Ep. 22: How Not to Make a Birth Plan (29 and 33 Weeks Pregnant)

December 3, 2018

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In the special segment “Internet Insanity,” things get wacky as Laura and Shanna share the unusual things they’ve come across in the online world of pregnancy, including a shocking contributor to the pregnancy forums and an-over-the-top birth plan. Also, Shanna reports on having a baby sprinkle to celebrate her second child, Laura talks about trying to figure out the best place to hold her baby shower. Finally, the moms-to-be reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Laura is 29 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 33 weeks pregnant.

Topics discussed in this episode:

-Week 29 of pregnancy

-Week 33 of pregnancy

-Working from home while pregnant

-Having a lower immune system when you’re pregnant

-Having a baby sprinkle for your second child

-Planning a baby shower

-Karla Homolka

-Weird things that happen in online pregnancy forums

-Over-the-top birth plans

-Difficulty shaving while pregnant

-Having hemorrhoids during pregnancy

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.

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Episode Transcript


Laura Birek: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive. This week we’ve got our weekly check-ins, we’ve got our regular segment, Internet Insanity, and we’ve got our BFPs and BFNs for the week. Let’s get to it.


Laura Birek: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the show.

Shanna Micko: Hi.

Laura Birek: This is episode 22 and Shanna, let’s hear your weekly check-in for this week.

Shanna Micko: All right. Well, I’m week 33.

Laura Birek: This is a juicy number.

Shanna Micko: I know. I like it. It’s good and I have a couple things to report. The first is I think a couple weeks back, I mentioned that I caught a cold or bronchitis or virus of some sort, and that sucker has not gone away.

Laura Birek: Seriously?

Shanna Micko: I’ve been sick for three and a half weeks.

Laura Birek: Oh God.

Shanna Micko: The doctor’s like, “It’s a virus. Nothing I can do for you. When you’re pregnant, your immune system is lower. So sorry about that.

Laura Birek: Thanks, buddy.

Shanna Micko: So I am so drained being sick. I’m not sleeping well at night, still getting up to go to work, take care of the kid, blah, blah, blah. So I decided that I wanted to ask my boss if there’s anything she could do to help me out here, because technically, I could get my doctor to sign off on some extra time, like paid disability time before my delivery and he’s like, “With what you have going on, I could do that.” I was like, I don’t really want to do that. I don’t want to screw you guys. I want to be there for you as an employee, blah, blah, but is there anything you can do like help me take care of myself also be a good employee? She offered to let me work from home.

Laura Birek: Really?

Shanna Micko: Yes, I’ve started working from home until my official maternity leave starts, which is two weeks before my due date.

Laura Birek: Oh my gosh, that’s great.

Shanna Micko: I’ve done a couple days of that and it is so helpful, I can’t even tell you. Not having to commute in the morning, rush around and get my daughter ready for school, it’s helped me already tremendously. So I’m so grateful.

Laura Birek: Your commute was I guess pretty hefty, right?

Shanna Micko: It’s like depending on the day 30 to 45 minutes in the car there and back and it’s with my kid, because I take her to school, which is where I work. It’s just a lot trying to wrangle that kid in the car and blah, blah, blah.

Laura Birek: You have reclaimed like an hour to an hour and a half of your day, every day.

Shanna Micko: I think maybe I’m a bit more productive employee, because I have a little extra time and extra mental space to be focused on working.

Laura Birek: For sure.

Shanna Micko: So it’s been wonderful and I’m so grateful to my supervisor for this and it’s been awesome.

Laura Birek: The background is that I used to work normal nine to five actually at the same place you currently work and I went full-time freelance six years ago, something like that. But before that, I tried to negotiate some working from home time and they were so reluctant and I get it: jobs want to know you’re getting your work done. But when I did get to work part-time from home I think one day a week for like a month, it was so great. I got so much more work done. That’s the thing that I think people forget is you get so much more work done when you don’t have to do all that commuting stuff. Not to mention having to get dressed to be presentable for the day and all that stuff.

Shanna Micko: That saves me a lot of time too.

Laura Birek: Now I work full-time from home for myself. I’m a freelancer and I am a true believer in working from home. I think it’s awesome. So I’m so happy for you.

Shanna Micko: Thank you. I think this is going to be the thing that’s going to help me finally kick this virus and get better and feel a little bit more energetic.

Laura Birek: Here’s hoping. I had that cold a couple months ago and it took forever for me to feel better.

Shanna Micko: I remember that.

Laura Birek: It just lingered. It was so bad. It was such torture.

Getting sick when you’re pregnant is so different from getting sick when you’re just your normal self.

Shanna Micko: Absolutely, because when I have my normal self, I don’t give a fuck. I load up on all the medicine. I know I can take Sudafed and Tylenol, but I take it in like small doses. I don’t want to take a lot, but if I’m my normal self, I’m like Sudafed all day, every day, Aleve, every cold medicine and it helps me function.

Laura Birek: I’m all about getting drugged up when I’m sick, but you feel different. Even if your doctor’s sure you’re allowed to take Sudafed, you’re so careful about making sure you don’t take it too soon and making sure you’re only taking what’s recommended and then you feel guilty about it anyway.

Shanna Micko: People make drugs out of this. This got to be something weird, but I don’t know. So it’s a whole weird thing. I’m looking forward to feeling better, but the other part of my update is that I had my baby sprinkle.

Laura Birek: That’s right. I know that, because I was there.

Shanna Micko: My mom and my friend, Jen, threw me a wonderful little lady’s lunch sprinkle at my house and it was just so nice to get the ladies together and celebrate and eat some yummy Lebanese food.

Laura Birek: That was good. I love that.

Shanna Micko: It’s yummy, huh?

Laura Birek: It was really, really good.

Shanna Micko: That food or whatever was so good.

Laura Birek: I could have some for lunch today.

Shanna Micko: Come over to my neighborhood. Let’s have it.

Laura Birek: I’m hanging up now. Let’s go.

Shanna Micko: I’m not sure what to say. One funny thing about it is that you know I’m having another girl. So part of my to-do list is to go through all the stuff that’s left, like hand-me-downs from my daughter.

Laura Birek: You talked about that on a previous episode.

Shanna Micko: Tons of clothes and items and it’s just been looming over me, because I’m like, when am I going to have time to do that? I had this idea I’m like, would the ladies want to do like a clothes sorting party? If I could at least sort these clothes into age groups, then I would know what I need to wash right away and Jen was like, “That’s a great idea. Let’s do it. Let’s put the ladies to work.” I was like, “Are you sure?” She’s like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” So we got bins and we got tons of clothes.

Laura Birek: You had so many clothes.

Shanna Micko: So many clothes. It took six, eight women 30 to 45 minutes to sort.

Laura Birek: I have to say it sounds insane, but that was really fun.

Shanna Micko: Was it? Good.

Laura Birek: For everyone listening, actually Shanna’s husband brought out all these tubs, massive storage containers and boxes full of clothes and we set up some empty boxes with newborns, zero to three months, six to 12 months, all these labels on them and all of us ladies just dug in and started sorting them. It was fun, because it was so cute. Jen, our friend who organized your shower, found a bunch of stuff she had given you as hand-me- downs from one of her sons. So she was like, “This was his,” and she’s like crying. That’s right up my alley. I love organizing, especially when there’s not a time crunch and it’s just for fun and you’re going through adorable baby clothes. I thought it was a great activity. I think everyone was into it. Everyone was like, okay, let’s do it and they all just dug right in and it was done so fast. It would have taken you forever.

Shanna Micko: I can’t even imagine. I was really pretty tired and still not feeling 100% at that sprinkle, so I pretty much sat on the couch and relaxed while you guys did everything and watched you, which is thank you so much for doing that and it was super helpful. I’ve now washed the bin of newborn clothes. I know what I need to put away right away, so it was great. It was a fun activity. I highly recommend it for a sprinkle activity if you’re trying to think of something.

Laura Birek: That’s awesome. I had fun at your sprinkle. Did you have fun at your sprinkle?

Shanna Micko: Totally.

Laura Birek: Because you were feeling weird about it. You talked about it in a previous episode about how you were feeling weird asking people for stuff because it was your second baby. What’s the postmortem on that? Do you feel better?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, there were some friends there I haven’t seen in a long time, so it was so fun to see them and it’s so sweet when people come out to celebrate something wonderful in your life and so that for me was the big focus and the big takeaway. It was wonderful.

Laura Birek: I had fun. That’s the most important part.

Shanna Micko: Yes, it’s all about you, Laura. Anyway, what about you? What’s your check-in?

Laura Birek: Okay, so I am 29 weeks now. Your sprinkle got me thinking about how I need to get my act together for my shower, which our friend Jen is also planning. Poor, Jen. Jen’s had to plan three now. She has three baby showers within two months that she’s planning. She’s a Saint. We love you, Jen, if you’re listening. But there was some drama, because initially I didn’t want to have it at my house because I didn’t want to have to clean up. I have cats, so I’m always worried about the cats getting let out if people are in the house and then also I kind of wanted it to be co-ed, but then there’s so many people. What other things were bothering me? My backyard is terraced and it doesn’t really have like fencing. So I was like, if people bring their toddlers, it’s a death trap. These are the things. But then I finally, I emailed my wedding planner who planned my wedding almost three years ago and was like, “Do you have any venues?” She wrote back with the prices for some venues and I was like, so this is why people have it in their house.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God.

Laura Birek: It was not cheap and it was all including all the catering and stuff. I get it. It was reasonable for renting out, like a restaurant for a couple hours, but not what I wanted to spend on what I wanted to really be a casual hangout with my friends. So I finally gave in and was just like, you know what? Let’s just have it women only. Philosophically, I wanted it to include the men, because I’m like, dude, they should be included too. What does all this only women, it’s some rite of passage? It’s like, no. You got to sit through me opening those presents too and also like, I have a lot of guy friends. A lot of the people that I ended up inviting are actually through my guy friends who I’ve now I’m friends with. They’re partners or whatever, but it’s just such a weird throwback thing for it to be only women. But the thing that really won me over was the fact that you get half the people when you only invite the ladies.

Shanna Micko: My first was co-ed so I know we had a ton of people and it was like double the people that you fed.

Laura Birek: Probably double. Then also, everyone will bring their kids, because they don’t have someone home taking care of the kids, which is fine. I love seeing people’s kids, but then it’s a whole other thing, like, are these children going to fall off my concrete retaining wall and do we have liability insurance for that? Not really. I wasn’t really worried about the insurance. I was worried about the poor children. So anyway, I settled on doing it at my house and it was one of those things where they tell you to, I think I heard this on the Happier with Gretchen Rubin Podcast, which is if you’re trying to decide between something, flip a coin. Be like, okay, heads up my house, tails at a restaurant and then pay attention to your feeling when you get the result, because it’s not about the coin flip. It’s about whether you’re happy with the result and I didn’t actually do the coin flip, but when I was like, you know what? Let’s just have it at my house. All of a sudden I had an overwhelming sense of settled-ness like this is good. I like this.

Shanna Micko: Good. It’s the right decision then.

Laura Birek: So it turns out it’s the right decision. We’re doing it at my house and it’s the day before your scheduled C-section. I have no expectation that you’ll actually be there, but if you’re feeling up for it, we’d love to have you.

Shanna Micko: Thank you. I hope I can make it. All right. Moving on.


Shanna Micko: Our next segment is, Internet Insanity, where we talk about any kind of weird, unusual, bizarre thing that pops up online having to do with pregnancy. Laura, what do you have for us?

Laura Birek: Mine’s a little dark this week.

Shanna Micko: No, okay.

Laura Birek: I have talked about how I love babycenter.com. I guess this is a love-hate relationship. It’s an online message board for women who are expecting and I do a lot of lurking, but sometimes I’ll comment. I saw this comment that confused me. Someone had posted a picture and it had their like full name on it. It might have been a sonogram. I don’t remember what it was and someone commented, “This is an adorable picture, but you really need to be more careful about revealing your identity on BabyCenter, because this is a public forum and you never know who’s going to be on here.” Then there was this comment, “Just look at the whole Karla Homolka stuff,” and I was like, Karla Homolka? I don’t know who that is, right?

Shanna Micko: Me neither.

Laura Birek: So I Googled. Karla Leanne Homolka born May 4th, 1970 is a Canadian serial killer who with her first husband, Paul Bernardo raped and murdered at least three minors. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape murders of two Ontario teenage girls. I was like, so what does that have to do with BabyCenter? More Googling. More Googling has revealed that apparently she is a regular commenter and visitor to babycenter.com.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: This is what people say. There’s all these people who try to track her.

Shanna Micko: How is she not in prison for the rest of her life?

Laura Birek: Because she had some kind of plea deal I guess and she got out of jail after 12 years. That was 91, so she’s now living her life and she has kids. So I guess she started going on BabyCenter and it’s bad. It’s not good. It’s not something you really want to be discussing your plans for your placenta with a serial killer.

Shanna Micko: No.

Laura Birek: I think now she sells nipple shields or something. I found that she’s been known to have some kind of side hustle business selling baby related stuff. She’ll create different usernames, because she gets found out and then revealed, which is super creepy and crazy.

The thing about it is that it reminded me we know we don’t know anything about people, who they say they are on the internet. People make up shit all the time, but this is the most extreme example of, hey, you could be chatting with a serial killer right now about whether or not the middle name Philip is cute.

Shanna Micko: So bizarre. I’m dying to know what details give her identity away with these pseudonyms that she eventually has to switch.

Laura Birek: There’s a lot. I encourage other listeners to do their own research, because there’s so much, and it requires digging through threads in a way that I don’t have the time for in my life. But if you search Karla that’s with a K, Karla Leanne Homolka BabyCenter, there’s just like so many posts. There’s this one that is really telling. The title of it is, “Most of you knew this is the username, love.u.forever Emily,” and this is from the April, 2009 Cloth Diapering Group.

Shanna Micko: She’s got her niches apparently.

Laura Birek: Maybe that’s what her business was. She says, “From what I’ve read, most of the moms in this group have had at least some contact with love.u.forever AKA Emily. As we all know now, she is Karla Homolka. I’m not on a witch hunt here as I had contact with her myself through another board and I actually defended her, her right to have a new life, her right to privacy.” Then she goes on to saying she feels angry and duped and it’s a very long post and there’s only 10 comments on this one, but there’s a lot of discussions from BabyCenter with her name on it.

Shanna Micko: Man, I have to say, this is a thing that makes me feel better about being a lifelong lurker. I’m just not a big commenter on stuff like this with strangers and I feel good about that decision now.

Laura Birek: I get that. You just never know who’s reading. I have to say, this is why I like Facebook better than these online message boards that are anonymous. I feel like Facebook gets a lot of shit for being an evil business and they are probably a terrible evil business, but the private groups on Facebook are really helpful for me. I’m in a lot of secret groups. Secret sounds so like clandestine, but groups that you just can’t find if you search. You have to get added to them by a friend and there’s just some level of self-policing that goes on in there. You have to use your real name or at least your real profile and if you start doing shady shit they just kick you out. People are not going to put up with shenanigans in these groups, because they have very specific purposes. I’m in writing groups. I got added to a mom’s group from the alumni of my undergrad and they’re really helpful and I just really like them. You get all kinds on BabyCenter.

Shanna Micko: No participation for me on those. It’s all about my Facebook mom’s groups for sure.

Laura Birek: Anyway, the point is you never know there might be a serial killer on BabyCenter. So let’s see, Shanna, I think that’s all I have to say about serial killers. Shanna, do you have an internet insanity for us?

Shanna Micko: I do. My internet insanity this week is a birth plan that surfaced in one of my mom’s groups that is shared as, “Check this out. Can you imagine?” I know to each her own 100% whatever anyone wants to do, but I just feel like this birth plan might be taking it a bit far and Laura, I just sent it to you. So take a look.

Laura Birek: Okay. Let’s see.

Shanna Micko: It is printed on ivory paper with a clip art of a beautiful rose up in the corner.

Laura Birek: This is like a high quality probably cotton paper.

Shanna Micko: Like resume paper.

Laura Birek: Resume paper, for sure.

Shanna Micko: Definitely. The font is purple and pink and it looks like it’s a soft, lovely birth plan, but in actuality it’s really quite militant her needs and wants. Take a look at it. Let’s just what we see here.

Laura Birek: I’m just going to as fast as I can read through this first section that’s in purple. It’s like a lavender. She says, “I do not want cervical checks monitoring, IV Pitocin, epidural medication, touching, birthing on my back, episiotomy, forced membrane rapture, hospital gown, forceps, vacuum, stitches. I will walk, use the bathing robe, eat, drink, birth in whatever, wherever position I see fit. I will labor in the shower.” So she has a plan.

Shanna Micko: She has a plan and I think a lot of those things are fine. Totally walk around. No one should force you to be in a position a freaking cow while you’re giving birth.

Laura Birek: I do find, “I do not want touching to be,” I don’t know how that works in a birth, like touching at all.

Shanna Micko: I know. I just feel like I need more context first of all for this birth plan. If I were a doctor or nurse receiving this, I would just be like not sure.

Laura Birek: Since this is a podcast and people are probably driving or doing dishes or something, I think we should read through this. Do you want to take the next section?

Shanna Micko: She says, “C-section if transverse, prolapse cord unless baby is in canal, abruption of the placenta. If I do have a C-section, curtain will be down so I can see, baby will not leave my sight, arms will not be tied down.” I guess that’s all right. But I feel like maybe it’s not her full decision to make whether or not you need a C-section. I’m just one to want to trust my doctor on this one.

Laura Birek: At some point, the doctor is going to say whether you need one or not and if you go against medical advice, you could be putting your baby in danger. There’s only three options if she has a C-section. We all know there’s a lot of reasons you could, like, what about if the baby’s heart rate is dropping?

Shanna Micko: Yes, when I was in the hospital, my baby’s heart rate dropped so low that seven nurses rushed in and rushed me to the operating room and I had no clue that that was even a possibility. Maybe be a little more open to what could happen.

Laura Birek: Were your arms tied down when you had your C-section, Shanna?

Shanna Micko: I honestly don’t remember.

Laura Birek: I don’t know if that’s a thing. Anyway, I should mention that we’ve barely gotten halfway down this. Do you want to take the others, because this is your internet insanity and there’s some pretty good stuff.

Shanna Micko: The next section is called normal birth, which normal.

Laura Birek: She did not use air quotes around that or real quotes. She just says, “Normal.”

Shanna Micko: We all know there’s only one kind of birth that’s normal. “Baby will be caught by me, no suction, we’ll be left alone immediately for bonding and feeding. Apgar will be done while baby is in my arms, cord will not be clamped or cut. If I hemorrhage, my husband and I will take action by cutting a piece of the placenta’s maternal side off and I will be putting it in my cheek.”

Laura Birek: We have to take a second there. What?

Shanna Micko: “If I hemorrhage, my husband and I will take action by cutting a piece of the placenta maternal side off, and I will be putting it in my cheek.” This has got to be some crunchy hippie thing that supposedly does something that we know nothing about. What is this?

Laura Birek: Oh, God. Look, I understand there’s a lot of people who do a lot of things with their placenta’s and the encapsulation is really common and even cooking it and eating it is common. I have not heard of putting a raw piece of placenta directly into your cheek.

Shanna Micko: The maternal side that your husband has just sawed off. Oh, man.

Laura Birek: I want to know what her husband thinks about this. Can you imagine like, “Hey, babe. So if I’m starting to hemorrhage, I want you to take that placenta, just chop off a hunk of it, put it right in my mouth.”

Shanna Micko: He’d be like, “Sure, babe. Yeah, bye.”

Laura Birek: There’s more.

Shanna Micko: “So if CPR is necessary, it will be performed by myself blank or blank.” A couple other people that have been blanked out.

Laura Birek: Probably husband.

Shanna Micko: Doula or something.

Laura Birek: I’m sure doctors are really into letting their patients do CPR on their other patients.

Shanna Micko: On their newborn children. Could you imagine trying to do CPR on a newborn child?

Laura Birek: Is this in a hospital? I’m going to save that comment for the end, because I feel like we need to get through. There’s more.

Shanna Micko: “Consent forms will not be signed until I’m fully alert and only by me.” That makes sense. This is all caps. “ABSOLUTELY NO GENITAL MULTILATION-CIRCUMCISION.”

Laura Birek: Yes, she could just call it circumcision.

Shanna Micko: A touch of judgment there, because a lot of people do circumcision for various reasons.

Laura Birek: That could be a big topic. You don’t have to deal with it, because you have girls and you’re like, I don’t have to deal with it, but it was a discussion in my house.

Shanna Micko: We got to talk about that. I didn’t even think about that.

Laura Birek: There’s a lot of valid reasons honestly on both sides from religion, to family history, to health. There’s considerations. But all caps ABSOLUTELY NO GENITAL MUTILATION is heavy handed.

Shanna Micko: It’s a bit aggressive.

Laura Birek: But also that she had to put circumcision in parentheses afterwards just to make sure it was clear.

Shanna Micko: So female genital mutilation is okay. “No one but family will change diapers, no vaccines shots or blood draws.”

Laura Birek: This is where she’s really losing me. Go on.

Shanna Micko: “No bathing, baby will never leave my room, no hat.” One of her rules is no hat.

Laura Birek: What’s wrong with a hat?

Shanna Micko: I don’t know.

Laura Birek: They’re cute and they keep the baby warm. Why don’t you want a baby warm, anyway?

Shanna Micko: “No eye antibiotics,” and then in asterisks *goop*. So another thing it’s like, your medical science is just goop.

Laura Birek: Yes, I don’t want any goop in my eye even if it prevents blindness and has no side effects.

Shanna Micko: “No jaundice lights, no bottle, pacifiers or sugar water.”

Laura Birek: Sugar water, that’s terrible to give to an infant.

Shanna Micko: Absolutely. That’s a good one.

Laura Birek: Of course, sure. Fine. It’s so weird that you have to put, “Or sugar water.” Where is she giving birth? 1955?

Shanna Micko: It’s hard to tell when this is from, what era. That does look like an older clip art, so this could be a little bit older. There is also in all caps, “MY PLACENTA WILL NOT LEAVE MY ROOM NO MATTER WHAT.”

Laura Birek: That is a call out. It’s like separate and off to the side so that we know.

Shanna Micko: Bolded.

Laura Birek: It’s like a pull quote.

Shanna Micko: That’s important to her and then it says at the very bottom, “It is my right to birth my baby however I would like. I know my rights. I know the law. I will sue if needed.”

Laura Birek: Usually when you have lawsuits threatened on a document, there’s not a clip art of roses and it’s not done in lavender and pink.

Shanna Micko: I think she really set us up incorrectly from the top here with the rose and the gentle colors and then really just stabs us in the back with that last line.

Laura Birek: I feel like it would be a lot more impactful if it was in that legal format that you see legal briefs come in with the courier and every line is numbered and everything. Just have it be notarized then a doctor would be like, shit. Absolutely, your placenta is staying in the room. I wouldn’t think of taking that placenta out.

Shanna Micko: Oh, man. I hope this woman got the birth that she wanted and that everything is fine.

Laura Birek: Here’s my thought about it. What doctor looks at this and says, “Okay, I’ll be your doctor.”

Shanna Micko: I would feel real hesitant going into this.

Laura Birek: I don’t know of many. My doctor for sure would be like, “It’s been nice getting to know you. Enjoy finding another doctor. I can’t agree to this,” because there’s a lot of stuff on here that is totally reasonable. Like she doesn’t want a hospital gown, all right. Fine.

Shanna Micko: No big deal. Epidural, take one. Don’t take one. No, one’s going to force it on you. That’s fine.

Laura Birek: Even the eye antibiotics, I think it’s silly to refuse them, because there’s really no side effects and you might as well. But if you know you don’t have syphilis or chlamydia or whatever it is, if you’ve been tested for it and you know you don’t have it, it’s probably fine to not get it. But the no jaundice lights, it’s like, if your baby has jaundice, would you rather them have brain damage?

Shanna Micko: I don’t know. Is there some homeopathic thing that they’ve got planned for that situation?

Laura Birek: I’m sure essential oils will just take care of it just right away.

Shanna Micko: Just a little dot of peppermint oil on the bottom of your heels.

Laura Birek: I’m sorry for anyone who’s really like, I love essential oils in my diffuser. I think peppermint oil when you’re sick does help clear out your sinuses a little bit, but like it’s not…

Shanna Micko: No, I don’t know. Who knows? This person might not even be planning that who knows. There’s just so many who knows not enough context.

Laura Birek: I feel like the thing that really triggers me with this is this idea that a), we can have so much control over this birth, which the truth is shit happens and you don’t know what’s going to happen and trusting the people who have been through it hundreds and thousands of times, whether that’s a doctor or a midwife, but trusting them to help you make decisions and not coming in with this rigid idea of exactly the way it’s going to go down, I think you set yourself up for major disappointment. I’d be pretty shocked if this woman wasn’t sad after her birth, because something went “wrong,” you know what I mean? Because she got care that she needed and she didn’t think was part of her birth plan or whatever. It bothers me that we’ve gotten to this point where we think we can control this event, which honestly is like a mystery and it’s different for everyone and trying to control it just seems like tilting at windmills. You don’t have any control.

Shanna Micko: Ultimately, no. I guess I understand wanting to lay out what you hope for upfront. That’s totally fine. But for me personally, I just went in like, I just want to do what I need to do to have this baby safely.

Laura Birek: I’ve told my doctor my birth plan, which is healthy mom, healthy baby. That’s it. That’s all I care about and maybe I’m sure people listening will be like, well, that’s why you’re going to have a C-section. It’s like, great, sure. I don’t care. It’s like the same thing with breastfeeding. Sure, I’m going to try to breastfeed. But if I can’t, I’m going to feed that baby formula because I want my baby to be fed. But anyway, we’re getting in a controversial territory here.

Shanna Micko: I know.

Laura Birek: We’re also dipping our toes into other big topics, which we should save for future episodes.

Shanna Micko: Let’s do it.

Laura Birek: Okay. Moving on.


Laura Birek: All right. So we close every show with our big fat positives and big fat negatives of the week. Shanna, what do you have for us this week?

Shanna Micko: Big fat negative.

Laura Birek: Aww.

Shanna Micko: It’s been a negative for a while. Shaving while pregnant is just hard.

Laura Birek: Are we talking legs? Are we talking other body parts?

Shanna Micko: Anything below the belly, anything you got to bend over or cleaning up the bikini area. It’s not visible. The legs are visible if you stick them out, but I get winded eating a sandwich these days. Bending over in the shower trying to scrape hair off of my shins is like running a marathon for me.

Laura Birek: I have to say, I have a bench in my shower. It’s like a built in bench, so I’m so lucky in that respect because I can still hoist a leg up on there, but it’s so much easier to have it. It’s at waist level and then I figure once that becomes hard, I can sit on the bench. But just bending over from standing, that’s for not pregnant people.

Shanna Micko: But I’m crazy about shaving. My skin’s too sensitive. I get really itchy when stuff starts growing back in and it has to get shaved. I suck it up and do it, but I don’t love it. So I’m looking forward to having my pre-pregnant body back so I can get my shave on.

Laura Birek: Could you get one of those medical shower chairs?

Shanna Micko: In theory, I could. I feel like that would be a real stretch. That would be like maybe $125 I could spend better somewhere else.

Laura Birek: I feel like there’s got to be a cheaper solution or I guess getting him second hand off Craigslist is a little icky.

Shanna Micko: I don’t want shower chair second hand. What about you? BFP or BFN?

Laura Birek: I also have a BFN.

Shanna Micko: Oh, man.

Laura Birek: Which I have to preface by saying, I didn’t really want to talk about this. We’ve talked about how pregnancy is a great way to chip away at your modesty and ideas of what is polite conversation and this is another example. So I don’t relish discussing this, but I feel like I need to talk about it because it’s real and it’s reality and I know other people are suffering, so my BFN are hemorrhoids.

Shanna Micko: No, I’m so sorry.

Laura Birek: I thought I was okay for a while. You had a BFP from a few weeks ago where you talked about stool softeners being your BFP and I was like all cocky about it, like I don’t need those. I eat a high-fiber diet. I don’t know what happened this week, but my high-fiber diet had failed me terribly and it was just extremely painful and then I ended up with hemorrhoids, which are real unpleasant.

Shanna Micko: It’s so common in pregnancy though.

Laura Birek: They’re painful. I couldn’t sleep, because they were so painful and bothering me, but my BFN has sort of turned into a BFP, because I was looking up like what you do and my doctor gave me a list of all these medicines you could take in pregnancy. My first thought was Preparation H, because everyone knows that Preparation H is a hemorrhoid cream.

Shanna Micko: Or under your eye cream.

Laura Birek: Exactly, which is what women can say when they buy them, be like, “This is for the bags under my eyes.” But it wasn’t approved by my doctor and I looked and I don’t know why, but it wasn’t on any of the approved lists. So I was like, shit. What am I going to do? Is there any cure? Everyone said, “You got to take stool softener and get witch hazel pads.” I know witch hazel. That’s what we used when I was in college in the theater. After we used cold cream to take our heavy theater makeup off, we would use witch hazel to get the cold cream off.

Shanna Micko: Like a toner or something for your face.

Laura Birek: I was like, all right. This is going to be all the other things in pregnancy, like take Tylenol if you have a migraine. It’s not going to do anything, but I was like, I’m suffering. So I went to Rite Aid and got myself the generic stool softener and witch hazel pads and I have to say within 24 hours it helped so much.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: Yes.

Shanna Micko: That’s great.

Laura Birek: I was in shock. I was like, how does this witch hazel actually do anything? But it made them feel so much better, made them go away to an extent. I don’t think it was just the time. I think it really soothed them and so I have to say for anyone who’s out there suffering silently, it’s kind of a miracle cure and I am really, really impressed with it. The brand name is Tucks Pads, but you can get the generic and it’s like the same thing or you can just buy a bottle of witch hazel and put it on a cotton swab or whatever. But highly recommend if you end up in that situation. It’s actually super helpful.

Shanna Micko: I think that’s a hot tip. I’m glad you shared that. You went out on a limb and shared that with people who might need to know. Thank you.

Laura Birek: It’s more talking about my butt than I’ve ever wanted to, but you’re welcome, world.

Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh, I think that wraps up episode 22.

Laura Birek: I think it does.

Shanna Micko: Woo-hoo! That was a good one.

Laura Birek: Thanks for listening, everyone.

Shanna Micko: Thank you so much, everybody. If you have any comments for us, questions about anything crazy you’ve seen online, or let us know what your BFPs or BFNs are for the week. We’d love to know. Laura, how can they reach us?

Laura Birek: We are on all the social medias, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook at BFP Podcast. You can also join our Facebook community when you’re on Facebook and we have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com. You should go there, because that’s where we will post a copy of that amazing birth plan that Shanna talked about in our internet insanity segment.

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

Laura Birek: Thanks for listening.

Shanna Micko: Bye.