Ep. 32: Laura’s Breech Baby Birth Story (39 Weeks Pregnant and 4 Weeks Postpartum)

February 11, 2019

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In this week’s special segment, “Big Topic,” Shanna and Laura dive deep into a very exciting event… Laura’s c-section delivery of her baby boy! She reports on her nerves and anxiety the night before, what the experience was like to deliver a breech baby, breastfeeding after delivery, baby’s first bath, and unexpected challenge after returning home from the hospital and more. Also, Shanna reports on her newborn’s struggles with acid reflux and the advice the pediatrician gave her to improve it. Finally, the new moms reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna is four weeks postpartum, her baby is four weeks old, Laura is no longer pregnant, and her baby is one week old!

Topics discussed in this episode:

-Week 39 of pregnancy

-1 week postpartum

-4 weeks postpartum

-4-week-old baby

-1-week-old baby

-Giving birth to a breech baby via planned c-section

-Breastfeeding colostrum to your newborn

-Having high blood pressure postpartum (preeclampsia)

-Newborn baby having trouble sleeping at night

-What to do when your newborn has reflux

-Getting a SNOO crib for your baby

-Using a hands-free breast pump

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

Shanna Micko: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. On this week’s exciting episode, we have our weekly check-ins of course and we’re going to check in with Laura about some very big news, and of course, we’ll wrap things up with our BFPs and BFNs. I can’t wait to get started. Let’s go.

[Music]

Laura Birek: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 32 of Big Fat Positive.

Shanna Micko: Hello. Hello.

Laura Birek: Hello, Shanna. I haven’t talked to you in a while.

Shanna Micko: I know.

Laura Birek: Excited to catch up with you, but before we get to my week, let’s get to your week. What’s your weekly check-in this week?

Shanna Micko: My baby is four weeks old now.

Laura Birek: That’s a month.

Shanna Micko: I know. I cannot even believe it. 

It’s like that phrase, “The Longest Shortest Time.” It’s just felt like insanely long and dragged out and hard, but also, it’s gone by in the blink of an eye.

Laura Birek: Yeah.

Shanna Micko: Basically, this week was really, really rough, because everyone in my household was sick except my four-week-old.

Laura Birek: Oh my goodness.

Shanna Micko: My husband got strep. My daughter got pink eye.

Laura Birek: Jesus Christ.

Shanna Micko: I ended up getting a really bad sore throat and was like, well, I probably have strep too. So I just started taking amoxicillin that I had on hand and I got her pink eye.

Laura Birek: Great.

Shanna Micko: Just loads of fun and my husband wasn’t as available to help out as much, because he was really sick. Really the worst sore throat he’s had in his life.

Laura Birek: Strep is absolutely terrible.

Shanna Micko: It is. I definitely had sympathy for him, but at the same time, I was like, come back into the bedroom, help me with the baby.

Laura Birek: But of course, you don’t want him to give strep to the baby. So that must have also been kind of nerve wracking.

Shanna Micko: Totally. Then baby’s doing well.

Laura Birek: That’s good.

Shanna Micko: She’s gaining weight.

Laura Birek: Yay!

Shanna Micko: I’m so happy. She’s been having trouble at night though. At first, I thought she was confusing night and day. She would kind of grunt and kind of scream in her sleep from like 3:00 a.m. on and it was keeping me awake. I barely got any sleep this week. We went to her one month check-up and we were talking to the doctor about it and he’s like, if she’s acting like that about that time of day, like 3:00 a.m., it’s probably reflux. Everything’s kind of settled in her body and then by that time it’s working its way up, which I get because she’s full of gas. Her stomach looks like a hot air balloon.

Laura Birek: Oh, no.

Shanna Micko: I know. She spits up all the time.

Laura Birek: So she’s like your older daughter then?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I’m like reliving exactly what happened with my first daughter and he even looked at her butt as you do in a checkup and he is like, “Yeah, see how red this is. The poop is burning her skin, because she’s having a hard time digesting the milk,” which is so sad. He gave me the same advice he gave with my first daughter. He was like, “You need to cut things out of your diet that are hard for her to digest like dairy, soy, eggs, mammals, wheat.” I’m just like, why does breastfeeding have to get harder and harder at every turn?

Laura Birek: Are you using like a butt paste or anything?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I’m using Desitin. He suggested Maximum Strength Desitin so we’re clearing that up.

Laura Birek: Good.

Shanna Micko: But I’m not going to cut that stuff out completely. At least this time he said limit it. So I’m going to try to limit what I’m eating to try to help her feel better.

Laura Birek: The lengths will go to make them feel better, but that still sucks. Also, I don’t really know how much evidence there is for that.

Shanna Micko: I don’t either.

Laura Birek: I’m not a doctor.

Shanna Micko: I don’t even know if it really helped with my first.

Laura Birek: It doesn’t help for you to be stressed in anyway. That’s another topic. That’s something we could deep dive with. Oh gosh, I’m sure we could. We should find a pediatric nutritionist or something to see if we can actually get to the bottom of this.

Shanna Micko: I would really love to know. But the last thing I wanted to talk about, which is all related to this is in our efforts to get her to sleep better at night and for longer stretches, because she’s only been sleeping like an hour and a half at a time is I’ve gotten obsessed with getting a hold of a SNOO. Do you know what a SNOO is?

Laura Birek: Oh my God, yes. I want a SNOO so badly.

Shanna Micko: So for our listeners, it’s a bassinet created by Dr. Harvey Karp, who is the doctor that does Happiest Baby on the Block, which Laura talked the week before about calming your baby.

Laura Birek: A couple weeks ago. Yes.

Shanna Micko: He created a special bassinet that shimmies and shushes and straps them down so they don’t roll. It’s intense.

Laura Birek: I’ve done a lot of reading on this, because I am obsessed with them too and I totally wanted to get one before the baby and Corey was like, “Maybe we should just wait and see if we have a baby that sleeps before we buy a $1,100 bassinet.”

Shanna Micko: I was going to say, we need to mention that the cost of the bassinet is well over $1000.

Laura Birek: It’s not cheap and they only use it until they can rollover on their own or something.

Shanna Micko: They can only use it till like five months old max.

Laura Birek: So it’s a luxury item. The way they advertise it is that it’s cheaper than a night nurse, which I guess is true. But it has this proprietary swaddle that clips to the side, so it doesn’t let them turn over. That’s really appealing to me, because they’re not going to turn over and smother themselves and then it has microphones. I think it has like four microphones.

Shanna Micko: Okay.

Laura Birek: So it kicks up on your baby’s noises and if it detects noises, it starts shimming to calm the baby and starts playing like white noise to calm it. Basically, does the like Happiest Baby on the Block technique automatically with technology.

Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh, that is wild and crazy. The finale of my story is I found somewhere in Los Angeles that rents them for $125 a month and I signed up and I’m getting my SNOO tomorrow morning.

Laura Birek: You are? Oh my God, I can’t wait. I cannot wait to hear about this.

Shanna Micko: I know. I can’t wait to report on it and I had them include leg risers, because one of the doctor’s recommendations was to raise her bed a certain degree because of her reflux. So I’m going to be able to raise the bed, strap her in shimmy her, shush her. I don’t know what’s going to happen, Laura, but I’m hoping for a miracle, but I’m trying not to be too optimistic.

Laura Birek: I’m excited to find out if it works, because every review you read online is like, this thing is the best thing that’s ever existed in all of humanity and you should buy it and you think they’re padded reviews, but they seem legit.

Shanna Micko: Whenever the topic comes up in my mom’s group online on Facebook, my Revered Moms group, a lot of moms chime in and say it was great and they really liked it. So here’s hoping. I will update you next week on how it goes.

Laura Birek: Crossing my fingers for you.

Shanna Micko: That wraps up my week four with my new baby. I am dying to hear your check-in. What happened last week?

Laura Birek: Well, should we take a little break and then come back and turn it into a big topic, because this week I had a baby?

Shanna Micko: Woo-hoo! That’s big topic worthy. Let’s do it.

[Music]

Shanna Micko: Now, for our special segment, Big Topic, and this is a very exciting topic I might add, Laura, you have some reporting to do on the birth of your baby.

Laura Birek: Yay!

Shanna Micko: Tell us all.

Laura Birek: Well, I had my baby as planned on time by planned C-section, because he was breech as anyone who listened to the last episode will know. It all sort of went scary smoothly. Everything kind of went as planned at least at the beginning. So we actually recorded last week’s episode the day before I was going in. That night I was starting to feel a little anxious. I was trying to like be chill, but the gravity of what was about to happen was sort of starting to hit me as we put all the final touches on what to put in our bags for the hospital and I started to get a little nervous and then the next morning when I woke up, I recorded a voice memo that sort of captures what my mindset was. Should we play it?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: Okay. So here’s my voice memo.

Laura’s voice memo: So it’s 5:47 on January 4th. Oops! Watch out kitty. I’m never awake this early, unless I’m just getting up to go pee, but it’s the morning of my planned C-section. Corey is in the shower. I thought I’d take this moment to take a little voice memo. Gosh, I still have a little cough, which is going to be fun with the C-section incision and I have a little cat. My cat Chow has been sleeping with us the last two nights, because he chose to sprain his leg. I guess he didn’t choose to sprain his leg, but he managed to sprain his leg. So he had to be kept somewhere where he couldn’t do a lot of jumping. So he got the privilege of sleeping with us and I have to say that he really was very calming last night. I kind of started having a little bit of like a panic attack. My heart started racing and I started feeling sick to my stomach and I was like, oh God, what’s happening tomorrow knowing my life was going to change? Then he came and got on the bed with us and started purring and just curled up next to me and it was very sweet. So it’s very hard to be having a panic attack when there’s a little purring kitten next to you. I highly recommend it. Oops! Now, he’s going to try to jump off the bed. Too high. There you go. Are you okay? Okay. Still limping a little bit that little guy, anyway. Let’s see. It’s almost six. I have to be at the hospital in about an hour and a half and yeah, it’s all happening. I’m really thirsty. I hate this no water situation, especially since I’ve been coughing. So right now I’m really looking forward to getting some IV hydration in me. Thankfully, I was really worried my heartburn was going to be terrible overnight, but it was actually pretty good. I have no idea how I got away with that. Yeah, I guess I’m going to have a baby in a couple hours. It’s super weird. Oh, the other thing that I’m planning on doing, which is super vain, I’m not a big makeup person, but I like my hair looking good. I obviously was already planning on showering, but I’m going to be showering and doing a full blowout on my hair today, because I know that if I blow my hair out, it lasts a good couple days. So I’m going to go take a shower and blow out my hair now and then I guess have a baby.

Laura Birek: I think I was like kind of having an actual panic attack. Then when I went to go take that shower, I threw up in the shower, which I had nothing to throw up because I was 12 hours of no water, no anything.

Shanna Micko: Oh, you poor thing.

Laura Birek: So it was just nerves. But actually in that weird way, I kind of let myself, because I was like, well, now I know I can’t throw up on the table.

Shanna Micko: That was perfect. It’s the whole point.

Laura Birek: Exactly. We went in and my blood pressure was a little high I think from my anxiety. But we went into the hospital, we check in, I was in a prep room, I get in the gown. My husband Corey was there and so was my mom. Did I talk about how I wanted my mom to record the C-section on the last episode? I think I did.

Shanna Micko: I honestly don’t remember.

Laura Birek: I don’t remember. But if I didn’t talk about it, I asked my doctor if it was okay if my mom, who’s a doctor, video the C-section, because I kind of wanted to see it and he said it was fine if I was fine with it and so we did.

Shanna Micko: Wow.

Laura Birek: My surgery was scheduled for 9:30. They wheeled me right on time and it was so fast. I got wheeled in at 9:30 on the dot. I was in the recovery room by like 10:15.

Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh.

Laura Birek: He was born at 9:52.

Shanna Micko: So 22 minutes basically to get your spinal, get the baby out, everything. Oh my God.

Laura Birek: But so I had my mom record it and she recorded the whole thing. Except for getting the placenta out, I think she stopped, because once the baby arrived who cared. But it was like four minutes. It was crazy. So I get wheeled and I get my spinal, which was totally not a big deal. Actually, the thing that hurt most was getting the local anesthesia around the spot for the spinal.

Shanna Micko: I remember that.

Laura Birek: I was so nervous because that hurt and I was like, shit, this is going to hurt so bad and then I didn’t even feel him do it. I’m like, all right. The other thing that happened with the anesthesiologist, which I think was kind of funny was I completely dropped the fact that my dad is an anesthesiologist and I think I kind of got special treatment.

Shanna Micko: Okay. I need to know what special treatment from an anesthesiologist means.

Laura Birek: I didn’t know this at the time, but I told him about my dad being an anesthesiologist. We were kind of like, “Where? What does he do? He does cardiac surgery. Interesting. Blah, blah, blah.” Then he gave me my meds and then I was like, “I’m worried about nausea and I’m worried about shaking,” and he’s like, “Okay, we’ll take care of it.” So I thought he was just giving me all the stuff that they normally give you for it. I remember at some point during the surgery, I started getting a little shaky and I was like, “I’m getting a little shaky,” and he was like, “Okay, we’re pushing that Demerol.” But then later the nurses when they were moving me to the bi-postpartum room and the nurses were telling the other nurses what my history was and all that stuff. They kept saying like, “She got the full cocktail,” and all the nurses were like, “Oh, the full cocktail? Wow.” Every nurse was impressed that I had gotten the full cocktail, whatever the hell that means. But all I can say is that worked really well. I got very, very minor shivers that were taken care of immediately. My pain was super completely managed. No nausea at all. So hats off to the anesthesiologist.

Shanna Micko: That’s fantastic.

Laura Birek: I’m not going to lie. You can just tell people that your dad’s an anesthesiologist.

Shanna Micko: That’s exactly where my mind went. I’m like, I’m going to memorize where your dad works so that I can drop his name.

Laura Birek: Just use it. It’s fine. Anyway, I’m in there. I got my spinal, I got my full cocktail. Then they bring my mom and Corey in and by the way, you know how everyone’s like, tell the dads not to look over the curtain? They were brought in by my feet, so there was nowhere for them to not see.

Shanna Micko: True. But at that point they hadn’t cut anything, right?

Laura Birek: That’s true.

Shanna Micko: Same with Steve now that I think about it.

Laura Birek: I just remember being like, oh, well, they’re going to end up seeing. My mom purposely ended up seeing, because I had her videotape it. So they are my heads, it’s totally crowded, I don’t know about your situation, but there were all these anesthesiologists, the anesthesia tech or nurse or whatever, the two doctors are working on me down there. It’s kind of a big room that everyone’s huddled right around you. So it felt fairly claustrophobic for me.

Shanna Micko: Definitely.

Laura Birek: But anyway, they start the surgery and then I feel all that tugging, which no one properly prepared me for the tugging. I don’t think.

Shanna Micko: I’m wondering if it was more intense for you because your baby was breeched.

Laura Birek: Maybe.

Shanna Micko: Because I definitely felt it, but it didn’t knock my socks off. I know that’s something you told me earlier. It was just really kind of through you. So I’m wondering if it was a little bit different because of that.

Laura Birek: That’s very possible, because based on the video which I got, you can hear in the video I’m telling my mom, “Please don’t drop the phone into my open uterus.” The video actually isn’t all that gruesome, because she didn’t know to touch the screen to change the exposure, where the light exposure was. So it’s actually very blown out from the surgery lights. It’s not actually that gruesome. You can only really see the baby come out. You can’t see the incision. There’s not that much blood.

Shanna Micko: Okay. Well, maybe I will watch it.

Laura Birek: My threshold, maybe you should find someone who’s a little less squeamish than you, but more than me and get them to watch it first and then give you a report back, because maybe I’m just totally too far to one side. But I thought it was not at all traumatic to watch it and it’s kind of neat. So what you can see is his butt coming out first, which makes a lot of sense. He was born in the pike position completely folded in half with his legs straight with his little toes at his face.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, flexible fella.

Laura Birek: Very flexible. Actually, I cut out some audio from the C-section of the moment he was born. Should we listen to that?

Shanna Micko: Of course.

Laura Birek: Okay. So here it is.

Immediately baby was born: It’s a beautiful bottom. Right. Take a note of that, please.

Take the clamp. His legs want to stay up. Dry that too. Okay. We’ve been delayed in clamping the cord. Clamp that off. You’ve got a good clamp. It’s a really thick, healthy cord. My goodness. Yeah. Okay. We’re going to bring this little monster over you guys.

Laura Birek: You can hear my doctor.

Shanna Micko: Wow.

Laura Birek: You can hear what they say like, his legs are straight and it’s really funny to see.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, that’s his first moment.

Laura Birek: I know.

Shanna Micko: His first little cries. That’s so cool.

Laura Birek: Then they handed him over to me and I had my right hand strapped down I don’t know why and my left hand was free, but I was not confident in holding this baby to my chest and also, it’s not even your chest. It’s like your collarbone. I didn’t have a lot of real estate to hold this baby on and he is all covered in that vernix.

Shanna Micko: This was before a nurse took him away and wiped him and stuff?

Laura Birek: Yeah, they handed him straight from my uterus onto me.

Shanna Micko: Dang. I need a few moments of separation there. A little wiping down, a little diapering.

Laura Birek: It was sweet to see him. But first of all, I was so out of it. I was so loopy and they’re still probably delivering my placenta at that time.

Shanna Micko: Definitely.

Laura Birek: I didn’t know what was going on, so I’m still feeling tugging and stuff and I was just terrified. I wasn’t the only person holding him, but I wasn’t quite cognizant of that. They’re like, “You got a mama,” and I was like, no. I don’t know if I really actually fully enjoyed that moment, because I was so terrified that he was going to fall. I didn’t know what was going on. Actually, the thing that was even scarier was I had one hand and I couldn’t turn his head so that he wouldn’t be smothered on my face. So I should have known that everyone else is there watching him. But I couldn’t tell from being on the operating table and so that was a little scary for me. I was happy when they took him away, because I just felt overwhelmed by having him there at that moment. It was nice to know he was there, but I was also just like, I’m not in a situation where I can properly care for this baby.

Shanna Micko: It’s so awkward.

Laura Birek: Someone else do this. But then they went and cleaned him up and as I said, so he was born at 9:52. He was six pounds, eight ounces. So he was just a wee little thing at 19 inches.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: Then they took him with my mom and Corey and then I was getting stitched up and then they wheeled me back and I was back in the recovery room by like 10:20.

Shanna Micko: That’s so fast. Oh my God, you saved yourself like 20 hours of labor. I just want to say, you should thank him for being in that breech position.

Laura Birek: My mom doesn’t pull punches. My mom has been like, “You’re so lucky. You didn’t have to blow your vagina out.”

Shanna Micko: No, she did not say that to you.

Laura Birek: You’ve met my mom.

Shanna Micko: I know, but still that’s just such a freaking hilarious thing for a mom to say to a daughter.

Laura Birek: I don’t think she mentioned it in a sexual way. She mentioned it in like, maintain your urinary incontinence way.

Shanna Micko: There is also that.

Laura Birek: Yes.

Shanna Micko: There’s a lot of things to take into consideration.

Laura Birek: I have to say, I know C-sections are major surgery and there’s actually more to my check-in, which will be the asterisk to this statement, but it was very easy and awesome for me.

Shanna Micko: Good. I’m happy.

Laura Birek: The other thing is if we’re getting gross, I don’t know if it’s just that my doctor is super awesome and cleaned out my uterus really well, but I did not have bad bleeding afterwards.

Shanna Micko: Me neither really.

Laura Birek: I read online it’ll be worse with the C-section and I’m like, that can’t be possible. The first day maybe was heavy, but I haven’t had anything other than light period basically, which is crazy.

Shanna Micko: Me too. So I guess we have efficient doctors that just really clean house. 

Thanks docs.

Laura Birek: Thanks docs. I really appreciate it because I wasn’t looking forward to you know everything you read online is don’t wear any clothes you like, be prepared to have to clean up your couch if you bleed through.

Shanna Micko: I will say though, just be on the lookout for it to come and go.

Laura Birek: Okay.

Shanna Micko: That’s how it’s been for me. Not huge amount. But it’ll completely stop for a couple days and I’m like, oh sweet. I’m in the clear and then all of a sudden, I’m like, got to get on those pads.

Laura Birek: All right. That’s the pro tips. Then we spent three nights in the hospital. I should say that my baby boy latched on immediately in the recovery room.

Shanna Micko: Good boy.

Laura Birek: This all sounds like bragging, but we’ll get to the point where things didn’t go as smoothly soon. He latched on immediately, every nurse who came by to check to see how things were going, they’d hand expressed some colostrum and every single one was like, “Oh my God, you’re so lucky. You have so much colostrum. 

You have so much milk.” My actual breast milk came in on day two.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, humble brag.

Laura Birek: No, there’s a lot of humble bragging.

Shanna Micko: No, it’s good. I’m happy for you, because it’s not a fun challenge.

Laura Birek: It’s not and other challenges of weight later in the week. But only lost 5% of his birth weight and then on day three he started gaining it back. So all that stuff I’m so grateful went smoothly. Actually, let’s listen to some of the smooth stuff. I have some cute audio. We have the first bath.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: Then little squeaky noises. Let’s just roll them.

Shanna Micko: Do it.

Little squeaky noises: Hey, everyone. So we are about eight hours postpartum and I’ve got a little baby boy who’s making all kinds of cute squeaking noises I want you to hear. He’s sleeping. I think that he’s content, but he’s just making those noises. We’ll see. It should be time to feed, but he’s just wanting skin to skin. We’ll see.

Baby’s first bath: This is the sound of baby’s first bath. You were right. Corey just said you were right, because I said I didn’t think you would like it, but he just had a big meconium poop. So it’s good that he’s getting nice and cleaned up. It’s exactly 10:30. So he has been out in the world for 13 hours. Yeah, anyway, he’s getting his bath and I’m in the bed, because I can’t get up and see him yet, but I’m cool with it.

Shanna Micko: Oh, his little sweet. Oh my God, he’s so precious.

Laura Birek: I know. He dreams a lot I think. He makes a lot of expressions. You can see he’s in REM sleep and he just makes a lot of like vocalizations once. It’s very cute.

Shanna Micko: It’s adorable.

Laura Birek: So anyway, everything went well. I get discharged as planned after three nights, go home and my pain is really manageable. I’m only taking Motrin. Never had to take any like narcotics. I would get home on Monday, on Tuesday he has his first vet. This is a cat mother. Now, I have a human. Okay. We have his first pediatrician’s appointment. I should also mention my mom is staying I think for a month. So she actually took the first night to let us sleep.

Shanna Micko: What a woman. Oh my gosh.

Laura Birek: I know.

Shanna Micko: Wow.

Laura Birek: It really wasn’t twisting her arm. She loved it. I find out she didn’t put him in his crib at all. She just held him all night.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: She’s totally in love with him. It’s adorable.

Shanna Micko: That’s so precious.

Laura Birek: She actually did that for three nights because on Tuesday, the second day I was here, I had a kind of big day. I was feeling so much better. It was so nice to be home. I think I was energized by being home and we decided we needed to give him a bath before his first doctor’s appointment and then my mother-in-law came to visit. So my mom and her were fawning over the baby and it was kind of hectic and I didn’t once take a nap or put my feet up. I sat, but I was like, oh, I’m back. I’m home. I’m me. So I go to put on real clothes to go to the pediatrician’s appointment and I look down and I’m wearing like Capri pants and my ankle is like a fucking massive spare tire huge swelling.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: I looked at it and I was like, ugh, that’s gross. But then I thought, I’m going to have a swelling. That’s just a thing, right? I’ve had IV fluids. I’ve had surgery. I’m going to have a swelling. I just thought that was normal. So I go to the appointment, I come back and then I was feeling like really off. My mom came over, she made dinner and I was feeling like fluttery in my chest and lightheaded. I asked Corey to go find, we had this little wrist cuff blood pressure monitor that I had gotten at Walgreens ages ago, and I took my blood pressure and it was sky high. It was in like the high 160s/100.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: I’ve never had high blood pressure. I always had 110/65. That’s my normal blood pressure. So I was like, well, that’s weird. I’m sort of on the couch and I’m like, “Mom, what do you think about this?” We’re taking more and more readings and I’m thinking like, oh, maybe it’s the wrist cuff being bad. So we sent Corey to the store to get a better one. Meanwhile, at some point it goes up to 171/105 and my mom is kind of freaking out, because she’s a doctor. She’s like, “That’s emergency room. We need to start preparing to go to the emergency room.” Meanwhile, I have never pumped. We’ve never fed a bottle to the baby, so all the bottles are sitting unsterilized in boxes.

Shanna Micko: No.

Laura Birek: So I’m lying there thinking like, oh my gosh, turns out there’s a thing called postpartum preeclampsia. So this is the catch. He’s perfect. I’m breastfeeding like a champ, everything’s great. I just thought that I’m going to die.

Shanna Micko: Oh, God.

Laura Birek: Seeing my mom be so concerned about going to the ER was really big for me, because she doesn’t do that. Usually, she’s a doctor. She usually can handle things and she was like, we need to get in the car and go to the ER.

Shanna Micko: Wow.

Laura Birek: But luckily, she travels with urine dipsticks to check for various proteins glucose.

Shanna Micko: I love your mom.

Laura Birek: She’s like you try to calm down. I was doing breathing techniques. Meanwhile, Corey is frantically trying to boil water to sterilize bottles so that we can feed formula if necessary, because I’m not bringing my newborn to an ER in the middle of winter and I’m trying to like stay calm. My mom goes across the street and she’s like, we’re going to find out if you have protein in your urine and then we’re going to go basically. So she goes across the street to the Airbnb, the place she’s renting and she comes back with the sticks and she tells me to go pee in a cup and see what it says and this is where dear listeners, we get even more intimate. We’ve already talked about like bleeding, vaginal tear. So I go in and I go to give the urine sample and in the meantime, I realize I have to take a giant dump. I had not even noticed I had taken a really small bowel movement in the hospital and thought that counted as my first bowel movement, but I guess it didn’t really count. I had a gigantic bowel movement and immediately started feeling better.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, really?

Laura Birek: Yes and no. I was insanely concentrated and of course, it hurt. So the pain was really spiking my blood pressure. I came out and I was like, “This is weird, but I think I might be better,” and my mom was like, “Okay.” This is how you know your mom is A) a doctor and B) your mom is the only person you’d be like, “I didn’t flush, because I thought you might want to see,” and she was like, “Absolutely. I want to see. That’s normal.”

Shanna Micko: I know she said absolutely.

Laura Birek: I lie back down. She does the dipstick too and finds out there’s no protein in my urine, so that means I don’t have preeclampsia, which is very good. We take my blood pressure and it’s now about 150/90. It’s still high, but it’s not go to the ER high.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: It dropped by like 20 points in the systolic after I took the dump. But anyway, I was like this is going to be the best story for the podcast that I find out we almost went to the ER because of a bowel movement. But it turns out it’s a little more complicated than that. 

My blood pressure remains kind of high, not dangerously high, but it is high. So I’m now on meds. I called my doctor the next morning and he’s very like, “Yeah. I’ll just put you on some meds.” He didn’t want me to even come in. He was like, “Just start taking these and we’ll see you next week at your normal follow up.”

Shanna Micko: Okay. Well, that must have been reassuring then.

Laura Birek: It was. I started wearing compression socks. I realized I had bought some compression socks during my pregnancy in anticipation of having swollen legs that actually never happened. So I was like, oh yeah, I have those and I wore them and they totally took the swelling way down.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: My mom took the night shift another two nights to make sure that I could properly rest and she did some research and she discovered that apparently anywhere from 2% to 25% of women get unexplained, hypertension, postpartum.

Shanna Micko: Interesting. I never heard that.

Laura Birek: Don’t know why. Apparently, there’s a bunch of risk factors and one is like having high blood pressure during pregnancy. I didn’t have that. Another is receiving IV fluids. Check. Another is receiving NSAIDs, oral anti-inflammatory. Check. 

Another one was poorly managed pain, which what I think is happening is I’m only on Motrin and I think I feel fine, but I think my body is registering more pain than my brain is if that makes any sense.

Shanna Micko: I can see that.

Laura Birek: I think there’s that. I have a bunch of these risk factors and the good news is that in theory, it should resolve itself within six weeks and they recommend you take this medicine that I’m on. So it’s a beta blocker. I can’t remember the name of it though. So it should be under control. We’re out of that.

Shanna Micko: I’m so glad everything’s okay.

Laura Birek: Thank you.

Shanna Micko: I was getting scared there.

Laura Birek: I was getting scared there. I was really very concerned for a while so was Corey and then I’m worried, just everything running through your mind. My mom was worried I was going to have a stroke, because I had such high blood pressure.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: Now, I’m taking my blood pressure every day and taking the meds and the meds haven’t really lowered that much. But again, my mom says my stepdad’s had a high blood pressure in that range for decades. People run around with high blood pressure in the 150/90 range all the time and it’s not like you’re worried about stroke within a couple weeks. Anyway, hopefully that resolves, because I wanted to be a straight A student, Shanna. I wanted my A+.

Shanna Micko: I know your desire to be a straight A student and I’m sorry, you didn’t achieve it. But it sounds like you still got a solid A- maybe. I think you did pretty great.

Laura Birek: I’ll take it. That doesn’t mess up my GPA.

Shanna Micko: No.

Laura Birek: But anyway, that is my extremely long check-in. But the good news is that I have a perfectly healthy, lovely, wonderful baby boy whose name starts with W.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: He’s the best and I love him so much and Corey is just being the best dad. It’s so sweet to see and I can’t wait for everyone to meet, but I’m also waiting until you guys are germ free for at least like two weeks.

Shanna Micko: I know. Well, by that time, we’ll probably catch another bug. 

So I’ll meet your baby in June.

Laura Birek: Anyway, I think we should probably move on to our BFPs and BFNs.

Shanna Micko: All right.

[Music]

Laura Birek: We wrap up every episode with our big fat positive, or big fat negative of the week. Shanna, what do you have for us this week?

Shanna Micko: I have another BFP.

Laura Birek: I like it.

Shanna Micko: I like it too. I’ve fallen in love with my new breast pump.

Laura Birek: Ooh. Tell me more.

Shanna Micko: It’s called the Freemie, F-R-E-E-M-I-E pump and it’s not like the traditional pump that I had with my first kid where you’ve got the flanges and they stick out and you basically have to get a pumping bra to keep them both on at the same time.

Laura Birek: You look like you have old speakers or something. What am I thinking of? It looks like you have bullhorns attached to your boobs.

Shanna Micko: Yes, right. 100%. It’s connected to a motor that plugs into the wall and you’re stuck here. You can’t move, you can’t bend over, things are going to fall out. Blah, blah, blah. So I never really loved that and in the time that I have had another child, a new product has come on the market called the Freemie, which is basically like these little bowl pump cups that just go right into my bra and the cord is connected to a device that’s battery operated. So I just like flip it to my pants, put these things in my bra. It looks like you have a weird, bad boob job, but you can just pull your shirt over it and kind of look like a normal person. It’s not like you have the bullhorns poking out like Madonna circa.

Laura Birek: Totally.

Shanna Micko: So I love it. I feel like I’ve got way more freedom. When I pump, I can get up and do chores. I can awkwardly hold the baby if I need to. I definitely couldn’t do that with the other pump. Super easy to pump in the car and I love it. I love not being tethered to the wall. I love not having those dumb flanges. I love not having to put on a pumping bra every single time I do it. So to me it’s been fantastic and it’s a big BFP for me in this new adventure of motherhood second time around.

Laura Birek: That’s awesome. Did your insurance cover that one or did you buy?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: Oh, really? Awesome.

Shanna Micko: I was very happy. They offered a few different models and they were all good ones. I could have chosen the Spectra, the Medela Pump In Style. But when I saw that this one was one of the choices, I was like, well, I’ve got to try it. I know what those other styles are like.

Laura Birek: You probably had your old one.

Shanna Micko: I do have my old one, which I can always go back on that one, which I lost the power cable for I realized. So I haven’t even used it. Whatevs, I love the Freemie.

Laura Birek: All right. We’ll link to that for sure.

Shanna Micko: What about you? What do you have this week?

Laura Birek: I have a BFP, of course. I feel like I’ve got to be positive and you just heard my tales of woe of my blood pressure and my BFP is a no brainer and that is my mom.

Shanna Micko: Yes, Susan.

Laura Birek: Got to be my mom. 

My mom is staying in our place directly across the street for a month and we’ve been home for just about five days now and it’s been lifesaving. She’s been taking the night shift. She took the first three nights’ night shift, which I felt kind of guilty about at first thinking I got to learn how to take care of my baby myself and all this stuff. But you know what? I need to get rest. I just had a major surgery. She loved it. She loves snuggling with him. So she’s just been so great and on top of it, she’s a freaking pediatrician. So any questions we have…

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, what a dream!

Laura Birek: I know. It’s so amazing. She gave me all this breastfeeding advice. That was really good I didn’t realize. Everyone said you got to do 20 minutes, 20 minutes on each boob. She was like, no, I think you’re overproducing. He’s drooling out of the side of his mouth, so that means you need to do shorter periods of time and you’re going to over produce if you overfeed. There’s stuff I had never even considered and it’s worked out great. So I just have to say, I have the best mom in the world and I’m super grateful and I’ll never forget what she’s done for us this week.

Shanna Micko: That’s so wonderful. If she ever wants to take the night shift for my daughter, send her on over.

Laura Birek: She does love babies. Anyway, I think that might be our long eventful show.

Shanna Micko: That was a good one.

Laura Birek: Yes.

Shanna Micko: I really enjoyed hearing your story of the birth of your son and I cannot wait to meet him.

Laura Birek: Thanks.

Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh, it’s going to be great.

Laura Birek: I can’t wait for all of us to hang out.

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Laura Birek: All right. Well, thank you everyone for listening. We really appreciate our listeners and I love that you followed us through our whole pregnancy journeys and don’t forget, we’re just going to keep going talking about having newborns and then toddlers and who knows what else?

Shanna Micko: College age kids.

Laura Birek: I wonder if in 20 years podcasts will exist.

Shanna Micko: I don’t know. They’ll just be pumped through chips in our ears or something.

Laura Birek: Probably.

Shanna Micko: Anyway, thank you guys so much for listening as Laura said, and if you have any questions or comments or anything you want to share with us about your journey, please hit us up. Laura, where can they find us?

Laura Birek: We are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at BFP Podcast. We also have Facebook community group you can join. We also have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com, where you can send us an email and check out our show notes.

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

Laura Birek: Thanks for listening everyone. See you next week.

Shanna Micko: Bye.

Laura Birek: Bye.

[Music]