Ep. 2: OMG I’m Freaking Out
August 8, 2018
In Episode 2 of the Big Fat Positive podcast, Shanna reports on her first trimester screening, and Laura discusses how her geneticist mom encouraged her to do comprehensive genetic testing. The moms-to-be also discuss what pregnancy related topics they freaked out about recently and divulge their highs and lows (BFPs and BFNs) this week. Laura is 9 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 13 weeks pregnant.
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Laura Birek: This podcast contains explicit material that may not be suitable for children. So if your kids are around, put on your headphones, grab a glass of wine, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Laura Birek: Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. I’m Laura.
Shanna Micko: And I’m Shanna.
Laura Birek: We’re friends and writing partners who just happen to be pregnant at the exact same time, so we started a podcast.
Shanna Micko: On this week’s show, we have our weekly check-ins. We have a special segment called, “OMG! I’m Freaking Out,” in which I wonder if maybe I just jinxed my entire pregnancy and we wrap it up with our BFPs and BFNs, where we talk about the highs and lows of our week.
Laura Birek: Just a quick heads up. We were still figuring out all the technical details about the podcast world when we recorded these segments you’re about to hear. You may notice that in the audio, but we promise it only gets better and especially when we really get going and we know our stuff in episode five. Let’s get started.
Shanna Micko: Welcome to our podcast.
Laura Birek: Welcome.
Shanna Micko: We’re going to start off as we do every week with our weekly check-in. Laura, what happened with you in your pregnancy this week?
Laura Birek: I am nine weeks now moving along. The main thing is I went to go get all the blood screening for my NIPT or NIPTY or NIPS, N-I-P-S. This is a screening. I feel like mine’s a little different. I mean, it’s not different. I’m doing the same tests as everyone, but my mom is a medical geneticist. She’s the doctor you see if you have a kid with a terrible birth defect, basically and because I grew up with a mom who’s a geneticist, I grew up knowing that if I ever got pregnant, my child would be tested for every single thing possible under the sun and my mom has kept true to her promise. She overnighted screening kits for carrier screening. There’s different kinds of screening. You can get the carrier screening, which is when you and your partner are tested to see what recessive genes are dominant. I guess, but what genes do you carry, right? I guess if they were dominant, you would know you have them. But the idea is to see what you’re more at risk for, and that combined with the NIPTY or NIPT or NIPS, which is the non-invasive prenatal screening, which is where they take your blood and they isolate the fetal DNA from your blood, the maternal DNA, and then test it to see if there are any major chromosomal abnormalities. So when you combine that with the carrier screening, you can have a pretty good sense of what you’re at risk for. No tests are perfect, of course.
Shanna Micko: This is just a screening.
Laura Birek: My mom has made that very clear. It’s interesting because on one hand, it’s really great to have her as a resource. On the other hand, all she sees are babies with problems, so I think sometimes she forgets that in pregnancy sometimes you’re just fine.
Shanna Micko: Most of the time we are fine.
Laura Birek: I think she prepares for the worst case a little bit. Anyway, we did the carrier screening. She’s expediting it through the lab.
Shanna Micko: Awesome.
Laura Birek: I had to convince the nurse at my OB’s office to do the extended panel rather than the regular panel and she said, “Normally, we just do the regular panel.”
Shanna Micko: Which test for like downs, trisomy.
Laura Birek: All those trisomy’s: 18, 13. Downs is a trisomy as well: 21. Then a couple other deletions and micro deletions. I asked my mom, “Should I get the regular one and the extended?” I don’t why I asked. She, of course, said the extended.
So I did it, but the nurse was like, “We normally just do the regular one,” and she’s like, “This one is more expensive,” and I was like, “My mom gave me specific instructions and she also told me she’d pay for it.”
Shanna Micko: Nice.
Laura Birek: So I’m waiting on the results and I should know the sex of the baby by next week.
Shanna Micko: Yay! All right.
Laura Birek: I might tell you on the podcast.
Shanna Micko: Do you have a feeling either way?
Laura Birek: No, I am so bad. Every five minutes it’s flipping for me.
Shanna Micko: Really?
Laura Birek: Yeah.
Shanna Micko: Interesting. I can’t wait to find out.
Laura Birek: What do you think? Do you have a guess?
Shanna Micko: I just feel like so many of us are having girls lately. Like the universe just needs to balance out and give you a boy, but I also kind of really want you to have a girl because I have girls, so no. I have no gut feeling.
Laura Birek: Anyway, that’s mine. What are you up to this week?
Shanna Micko: I went in for my first trimester screening, even though I did do all the chromosome testing and everything and it turned out fine, the doctor still wanted me to go for the screening, which is where they do an ultrasound. It’s like the first time they can really see the anatomy of the baby and they check the nuchal fold and measure that because that can be indicative of Down syndrome.
Laura Birek: Which is basically like a space behind the neck essentially, right?
Shanna Micko: Yes, exactly. But they can also look at the brain and the heart and see how all that’s doing. So I was a nervous wreck. I’m just very nervous and uptight this whole pregnancy and this particular test got me very worked up and I probably Googled way too much about what terrible things you can find out at the first trimester screening and I was so nervous. I went in there and sat down and the nurse took my blood pressure and she’s like, whoa! Let’s try that again. I was like, I’m really, really nervous, so it’s probably really high. It was 150 over something and I’m usually like 107. So we took it again and it went down. It was fine. But the screening went great and we saw a little baby and her brain and her little heart and he said that he feels confident that everything is looking good. I left really happy and with some really weird 3D images of the baby. It’s so funny he was showing us these 3D images on the screen and I think he wanted us to be really impressed. He’s like, look at this and he was spinning the image around and stuff and Steve and I were both like, what are we even looking at? It just looks like a very weird brown blob, but this doctor was jazzed about these 3D images.
Laura Birek: This reminds me of something a friend, Keri, showed me recently, which was someone had posted one of those 3D ultrasounds to one of those baby boards. I don’t know if they did it to look how cute or here’s my baby, whatever it is and the top comment was, “That’s a crispy lasagna.” I’ll link it in the show notes or something.
Shanna Micko: I kind of wish I could see the picture of that.
Laura Birek: I can pull it up. Our audience is not going to be able to see it, but you can see it. This was an option for a name for our podcast.
Shanna Micko: I get where that comes from because it definitely looked like a very weird mash of unidentifiable stuff. Although I can see some fingers in that one, so I don’t know if I’d want to eat that lasagna.
Laura Birek: That lasagna looks crisp and then the next comment is, “That’s my daughter.” Amazing.
Shanna Micko: Oh, God. It’s hilarious.
Laura Birek: Anyway, you saw your crispy lasagna.
Shanna Micko: I did.
Laura Birek: That’s so exciting.
Shanna Micko: Very exciting.
Laura Birek: Our next segment is, “Oh my God! I’m freaking out,” in which we discuss things that we are freaking out about right now and it could be big things, small things. Generally for me, it’s the things that I find myself obsessing over before bed, before I fall asleep, obsessing over while I try to fall asleep and fail. So, Shanna, what are you freaking out about?
Shanna Micko: This week I told my first friends outside of my closest inner circle that I’m pregnant and that’s usually a very exciting, wonderful thing to do, but I’m so paranoid about this pregnancy, as I mentioned before, and I just left that conversation feeling certain that I jinxed everything.
Laura Birek: Oh, no.
Shanna Micko: Just like, “Oh my God. Why did I tell my friends I’m pregnant? I’m not out of the first trimester yet. Only my closest, closest friends and my mom know and spreading the word is really just going to ensure doom.” I mean, the way that my brain can just like spiral into these crazy thoughts, sometimes it just really have no basis in reality. I don’t know why I’m so hooked on the idea of jinxing things, but I am. So I really freaked out about that. But then my screening went well as I told you and so I felt better about it and felt like it was okay that I told them and now maybe I’m feeling a little more confident to start telling more people that I’m pregnant.
Laura Birek: That’s exciting.
Shanna Micko: It is exciting because once you can share your joy with the world and others and your friends and loved ones, it starts to feel more real. It starts to feel more exciting and it’s nice to have people be like, “Congratulations. I’m so happy for you, blah, blah, blah.” You don’t have that when you’re keeping it a secret for so long, which you’re in that phase.
Laura Birek: I’m in that phase for sure. Can’t tell anyone, but I’m getting ahead of myself. That might be part of our BFP/BNS later.
Shanna Micko: Let’s not go there. What’s your freak out of the week?
Laura Birek: It’s such a first world problem Shanna.
Oh my God, I’m about to sound so obnoxious. My husband and I about a year ago, bought a lovely house in Pasadena. It’s great. In order to buy a house in Pasadena, without being a gajillionaire, you end up with a smaller square footage than maybe is appropriate clearly for two people. For two people plus a baby, our sub 1200 square foot house is going to be a little cramp.
Shanna Micko: Because you have two bedrooms right now.
Laura Birek: We have two bedrooms.
Shanna Micko: Okay.
Laura Birek: We have two bedrooms, a big sort of kitchen, dining room, open floor plan and we have a yard that’s like terrace, which is another thing to worry about another day. I’m not going to have a baby that walks for a while. I have had worries about them crawling over the edge of my terrace backyard.
Shanna Micko: You’re going to get some fancy baby gates.
Laura Birek: Yes, but anyway, crossing that bridge when it happened. The point is, our house is two bedroom. It’s lovely, but I work from home. So one bedroom is my office and one bedroom is our bedroom and that’s it. We don’t have any extra space. The idea was we have a three car garage and we realized recently that we could get the permits to turn the third car area, which is already kind of closed off into a little mother-in-law suite. We have a three car garage.
It’s like two car and then a third car is kind of separate and we realized we could turn it into a mother-in-law suite or guest bedroom. So we’re working with an architect because Pasadena is super strict about permitting. So we have to have everything be above board or else we’ll have to tear it out before we sell the house. We don’t want to do that. Working with an architect to get the permits, to build this mother-in-law suite, it’s going to be great, but it’s going a little slower than anticipated.
Shanna Micko: Always does.
Laura Birek: Always. I’m a little worried it’s not going be done before this baby shows up.
Shanna Micko: What are you going to do if it’s not done?
Laura Birek: I don’t know. The baby is going to have my office. I’m not going to have an office. Maybe I won’t be working right away. I probably won’t be working right away.
Shanna Micko: That’s true. That’ll buy you some time.
Laura Birek: But also no one can stay with us.
Shanna Micko: You don’t want people to stay with you in the beginning, anyway.
Laura Birek: I’m fully on board to have my mom live with me for a month.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, that would be helpful.
Laura Birek: Also, there is a chance that Corey’s going to be working and can’t take time off during that time because of his job, which I guess I can just say. He’s a TV writer and this year, he had a pilot that he was making and so he was out of town shooting his pilot from mid-February to the end March and I’m due January 12th and I can’t really get him to not shoot a pilot. It’s just not a thing I can. In a perfect world, he’d have paternal leave and everything would be great, but it just might not happen. If he’s in pre-production on a pilot right after I give birth, I’m going to need my mom living with me.
Shanna Micko: Well, you better get on those permits.
Laura Birek: Yeah, we got to get on those permits. That’s what’s keeping me up at night: first world problems. But they’re valid. The concerns are valid.
Shanna Micko: They are. Absolutely.
Laura Birek: Yes.
Shanna Micko: Construction can be very stressful, so this is just the beginning I’m sorry to say.
Laura Birek: Thanks, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Sorry.
Laura Birek: Says someone who just renovated a house recently.
Laura Birek: Now, we’ve got our weekly segment that we call BFPs and BFNs, which are internet slang, baby board slang for big fat positives, which is a positive pregnancy test.
Shanna Micko: Right.
Laura Birek: And big fat negatives, which is the opposite. We’re just going to talk about what’s good and bad in our week. So what do you got this week, Shanna?
Shanna Micko: I have a BFP this week, which is maternity jean.
Laura Birek: Oh my God.
Shanna Micko: I have crossed over. Actually, I probably crossed over like two weeks ago I’m not going to lie. I don’t know if it’s the second pregnancy you just start to show more or I’m just eating way more carbs. But I am bloated AF. I cannot fit into my old pants already. I feel like I’m starting to show a little bit and I’m so uncomfortable going to work every day.
I’m like unzipping my pants under my long shirt and so I just pulled out my old maternity pants from last time and they are so comfortable. I just wish we could live in maternity pants always and forever.
Laura Birek: Why can’t we? As a person who’s newly pregnant for the first time, I don’t know the joys of maternity pants yet. I think I’m getting there soon. Can you explain what makes them so special? How are they different?
Shanna Micko: Jeans especially are great because denim is kind of tight and stuff. When you wear regular jeans up around your waist, it’s still like that denim that doesn’t give. Maternity pants, there’s a couple kinds. But I’ve been wearing with what they call a panel, which is basically stretchy yoga material at the top of your pants where the button and zipper would be. So you have no zipper, no button, nothing. Your jeans stop at about your hips and then this big, cushy, yoga stretch dream just comes up over your belly and so there’s nothing really like digging in to your little middle.
Laura Birek: Oh, that does sound nice. I got to get on that.
Shanna Micko: Just get on it. It’s so great.
Laura Birek: I work from home. I don’t have to impress anyone.
Shanna Micko: That’s true. I go to work every day, like to an office.
Luckily, it’s casual and I can wear jeans, so I have to. I can’t wear yoga.
Laura Birek: Do you have a favorite place to buy your maternity pants?
Shanna Micko: Well, Target is great. They also have the kind where they just have a tiny, little triangle of stretchy elastic in the corners, so it’s just a little bit stretchier. Those are nice too. Pee in a pod has good ones too. I do like those. The second you’re feeling like your old pants aren’t buttoning, I say, go for it.
Laura Birek: That’s like two weeks ago, I’m just wearing dresses.
Shanna Micko: That’s also a good solution. Very good solution.
Laura Birek: It’s not like my uterus is pushing out. It’s just that I’m bloated and I have been eating a million carbs.
Shanna Micko: Same here. Probably.
Laura Birek: All right. I’m going to take that advice.
Shanna Micko: What about you? What you got this week?
Laura Birek: I’ve got a BFN.
Shanna Micko: What happened?
Laura Birek: It’s kind of a general blanket one, which I know you’re going to sympathize with, which is not being able to tell people, especially with work stuff, why you’re tired, why you’re not able to quite meet deadlines the way you used to, why you’re irritated as fuck at them. Like you have the best excuse in the world, but you can’t use it because you’re not supposed to tell anyone.
Shanna Micko: Oh, totally.
Laura Birek: If I could just tell, okay. Here’s a great example. Two days ago, I finished this giant project. I’m a web developer. We launched this huge site about three weeks ago and so I haven’t actually had as much. It’s been a little bit of a low since then and I haven’t had as many meetings and so I have been sleeping into like 9 or 10, which is very luxurious. I’m also kind of a night owl, so I will be up a little bit later, but I was like, fuck it. I’m pregnant. I’m tired. I’ll just sleep in, but I had completely forgotten that I had a 10:00 AM Skype meeting with these clients who are like the loveliest nicest people and I woke up at like 9:45.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no.
Laura Birek: No, no, no. That’s a lie. I’m already trying to make it sound better. I woke up at 10:05, started looking at my phone and was like, oh, fuck. I had a meeting and luckily, they had messaged, “Can we push the meeting by 15 minutes?”
Shanna Micko: That’s lucky.
Laura Birek: I actually wrote them and I was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve been feeling under the weather and I didn’t set an alarm, but I might just need five extra minutes,” and I did it and it was fine. They’re asking me, “How are you feeling? Oh, I’m sorry, you’re sick and all this stuff,” and all I wanted to be like, “I’m pregnant.” They would’ve been happy for me and it would’ve been a much better excuse than I’m feeling kinda sick, man.
Shanna Micko: Yeah.
Laura Birek: But I can’t tell them. First of all, there’s just so many reasons you can’t tell, like I haven’t told my dad yet.
Shanna Micko: Right. You’re telling clients.
Laura Birek: Exactly. The same thing with like, I have a friend that I co-produced this comedy show with and she’s great and she’s in a play for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and she really wants to come see the play and like, I cannot sit through a classical theater production right now. I just can’t do it. I don’t have the energy. I’m nauseous too much, but I can’t tell her like, “Hey, I’m not coming to your show because I’m pregnant.”
Shanna Micko: I know.
Laura Birek: I just have to be like, “Oh, I’m so busy,” and then I feel like a shitty friend.
Shanna Micko: I know. Every time that happens to me, I just keep saying to myself, when they find out the truth in a few weeks, they’ll understand. But I’ve definitely bailed on social engagements in the last few weeks because of feeling the same way and I just don’t tell them that I’m pregnant. I just look like an a-hole.
Laura Birek: Like a total flake of flake.
Shanna Micko: It’s hard.
Laura Birek: That’s my BFN for this week. Hopefully, it’ll be done soon. I’m nine weeks. You can tell people I’m 12. I’m like, “I’m all right.”
Shanna Micko: You can do it.
Laura Birek: Thanks, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Thank you guys for listening to our podcast.
Laura Birek: Yes, thanks so much for listening to us talk about our pregnancies and subscribe on iTunes.
Shanna Micko: And rate us.
Laura Birek: We will talk to you next week.
Shanna Micko: See you then.
Laura Birek: Be sure to check us out on Facebook at Big Fat Positive Podcast and on Instagram and Twitter at BFP Podcast. We also have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com. Hope to see you there. Thanks for listening.