Ep. 19: Your Questions and Stories!
November 12, 2018
In the new segment, “Checkin’ the Inbox,” Laura and Shanna answer a listener question about an unsavory bodily function and tell a listener story about an unsavory stranger’s behavior. Also, the moms-to-be discuss getting the house ready for baby, talk about making pregnancy friends and reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Laura is 26 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 30 weeks pregnant.
- Spinzilla How much yarn can you spin in one week?
- Hands On Mom Massage Shanna's third-trimester savior!
- The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Laura's happy place in Pasadena, CA
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Laura Birek: Hey. Before we get started, I have a favor to ask you. If you could go to iTunes and leave us a review and a rating, that would mean so much to us and help our show get out there and have new listeners.
Laura Birek: This week on Big Fat Positive we’ve got our weekly check-ins, we also have a new segment where we check our email inbox and see what questions and comments have come in from listeners like you and then we end with our BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get to it.
Laura Birek: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the show.
Shanna Micko: Hello.
Laura Birek: This is episode 19 and Shanna, do you want to do your weekly check-in for us? What’s going on with you this week?
Shanna Micko: All right. So I am week 30.
Laura Birek: Oh my God.
Shanna Micko: It’s so close to 40.
Laura Birek: I know.
Shanna Micko: Which is crazy. I’m not even going to 40. I’m going to 39.
Laura Birek: That’s right. I’m jealous.
Shanna Micko: I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a scheduled C-section, because I had one previously so I go a week early. I’m getting real close.
Laura Birek: I’m kind of jealous that you have a one week shorter pregnancy. Who knows? You never know what’ll happen.
Shanna Micko: True. It’s kind of nice. Anyway, so couple things to report. First of all, I am getting closer and I don’t feel ready. My house feels in disarray. I feel like I have no time. Even on the weekends, I’m so busy. The nursery is not anywhere close to being done. It’s just full of storage and old stuff right now and my bedroom we were trying to re-decorate and get nice so that once the baby comes, I have a nice place to retreat and be with the baby and have her sleep in the bassinet. It’s got paint drop, cloths and ladders and paint brushes and baseboards that are half falling off. My house is just a mess and I just don’t know if this is enough time to get it all done, Laura.
Laura Birek: I feel you, but I also feel like I need to remind you that you don’t need to get it all done.
Shanna Micko: I know. Everyone says that and I have a real strong resistance to that because a), you know I’m a perfectionist and so I’m very, very, very uncomfortable with disarray. It really makes me uncomfortable and I just want to have that all settled so I can feel a sense of calm in my home when the baby comes instead of those are the things that are grading at me bothering me.
Laura Birek: Of course, it’s not like you’ll really have any additional time to get stuff done when you have the baby. So I understand the urgency.
Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh, I just have so many old clothes, like hand-me-downs from my daughter to go through and all the old baby supplies and my to-do list is very long.
Laura Birek: But you’ve been busy too I feel like. That’s part of the problem.
Shanna Micko: I’m so busy. There’s zero time during the week, because I’m working and the weekends, there’s always like some birthday party or something, which is awesome and fun, but just takes time to do all that stuff.
Laura Birek: I feel you. I don’t really have a solution for you other than to sympathize, because I feel similarly. As you know, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, we live in a two bedroom house and the second bedroom is my office. I work full-time from home, so I eventually have to just bite the bullet and turn my office into the nursery. But when I do that, I’m just really cutting my ability to get work done way down, because I have this whole setup. I have these two gigantic monitors that I hook my computer up to and my external keyboard and mouse and I need all that screen real estate to really do my job properly. I’m a web developer and I know that, because when I have to leave the house and just use my laptop for a day or two, I can’t get as much done. It just doesn’t work, so I have to figure something out, because right now I can’t really do anything and also, we have a storage problem. So that’s a whole other issue.
Shanna Micko: It’s a very real deadline. This isn’t a deadline that can really be pushed. Life will go on if our homes aren’t in perfect order and whatever things could happen, but it would be nice to meet that deadline.
Laura Birek: It’d be nice to be set up for success. Start at a base level of organization, because it’s going to go downhill from there.
Shanna Micko: Exactly. The other thing I was going to report on this week is that one reason I had no time this weekend is I went to Mom Camp up the mountains.
Laura Birek: Tell me more.
Shanna Micko: I’m in this Facebook mom’s group, which is great and they organized a big mom retreat for the weekend up in the mountains and I think there were maybe 250 of us that went up there.
Laura Birek: Holy crap.
Shanna Micko: It took over a summer camp, where you would go as like a tween to do archery and stuff.
Laura Birek: Oh my Gosh, did you do archery?
Shanna Micko: I did not. My friend Jen did. I didn’t do any of the physical things, because I was seven months pregnant. I couldn’t go zip lining or do any of that fun stuff really. But I had a cabin and a bunk bed, had a bonfire and made s’mores and just like a bunch of moms who left all their kids at home to go party all weekend. It was funny.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, I bet everyone was losing their minds with enjoyment, I should clarify.
Shanna Micko: Yes, with enjoyment. I think it was nice for everyone to kind of have their own time. So I got to be up in the mountains in the woods and it was so beautiful up there.
Laura Birek: Well, that’s a really fun idea. This is your super, exclusive Facebook group that I want to be jumped into once they open membership, right?
Shanna Micko: Yeah, definitely. Maybe next year you can come to the Mom Camp with me.
Laura Birek: That would be fun. Leave the kids with the dads and roast some s’mores.
Shanna Micko: Let’s do it.
Laura Birek: Then next year you could probably have beers I imagine or wine.
Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh, yes. I’m going to say I think that might make Mom Camp even more fun.
Laura Birek: Well, yeah.
Shanna Micko: Because I was sober the whole weekend and not everyone else was and I was a little bit jealous.
Laura Birek: I feel that. That’s a lot of fun.
Shanna Micko: Anyway, that’s me. What about you? What week are you?
Laura Birek: I’m at week 26, which it’s just kind of a week. There’s literally nothing really special that goes on I think in week 26. I feel like even our pregnancy apps are really reaching to come up with special milestones for sort of late second trimester weeks.
It’s just like, well, they’re still growing and you’ll be like, okay. I can tell. I’m just kind of moving along with this pregnancy, which is great. It’s nice to not really have anything too big. So I have two things to report for my 26th week. The first is that I have made my first pregnancy friend.
Shanna Micko: How did you make this friend?
Laura Birek: In the most Los Angeles way possible, which is through prenatal yoga class.
Shanna Micko: Aww, that’s so cute.
Laura Birek: I know. I’ve been going to this prenatal yoga class around the corner of my house for now probably about 10 weeks I think. On the Monday classes, this one teacher has us go around and introduce ourselves and say where we are in pregnancy and ask any questions of the other moms if we want. So it’s kind of nice. It takes up a good chunk of class, but it is nice to sort of hear from other people. You can also gawk at what other people’s bodies are doing at certain weeks in pregnancy, which is a fun pass time for me. There was one time a woman came in and I think it was like when I was 20 weeks pregnant, I was definitely showing and she said she was 22 weeks pregnant and she looked like she had no stomach at all. I was just going to be like, what?
Shanna Micko: It’s crazy how different people’s bodies react to pregnancy.
Laura Birek: It’s not in a judgy way. It’s just in I am so fascinated how this works functionally, because I immediately just had this thing protruding straight out from my stomach and I’m like, you’re 22 weeks and you got a flat stomach? Wow. Anyway, there’s a woman who’s been coming regularly and you know how you can just tell people seem cool. She seemed cool and she lives in the area and she’s having a boy and she’s just two weeks ahead of me.
Shanna Micko: That will be fun.
Laura Birek: We would chat after class and then finally I was like, we should just grab coffee or something. I was decided to be proactive about it. We went and we had our coffee and I had a great time. It kind of felt like a first date in a weird way, but she was super sweet. She’s a psychologist and we had a very deep conversation. Then I texted her later to be like, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to use you as my therapist.” She’s like, “No, I loved it. It’s great.” We’re going to try to find another time to get together, but of course, it’s always hard to schedule that sort of thing.
Shanna Micko: Well, that’ll be fun too once you guys have your babies, because then you could do like little play dates and stuff like that.
Laura Birek: That’s the idea.
Shanna Micko: I will say finding mom, friends once you have the baby is less awkward. I’ve definitely been very direct with moms I thought we’re cool. I’m like, we should get together, but you have the kid there. So it’s that excuse and that little buffer for the awkwardness of just two pregnant ladies having a latte.
Laura Birek: Sure. I’m happy about that and then the other thing this week is I had discussed probably on one of our first episodes about how I had developed an aversion towards spinning wool during my first trimester. I do fiber arts and I love spinning wool and I have the spin wheel. During my first trimester, I was rushing to finish a project and right nausea kicked in. So I got this really weird aversion to even looking at pictures of hand-spun wool and so that was a real bummer, but I had gotten out of it. I talked about that in a previous episode as well and I was excited, because there’s this yearly competition that the National Needlework Association puts on called Spinzilla where it’s a week where you join a team and you try to spin as many yards as possible. It costs $15 to sign up. All the prize money goes to charity. They give out prizes for teams who have the most or whatever. It’s just a kind of fun thing. It’s a fun challenge to get yourself to spin more and I had a lot of fiber lying around, because I hadn’t been able to spin for so long. So I was like, okay. Great. I’ll sign up for Spinzilla now that it’s not making me sick and I will just spin like crazy for a week and it’ll be super fun and I’ll get a lot done and I’ll clear out my stash and it’ll be great. Then I spun a bunch one day and realized, I think it was aggravating my pubic synthesis pain. The next day my pubic synthesis pain was way worse and I thought it probably had to do with the spinning.
Shanna Micko: Do you use your legs when you spin? I honestly have no clue what this entails.
Laura Birek: Yes, what you do is you use your feet to treadle. There are like little pedals, so you gently pedal and I have a double treadle wheel, so both my feet are going. You’re facing it directly. You’re not at a weird angle or anything.
So I thought that it would be ergonomic, because I’m facing it directly and it’s pointing and flexing your feet really gently. But I guess if you do it for hours and hours and hours, it fucks with your pubic synthesis.
Shanna Micko: Shucks.
Laura Birek: Then I stopped and I thought, I’ll get up and stretch more. But anyway, I feel like I kind of failed my team. I got one and a half skeins done. I think I got like one big skein and one smaller skein. I didn’t really feel like I pulled my weight.
Shanna Micko: I just don’t know how spinning for hours and hours and hours could be a letdown to your team. That sounds amazing.
Laura Birek: People spin insane amounts of yarn during this time. I’m going to be typing, because I’m going to find out what the results were. So I pulled up the Spinzilla results from 2018. The entire group together spun 2,605,156 yards of yarn.
Shanna Micko: Was that like to the moon and back few times?
Laura Birek: That’s a good question. I’ll have to do the math. I’ll post the math in our show notes so that I don’t have to do a lot of calculations on air, but the person who spun the most yards in one week spun 35,717 yards.
Shanna Micko: Dang! That’s a lot of scarves.
Laura Birek: It’s a lot of wool. I in contrast spun I think a little over 1500 yard yards, which sounds like a lot. But I really wanted to get to the Mile Club, which is 1760 and I didn’t quite hit it. So I think I got about 1500 yards and I didn’t get my Mile long Club, and my team as a whole, I was spinning for team Paradise Fibers did 66,905. So I totally did not pull my weight for my team. I think there were maybe 20 people on the team. I don’t think there was less than 20.
Shanna Micko: Well, I feel like you had a good excuse.
Laura Birek: Pregnancy is probably the best excuse ever I’m learning that. But I always feel lame using it. Do you feel lame using pregnancy as an excuse?
Shanna Micko: Yeah, especially when we have friends who are posting pictures of themselves hiking and running marathons. I have friends like that.
Laura Birek: I know which friends you’re talking about.
Shanna Micko: You’re like I get more power eating a salad.
Laura Birek: I had a piece of cake for lunch, so I’m killing it. The point is week 26, made a friend, and didn’t spin a lot of wool. Guess it was just fine.
Shanna Micko: All righty.
Shanna Micko: We have a new segment today called, “Check in the inbox.” We get some listener questions and comments and we wanted to respond to some of those. So Laura, I heard we received a question recently from a listener. Do you want to read that for us?
Laura Birek: Yes, Shanna, actually we have a question specifically for you from our listener Heather.
Shanna Micko: Ooh.
Laura Birek: Heather is writing about in response to our discussions on vomiting and nausea in the first trimester. I think we talked about it in multiple episodes and this is what she said. She says, “Shanna, I also have a vomit phobia, so I’m glad triggering vomit talk is kept at a minimum, but also, it’s like a very top fear for having a child. They puke all the time and can’t deal with it themselves. Were you able to get over it?”
Shanna Micko: Heather, I feel you. First of all, I want to say that I’m glad I’m not alone in my vomit phobia. It is a real thing. I know vomit is gross and whenever I tell people I have a vomit phobia, it’s like, I think it’s gross too. It’s like, okay. I get it. I have passed out when I was thinking that someone was throwing up in my vicinity on an airplane.
Laura Birek: Wow.
Shanna Micko: I have gotten up out of a restaurant late at night when a drunk person was walking by. I could tell they were on their way to the bathroom throwing up. I broke out into cold sweats, got up from the table and left my group just wondering what the heck happened to me and I went outside and practically hyperventilated. So I have a very physical response to barf.
Laura Birek: For me, I don’t have the phobia. I think vomit is gross. But for me, my physical response is I feel like I’m going to puke too, but that’s a different thing we’re dealing with. You have a phobia.
Shanna Micko: I think. No one has ever diagnosed me, but it’s all I can imagine, because for as long as I can remember even in first grade, this girl threw up on her desk next to me and my body physically shrunk down into my seat. I was sinking down into my chair, because the teacher was like, ‘Who can walk Kara to the nurse?” I was just like, jeez, don’t pick me. But there’s also vomit here. I don’t know what to do and my body just reacts. Anyways, that’s what I went into motherhood with this fear. So I feel you Heather and I’m so sorry that you also have that. I will say that I have gotten better with this. Having a baby actually helped me a lot, because you have to face your fear. Your baby’s going to throw up, so it’s like exposure therapy, which is you don’t ever want to expose yourself to barf. But when you’re a mom, you kind of have to. You know what I mean?
Laura Birek: When your daughter first threw up, which I’m sure was pretty soon after you had her, did it feel scary at first or was it different?
Shanna Micko: It’s totally different and here’s why. When they’re really small, it’s not really throw up. It’s spit up, which is different. It’s just milk and it doesn’t smell gross. It smells like milk, but it gets you used to something coming out of your baby’s mouth and stomach. It’s just so gross. I can barely even handle that I’m talking about it this much. I think I’m actually breaking a sweat, but it’s kind of nasty, but it gets you used to it. My daughter had a spit up problem. She was spitting up 20 times a day, so I really had to get used to it and so I consider it the gateway drug to vomit.
Laura Birek: That’s so gross.
Shanna Micko: So by the time she had her first stomach flu, which she was one and a half or two or something and she’s actually eating food and stuff, that’s where it’s gross. But I was a little bit more prepared for it and used to it and I’m a little bit more comfortable with it. Plus my mom instincts just kick in and it’s like, oh my God, my kid is scared right now and I’m going to handle this like a beast. I can do this. I feel like I really stepped it up for her and just put my own physical fears on the back burner.
Laura Birek: I’m so proud of you.
Shanna Micko: Thank you. Kids don’t throw up that much, knock on wood.
My kid will probably get the stomach flu tomorrow, but they really don’t throw up that much.
Laura Birek: Here’s a question, has it translated to being better with other adults throwing up or it’s not related?
Shanna Micko: That’s a good question. I guess I don’t get as grossed out with the thought of it as I used to.
Laura Birek: I feel like us having this conversation is huge. I remember in grad school, if someone even mentioned it in a writing class, you’d almost have to leave the room.
Shanna Micko: That’s true. I really hate talking about it. The funny thing is I personally don’t like throwing up, but I think most of my fear is around being in the presence of other people doing it. So, no, I really don’t like other people throwing up, but I think I have gotten a little bit better with it just, because of the exposure therapy. Also, when you become a mom, you have so many new fears about your kid dying and shit that throwing up kind of takes a back burner.
Laura Birek: But you’re fixing it.
Shanna Micko: Exactly. I think there’s hope for you, Heather, and for other people with vomit fears that you can handle it like a beast and be there for your tiny, innocent little baby, who’s just like, yikes. You can do it.
Laura Birek: Or just make your husband do it.
Shanna Micko: That was my plan going in 100% and then the day you’re reading to your kid and she barfs all over you and your clothes, you’re like, not much, hub, you can do about this. I got to do it.
Laura Birek: Man, I’m really looking forward to that.
Shanna Micko: Oh, God, we just talked about vomit so much. I can’t handle it.
Laura Birek: You did it. Let’s move on.
Shanna Micko: Laura, I hear you got an email from a listener as well. What did that person share with us?
Laura Birek: I did. I got a message from Angela, who’s actually essentially my sister-in-law. It’s complicated, but Angela, I consider you my sister-in-law. You’re awesome. Angela has two kids who are now I think both teenagers at this point. They’re big kids, but in response to episode 15 where we did the segment, “They Said What?” Where we talked about all the weird shit people said to us, she had an anecdote to share.
Shanna Micko: Oh, fun. Okay.
Laura Birek: So this is what she said. She said, “When her son was an infant, they went to the shopping mall and when she was paying for her purchases, he started whining and fussing. A stranger came up to the car seat.” I’m imagining it’s in a stroller at the shopping mall. “The stranger came up to this car seat and instead of grabbing his pacifier, she stuck her finger in my infant’s mouth.”
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: She goes on to say, “Yes, a strange, dirty finger. I not so politely asked her to remove her dirty finger from my child’s mouth and then she told me, ‘sorry for trying to help.’ The nerve of some people!”
Shanna Micko: Whoa! My God, what’s wrong with people?
Laura Birek: I flipped out when I got this message. I was just like, I can’t not deal with this. That is fucking insane that someone would do that.
Shanna Micko: That’s so insane. That’s so gross.
Laura Birek: I’m making everyone who comes to visit, get a flu shot. If a stranger stuck their finger in my infant’s mouth, I would probably get violent.
Shanna Micko: You are just like an open book when you walk around with an infant, man. People just feel justified giving you advice and trying to help and doing some weird stuff.
Laura Birek: I feel like touching your baby has got to be off limits, but you know what’s funny, Angela also sent me a picture of a sign you can hang off of your baby’s car seat or stroller that says, “Please do not touch. Your germs are too big for me.” I was like, I’m not going to need that, because people don’t touch my baby and she’s like, that’s what you think.
Shanna Micko: Wow.
Laura Birek: I don’t want a sign that’s cute. I want a sign that says, “Keep your fucking hands off my baby you motherfucker.”
Shanna Micko: It’s really sad that people would even go there. I think someone in one of my mom’s groups was saying she was in Costco one time and a woman came up and picked her kid up. The kid was fussing and she picked her kid up out of the shopping cart.
Laura Birek: That is so uncalled for.
Shanna Micko: Totally uncalled for.
Laura Birek: Oh my gosh, anyway. We really appreciate these messages. Keep them coming. We love the feedback. We love to hear your stories and thanks for writing in.
Laura Birek: We close our show every week with our big fat positives and big fat negatives, our BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna, what do you have for us this week?
Shanna Micko: I’ve got a BFP.
Laura Birek: Yay!
Shanna Micko: I had a prenatal massage.
Laura Birek: What? I’m so jealous. Tell me everything.
Shanna Micko: It was so, so good. My husband got me a certificate for prenatal massage for my birthday months ago, which is when I was still in the first trimester and I’m like, no, I’m saving this because I know I’m going to get more sore as I go along. Save it for third trimester.
Laura Birek: Smart.
Shanna Micko: Finally, I just booked it and it was so great. This woman is amazing. She specializes in prenatal massage. Her name is Jenna. She does it at this place called Hands On Mom Massage.
Laura Birek: It specifically a prenatal and mom massage? That’s awesome.
Shanna Micko: She has different wedges and pillows and stuff so that when I’m on the table, I’m actually like on my side and bolstered by a bunch of different wedges and pillows. It’s very comfortable, but there’s no pressure on my stomach. I don’t have to lay face down or anything like that. It was just so great. My lower back has been hurting and, of course, my hips have been hurting and she spent a lot of time on those areas. If you have a chance to do a prenatal massage, go for it. You will love it and I highly recommend this lady. I’ll share her information on our site.
Laura Birek: That’s awesome, because I have thought about getting a massage, but I have worried about whether it’ll actually be comfortable or not. I know that prenatal massage, that’s what they’re meant to be comfortable, but there’s only so many ways I can lie down anymore. So that’s good to know.
Shanna Micko: I felt totally supported. The only thing that did occur to me is usually when you’re getting a massage, your face is straight down looking at the floor, so there’s a real distance between you and the therapist. Now my face is facing out, I have my eyes closed, but I did still feel a little bit like closer to her. It didn’t bother me that much.
Laura Birek: When I hit my third trimester, I think I’m going to take your advice and do that for sure.
Shanna Micko: What about you? What do you have this week?
Laura Birek: I also have a BFP.
Shanna Micko: Yay!
Laura Birek: Which is the Huntington Gardens and Library in Pasadena.
Shanna Micko: I love that place.
Laura Birek: For those who don’t know, there is this beautiful botanical gardens in Pasadena, which is where I live. It’s called the Huntington Library and Gardens. Actually, they have a huge collection of art and rare and antique books and they have like all these cool exhibits you can go. There’s like Andy Warhols and there’s all these classical arts and you can also go see a Gutenberg Bible and all this really cool stuff. But the thing that I really love about it in addition to all that cool historical stuff is that it’s set in I think 100 acres of a beautiful botanical gardens that has a desert garden and a subtropical garden and a gorgeous rose garden and a Chinese garden and a Japanese garden. It’s huge and it’s lovely. One of the first things I did when I moved to Pasadena a little over two years ago was get a yearly membership. If you are just dropping in it’s I think $25 or $29 depending on the day as an adult to go visit and the membership is $159 as of the time of recording and that gets you and another adult in all the time for free.
Shanna Micko: That’s awesome.
Laura Birek: It’s totally worth it and they have a great cafe that you can just go and eat at. I went this week with my friend Sarah and her little six-month-old Wendy and we just walked around and it’s just so lovely. So I highly recommend it for anyone who can go and also, botanical gardens in general are just lovely places to bring a stroller and walk around and get your nature fixed.
Shanna Micko: Descanso Gardens is really nice up in Montreal. That’s a nice one too. We did that with our daughter a few times.
Laura Birek: It’s just such a pleasant way to get a little bit of exercise and get outdoors. I’m all for it. I try to go as much as possible. I went this week and it was very lovely.
Shanna Micko: That sounds nice. Thank you guys so much for listening. We appreciate your support, be sure to subscribe and rate and review us on iTunes if you haven’t yet and we would love to hear from you. Laura, where can they reach out to us?
Laura Birek: We are on all the social media’s: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram at BFP Podcast. We also have a Facebook community group if you want to join that. We also have a website where you can find our show notes. It’s bigfatpositivepodcast.com
Shanna Micko: Big fat positive is produced by Shanna Micko, Laura Birek and Steve Yager.