Ep. 11: Stump the Preggo
September 24, 2018
In a new segment called “Stump the Preggo,” Shanna and Laura test each other’s knowledge with pregnancy-related trivia. Laura reports on residual morning sickness that has attached itself to one of her favorite hobbies, and Shanna talks about telling her daughter that she’s pregnant. The moms-to-be also reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Laura is 18 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 22 weeks pregnant.
- Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy
- List of mammalian gestation durations Those poor elephant mamas...
- Active Labor Duration
- Highest Twin Rates in the World
- Twin Rates in the US
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Laura Birek: This podcast contains explicit language.
Shanna Micko: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. I’m Shanna.
Laura Birek: I’m Laura.
Shanna Micko: We are friends and writing partners who are pregnant at the same time, so we started a podcast about it.
Laura Birek: This week on the show we’ve got our weekly check-ins, we’ve got a new segment, which is called, “Stump the Preggo,” where we try to test each other on pregnancy trivia, and then we have our BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get to it.
Shanna Micko: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode 11.
Laura Birek: Hello. Welcome.
Shanna Micko: Hi. Let’s get started with our weekly check-ins. Laura, what’s going on with you? How far along are you?
Laura Birek: I am 18 weeks and I’m not sick anymore.
Shanna Micko: Hallelujah.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, I was so fucking sick, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Wait, do you mean you had your cold you were referring to or you are talking about nausea?
Laura Birek: No, I’m sorry. I’m talking about the cold that I was talking about last week. I thought I had gotten better and then I got worse again. I lost my voice completely and it was like, you know how when you’re not pregnant, you can get a cold and it can be over in a couple days and you barely notice it? That was not my experience. I got a cold and about nine days later, I finally started feeling human again. I think it’s because all the energy is going to your uterus right to building a human.
Shanna Micko: Yeah.
Laura Birek: Anyway, the point is that I am no longer sick anymore, which is great. I just feel so much better and I’ve discovered an interesting thing, which is during my first trimester, I had a lot of nausea, not actually a lot of vomiting, but I felt blur all the time. I kind of just felt like I was seasick all day or hangover all day. Right when I started getting my morning/all day sickness, I was rushing to try to finish this project I was doing, which is I was spinning yarn. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the podcast before. I love my spinning wheel.
I have a modern version of an old time spinning wheel. You might remember from Sleeping Beauty and I love making my own yarn and it’s one of my favorite relaxing pass times. I’ve gotten really into it over the last couple years and because I was doing it right at the time when I started getting my morning sickness, I associated it in my mind with the morning sickness, I think. For the last, 10 weeks I guess I’ve not been able to look at a picture of handspun wool on Instagram. I haven’t been able to think about spinning.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no.
Laura Birek: I know. It sounds very petty, but it’s one of my favorite hobbies and it made me feel sick and I was so worried that I was going to forever associate my spinning wheel and handspun yarn, which is like the other love of my life with being sick and nauseated and just feeling like crap. It was such a relief this week to be like, I looked at my spinning wheel and I looked at some wool I had in my stash and I was like, I need to give this is a try and it didn’t make me sick.
Shanna Micko: Yay!
Laura Birek: That’s what went on this week.
Shanna Micko: That’s awesome. To maybe make you feel less petty about that, I’d like to share a similar situation I had when I very first got pregnant. With my first pregnancy, I was playing the game on my phone: Candy Crush.
Laura Birek: Oh, yes.
Shanna Micko: You may know this game.
Laura Birek: I know it because you introduced me to it and you might be responsible for hundreds of wasted hours of my life, but go on.
Shanna Micko: You’re welcome. That’s when I took up Candy Crush, because unlike you, I didn’t have a hobby that I could do through the sickness, so I applaud you for that. I was laying on the couch playing Candy Crush through my nausea and to this day, I can’t play that game anymore. I can’t look at it. I can’t think about it without my stomach turning.
Laura Birek: But that’s good.
Shanna Micko: Actually, that’s probably a good thing. It saved me hundreds of wasted hours.
Laura Birek: It’s a productivity hack. We should just tell people, anyone who wants to give up Candy Crush or Two Dots or whatever they play on their phone, just get pregnant and do it during your first trimester. You’ll never be able to stomach it again.
Shanna Micko: Bang, bang, boom! Perfect solution.
Laura Birek: What’s going on with you this week, Shanna?
Shanna Micko: I’m 22 weeks and the big news in our household is that we told our daughter that she’s going to be a big sister.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, that’s so exciting.
Shanna Micko: Super exciting. We were waiting a while, because I just wanted to wait for all the tests to come through and then she had some other big transitions in her life, like a new preschool.
Laura Birek: That’s right.
Shanna Micko: I did just wanted it all to settle down and tell her this big news. So we did it.
Laura Birek: Wait, I want to know everything. How did you do it? Okay. I have 5 million questions, but I want to know first, how did you go about doing this because it seems like it’s a tricky thing, right?
Shanna Micko: We were like, should we read online the best way to tell a toddler? We were like, let’s just do it. Let’s talk to her. So we called her over on the couch just like, “Come here.” She sat on my lap and was facing me like we have big news for you, “Mama has a baby in her belly and you’re going to be a big sister and this is going to be your little sister. There’s going to be a baby.” She was flailing around on my lap and then she’s like, “I’m going to go paint like Daniel Tiger.” I was like, “Okay. Bye.” We were like, oh man. She’s two and a half, by the way. She didn’t absorb any of that and she goes and whatever pretends to paint for a minute. Then she comes right back to the couch to us and touches my belly and says, “Mama has baby in belly. I’m going to be big sister. That’s my little sister.” I was like, she totally absorbed it.
Laura Birek: She just needed time to process. That’s fascinating.
Shanna Micko: Isn’t that cool?
Laura Birek: Don’t you want to know what’s going on in her little brain?
Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. Well, obviously Daniel Tiger all the time.
Laura Birek: Daniel Tiger is first and then second is processing these life changing news your mom and dad just told you.
Shanna Micko: I was shocked the degree to which she understood and accepted the news, like right away. From there on out, it’s like, I’m going to be big sister, baby is in mommy’s tummy. That’s normal life now. We got a lot of books. We read a lot of books about babies coming.
Laura Birek: Now, did she already know the concept of kind of where babies come, maybe not the mechanics?
Shanna Micko: No.
Laura Birek: She didn’t know that babies came out of mama’s bellies or anything like that?
Shanna Micko: No.
Laura Birek: So this was 100% fresh information and she was like, cool.
Shanna Micko: Yes, total 100% acceptance and she has been so sweet about it. She touches my tummy all the times, says, “Baby sister,” and she’s like, “Can’t wait for baby sister come in December.” She’s like, “I need a snuggle with baby,” and puts her head on my tummy and snuggles.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, that’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.
Shanna Micko: It’s truly adorable. It just melts my heart. It’s awesome.
Laura Birek: It sounds like that went better than you could have imagined, right?
Shanna Micko: Yeah.
Laura Birek: There’s nothing to wish for. She’s ready to be a big sister right away.
Shanna Micko: She’s ready to be a big sister. She’s excited about it.
Laura Birek: That’s so cool. I can’t wait to see them together. I think that’s going to be just like heart obligatory adorable.
Shanna Micko: I hope so. I just hope she’s a little more gentle with the baby than she is with the dogs.
Laura Birek: She almost going to be three at that point.
Shanna Micko: True.
Laura Birek: I think she’s going to be great.
Shanna Micko: That’s my week.
Laura Birek: That sounds like we both had some pretty good weeks.
Shanna Micko: Yay!
Laura Birek: All right. Our next segment is a new segment that we just came up with called, “Stump the Preggo,” which is our own version of a trivia quiz where we try to stump each other on pregnancy related trivia. We’re going alternate. I’m kind of a trivia buff, so I feel like I’m now setting myself up for looking like a moron on this podcast.
Shanna Micko: What’s the opposite of a trivia buff? A trivia dud? Because that’s my category.
Laura Birek: I don’t know. I’m not saying I’m the best at trivia. I really enjoy it. It’s a fun pass time for me because I’m a nerd, so I’m excited for this segment. I think maybe you should go first and then humiliate me fully and then I’ll go second.
Shanna Micko: All right. I got to say, I don’t think mine are too difficult. But here we go. On average, how many pounds does a pregnant woman gain in blood volume alone?
Laura Birek: Oh my gosh.
Shanna Micko: A) 1 pound, B) 2.5 pounds, C) 4 pounds, D) 6 pounds.
Laura Birek: Okay. Repeat the options one more time.
Shanna Micko: 1 pound, 2.5, 4 and 6.
Laura Birek: I know that our blood volume increases by 50%.
I’m pretty sure that’s the piece of trivia I know already, but what I don’t know is how much of our weight is made up of blood volume. Let’s see. If you gain six pounds, it means that you already have 12 pounds of blood in your body, which seems like a lot. The next one down was four. That means you would have eight pounds of blood in your body. Then it was 2.5, which would mean you normally have five pounds. Sussing it out, I’m going to go with 2.5.
Shanna Micko: C) 4 pounds.
Laura Birek: All right. That was my next choice. So that means we usually have eight pounds of blood in our body, which is interesting I think.
Shanna Micko: I don’t know.
Laura Birek: I should look that up. My doctor did just tell me that women gain 50% of their blood volume, I believe.
Shanna Micko: That’s incredible.
Laura Birek: It’s pretty insane.
Shanna Micko: That’s insane. It’s equivalent to the weight of a two liter bottle of soda. That seems like a lot to me to be bringing into your blood vessels.
Laura Birek: Yeah, on top of everything. Well, that’s apparently why we all get stuffy, because we have so much more fluid moving around. The swelling and all that stuff is all related to the increased blood volume apparently.
Shanna Micko: There you go. There’s a lot of other stuff you gain weight with too, but I found that fact fascinating.
Laura Birek: That is fascinating. Okay. Are you ready for one from me?
Shanna Micko: Yes.
Laura Birek: What mammals have the longest gestation period? A) Sperm whale, B) Bactrian camel, or C) African elephant.
Shanna Micko: When you first asked the question, elephant came into my mind. I’m glad it’s a choice because I have absolutely no other way to suss this out other than instinct, so I’m going to go with elephant.
Laura Birek: You are correct, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Yay! How long is their gestation period?
Laura Birek: The African elephant has an average gestation period of 645 days.
Shanna Micko: Holy smoke!
Laura Birek: Which is almost two years and then we being humans have an average of 270 days gestation. I actually looked up all the list of the average gestations for mammals, which was kind of interesting. The sperm whale is close to the African elephant. It’s 535 days, so I think generally as the mammals get bigger, the longer the gestation. I thought also the Virginia opossum only has an average gestation period of 12 days.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God. That’s funny. Don’t they birth like multiple? I have a vision of a little opossum, like a vagina on her stomach opening up and all these little opossum creatures coming out. I think that’s how they give birth.
Laura Birek: That sounds scientific. I’m going to go with that. A mouse is 19 days. All these rodent teeth type small animals have very short gestations, which is why they can breed very quickly like rabbits because they only have 31 day gestation periods. So you can have a litter a month, I guess.
Shanna Micko: Yay! We want more rats.
Laura Birek: You got another question for me?
Shanna Micko: I do. What is the average time for a first-time mom to be in active labor before delivering her baby? That’s active labor, because early labor is like you can do at home. It’s your cervix is phasing and dilating to about three centimeters. So this is like the major portion of labor.
Laura Birek: Okay.
Shanna Micko: 3.5 hours, 7.5 hours, 12 hours, 18 hours.
Laura Birek: Well, this is hard for me, because I’ve never actually done it. I’m going to go crazy and just pick the lowest number, 3.5 hours.
Shanna Micko: Wishful thinking. No, it isn’t the highest. It is 7.5. It isn’t horrible, but that’s the time where your cervix opens to 10 before you start pushing and then the pushing period of course can last if you’re lucky for a few minutes up to a few hours.
Laura Birek: I’m learning so much. I guess I was thinking pushing. God forbid you push for eight hours.
Shanna Micko: Oh, gosh. No, I think that’s called the transition period. I’m not sure. I don’t even think my body reached active labor and I was laboring for 20 hours. I didn’t dilate past three centimeters. My labor was crazy, so I probably skew these numbers.
Laura Birek: You’re responsible for me missing that question, I think.
Shanna Micko: I think so.
Laura Birek: Much like, Candy Crush, I’m going to blame you for that.
Shanna Micko: Okay.
Laura Birek: Thanks, friend. All right. You ready for your next question?
Shanna Micko: Yeah.
Laura Birek: Where in the world are women most likely to have twins: North America, Central Africa or South Asia?
Shanna Micko: Now, I’m wondering if this increase in twinage is related to genetics or assisted reproductive technology like IVF and such, because if we’re going to go with that, I would maybe say North America. I feel like they probably do more of that kind of thing. If it’s genetics, gosh, I have no idea. What was the third option?
Laura Birek: I’ll read them all again. North America, Central Africa and South Asia.
Shanna Micko: I’m going to go with North America.
Laura Birek: It’s actually Central Africa.
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: I don’t think anyone really knows why, but Benin, which is right next to Nigeria has the highest number of twin births. But there’s a whole grouping of nations in Central Africa that have the highest.
Shanna Micko: Wow. That’s fascinating.
Laura Birek: Isn’t it? Then I looked up the rates for the US and Connecticut has the highest number of twin births in the US.
Shanna Micko: Whoa!
Laura Birek: Which I think must have to do with assisted reproduction, because Connecticut’s a fairly wealthy state and a fairly educated state. I feel like those things are associated with using assistance in reproduction. So according to the CDC in 2016, which is the last year we have data, the number of twin births in the US was 131,723 and that’s 33.4 twin births per thousand live births. It’s actually still not that common. Everyone knows someone who’s had twins, but thirty three and a thousand is not that high. But in Connecticut it was 41.3 per a thousand.
Shanna Micko: Interesting.
Laura Birek: There were almost 3,800 triplet births and there were 217 quadruplets’ births. There were 31 quintuplets or higher births.
Shanna Micko: Oh my goodness.
Laura Birek: That’s a lot.
Shanna Micko: Wow.
Laura Birek: So what have we learned? We’ve learned that if you want to have quins, either move to Connecticut or Central Africa. We’ve learned that your blood is heavy.
Shanna Micko: And elephants are pregnant for a long time.
Laura Birek: Oh, those poor elephant ladies.
Shanna Micko: I know.
Laura Birek: By the way, everyone extends some sympathy to the elephant ladies out there, the prego elephants. I guess that’s it. Shauna, you’re winning. You won one to zero for me.
Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh. Woo-hoo!
Laura Birek: All right. We’ll keep a tally. Thanks for playing.
Shanna Micko: Moving on. Let’s do our BFPs and BFNs for the week. Laura, what you got?
Laura Birek: I have a BFP.
Shanna Micko: Yay!
Laura Birek: When my baby is born in January, my mom has decided she wants to come down for a month to live in Pasadena with us. Let me rephrase that and say, not with us, but near us, which I think is even better. She’s actually found an apartment directly across the street that does 30-day month to month rentals and is available. You literally see it at our front door.
Shanna Micko: That’s awesome.
Laura Birek: I’m so excited because I don’t really know what I’m doing with this. What am I going to do with this baby? I don’t actually know how to take care of a baby, Shanna. I have books. I haven’t read them yet.
Shanna Micko: I guess that’s how I learned. I read some books and then I winged it.
Laura Birek: The really good thing is that my mom’s a pediatrician. I’ve mentioned she’s a geneticist. So she’s a medical geneticist as her specialty, but she’s trained as a pediatrician and she is a pediatrician. She just sees babies and kids all day long in her practice. I’m going to have my mommy across the street who is we going to be an on-call pediatrician.
Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing.
Laura Birek: #Bless, Shanna. But I’m very excited for it and it’s funny, because my husband was like, “Isn’t that a lot of time with your mom?” I was like, “Look, we’re going to need it. We’re going to be so grateful to have her around at any time for a month. I don’t think getting sick of her is going to be an option.”
Shanna Micko: No, it’s going to be wonderful.
Laura Birek: I’m really excited. I think most adult children, we tend to hit a point where it’s like, okay. When we hang out, I’m really excited to see her. I’m so happy to see her. But after a little while we’re both like, we can move on with our lives, go back to our normal lives. There’s just something about parents that they know exactly the buttons to push or maybe it’s just that you’re sensitive to things. To be fair, we have a very, very good relationship. But I am always a little worried that a full month would maybe drive me crazy. But I honestly think I’m just going to be so happy for the help. So that’s my BFP. I’m really excited about it.
Shanna Micko: You’re going to have a little space, because she’ll be across the street and she won’t be there all hours. It sounds perfect to me.
Laura Birek: The other thing we realized is that she could stay at our house with the baby sometimes while my husband and I go across the street to nap in quiet.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God, perfection. I love it.
Laura Birek: That was a big excitement this week. How about you? What do you got: BFP or BFN?
Shanna Micko: I have a BFN. It’s been a BFN for a while now and that is sugar. It’s such a tough relationship right now, because it’s one of my big cravings. I just want to devour sugary things, but I really think their sugar is giving me horrible headaches. I’m starting to see a correlation. Like every time I down a bag of say caramel M&Ms, I do get a really bad headache pretty quickly afterwards. I’m really trying to limit it, cut it out, because Tylenol doesn’t do anything for these headaches, so I just have to suffer through them.
Laura Birek: We’re never are going to be sponsored by Tylenol because we talk so much on Tylenol.
Shanna Micko: Fuck Tylenol. I’ll eat it.
Laura Birek: Alternate title for the podcast: fuck Tylenol. You don’t do shit.
Shanna Micko: Seriously. So I’m looking forward to being able to have sugar again.
Laura Birek: Have you had the glucose testing yet?
Shanna Micko: No, that’s in a couple of weeks. I’m not even sure when, but I asked my doctor. I’m like, “Is there any correlation here like I have sugar and then I get a headache. Does that mean that I’ve got gestational diabetes?” He’s like, I don’t think so. Let’s just wait and test and see.
Laura Birek: Okay. Good, because that was my first thought, because if it’s a new thing…
Shanna Micko: He’s like it’s probably hormones having to do with the pregnancy and stuff. So I felt better about that.
Laura Birek: Well, that’s good. You don’t need another thing to worry about.
Shanna Micko: God knows.
Laura Birek: Next time we hang out, I will bring you healthy snacks with no sugar in them. How’s that?
Shanna Micko: Sounds good. Almonds.
Laura Birek: Yes, a handful of almonds.
Shanna Micko: All right, guys. That’s our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you have any interesting pregnancy trivia, share it with us. We want to learn all there is to know. Laura, where can our listeners find us?
Laura Birek: We’re on Twitter and Instagram at BFP Podcast. We have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com. We also have a Facebook group. If you search Big Fat Positive Podcast, you can find our community group and join in on the conversation.
Shanna Micko: Big Fat Positive is produced by Shanna Micko, Laura Birek and Steve Yager.
Laura Birek: Don’t forget to rate and review us on iTunes. It would be a huge help if you are a fan of the show to hit the subscribe button and to leave us a review. They’re truly very helpful and one of the best things you can do to help the show is to tell your friends about it. So spread the word.
Shanna Micko: Thanks for listening. Bye.
Laura Birek: Bye.