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First Outing Failure w/ Andy!

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Totally Mommy Podcast

Episode 14

Elizabeth and her fantastic co-host/baby daddy, Andy, discuss their first outing failure which involved a shaking dog and an epic Oprah meltdown before they dive into listener questions about vegan pregnancy, how to deflect birth choice negativity, what the process is for genetic testing, whether or not cord blood banking is worth it, and how to decide whether staying at home versus continuing a career is the right choice after baby? Enjoy!


Jess says:

Just an FYI on cord blood banking-there are a few rare diseases (genetic, cancers and blood disorders) that can be treated with it right now. For me there was also an alternative to banking my own child’s blood, I could donate the cord blood to a cord blood bank (just like blood donation) with no charge to me. Of course if somewhere down the line my child needs cord blood there is no guarantee that they will receive their own but they will receive some that has similar HLA proteins.

At the hospital where I had both of my kids we donated the cord blood and most of it went to the blood bank but some was reserved for research purposes to try to see what other value it may have. I had to sign a waiver to allow for that, it is not done automatically. I am a scientist so for me it made sense to donate for research but I understand that is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Kudos to you for keeping up with the Podcasts, as a mom of a 3 year old and a 3 month old and with a full time job I feel your pain!

Gretchen says:

It really bothered me when you said you were failing at motherhood. I know it was a joke, but I have to say that one bad day does NOT equal failing at motherhood! It sounds like you guys have everything under control and are just having first time parenthood learning moments. You both sound like you are handling it really well!

L says:

I was so happy to hear the question from the working mom that felt conflicted about working and showing her daughter that she can be independent versus staying home and giving her the best care possible. I have a two year old daughter and have found myself grappling with that very same struggle. I also work in a very male dominated field, which motivates me even more to show my daughter that she, as a woman, can do anything she wants in life. However, I feel guilty often that I don’t spend enough time with her and I even convince myself that she is mad at me because of that sometimes.

My husband and I are in a living situation right now that requires me to work, however we are taking measures to allow me to spend more time at home after our second child. We worked to pay off my student loan debt and paid off our car to get our monthly bills down, and we hope to relocate to a city with a lower cost of living (which is also closer to family help). I have taken a lot of comfort from previous discussions on the podcast where Elizabeth has said that many of her friends have taken a few years off to be with their kids when they are young and then jumped right back into their careers. We are preparing to do just that and I really hope it goes as easily for me as it did for her friends.

I agree that there isn’t one solution that fits all. I’ve thought a lot about something one of the co-hosts said when describing how she decided to stay home: her husband asked her “what do you want your experience to be?”. With our first my experience was pretty stressful and I felt conflicted often. With our second, I hope to have a different experience and allow myself the time to enjoy my children while they are young. Fingers crossed that it works out! Good luck to the writer-iner! I’d love to hear what decision she makes!

Meg says:

You so described our life after our daughter was born. It is really tough to adjust. Hang in there and be easy on yourselves. It will get better. Baby Oprah will start to sleep better, and you will too. Then, you can take better care of yourself. I didn’t take enough time off work (I am a contract employee and didn’t get leave), and I know that if I ever have another I will take the full 6 weeks.

Alia says:

First off, you should never apologize for being exhausted or for having a shorter podcast; we know what you’re going through! Honestly, the fact that you are still consistent with these three podcasts is incredible and impressive.

Secondly, as a vegan, I am really interested to hear any veganism-related topic that is brought up in the future on the podcast. It’s very easy to be healthy as a vegan, and it’s also really easy to be a vegan and UNhealthy; the healthy vegans, like you said, definitely have to be very consciencious of what they eat, and there is a lot of research that has to be done.

Anyway, keep up the awesomeness, and thank you for staying with us even though it’s rough right now.

Michael says:

My wife ate vegan meals probably 95% of the time during her pregnancies, with the occasional cheese pizza in there, and our kids (now 3 and 5) eat vegan 99% of the time. It requires checking labels and gently reminding friends/family who are cooking for the kids, but honestly that doesn’t feel like much work. There are occasionally people who can’t believe it’s good for the kids, but that generally comes from the sort of person from whom I generally wouldn’t take health advice anyway!

Alia says:

“There are occasionally people who can’t believe it’s good for the kids, but that generally comes from the sort of person from whom I generally wouldn’t take health advice anyway!” – I 110% agree with that! πŸ™‚

That’s so great to read about your kids, and your wife, too! I think it’s really important for kids to have some awareness of what they are consuming. When they’re not, it desentitizes them to all of the terrible, cruel practices among the major food production companies in the U.S.

I don’t have kids, but I think if I did, I would hope to raise my children vegan (like you said, maybe 99% of the time.) Then, when they began to start thinking more independently (including about their food choices), if they decided veganism wasn’t for them, I would hope to be supportive of whatever they decided. But at least I would know that they were making a very deliberate decision with thought put into it.

Mandy says:

My baby is now 7 months old, and I just want to say that it will get better! Eventually, you will be sleeping better, you’ll be able to shower, and you’ll feel more like yourself. I found that things get smoother at two months and then get even better at six months.

Also, you mentioned that you had baby O in a carrier when you were out and didn’t have a cover to breastfeed. It is so convinent to be able to nurse while the baby is in the carrier. There are some great YouTube videos out there that you could use to help you learn to do it. Just a tip that I found super helpful.

Amalia says:

I totally agree with this comment! I want to shout-out the ERGO-baby. With the sun shade snapped I’ve been able to nurse completely covered (I nursed at my brother’s wedding giving a toast)! It’s been such a life-saver! I wear it for walks, shopping, for discrete nursing in public, and around the house when baby wants to nurse/be held/pass out on a parent when you want to cook, talk on the phone, or answer some emails. Baby-daddy also wears it a bunch and our baby is lulled to sleep pretty quickly by a side swaying or walking motion.

Elizabeth says:

Oh man, this could be game changing info! Thank you for this – I will definitely check it out on youtube, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. She was in an ergo last night during the meltdown! I wish I’d been able to just plop the ole boob in right there! πŸ™‚

Avalia says:

Your doing just fine with parenthood! Almost all if not all mothers go through the same experiences and emotions. Love to hear you are breastfeeding. Keep it up! It will a get easier. Even feeding in public. You will get more comfortable and confident the more you are out. I have learned to also pull my shirt over baby’s head as a cover if I have nothing else. Also wearing layers. Spaghetti strap under your shirts help to cover your tummy & back and are easy to pull down from the top to feed. If your worried about showing your back out tummy. I know I was after my baby. Remember to tell yourself you are doing the best for your baby and you are a wonderful mom!

Liz says:

I could not agree more with the recommendation to layer! I was not very comfortable showing my tummy in all it’s postpartum glory, so I have several nursing tanks that I wore under all my “real” clothes. Once you get more comfortable, you just slip up the shirt and no skin is exposed. It just looks like the baby is sleeping in your arms unless you look closely. Keep up the good work with the breast feeding. Just a warning, I found I had good days and bad days until about 8 weeks with both my kids. I don’t want to scare you but I also don’t want you to be blindsided if it all of a sudden gets hard.

Congrats on becoming a mommy! Sounds like you and Andy are doing a great job. It does get easier – and sometimes harder – but don’t be scared because it is always wonderful! Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself πŸ™‚

Michelle says:

Congrats on mommyhood and your adorable little girl! I wanted to comment on cord blood banking as my husband and I looked into this at length before our little one was born and spoke to many reps from different companies. I know your writer-iner mentioned the 10 grand investment, but that’s not all up front, at least with the companies we looked into banking with. It can be $1.5k-$3k upfront and then it’s and annual fee that’s less than $200. We actually don’t have much $$ to spare, but we felt that if our baby ended up having something that could be treated with her cord blood that it would be priceless to us. The amount of diseases cord blood is treating currently is roughly 80, while in the 90’s, if I remember correctly was just a handful (under 20) and they’re continuing to make strides with their research. Also, after birth, at any time you can stop making annual payments. The cord blood stays banked and if you end up needing it, you just have to pay for the years you missed payment. I respect anyone’s decision for their reasoning to do/not to do cord blood banking, but just wanted to share what we found out. πŸ™‚

Sarah says:

First: you guys are doing great! And a big welcome to Baby-O! Second: I’m going to (most presumptuously) speak for the LameWad/Wed/Mommy-Daddy nation and encourage you to take a bit of your own excellent advice. Just like you cited your friends’ experience of taking time off work and coming back roaring, please know that all us Lame Wad/Wed/Etc.. will be here if you take more time off between podcast episodes. Of course we’re all delighted when a new Lame pops up, but we don’t have to be your first priority right now. We’re fine with that. We’ll be here when you find the new normal.

Becca says:

I second this! Another idea I was thinking was taping two half hour segments in one day and then taking the next week off? Love your dedication though πŸ™‚

Masha says:

I totally agree! Feel free to take a break or to do fewer episodes, and please don’t feel like you have to apologize for the way your episodes are now. I haven’t noticed any changes except for you two seem so adorably into your daughter and you have new experiences to share.

On the flip side of the taking a break advice is the idea that having an outlet where you and Andy can get a break from your child to spend time together and connect to the outside world might be exactly what you need right now. Whatever you two figure out, it’ll be great.

Finally, I hope you don’t let your insecurity about your appearance prevent you from letting pictures be taken of you. Those pictures of Baby Oprah’s first few months with her parents will be treasures later, and you should trust Andy when he says that you look wonderful. πŸ™‚

Liz says:

Thirding this. I just reread this great Neil Gaiman piece about how creators are not their fans’ bitches. Might help with not feeling guilty?

You only get this special and stressful time with Baby Oprah once. If you don’t need time off, that’s wonderful, but please don’t put too much pressure on yourselves. We’ll still be here, short episodes, missed episodes, Andy co-host for three months straight, whatever.

Corinna says:

Fourth-ed! (?)

I speak for myself when I say I will miss your funny but if you need a break TAKE ONE.

It’s hard work all that breast feeding and keeping Oprah content. With Andy back at work it’s just a lot on you especially with the sleep deprivation. Maybe you could just blog a bit and post some photos to keep us in the loop? OR just nothing πŸ˜‰

We know you’ll be back you won’t lose us.

nicole says:

To the caller who wants to do an unmedicated birth, I would say it’s a great place to start. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself about it, but tell your care provider that’s what you want so they know how to encourage you… and definitely consider getting a doula or midwife to coach you. We had an unmedicated home birth without telling our families because they were all expressly against it and their concern stressed me out. We left the possibility open for a hospital birth and felt lucky that we didn’t have to go (and of course if we had it would have been just as amazing). It was an incredibly empowering experience and I found people were supportive after it all worked out. Go for it!

Jessie says:

Elizabeth, I just want to say that it does get better and easier. I promise you’ll figure out how to function again, and I totally understand that feeling SO MUCH. It’s always tough (my son is 1 1/2), but it will get easier and you’ll feel normal and like yourself again. I distinctly remember that feeling of ‘Oh, man. I feel so much more normal!’ after a while. <3 hang in there!!! You are doing a good job!

Cali says:

First, you guys are doing amazing! Every parent knows exactly how the public meltdown feels.

For the unmediated birth writer, often times peoples opinions on either side of the topic are based on their need for validation of their choices; we all want to feel that as parents that we are doing the best we can for our precious babies. That said, I agree with Elizabeth by saying this is the decision/goal we have made based on our research; that decision is different for everyone.

Here’s my good bad funny:
Good: hearing how much your husband loves you from other people! <3
Bad: my child showing me his hand and proclaiming "playdoh" and me remembering he doesn't own brown playdoh.
Funny: my child telling me to "just breathe" during a dr's office visit.

Love love love all the pods!! Xoxo

Stacey says:

I find these to be some of the best podcasts. I’m glad you are doing these because they are telling it like it is. And you’ll have them for posterity to play for an older Teddy.

Natasha says:

For the writer who wanted to know about genetic testing:

As someone who recently went through genetic testing your primary care doctor should be able to get you in contact with a genetic counselor – or clinic that does do some of that testing. The actual process is very easy- it involves giving some blood and having it sent off to a lab- the genetic counselor will go through a background to see if there are any specific disorders to look for- for example most people with a grandparent that is Jewish there is a recommendation that they get screened for quite a few different disorders, most places also always screen for cystic fibrosis. It makes lots of sense for some people based on how they will end up having children, be that through IVF or adoption depending on the type or severity of disorders.

There are many providers that have assistance for people to get genetic testing if your insurance does not cover it (in fact most labs offer discounts). I would highly recommend – based on what a quick meeting with a genetic counselor says. The push for genetic testing in the Jewish community has made the occurrence of tay sachs much much lower in the Jewish community than it is in the general population.

I along with my finance had genetic testing and based on our outcomes we are very glad to know our carrier status.

I don’t think it should be the end all be all of if you have kids, but it might help you decide HOW to have kids.

Allison says:

First of all I just want to say that I absolutely love you guys. Being from central IL originally (and a huge STL Cardinals fan) I was instantly connected to you guys the first time I heard you on totally married. Being a mother of a one year old daughter, I have definitely been in your shoes and it is actually reassuring for me to hear your point of view as I was having a lot of the same feelings back about a year ago. My husband and I both work full time as our expenses require me to work too and I find that it really sucks. For one, I never ever thought that I would even want to be a stay at home mom. Even though my mom did it for all three of us kids and I have a great relationship with her, I have always wanted a career for myself (also in the creative field). Once I saw my baby girl for the first time I was instantly filled with so many emotions it’s hard to even describe them. All I could think about was that I had to go back to work in just 6 weeks. That was so rough and I really hate that I have to work full time. I must say that there is some innate motherly guilt that just appears when you become a mom. All the non-stop worrying that I am not spending enough quality time with her or that it’s going to shape the person that she becomes. But at the end of the day I have to remind myself that I am helping to provide for my family and doing the best that I can.
I think you guys are doing a great job and just know that although it takes time you will eventually get more sleep and start to feel like yourself again. It has taken me over a year but hey everyone is different. Also just want to end by saying that you guys help make my workday so much better and brighter and I wish I could listen to you all day Monday-Friday. Keep it up.
P.S.Just bought an extra car seat base through your Amazon link.

Steph says:

My working mom situation ended up much different than what I envisioned. My company pays for a 5 month maternity leave, and I thought by the end of it that I would be dreading the return to work. Shockingly, I didn’t! I loved the adult interaction and being able to get a bit of my “old self” back. I used to hear people say that and think of what a shitty mom that person must be… but nope, I’m a fucking awesome mom, and being able to be my work self allows me to come home and be 100% awesome mom and then once the kid’s in bed 100% awesome wife. The HUGE factors in my happiness back at work: the long maternity leave allowed me to bond, settle into a routine and establish good milk supply; a very supportive workplace in terms of pumping; a flexible schedule (despite a demanding field) and MOST importantly: an amazing daycare provider that I adore and trust. There are so many factors that go into the working/SAHM situation that can build success or failure. It’s just what feels most comfortable to the individual mom.

You are doing so great at keeping up these podcasts during a time in which we all (being all parents) remember as a very hard time. It’s so nice to hear you and Andy being able to laugh at the hard times. My husband and I just reminisced at our first outing to Red Robin (that itself is laughable) with our LO, I spent most of the time feeding him in the car while my husband ate alone in the restaurant. Those babies smell that food and they get hungry too!

It does get easier, take it day by day. You are really close to being out of the hardest time. Right around 4-5 weeks things got a lot better for us. Plus if you start pumping once a day at 4 weeks, Andy can take 1 feeding at night and you can start getting a solid block of sleep! That right there is a game changer.

Also if you don’t have the Wonder Weeks app and book yet, I highly recommend it! It really got me through those first 4 months.

Steph says:

LO = little one

(sorry my fertility/baby forum-ness just came out there)

Jessica says:

Elizabeth, just take the break you need. You need it and we will still be here. It is hard having a newborn and it will get easier but do not feel bad if you take some time out. We love you and will be here when you get back!

Cassidy Stockton says:

Totally agree- if you need some time off. Take it. We can wait.

I love what you both had to say about this new(ish) reverse pressure to NOT stay at home. I know plenty of SAHMs, but in my own family, it was definitely assumed my SAHMing was temporary (which it was, but that’s neither here nor there.) For Christmas (when I wasn’t back to work yet), my mom and dad got me a gorgeous handbag and noted it would be good for my laptop “when you go back to work.” They definitely supported my decision to stay home (which wasn’t necessarily a decision as I got shitcanned), but it was just funny to me that there was obviously some fear/worry or expectation (or something?) about my going back to work. I think people (parents/friends/coworkers/whomever) ultimately just project a whole hell of a lot onto other people. Oh, you loved being a SAHM? Then I must also. Or you were a working mom? Then I should do that too. Anyway, for the gal who was wondering whether or not to do it, just know the job will be there when/if you return. I’m always worried I’ll get passed up for jobs because I’m “A MOM” (god forbid), but it’s a non-issue. (If you’re in the right job. Not like the one I was shitcanned from.)

Cassidy Stockton says:

I am sure you’re getting a ton of great support from friends and family, but I just wanted to chime in and say that you’re doing a good job. You didn’t have a mommy fail on your outing- it’s a total non-stop learning experience. At 18 months, I still forget the diaper bag sometimes. We live, we learn. Hang in there! You’re still very much in the thick of it and before you know it, you’ll feel more confident with baby Oprah. Remember, despite what it looks like, no one knows what they’re doing. You and Andy are doing great!

Cassidy Stockton says:

My good: Having an awesome date night with my husband and remembering that he is my best friend- sometimes I get so wrapped up in his role as husband, dad, lover, that I forget what an awesome friend he is!

My bad: Weaning off the pacifier! Oy!

My funny: watching my son run around naked in our yard for the first time during the gorgeous weather we had this weekend. Also, he totally just pooped while we were in the yard and that was freaking hilarious, despite the mess!

Leslie Riley says:

We haven’t heard much about your breast feeding experience so far. It’s such a wonderful yet different for everywoman experience. I would live to hear your good bad and funny. I told my husband I was going to squirt him with breast milk before this was over so he better just let it happen! It was awesome!

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