Ep. 5: Baby Bumps are Poppin’

September 3, 2018

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In Episode 5 of the Big Fat Positive podcast, Laura talks about going to her nuchal translucency (NT) scan, and Shanna discusses how she “popped” this week. In the segment, “OMG I’m Freaking Out!” the moms-to-be discuss what pregnancy related issues they freaked out about recently. Finally, they divulge their highs and lows (BFPs and BFNs) this week. Laura is 12 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 16 weeks pregnant.

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Episode Transcript

Laura Birek: This podcast contains explicit language. If you’ve got kids around, try to put on some headphones.

Shanna Micko: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. I’m Shanna.

Laura Birek: And I’m Laura.

Shanna Micko: We are friends and writing partners who are pregnant at the exact same time, so we decided to do a podcast about it.

Laura Birek: This week on the show we have our weekly check-ins and we have our regular segment, “Oh my God. I’m freaking out,” where we talk about the things that are freaking us out this week in pregnancy, and then we end with our BFPs and BFNs for the week.

[Music]

Laura Birek: Hey, guys. Welcome.

Shanna Micko: Hey, welcome to the show.

Laura Birek: This is exciting. We’re on fifth show, Shanna.

Shanna Micko: Right. Oh my God, that means we’re just chugging along in these pregnancies of ours, chugga-chugga.

Laura Birek: I know. Just can’t stop won’t stop.

Shanna Micko: Let’s do our check-ins. Laura, why don’t you kick it off?

Laura Birek: Yeah, so I am now in week 12.

Shanna Micko: Woo-hoo!

Laura Birek: The big thing that happened to me this week is I went for that NT scan. We had talked about that before when you had yours and so I went. It’s the nuchal translucency.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I think so.

Laura Birek: It went great, fine, good. I don’t know really. I went and saw a specialist who knows really what they’re looking at. I don’t know. Does everyone get their NT scan done by a specialist?

Shanna Micko: I don’t know if everybody does, but I always have. So that’s my assumption: a perinatologist.

Laura Birek: Yes, what it’s really measuring is the amount of fluid behind your baby’s neck or in the back of your baby’s neck and it was apparently just the right amount of fluid.

Shanna Micko: Yay!

Laura Birek: That means good things and they said everything’s great.

Shanna Micko: How was it to see the baby kicking around in there and stuff? Did you guys have any reactions to that?

Laura Birek: Well, he was tumbling. He was just like head over heels, back and forth. I don’t know how they don’t get tangled up constantly in the umbilical cord.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, I wonder that too, right?

Laura Birek: Yeah, there’s just tumbling around constantly. I couldn’t believe how much he was moving. I know it’s 12 weeks. It’s too early to find out the gender by ultrasound anyway. But if we had been trying to, it would’ve been pointless because he was just somersaulting everywhere. It was pretty cute. It was nice to see and it’s nice to have another piece of evidence that it is a healthy, good pregnancy.

Shanna Micko: Awesome.

Laura Birek: That’s my update. What about you? What week are you in now?

Shanna Micko: 16, so I’m moving on into that second trimester a little bit further and not too much remarkable this week, but I did want to report that I popped.

Laura Birek: You popped?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: Can you tell me what that means? I think I have an idea.

Shanna Micko: Basically, this happened in my first pregnancy too. It’s going along in the first trimester and my tummy feels like it’s getting a little bit bigger, but in a general beer belly kind of way and then all of a sudden it’s like, I think your uterus comes up over your pelvic bone and you really feel like your pregnancy belly is popped out a little bit more and it actually looks a little bit more like a pregnancy belly. Do you know what I mean?

Laura Birek: Whoa. Yeah, okay.

Shanna Micko: I feel like that was the first time that I’m really kind of started to look like a pregnant lady and I was like, oh my God, I can’t keep hiding this from work very much longer. It’s starting to get obvious. The maternity shorts and jeans and all that stuff are really coming in handy now that I’ve popped.

Laura Birek: I bet.

Shanna Micko: That’s about it. I’m starting to think about maternity leave too. Speaking of work and just what I’m going to do at that point and that’s a big stress for me. I haven’t figured anything out yet, but it is totally on my mind.

Laura Birek: That might be a good segue to our next segment.

Shanna Micko: Oh, yes. Let’s segue it.

[Music]

Shanna Micko: What is our next segment?

Laura Birek: Our next segment is, oh my God. I’m freaking out.

Shanna Micko: I love this segment.

Laura Birek: It’s just where we discuss the things we’re freaking out about this week and normally, I would ask you what you’re freaking out about, but since I said it was a good segue, I feel like I should admit what mine is first.

Shanna Micko: Go, go, go.

Laura Birek: Which is that I told my “work” and I’ll explain why air quotes, that I’m pregnant this week.

Shanna Micko: Ooh.

Laura Birek: It seems early to me 12 weeks, but I’m in a little bit of a special situation. As you know, I’m completely self-employed, I’m a freelancer and I mainly do web development and I have some major clients. So I have this one client that I work with most of the time and you actually worked with them too for a while when you were freelance project managing. I knew there were all these projects coming up and they kept asking me if I would sign on to these projects and one of them is literally supposed to launch on my due date and so I’ve just been kind of vague about it for the last couple weeks, because obviously I can’t say anything until things are clear and I know this pregnancy is sticking around. But I knew I needed to give them a heads up before too long because they have to find another web developer. We have one other web developer we work with most of the time who’s great, but I knew that me being gone was going to need to be prepared for. So I told my, he’s not my boss at all, because I’m self-employed. I’ll call him Ian, because that’s his name. I don’t think he would mind me using his name. I told Ian and he was very excited it and very sweet about it. It probably doesn’t hurt that his wife is pregnant and due very, very soon.

Shanna Micko: Aww, that’s so exciting.

Laura Birek: So he’s in the same boat and he knows how it works. But the funniest thing was that I told him and then he said, “oh, no. When are you due?” I told, and he said, “Oh, no. Our project manager is due a month before you.”

Shanna Micko: Wooh.

Laura Birek: Our project manager, I found out is also pregnant, which is very exciting. I think she’s due actually right when you’re due, Shanna. That was fun. It was really cool to find out and we were laughing, because we had launched this gigantic website a couple weeks before and we both were in our first trimester feeling terrible. We both felt like shit and so I sent her a slack message. I was like, “Oh my God, we were both having morning sickness and feeling terrible this whole time and neither of us knew it.” Then she’s like, “Oh, man.”

Shanna Micko: Like she is passing in the nauseous night.

Laura Birek: Yes, it was a nice thing to tell them and then of course now, I’m freaking out about it because, because I’m freelance, I don’t really have much of a safety net. I have to work to make money. I don’t have maternity leave. I signed up for the freelancers’ version of the California unemployment. What they call the ED. The California Unemployment gives you some money for taking a maternity leave and you can opt into it if you’re a freelancer and just pay quarterly into it. I did that a year ago, so I’m also up with that, but still, it doesn’t really cover what you normally make. So I have to start thinking about when am I going to go back to work? They asked, “What are you planning?” I was like, I’d like to take like three months off, but I don’t know if I can and also boundaries are hard when you work from home because you already know I don’t work 40 hours a week, every week, nine to five. It’s a different situation. Some days I work a couple hours a day, because we don’t have a big project and some hours I work 15 hour days, because we have a big deadline.

Shanna Micko: That’s hard.

Laura Birek: I’m a little concerned about what’s going to happen and then also technology changes so fast. I build mostly in WordPress and to not bore you to dears, there’s this new update of WordPress coming up that’s like a complete change in the way they build everything. It’s this thing that everyone’s panicking about and it’s probably going to happen right when I’m on the maternity leave. So am I going to come back and everything I know is out of date and I’m going to suddenly be out of job and have those skills?

Shanna Micko: Right. You can’t just pick that up in two quick seconds.

Laura Birek: Well, I love your faith in me, Shanna, but it is a really big change and it’s a technology that I don’t fully understand and I’ve also been a little bit ostrichy with it. I see that it’s coming. It’s called Gutenberg, because it’s supposed to be so revolutionary. It’s like the Gutenberg Printing Press.

Shanna Micko: Whoa!

Laura Birek: I know. Every time I see forum posts about it or blog posts that are like learn more about Gutenberg, I’m just like no. Too busy. You got to do other things. Anyway, that’s what I’m freaking out about.

Shanna Micko: Rightfully so.

Laura Birek: How about you?

Shanna Micko: This week I’m freaking out. As you know, I have a child already, a daughter. She’s two and a half and when you have your first child as you’ll find out, you are just over the moon in love with your baby and oh my God, it’s this special bond. I was lucky I was able to spend a lot of time with her before I went back to full-time job, like a year and a half, some of it working from home. But we just had such an amazing bond and I had so much time with her and I love her so much. Now I’m freaking out about two things: a) am I going to love the second baby as much? My daughter has just such a special place in my heart. It feels one of a kind and I know like in my mom’s group and stuff, they chime in with this stuff all the time and every second time, third-time mom reassures you, “Don’t worry. You will get that bond with your second child. They’ll be just as great.” It’ll be wonderful. But it’s the unknown. it’s just totally the unknown of how am I going to feel? I don’t know. Then the second thing of course is this second child going to disrupt my wonderful relationship with the child I already have? I will tell you, I had a wonderful relationship with my dog, Chillie. We had such a special bond for a year and a half and then I got hair up my ass and adopted a second dog who was super cute, Sasha. 

But whoa, that totally changed the dynamic in the household. Chillie became weird and I fell in love with Sasha and then Chillie didn’t seem to love me as much and I’m totally comparing my dogs to my child and future child. It’s all I have to go on really. So I am really wondering how this is all going to play out in my life and I guess I’ll find out in December.

Laura Birek: You will. I assume it will all be fine and your heart will just grow twice as big, which is what they say. But I don’t know. I haven’t been there.

Shanna Micko: My heart could be a steely trap of nothing. It’s just so hard to imagine really you can expand and have more love and give more love and feel more love. That’s what they say. I’m holding out hope. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes I get a little worried.

Laura Birek: But tell me about this. Thinking back to a time before your daughter and comparing to now, did you have any concept of the amount you would love her?

Shanna Micko: Theoretically, yes. But when that feeling hit me for the first time, it was unbelievable. It was unreal.

Laura Birek: My logical, spark-like, no emotion analysis would be that if that happened, it could happen again, right?

Shanna Micko: I suppose it could. I welcome the experience.

Laura Birek: To bring our animals into it, I understand the animal issue because I had my beloved cat Molly for 14 years or something and she passed away last September at a ripe old age. I have my other cat Magnus who I also love dearly. We have a new kitten. He’s just under a year old. I was like, I don’t think I’m going to like him as much as Molly. There’s no way I could replicate this.

Shanna Micko: Right. Molly has a special place in your heart.

Laura Birek: But it’s different. Also, he’s a fucking cat. People are going to write in and say, we’re such assholes for comparing our kids to our pets.

Shanna Micko: It’s creatures we love and take care of and it is similar in a way. Not 100%, obviously.

Laura Birek: I was holding him like a baby the other day, which is he’s the first cat I’ve ever been able to do that with. That was really exciting and sort of gazing into his eyes lovingly.

Shanna Micko: Aww, I get to do that with Chillie too. He’s great about that.

Laura Birek: Chillie is so sweet.

Shanna Micko: His little brown eyes. We call it his cocoa stare.

Laura Birek: I love both your dogs. I think they’re both super sweet and your daughter is more sweet and more special and I can’t wait to meet your second daughter.

Shanna Micko: Thank you. Me too.

[Music]

Shanna Micko: All right. Moving on into our last segment, our BFPs and BFNs, our highs and lows for the week. Who wants to kick this one off?

Laura Birek: Why don’t you Shanna since I hijacked the last one?

Shanna Micko: Okay. Well, this week I have a BFP and interestingly enough, it is related to what you talked about in the last segment, because as I mentioned, maternity leave is on my mind and I don’t think my company is going to offer me much if anything and so I am feeling very grateful this week that the state of California offers disability payment for pregnancy leave and for family bonding, which is huge. I don’t know how many states in the US offer a benefit like that. I want to say I don’t know five. It’s really amazing. It took me by surprise when I had my first child too, because at the time I was working part-time freelance and stuff the same. So I was able to take advantage it. It doesn’t pay your full salary. It pays about 55% to 60% of your income, but it will pay six weeks of time off if you have a regular vaginal birth, eight weeks if you have a C-section and then on top of that, you get an additional six weeks of pay for paid family leave and that’s tremendous in a time when there’s no guarantee for maternity leave and benefits in this country for women. At the very least I’ll be able to take advantage of that and so I’m feeling very happy for that right now.

Laura Birek: Hallelujah, California.

Shanna Micko: California is awesome.

Laura Birek: Sometimes it helps to live in a deep blue state.

Shanna Micko: Deep blue almost indigo. It’s awesome.

Laura Birek: That’s good. I opted into that as a freelancer and I’m really glad I remembered to do that because I am also going to be needing that.

Shanna Micko: A lot of people don’t know that it exists. In this mom’s group that I’m in, sometimes we mention it and the moms- to-be are like, “Oh my God, I’m so glad you said that. I had no idea.” So I think a lot of people don’t take advantage of that.

Laura Birek: Because you do have to send in a bunch of paperwork, right?

Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. You have to apply, go through the red tape. There’s a little waiting period and then they send you a debit card that they load your money onto every month. It’s definitely like a system you have to get into for sure. But it’s really not that hard.

Laura Birek: I was very happy to see that that existed too and I know that there’s so many states where you don’t get anything.

Shanna Micko: Nothing.

Laura Birek: You don’t get a certain amount of time protected leave. I’m not sure. I think is it national, the Family Medical Leave Act, where you can’t get fired if you take probably 12 weeks off or is it just California?

Shanna Micko: Now, see. I’m not an expert. I have been looking into this, but I think for California it might be 24. Is it?

Laura Birek: No, really?

Shanna Micko: We should look it up.

Laura Birek: Before we start talking, this should be one of our big topics sometimes soon. So we’re going to educate ourselves. Listeners, if you have any great stories, horror stories from your part of the country or part of the world, that’s going to make me depressed, because I know that the United States is way behind basically all other developed nations or the global north or whatever term is the right term to use. I’m also not up to date on that. Anyway, the point is the US kind of sucks in this regard, right?

Shanna Micko: That’s my impression, although I am a little shielded, because I’m in the deep blue state of California. But still we would love to hear any stories, tips or anything that you listeners have. What about you Laura? BFP or BFN this week?

Laura Birek: I also have a BFP.

Shanna Micko: Ooh.

Laura Birek: This is like hard hitting news. You better brace yourself for this BFP.

Shanna Micko: Bracing.

Laura Birek: My BFP is pineapple.

Shanna Micko: You’re craving?

Laura Birek: It’s surreal. Okay. Yes, I’m craving it nonstop. We had the 4th of July this week, right?

Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. You did bring some amazing pineapple.

Laura Birek: I was at Super King, which is this fantastic market and there’s a couple of them in the LA area. It’s a market that carries a lot of Mexican and Central American foods, but it also carries a lot of Armenian and Middle Eastern and Russian foods. It’s awesome and also has a great produce department and they had pineapples for $0.99 a piece.

Shanna Micko: Whoa!

Laura Birek: So I was like, I’m going to get some pineapple. I got a pineapple and I had done some research a few years ago on the best way to cut a pineapple, so I’m like real good at it these days. I cut that pineapple in five minutes, maybe less. You should time me. But I also had done some research a little bit ago about the best way to find the right pineapple. I don’t know if this was taught to me by a person. It might have been taught to me by stepmom. I’m not sure. But someone taught me that you should go into one of the interior leafs on the top, the pokey spiky leafs at the top, and one of the ones that are closer to the center and pull on it. If it comes out easily, that means it’s ripe.

Shanna Micko: Oh.

Laura Birek: If it gets kind of stuck or you have to pull pretty hard, it’s not ripe and that combined with then smelling it and seeing if it smells like sweet, it has not steered me wrong, Shanna. I am doing really well with my pineapple picking.

Shanna Micko: Congratulations. It’s good to be able to fulfill your pregnancy craving and it’s a healthy craving. Hello.

Laura Birek: Here’s the thing. You know how there’s all this crap we can’t eat when we’re pregnant and sometimes you don’t know what it is and you’re like, oh, shit. Did I kill my baby because I ate a bunch of raisins, whatever it is? I had this thought. I was like, oh, crap. Is pineapple a bad thing, because it does have that thing where when you eat enough of it, your mouth kind of like goes numb?

Shanna Micko: I have not experienced that, but maybe I just haven’t eaten enough in one sitting.

Laura Birek: Or maybe you’re immune to it. It apparently has this enzyme in it. I’m blanking on the name of the enzyme, but there’s an enzyme in it that is actually a meat tenderizer. So if you eat a lot of it, you’re basically tenderizing the inside of your mouth.

Shanna Micko: You’re worried you’re tenderizing your baby from the inside?

Laura Birek: Well, no. I was just like, huh? That’s a weird thing. Maybe this is something I should avoid. I Googled it and there are all these people who think you shouldn’t eat pineapple when you’re pregnant because that particular enzyme they say softens your cervix. I was like, crap. I’m loving pineapple. It’s so good for you. It’s a great source of water and vitamin C and fiber and now I’m like, can’t have it anymore. So I dug a little deeper and discovered that yes, that enzyme could possibly cause uterine contractions or a soften cervix. But you have to eat like six raw pineapples to get even close to the amount. I’m not running that risk yet.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: It basically a BFP and not a BFN and that is my hard hitting BFP of the week.

Shanna Micko: Yay! I’m glad you’ve found something you love and that’s actually okay for you to use.

Laura Birek: Finally.

Shanna Micko: Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for tuning into our show this week. We so appreciate you. Big Fat Positive is produced by Shanna Micko, Laura Birek and Steve Yager. Subscribe to us wherever you listen to podcasts, rate us and we’ll see you next week.

Laura Birek: See you next week. Don’t forget we’re on Instagram and Twitter at BFP Podcast and we’re also on Facebook, Big Fat Positive Podcast. You can join our community there and interact with other moms-to-be, or just fans of the show. Thanks so much for listening.

Shanna Micko: Bye.

Laura Birek: Bye.

[Music]