed a break since she knew she would get up early with him. I laid on the couch and Michael strolled Benjamin around the living room and got him to sleep! He is a total natural.’
When asked how life has changed after having a baby, Lauren said she thinks it will feel more dramatic once she goes back to work.
‘Right now my job is Benjamin. I’m just focusing on resting, healing, feeding, and getting us on a schedule. It kind of feels like I’m babysitting for a very long time. I think it was good that Michael and I weren’t overly prepared with a birth plan or an idea of what having a newborn would be like. So often people want one thing and are disappointed when life doesn’t pan out. For example, someone being desperate for an at-home water birth and then needing an emergency c-section. We are just open to letting everything unfold. Perhaps it’s a form of self-preservation, but I’m just embracing the highs and lows and letting my hormones do their thing!’