Ep. 4: Hormones and Husbands and Dogs, Oh My!

August 28, 2018

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In Episode 4 of the Big Fat Positive podcast, Shanna discusses being a bundle of nerves at her second trimester screening, and Laura talks about dealing with a tragedy while pregnant. Also, things get wacky as Shanna and Laura discuss what’s going down in the online baby forums – hormones and husbands and dogs, oh my! The moms-to-be also divulge their highs and lows (BFPs and BFNs) this week. Laura is 11 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 15 weeks pregnant.





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Episode Transcript

Laura Birek: Before we get started, quick content warning on this episode. We do discuss gun violence in the death of a close friend. So if that’s content you’d rather not listen to, we totally understand. We’ll see you in the next episode.


Laura Birek: Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shauna 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 what did we do? We started a podcast about it.

Shanna Micko: On this week’s show, we have our weekly check-ins. We have a segment called, “Internet Insanity,” in which we wonder, how is our pregnancy affecting our dogs and our husbands? We have our BFPs and BFNs where we hit the highs and lows of the week.

Laura Birek: Just a quick reminder, we were still figuring out all the technical details with this podcast when we recorded these segments. So you may notice that in the audio, but we promise it gets better in the next episode. Let’s get started. Shanna, we always start with our weekly check-ins and so what week are you at now?

Shanna Micko: I’m 15 weeks.

Laura Birek: Oh, my. Yeah.

Shanna Micko: I know. It’s crazy. It’s like almost four months. What? This week the app told me my baby is as big as a navel orange.

Laura Birek: Wow.

Shanna Micko: I guess it’s important to put navel in there. That’s bigger or smaller than regular oranges. I don’t know. But I had a checkup with my OB and it was so quick. It was almost like, is that it? Because all he did was put the Doppler on my stomach and listen to the heartbeat and was like, “Okay. Any questions? Okay, bye. I’ll see you in a month,” and that was it.

Laura Birek: It’s so weird, because you want tracking. You want to know exactly what’s going on.

Shanna Micko: Yes, no ultrasound, no picture. He’s like, no. Let’s just hear the heartbeat and put you on your way. He did order me the second trimester screening, so I did get some blood work for that. What is that one test for? Do you remember?

Laura Birek: I’m not there yet.

Shanna Micko: It’s Spina bifida.

Laura Birek: Okay.

Shanna Micko: Something like…

Laura Birek: Spina bifida does the neural tube defect.

Shanna Micko: That’s what it is testing: for neural tube defects. I went for that.

Laura Birek: Oh, interesting. They can tell that from the blood somehow?

Shanna Micko: Yes, it tests for I think four or five different hormones in your blood. One of them is mine and then several of them are actually the babies and depending on the levels of those, they can tell if there’s an opening in the neural tube and the spinal flu is leaking out. I don’t know. I haven’t gotten the results yet.

Laura Birek: No, I’m sure everything’s been good so far.

Shanna Micko: It’ll probably be okay and then the other thing I wanted to check in about this week is that now that things are progressing and I’ve gotten good news and I’m feeling really good about the pregnancy, we started to think about names: what to name this little being.

Laura Birek: Obviously, Laura is top of the list.

Shanna Micko: Definitely. I wanted to tell you about this cool app that we discovered, because I was like, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Tinder for baby names? You could just swipe left or right on names and if it matches with your partner, it could be added to a list. I was like, I’m genius. I’m going to invent this app, but no. Of course, it already exists.

Laura Birek: It does. There’s an app for everything.

Shanna Micko: I know. I’m kind of glad it already does, because I’m not actually going to make an app let’s be real. It’s called Kinder.

Laura Birek: It is.

Shanna Micko: Isn’t that cute you know Kinder?

Laura Birek: Oh my God.

Shanna Micko: There are other ones out there, but I thought Kinder was so cute.

Laura Birek: That is actually cute, because I feel like we’ve kind of started talking about names too just very casually and the agreement is hard.

Shanna Micko: It is. It’s really hard.

Laura Birek: Both of you have absolute veto power.

Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah, 100% percent. That’s fun. There’s so many names we don’t like though, so it’s like we just sit there on the app and just go swipe left, left, left, left, left, and left. I don’t know how much we’ll actually use it if we’ll discover our name that way, but it’s kind of a fun, little toy to play with.

Laura Birek: I’ll have to download that.

Shanna Micko: Check it out. Where are you this week?

Laura Birek: I am at 11 weeks.

Shanna Micko: Okay.

Laura Birek: Moving right along.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: My check-in is kind of a bummer.

Shanna Micko: Why?

Laura Birek: I apologize in advance. As you know, I found out that one of my very oldest friends was actually killed this week in a really senseless act of gun violence. I don’t want to talk too much about the details of it, because actually it was made very public. It was all over the news. It was on CNN and reporters calling. Anyway, it’s a friend of mine who has been one of my best friends since elementary school. She married her high school sweetheart, who I also knew since middle school.

Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh.

Laura Birek: He was killed just completely randomly and it’s been a real shock. I spent the majority of this week crying and it’s hard. I want to be there for my friend. Thankfully, she’s in Southern California so I can physically help her with some things, but you just feel helpless and it’s scary, because you’re like, how could this happen to the nicest person I know? Then being pregnant on top of it, just adds another layer of weirdness to the whole thing. As I mentioned in the last episode, I had just started telling people about my pregnancy. So I actually told these friends.

Shanna Micko: You did.

Laura Birek: Last week, we were all supposed to have dinner. We actually were supposed to have dinner the day he was murdered, which is horrible and the thing I’ve really taken away from is do not put off seeing your friends, but we were mutually busy people. They had two kids, so it wasn’t anyone’s fault. But it really hurts that we were finally going to see each other after months and months and months of not seeing each other and then this happened.

Shanna Micko: I’m so sorry.

Laura Birek: Thank you.

Shanna Micko: That’s so awful.

Laura Birek: Yeah, it was really sweet of you. The day I found out, you sent a text message and were very supportive, but it’s just been a weird thing. I posted on Facebook about it to let people know, because it was a big news story and people were posting randomly, like people who didn’t know him and then I knew a lot of people who knew him, so it was all over my feed. So I wanted to post something partially in remembrance of him, but also partially to give a heads up to people like, “Hey, this is what’s going on in my life. So don’t bother me with stupid shit right now.” But the algorithm fucks that all up, because only some people see it, right?

Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah.

Laura Birek: So I was getting weird text messages from people who found out. Like my husband told his friend and he told his fiancé and she sent me, “Oh my God, congratulations. How do you feel?” I was like, “I’m okay. My friend died,” and then you feel like such a fucking Debbie Downer, just be like, “Oh, thanks. But my friend died and that’s the only thing I can think about right now.”

Shanna Micko: Talk about just juxtaposition of really opposite experiences. Having those both come at you at the same time.

Laura Birek: I’m happy that I was telling people early, because I got to tell them.

Shanna Micko: True.

Laura Birek: Apparently, my friend was like, “Oh, we were both so excited for you.” It’s nice to know that they knew or he knew, but it’s the definition of a tragedy. It’s the worst thing. I’ve kind of done all the crying I can at this point. If I sound unemotional, this is why. But that’s been my week. It’s been weird. It’s weird to be right at the point where are you telling everyone you’re pregnant and then at the same time to be mourning the death of a close friend for no reason and completely out of the blue.

Shanna Micko: The shock. I’m very sorry about that.

Laura Birek: Thank you.

Shanna Micko: That’s such a tragedy.

Laura Birek: I hesitated bringing it on the podcast, because we’re a light. We’re a funny podcast I feel like, or I hope we’re funny.

Shanna Micko: But we also keep it real.

Laura Birek: We got to keep it real. So that’s what I’ve been going through this week. Anyway, but let’s lighten the mood.

Shanna Micko: Okay.


Laura Birek: You had a thought for a really cool segment that I think is going to be hilarious called, “Internet Insanity.”

Shanna Micko: Which is basically anything that we’ve come across, either in the baby boards or products that are being marketed to us, because we’re expecting mothers or anything just on the internet that comes our way that might be a little wacky. Should I kick it off or do you want to kick it off?

Laura Birek: You go. I’ll get the funny back in a second.

Shanna Micko: Okay. Let’s give you a sec. In the baby boards, which I don’t frequent very often, I did much more in my first pregnancy, but I don’t. Either I don’t have time, because I’m taking care of a toddler or whatever. But I do scroll them occasionally and I have come across this phenomenon that I find interesting. It’s ladies saying that their dogs know they’re pregnant. So here’s what people are saying. I’m a dog owner.

Laura Birek: You are. You have two very adorable little Chihuahua mixes that are super cute and currently getting a haircut.

Shanna Micko: Yes, they are. People are saying that their dogs are more cuddly, more clingy. One woman said that her dog started peeing in her house as soon as her hormone spiked before she got a positive pregnancy test. I’m sure that this is all valid, but I am not seeing it in my two dodos.

Laura Birek: You don’t sound like you think this is valid.

Shanna Micko: Because my two dogs can’t even figure out how to use a dog door. There is no way they are picking up on the subtlety of my pregnancy hormones and they are sure as hell not more protective of me at this time. But I don’t know. Maybe I’m too busy taking care of a toddler to notice my dog’s subtle behavior.

Laura Birek: What’s funny is my friend, Marilyn, actually sent me an article. I told her I was pregnant actually at Disneyland. She was a Disney employee up until last week, so she quit. She voluntarily left, but she has free Disney passes. She literally drove down to Disneyland the day I was there just to watch the fireworks. We found her and we were chatting and so I was able to tell her and so she knew. Of course, she’s immediately starting sending me everything pregnancy related and she sent me an article that was like, “Do pets know if you’re pregnant?” So I read it and it was like, maybe. I don’t know. But now I’m wondering I have two cats.

Shanna Micko: I know. I was going to ask about your cats.

Laura Birek: Well, I have an 11-month-old boy kitten, almost full grown, little adolescent rambunctious mother fucker and he has been more cuddly, but I think it’s just, because he’s getting older, like he’s not running around as much, you know?

Shanna Micko: Oh, right. He’s losing his kitten spunk.

Laura Birek: Yeah, and he’s starting to learn that cuddles are good. When he was a little kitten, he just was doing whatever he wanted to do and now he’s like, oh, yeah. If I come and sit on her lap, she will pet me and it feels good. He’s starting to put it together, so I’m not ready to make a conclusion.

Shanna Micko: Or he’s getting ready to steal the breath of your unborn child.

Laura Birek: Yes, I’m sure that’s what’s going on. I am worried about my other cat who’s like a big duffer and very, very sweet, but he has a tendency to sleep on my face.

Shanna Micko: Oh, no. My God.

Laura Birek: Magnus likes to sleep on my face. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on him with the baby.

Shanna Micko: Yes, good idea.

Laura Birek: He’s a sweetheart. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. I know, because I’ve watched him see a fly fly by and just be like, nope.

Shanna Micko: I love Magnus.

Laura Birek: He’s a sweetheart. He only has four teeth.

Shanna Micko: He can’t do any damage.

Laura Birek: He really can’t.

Shanna Micko: I love him. Have you found anything on the internet lately that sucks inside?

Laura Birek: Unlike you, I’m obsessed with the baby boards. I interact a little bit. Actually, my sort of role is I am the person who goes on and puts long feminist rants mainly on body positivity posts and it makes me so sad and I get it. Being a woman in this society just is a mind fuck, right?

Shanna Micko: Good. We need those.

Laura Birek: Everything we learn is to hate our body and try to fix it. So when we become pregnant, our bodies suddenly go haywire and we don’t know what’s going on and it’s natural to feel uncomfortable and I get it too. I’m not perfect, but I strive for body acceptance. I see these women who a common thing they post is like, “My mother-in-law said I looked fat or I feel fat and I’ll kill someone,” and I’m just like, okay. I am going to put my paragraphs long thing on here trying to tell them like to love themselves and I get a lot of hearts on baby boards.

Shanna Micko: Nice. Aww, you are doing good work.

Laura Birek: That’s a whole other topic. But the thing that I thought was really interesting that I saw recently was someone posted they think this is a side effect of pregnancy, which is that the pregnancy is making them hate their husbands.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: Someone was like, “I can’t even look at his face. It makes me want to throw up and I just can’t wait until he is out of the house and I hate him so much.” I was like, maybe she just needs to get a divorce. But then all these other women were like, “Oh my God, me too. In my first pregnancy, I was fine. But this one, I just can’t stand him. Even though he is doing everything he can to help and all this stuff.”

Shanna Micko: Are they angry or are they making them physically nauseous or both?

Laura Birek: Both I think both.

Shanna Micko: Oh, no.

Laura Birek: I know. I feel bad for them and I feel bad for the husbands and I’m just really grateful that’s not me. I’m happy.

Shanna Micko: I’m not having that side effect either. Thank goodness.

Laura Birek: Maybe this is just being presumptuous, but I know the aversions are real if the smell of your husband’s skin is making you feel sick. I’m not sure there’s much you can do about that, but the emotional hatred towards them, I feel like maybe could be worked out in therapy or something.

Shanna Micko: Maybe. I definitely was crankier and angrier in the first trimester and I had a huge smell aversions. But mostly to my house, I would walk into my house and be like, ugh.

Laura Birek: I’ve been having that. Oh my God, the smell aversions, Jesus Christ. I was like, my house smells like fish. I actually brought a friend over after lunch, because he had some time to kill before an appointment. You know, Carrie Steve.

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: I walked in and was like, I’m so sorry. The house smells like fish and he is like, I don’t smell anything. I was like, it smells terrible.

Shanna Micko: Luckily, that goes away. I’m feeling relief from all of that.

Laura Birek: You’re my perpetual light at the end of the tunnel, Shanna.

Shanna Micko: I hope I can continue to provide that for you.

Laura Birek: Thank you.


Laura Birek: All right. Our weekly segment to close the show are BFPs and our BFNs, which stand for big fat positive and big fat negative, which is the term that women on these baby boards use to proclaim whether they got a positive or negative pregnancy test. 

But we talk about things that we like or things that we don’t like: hits and misses for the week. So Shanna, what do you got?

Shanna Micko: Last week, I was whining about having no wine or cocktails or whatever. I’ve made a discovery that I think is fun and they’re called Mocktails.

Laura Birek: Oh, yes.

Shanna Micko: It’s an actual product made by Ocean Spray.

Laura Birek: It’s like in a can?

Shanna Micko: It’s in a plastic bottle about this big and they’re like tropical drink flavors. There’s a Peach Bellini. There’s Pina Colada. The first trimester, I could not have these. My mother-in-law actually found them and bought them for me, which is really, really sweet. I had a huge sugar aversion. I could not even tolerate these, but now that I’m better, they’re still in my fridge and I’m like, that looks fun. So I mix a little La Croix, little sparkling water with a little mocktail and a wine glass and I feel celebratory.

Laura Birek: That’s so fun.

Shanna Micko: It is. It’s really fun. You should try. One of them, the Pina Colada one actually reminded me of being on my honeymoon in Cancun, sipping Pina Colada on the beach.

Laura Birek: Aww.

Shanna Micko: Yes, I know I’m stretching here, but I’m 15 weeks pregnant and I need whatever I can.

Laura Birek: You do what you need to do.

Shanna Micko: You do. It’s fun and I love them. Go get them.

Laura Birek: Awesome. Okay. I made a note of that.

Shanna Micko: What about you: BFP or BFN?

Laura Birek: Oh, I’ve got a BFN.

Shanna Micko: What do you got?

Laura Birek: Do you remember how last week I was like, my nausea is subsiding?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: Guess what?

Shanna Micko: Is it back?

Laura Birek: It’s back. I think it might have to do with my emotional reserves. This week like I said, I’ve been crying a lot and very sad and mourning and grieving for my friend and I don’t know if it’s just coincidental or connected, but my nausea came back in full force.

Shanna Micko: Oof.

Laura Birek: It used to just be nausea and didn’t turn into the thing. Listeners might not know this. A little backstory: Shanna has a phobia of vomiting. We don’t talk about it that much.

Shanna Micko: I do. I’ve gotten better now that I have a toddler though, because you have to deal with it if it happens.

Laura Birek: That’s happened actually a few times.

Shanna Micko: No.

Laura Birek: The strange thing for me is specifically brushing my teeth is the worst. It’s terrible and so every night I’m like, taking deep breaths, trying really hard.

Shanna Micko: Can you brush your teeth with Jolly Ranchers?

Laura Birek: I wish. Someone on the baby board suggested getting kids flavored toothpaste.

Shanna Micko: Is it the flavor that bothers you?

Laura Birek: I don’t know. I think it’s the action, but maybe now my brain has connected the flavor of it. So maybe I’ll try to mix it up, but it’s just a real bummer.

Shanna Micko: I’m sorry.

Laura Birek: Hopefully, I’ll round in that corner soon.

Shanna Micko: I have some Preggie Pops you can have if you want them.

Laura Birek: I totally have some of those, because I started telling people and a friend of mine sent me. It was like a bump box. It was a little box. It was one of those premade things. It was for the first trimester and I had a bunch of first trimester stuff in it.

Shanna Micko: Oh, cute.

Laura Birek: It was cute and one of the things in there was those Preggie Pops, which are basically like Jolly Ranchers with some Vitamin B6 in it I think.

Shanna Micko: I think maybe some essential oils. I honestly don’t know. It’s like psychosomatic I think, but they are yummy.

Laura Birek: I ran out of Jolly Ranchers and started using those and they’re fine. I can’t tell the difference between the two of them, but they taste good. Thank you for the offer.

Shanna Micko: You’re welcome.

Laura Birek: But hopefully that’s going to go away soon. I just got to get out of this first trimester, man.

Shanna Micko: You will.

Laura Birek: This is some bullshit I have to say.

Shanna Micko: But there is a light at the end or at the end of the trimester.

Laura Birek: I just need a mocktail.

Shanna Micko: You do. Try it.

Laura Birek: All right. Well, I think that’s our show.

Shanna Micko: That is. Yay! See you next.

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.