Ep. 20: What Is Lightning Crotch? (27 and 31 Weeks Pregnant)

November 19, 2018

Listen Now:

Laura reports on checking in with her OBGYN about her pubic symphysis pain, and Shanna talks about her third trimester pregnancy anxiety and shares a an unsettling prediction that her 2.5-year-old made about her pregnancy. Also, in honor of Thanksgiving, Shanna and Laura give up the pregnancy grousing and share things they are thankful for in a Gratitude Slam! Finally, they dive into the topics of lightning crotch and pilates when they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Laura is 27 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 31 weeks pregnant.

Topics discussed in this episode:

-Week 27 of pregnancy

-Week 31 of pregnancy

-Pubic symphysis pain

-Knitting baby items

-Sick while pregnant


-Lightning crotch

-Second trimester

-Third trimester

This episode’s full show notes can be found here.

Want to get in touch with Shanna and Laura? Send us an email and follow us on social! Instagram, Facebook or TikTok at @bfppodcast

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Big Fat Positive: A Pregnancy and Parenting Journey is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager.

Show Notes:

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Episode Transcript

Shanna Micko: Before we get started, we wanted to say we’re so grateful for you, our listeners, and it would mean so much to us if you could go to iTunes and rate us and review our show. Let us know what you think. That’ll help our show grow its audience and we appreciate it so much.


Shanna Micko: On this week’s show, we have our weekly check-ins, we have a special segment called, “Gratitude Slam,” where Laura and Shanna get grateful at the universe, and we end our show with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get started.


Shanna Micko: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the show.

Laura Birek: Hello.

Shanna Micko: We are going to kick it off as usual with our weekly check-ins. Laura, tell us what’s going on.

Laura Birek: I am at 27 weeks moving right along. I had a doctor’s appointment this week. I think we’re getting back to those every two weeks appointments now it sounds like.

Shanna Micko: Oh, wow. I haven’t even started that yet.

Laura Birek: Really?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: He wanted me to come back in two weeks, so I guess now it’s every two weeks. Who knows?

Shanna Micko: He just likes your company.

Laura Birek: I like his company. He’s a great guy. He’s very fun to talk to. Actually, my check-in has something to do with that. He’s one of these doctors who he’s just so nice and always available for questions. So when I came in, I didn’t really have anything specific to talk about. But I did want to ask about my pubic symphysis pain, which I’ve talked about, which is the pain that you feel on your pubic bone when it starts separating or kind of moving around because you get that relaxing hormone that messes with the cartilaginous joint between your hip bones right at the front of your pubis. I’m just going to keep saying pubis until I make Shanna laugh.

Shanna Micko: Exposure therapy, I’m over it now.

Laura Birek: I know. I’ve lost my touch. So I asked him is there physical therapy I could do, because I have to say it’s been okay. I’m learning how to deal with it. 

It’s not so painful that I can’t function, but I do notice that if I do a lot of stuff during the day, or walk extra-long or sleep in a weird position, it does get worse. So I’m trying to be really conscious of how to just keep it under control, but I thought maybe he might recommend physical therapy or something. I asked him about it and he was like, I don’t know if physical therapy really will make much difference and he’s like, you just kind of have to deal with it, which I have to say, people on the internet have said physical therapy has really helped them. So I’m sort of like, maybe I should just try. I’m on the fence, but the point is that this brought up an anecdote and my doctor always has some pretty fun and also horrifying anecdotes for us when we come visit usually in response to a specific question. This one was asking about the pubic symphysis pain. He said that might actually mean that you have the chance of a smoother vaginal delivery, because it means that your hips are stretching.

Shanna Micko: That’s good news.

Laura Birek: So in theory, you have more space for the baby to come out. This is of course, if the baby’s not in breach and all that other good stuff and he said it might have some help. But he said you want it to be a flexible joint. It hurts when it’s getting too flexible or towards the end of pregnancy. Then he told me a story about a woman who did not have a flexible pubic symphysis joint.

Shanna Micko: No.

Laura Birek: Beware if you are sensitive to stories. 

I will say, everyone survived, baby’s fine, mother eventually was fine, but it’s one of those birth stories. It’s not great. If you don’t want to listen to it, skip ahead like two minutes. He told me this story. He said there was a woman who had a really, really tight pelvic bone and he could tell it was narrow and he said they were pushing for hours and hours and hours. I think he said she pushed for two hours and he finally said, “Look, it might be time we should do a C-section,” and she said, “Can we try a little longer?” He looked at the monitors, he looked at her, the baby wasn’t in distress, she wasn’t in distress. He said, “If you really want to, sure. Fine.” So she pushed more. I don’t know how much longer, but he said, all of a sudden, there was an audible crack and the baby came right out.

Shanna Micko: I knew it. Jesus, hope she had an epidural.

Laura Birek: God, I hope so. But I heard it, so you have to hear it. Apparently, what happened was she actually had cracked her pubic symphysis joint. It had actually broken and so she ended up not being able to walk for two months.

Shanna Micko: Oh, no, poor lady.

Laura Birek: She had to wrap her hips in some kind of a cast, I think and so she had two months of not being able to walk, not being able to walk around with the baby. I think he tells me these as cautionary tales, I know and he doesn’t really have to tell me, because I’m fully on board with getting a C-section if I need it. If that was me and after two hours of pushing he’s like, I think we need a C-section. I would be like, okay. Great. You’re the expert. Let’s go. 

I don’t think he’s trying to brainwash me or anything. He’s just trying to tell me that there’s a reason he makes these recommendations. He’s not doing it because he’s tired of dealing with the bashing or whatever.

Shanna Micko: It also sounds like he was trying to reassure you that your pain now is probably not going to be in vain. It’s preparing you for a smoother ride down the road.

Laura Birek: That’s the hope. It indicates that it might be for the best that I have a stretchy pubic symphysis, but I think not walking for two months is worse than having a C-section. That was his story. That was basically all I got out of that visit. It was like, baby’s looking good, quick ultrasound and he’s like and also, here’s this story.

Shanna Micko: Oh, boy.

Laura Birek: That was fun and then the other thing real quick is that I finally have started knitting something for the baby.

Shanna Micko: How cute.

Laura Birek: For me, I’m a knitter, I’m a knitting designer, I love knitting, and I literally haven’t been able to knit anything for the baby for 27 weeks, because I’ve been knitting stuff for other people or trying to finish other projects and so finally I’m designing a baby sweater pattern for him and only him.

Shanna Micko: Aww, that’s so sweet. I can’t wait to see it.

Laura Birek: I think it’ll be fun and oh my gosh, knitting baby stuff I forgot it’s so fast, because they are so little.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: The only downside is we live in Southern California where you don’t really need a lot of knitwear, so I have to be a little creative.

Shanna Micko: Just crank that AC.

Laura Birek: He is going to be born in the winter, but still that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not going to be 85 degrees outside.

Shanna Micko: Exactly. It’s bathing suit weather around here.

Laura Birek: I should knit him a bathing suit.

Shanna Micko: There you go.

Laura Birek: Anyway, that’s my week. Where are you at? What’s happening with you this week?

Shanna Micko: I’m 31 weeks and I caught a cold.

Laura Birek: There it is.

Shanna Micko: I don’t know if maybe I pushed myself a bit too much by going to Mom Camp last weekend. I feel like I’ve been ragged lately with my schedule and I think my immune system is low, whatever. I have a cold and it’s just bad. So I basically worked from home most of the week. I had to call in every day and be like, you guys don’t want me in your presence.

Laura Birek: No, they don’t.

Shanna Micko: Not right now. So I have been working from home, which is good, because then I don’t have to rush out of the house and sit in rush hours traffic. That’s nice. Then the other thing, it’s funny that you tell a horror story right before I talk about this and I feel like the last few weeks my check-in is I’m freaking out about something, which is like a segment that we usually have. But now I guess it’s just my life.

Laura Birek: We don’t need a segment. It’s just your everyday life.

Shanna Micko: It’s just the third trimester. For some reason, I feel like I’ve been surrounded lately by stories of things that can go wrong in childbirth. 

For my job, I read scripts and watch TV episodes. That’s part of my job and I’m on a medical drama and it feels like every single week there’s something like emergency C-section on an abandoned floor of the hospital with a doctor who doesn’t really know what she’s doing and I have to read this and then watch it. I’m like, oh my God. So my own sense of what could happen to me in my body is heightened right now and I’m just very sensitive to all of this stuff and I have to calm myself down and take deep breaths and be like, everything’s probably going to be fine. Your pregnancy is going well so far.

Laura Birek: Everything good so far. This is a thing that I live by, which is not just hearing horror stories about things, but also looking at reviews like Yelp reviews for restaurants or Amazon reviews for products is that when people like some and something is not dramatic and just normal, they don’t usually talk about it.

Shanna Micko: True.

Laura Birek: We love storytelling. We love dramatics. We both do the Moth and stuff. We love that stuff, but you don’t go to the Moth and be like, “I got pregnant. My pregnancy was uncomplicated and then I had a very uncomplicated and normal birth. Thank you very much.”

Shanna Micko: And I won the Moth SLAM.

Laura Birek: Bam! GrandSLAM.

Shanna Micko: The same in like the mom’s groups online and stuff, it’s like the normal stuff doesn’t get brought to light, even though that’s probably like 99% of it. I scroll the mom’s groups and it’s like, I just went into preterm labor or I gave birth to a two pound baby and that scares me. I can’t really read those. I can barely even scroll past the headlines, but I know it’s exactly what you’re saying. It’s the outlier. It’s not the norm.

Laura Birek: You could just start posting, “Had a great uneventful week.”

Shanna Micko: That’s how I should counteract it.

Laura Birek: “My baby is still inside my uterus. I just wanted to say that.” That’s like bragging at this point.

Shanna Micko: Then along the similar lines, the last thing I wanted to say is that for some reason, my daughter she’s excited about the baby coming, but the last few days she has touched my belly and looked at me and said, “My baby sister’s coming today.”

Laura Birek: Oh, no.

Shanna Micko: I’m like, no, she’s not. She’s still got some time to bake. She’s not coming today and then I get all wound up. I’m like, oh my God, does she have some sixth sense? Is she channeling something from the other side? Then it is crazy how my fears my small child can fuel them.

Laura Birek: How much of a concept does she even have of yesterday, today, tomorrow? How much awareness does she have of that?

Shanna Micko: She’s starting to grasp it, but she doesn’t really know that the baby’s coming in nine weeks.

Laura Birek: The concept of nine weeks to a two and a half year old has got to be mind-blowing. It’s such a big chunk of their life.

Shanna Micko: She doesn’t understand weeks and stuff. But I think kind of her eerie saying that just feels like a prediction, because I’m already worried about going into preterm labor or whatever. So I’m just like, oh my gosh, quiet.

Laura Birek: I love your daughter and I think she’s brilliant, but I am going to say, I don’t think she’s predicting the future yet.

Shanna Micko: Yes, she’s not psychic.

Laura Birek: She might be in other ways, but that’s not it.

Shanna Micko: That’s it. All in all, I’m fine. I know how to take breaths and meditate and handle these fears. I just thought I would put them out there in the world so you all know what’s really going on.

Laura Birek: Disseminate those fears. That’s good.

Shanna Micko: Exactly.


Laura Birek: All right. So in honor of Thanksgiving, which is coming up, we are actually going to have a new segment, which we are calling a gratitude slam.

Shanna Micko: Boom, boom.

Laura Birek: Look, this is a safe space. Shanna and I are two friends just shooting the shit and sometimes that means that we complain more than we might on an average day, because sometimes you just need to complain to your friend, especially when you’re both pregnant and feeling tired and achy and emotional. We understand that sometimes this might seem like not the best thing to put out into the universe. So we are going to counteract that with a gratitude slam, much like a poetry slam or a rap battle. Shanna and I, we’ve participated in a lot of rap battles, right?

Shanna Micko: Every weekend.

Laura Birek: But the idea is that we’re just going to do some rapid fire gratitude mostly about our pregnancies so that we can reset the universe and have some Thanksgiving this week more than usual. We’re going to do it pretty fast. Right, Shanna, because we haven’t practiced this?

Shanna Micko: No, this is off the cuff and I don’t know what’s going to come up, but hopefully a lot of good vibes.

Laura Birek: I think you are going to have to start us off.

Shanna Micko: Okay. I’m grateful that my daughter’s not psychic and that my baby didn’t come that day and that I’ve got nine more weeks to let this baby cook.

Laura Birek: Good. I’m grateful that even though we’re not allowed to have alcohol when we’re pregnant, that it means that we don’t get to have hangovers either. I’m very grateful for that.

Shanna Micko: Although pregnancy sometimes feels like a hangover. I am grateful that my husband gets four months paid paternity leave and gets to be at home helping me take care of this newborn when it’s time.

Laura Birek: Hell, yes. That’s huge. Good one. Okay. I am grateful that pregnancy is the best excuse to get out of any social obligation you can imagine. Thank you, pregnancy.

Shanna Micko: I’m grateful that I have about two tons of old clothes and baby supplies for my first kid that I just get to reuse and I get to save all that money for the vacations I’m going to take after my newborn’s born.

Laura Birek: That’s right. I’m grateful that when my baby kicks me at night and wakes me up and makes me feel like I’m going to throw up, that means he’s still alive and doing well in there. Thanks, baby.

Shanna Micko: I’m grateful that I don’t have stretch marks yet. I think they will come, but for right now, so far so good.

Laura Birek: I’m going to jump on that. I’m grateful that I don’t have that linea nigra. That’s that dark line that goes down the center of your belly yet again, but I still have the same coloration on my belly, which makes me feel a little more normal.

Shanna Micko: That reminds me I’m grateful that I don’t have varicose veins, which I recently learned can also happen in your vulva and labia during pregnancy and I’m so grateful I don’t have that yet.

Laura Birek: I second that. I am grateful for all these work deadlines that are making me crazy, but that means that I’m going to have more money for maternity leave, because I’m a freelancer. So the more I work, the more money I have. I’m grateful for that.

Shanna Micko: I am grateful that I haven’t had to worry about losing weight in about seven and a half months. It is a relief.

Laura Birek: I’m going to say also I’m grateful for not having gestational diabetes, because I am also not worried about losing weight and I am eating cake for lunch more than I should, but yes, I’m grateful for that, because it’s delicious.

Shanna Micko: Same. I’m also grateful I don’t have gestational diabetes and I’m grateful for sugar, because that is the only thing I’m craving right now, basically.

Laura Birek: I think you might have won.

Shanna Micko: Are you out?

Laura Birek: I’m blanking.

Shanna Micko: Poetry slam champion.

Laura Birek: Shanna is the most grateful.

Shanna Micko: That was fun. I do feel good. I feel the good vibes.

Laura Birek: It’s true. I feel good too. We should get a way ahead of this.

Shanna Micko: You know what? I’m grateful for our friendship.

Laura Birek: Stop it.

Shanna Micko: Then we’re both pregnant at the same time and we’re going to have our little babies and they’re going to grow up friends and it’s going to be so great.

Laura Birek: Aww, me and you really win. I’m grateful too. You make me all weepy, Shanna.

Shanna Micko: All right. Now, back onto the snark.


Shanna Micko: We wrap up our show with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Laura, what do you have this week?

Laura Birek: After all that gratitude, I have a BFN.

Shanna Micko: Oh, man.

Laura Birek: It’s okay. I’m not going to bring us too far down, but my BFN is that I’ve had to give up going to Pilates this week.

Shanna Micko: Shoot. How come?

Laura Birek: I had given it up in the first trimester, because I thought it was nauseating basically. You know I do the reformer Pilates where you’re on this machine that’s like a circus contraption. You’re like upside down, you have your feet and straps and I think it’s really super fun. It’s the only type of exercise I’m very consistently been doing for years and I love it. I have a studio that I go to right down the street. It’s sort of my indulgence that I pay for semi-private classes there and I went two weeks ago, something like that. I’ve been a little less consistent, but I’ve been going and the last time I went, it was just too much on my body. I know my teacher would probably go even further to try to help me adjust things. She really was already going above and beyond to modify positions for me and it’s like a three or four person class. The good thing about being small is I can get personalized attention, but I also felt like I was taking away from the other students a bit. They wanted to get a good workout and she’s spending all this time giving me different things to do, especially with I’m just going to start calling it SPD, which they call the pubic symphysis disorder. I don’t know why it’s SPD instead of PSD, but it’s SPD. Anyway, with this SPD, anything I do that’s one-legged just makes it worse. So I need to do everything sort of symmetrically and that really limits what I can do. I thought about it and I had that feeling like, I should go, shouldn’t I go? When I finally said it out loud to Corey, my husband, I said I’m thinking about maybe stopping Pilates until after birth. It was just that feeling of like, that’s what I want. You know what I mean?

Shanna Micko: That’s good.

Laura Birek: So it clarified things for me. I’m going to miss it, because I do like it and I always feel better having done it and I’m looking forward to when I can go back and do Pilates again, but I think just now it’s just too much for my body at this point and I can’t imagine my body’s going to be getting more into it. I’m not giving it up. I guess I’m just putting it on pause.

Shanna Micko: That’s the thing is you can pick it back up. You’re listening to your body and you do have the prenatal yoga, which is probably a nice outlet too.

Laura Birek: I would love a little bit more strength building. Prenatal yoga is great for stretching and it has a little bit of strength building, but especially on my arms, I want to be able to make sure I can carry that baby real well.

Shanna Micko: That baby’s going to weigh seven pounds, girl. You are going to be fine.

Laura Birek: All right. So I’m just pausing the Pilates. Anyway, what about you? You got a BFP or BFN?

Shanna Micko: I also have a BFN this week and I don’t know if you’ve heard of this. I didn’t know about this. I found it out by Googling. I have lightning crotch.

Laura Birek: I’ve heard of lightning crotch but I don’t know what it feels like, because I don’t have it. Tell me more.

Shanna Micko: I Googled shooting pain in vagina or something like that and apparently this is lightning crotch. If you’re British, it’s called fanny daggers, which I just love so much.

Laura Birek: The Britons are better at everything.

Shanna Micko: I keep on calling it fanny daggers. “It’s the nickname given for the sudden and often sharp pain some pregnant moms experience deep in the pelvis or vaginal area during pregnancy.” I’ve read that from a website. I don’t really talk like that. It’s I guess when the baby moves a certain way, maybe it hits a nerve that shoots pain down there. But it’s very painful and then also while doing this whole search and experiencing all this, I came across a thread on a baby board where the topic was shooting butt hole pains during pregnancy.

Laura Birek: No one wants that.

Shanna Micko: But I also have that and I think it’s after I’ve eaten beans. I think I’ve recently told you that I’m not a big fan of black beans, because they make me so gassy, especially when I’m pregnant. I can’t believe I’m talking about this. Sorry, world, but it is a real pregnancy problem. Your body traps the gas and it hurts and then the baby jumping around in there on your intestines and it’s shooting fanny daggers down into all the areas that you don’t want daggers.

Laura Birek: Ouch. It’s just random literally?

Shanna Micko: It’s totally random.

Laura Birek: Wow.

Shanna Micko: Good time.

Laura Birek: I’m guessing there’s nothing to be done about it.

Shanna Micko: I think for me personally eating less beans or anything gas inducing will help, but as far as the nerve stuff, I don’t think there’s really much you can do about that. If the baby’s just in a position where she’s hitting a nerve, maybe if I could move around or something. I didn’t really find solutions, but hopefully that goes away. She’ll move out of that position and I’ll feel better.

Laura Birek: I don’t know if anyone’s ever talked to you about this, but in prenatal yoga, they talk a lot about putting the baby in the hammock. You know this concept?

Shanna Micko: No.

Laura Birek: The idea is that all day the babies are pushing on our pelvis and on our back, because we’re either upright or lying down and the antidote to that is to get into a position where you’re either on all fours or a really good one is your feet are back in a wide stance and you have your palms on a table or a chair and your back is flat. They call it putting the baby in the hammock, because you’re basically using your stomach as a hammock for the baby to sit in and it gives you relief on your back. I’m wondering if maybe you’re getting the lightning crotch, if that might help, because maybe it’ll put her in a different position. You have to try it at least.

Shanna Micko: Totally. I will try that. That also reminds me of a product I recently saw on my baby app. It’s called the Prenatal Cradle. Have you heard of this?

Laura Birek: No.

Shanna Micko: It’s something you wear around your belly and then up over your shoulders. It looks like a workman’s harness or something and I think it like lifts the baby up off of your pelvis a little bit. I’m doing that with my hands right now and that kind of does feel good to take some of the pressure off.

Laura Birek: I forgot to mention at the beginning where we were talking about our check-ins. One of the things my doctor did say I could try was to hold my belly as I walked around. Like literally hold it up, but it seemed silly so I forgot.

Shanna Micko: There’s your arm strengthening.

Laura Birek: There you go. Also, I guess I don’t feel super worried about messing with my stomach. I know that they’re very insulated in there, but it does feel a little weird like, am I supposed to be doing this? You’ll have to try it and report back.

Shanna Micko: I will.

Laura Birek: I’ll do the same.

Shanna Micko: Okay. I think that’s it. Is that it for the show?

Laura Birek: That’s it for the show.

Shanna Micko: Episode 20.

Laura Birek: That’s halfway through our show’s pregnancy right there.

Shanna Micko: Wow. That’s a trimester and a half. That’s amazing. Woo-hoo!

Laura Birek: Anyway, we are real grateful for all of our listeners, too. So thank you for listening.

Shanna Micko: Indeed. We would love to know what you’re grateful for this holiday season. Please feel free to reach out, drop us a line. Laura, where can they find us?

Laura Birek: We are on every social media platform you can think of: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our handle is at BFP Podcast. We also have a Facebook group you could join, a community group where we can discuss all kinds of fun things like our gratitude journals and we have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com

Shanna Micko: Big Fat Positive is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager.

Laura Birek: Thanks for listening.

Shanna Micko: Bye. Happy Thanksgiving.

Laura Birek: Happy Thanksgiving.