Ep. 6: Fake Pregnancy Tests
September 5, 2018
In Episode 6 of the Big Fat Positive podcast, Shanna admits that her appetite is out of control, and Laura discusses being at the tail-end of the first trimester. Also, things get wacky as Shanna and Laura discuss what’s going down in the online baby forums. The moms-to-be divulge their highs and lows (BFPs and BFNs) this week. Laura is 13 weeks pregnant, and Shanna is 17 weeks pregnant.
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Laura Birek: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. I’m Laura.
Shanna Micko: I’m Shanna.
Laura Birek: We are friends and writing partners who happen to be pregnant at the exact same time, so we decided to start a podcast about it.
Shanna Micko: This week we do our weekly check-ins. We have our segment called “Internet insanity,” where Laura wonders if a certain someone is stealing her beauty and we do our weekly BFPs and BFNs to hit the highs and lows of our week.
Laura Birek: Let’s get to it.
Laura Birek: Hey and welcome to the podcast.
Shanna Micko: Hi, everyone.
Laura Birek: This is episode six. We got to do our weekly check-ins, Shanna. What’s been going on with you this week?
Shanna Micko: I am week 17 now and oh my God, I am so hungry. I mean, insane hunger.
I was kind of hungry in the first trimester, but the nausea offsets that really and I didn’t eat a ton, but now it is on. I can eat an entire eight inch sub sandwich and chips and soda. It’s just crazy and of course, I’m gaining more weight now, which is totally fine. I’m pregnant. I know I’m supposed to do that, but I’m just like starting to feel it now. I think I’m up like nine pounds and I just feel uncomfortable.
Laura Birek: Girl, you’re still behind me, which is great. I’m four weeks behind you and I’ve gained like 12 pounds already, I think.
Shanna Micko: Oh, so you had a good appetite in your first trimester. You’re lucky.
Laura Birek: Oh, shit. Not lucky. It’s one of those double edged swords, because I had morning sickness as you know, and as I talked about, but the interesting thing was the only time I felt good was when I was eating, especially when I was eating like bread.
Shanna Micko: Carbs, yeah. Pasta is my jam so bad.
Laura Birek: Pasta is just dream, so I gained weight so fast. Also, I feel like I had a very rickety, difficult to keep on lid on the pot of my weight to begin with. I was always working really hard to just maintain, which is frustrating as a woman in the society and just as a person who wants to feel like you have some autonomy over your body before pregnancy, so it was just so much work for me to even maintain. So I feel like the minute I was just like, well, fuck it. I’m eating these carbs, that lid popped off and I immediately gained a ton of weight.
Anyway, I’m sorry. But I don’t mean to compare and diminish your experience, my friend.
Shanna Micko: No, it’s fine. I feel like it feels good to be pregnant and not care. Like the other day, a coworker I saw, she had this big hamburger and French fries and she’s like, “You want some fries?” I’m like, “Hell, yeah. I want fries. I’m pregnant. Who cares?” It just feels like an excuse. I’m not saying I’m just being crazy unhealthy or anything, but it just feels like a little bit better to just indulge and not really be so uptight about what my body looks like right now.
Laura Birek: Well, as a woman in America in the society, it’s just a constant low hum of feeling like you are not doing a good enough job, keeping your body in check, especially in LA. We live in LA where I think a lot of stereotypes about LA are not true, but the kale juice thing is very true: kale juice and kombucha.
Shanna Micko: There’s so many juice shops around town now.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, we’re not allowed. We’re not supposed to have them, which I think is funny.
Shanna Micko: The irony.
Laura Birek: I know. But anyway, the point is that I feel you on that: the freedom of not having to care so much.
Shanna Micko: That’s kind of nice. That’s one thing going on this week and the other thing is I finally told my boss at work that I’m pregnant. I’ve been keeping it on the down low for a really long time and wearing really baggy clothes, like long dresses and flowy shirts, which I never really used to wear that kind of stuff before and I think last week you remember I told you I popped. So I really felt like I was starting to show and it just felt time and I was nervous, but she was totally cool about it and really nice and gave me a hug and happy for me.
Laura Birek: Oh, good.
Shanna Micko: I think it’ll be okay. I haven’t told any coworkers anything yet, but she knows. So I feel like I don’t have to hide it as much at work.
Laura Birek: Of course, that’s cool.
Shanna Micko: That’s pretty much everything in my week. What about you?
Laura Birek: Well, I am so close to being out of the first trimester, because I’m in week 13. Just one more week. I can’t tell you how many times this week I’ve looked up, “Is the end of the first trimester the beginning of week 13 or the end of week 13?”
Shanna Micko: You just want to know so bad.
Laura Birek: I just want it over.
Shanna Micko: There’s conflicting information about it too, or is there a definitive answer on that one?
Laura Birek: I think the consensus is the end of week 13. That’s what I have decided and it’s not like the minute you get out of it, there’s some flip that switches and you’re suddenly feeling better. My nausea is definitely much, much, much, much better. It’s mostly gone, so I don’t have much to complain about. But it’s nice to get out of that and I’ve told most people who I need to tell, but still there’s just something nice about getting past that milestone. So I’m excited about doing that.
Shanna Micko: Woo-hoo!
Laura Birek: Here’s the exciting thing. I kind of cheated a little bit. This is part of the reason I was Googling. My doctor said I really shouldn’t dye my hair until I’m out of the first trimester, but I’m going out of town next week and my hair, as you know, it’s my sort of one big indulgence in the personal care beauty category. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I don’t wear a lot of fancy clothes. I work from home, but I dye my hair regularly. I have been a natural redhead for the last 10 years and I never want to go back, so I fudged a little bit and I went a couple days early and got my hair cut and colored and it was such a relief to have no roots again.
Shanna Micko: It always feels so good.
Laura Birek: My hair felt all conditioned and shiny and pretty, and it was nice to feel pretty again.
Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. That’s kind of a really great way to celebrate the end of the first trimester, because you do just feel so blocked for so long and to just come out of it, like shiny and new.
Laura Birek: I’m going to Hawaii next week.
Shanna Micko: Oh, well, okay. That’s the even better way to celebrate it really.
Laura Birek: Cannot wait.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God, that’s awesome. I’m so jealous.
Laura Birek: I’m sorry. I wish I could take you with me.
Shanna Micko: That’d be fun.
Laura Birek: Anyway, that’s our check-ins.
Shanna Micko: All right. Awesome.
Shanna Micko: Our next segment is internet insanity where we talk about weird or crazy or funny, unusual things that we find online in the forums. Anything that just strikes us as odd. Laura, why don’t you go first on this one?
Laura Birek: I’m so excited about this segment. I spend a lot of time on the internet. I think a lot of us do, right?
Shanna Micko: I think a lot of us do.
Laura Birek: You know I work for myself. I work from home. I work on the web. I’m a web developer, so I have a lot of opportunities to be on the internet. One of my favorite things to do now that I’m pregnant is to go on BabyCenter and see what’s going on in my birth club. Everyone who’s giving birth in my month can come on this board and there’s like 22,000 members on this board.
Shanna Micko: That’s crazy. Is that the one I have or do I do, “What to Expect?”
Laura Birek: I don’t know.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no. I do What to Expect.
Laura Birek: I should start looking at those boards too, because I’m pretty much a lurker. Every once in a while I’ll comment and be like, “You’re fine.” This is a real one. Someone was like, “Oh my God, I ate salmon. Did I ruin my baby?”
Shanna Micko: Salmon?
Laura Birek: I’m like, “No. Salmon is recommended. You’re fine. Be chill.” That’s basically all I do.
Shanna Micko: Poor pregnant ladies will have so much to worry about.
Laura Birek: I know. I try to chime in when I can in that in a helpful way, but this is my favorite crazy baby board thing. There was this woman who came on. She had never written a post before, brand new account, and she comes on and she posts this picture saying that she had taken two pregnant tests and they were both positive and she’s so excited and here’s a picture of the pregnancy tests. That’s so far, very common, right? Totally normal. She posts this picture of two of the like cheapy, I think Walmart tests or dollar store tests that are clearly like marked in with a Sharpie.
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: The lines are on Photoshop or something. The lines are like really thick.
Shanna Micko: They’re black or what color are they?
Laura Birek: The picture it’s like either black or very dark blue. First of all, the picture is very unclear. It’s like dark, not a lot of focus. It’s not a photo you would post anywhere. You would probably use your flash or something. That’s the first thing that is weird that’s it’s no flash. Then the second thing is I want to say like a half inch thick, each the lines.
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: The point is it’s clearly fake and the minute that’s posted, everyone’s like, “That’s not what positive pregnancy tests look like. We’ve all taken them.” People on this board are obsessed with taking tests. We know that’s not real. What’s your deal, girl? She’s like picking fights being like, “No, I’m going to be a great mom. Why are you all you haters blah, blah, blah?” I think this is hilarious, but then I realized she used what looks like her real name on her post for her handle. It’s supposed to be an anonymous board and she uses like first, middle, last name, so I was like, I’m going to look for her on Facebook.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, obviously.
Laura Birek: Lo and behold, it’s her on Facebook and there is a public Facebook post where she posts the same picture and the same thing where she’s like, “I took two pregnancy tests and it’s so fake,” and I am just lurking. It’s hysterical, because it’s like a fight in the comments. All these people are like, “That’s fake.” People who I guess know her, maybe they don’t know her, because it’s public. Then her mom being like, “My daughter’s not a liar,” and the boyfriend is like, “I’m going to have a baby with this woman.” It’s bananas.
Shanna Micko: That’s like a Mai Po show playing out on your Facebook as you’re lurking.
Laura Birek: It totally is. I didn’t know what the deal was, so now I’m obsessed with trying to figure out what her end game is. I’m pretty sure, going through her profile, everything else she posts are like ads for baby clothes and ads for cribs and stuff. So either she’s like actually mentally ill and is one of those people who think she’s pregnant and she’s not and that would be a very sad situation. But I actually think she’s trying to scam people, so I think she’s trying say she’s pregnant and then get gifts and then sell those gifts. This is my theory.
Shanna Micko: Doesn’t she know that you can just go on Craig’s list and buy a positive pregnancy test from a pregnant woman for like 20 bucks?
Laura Birek: What? I didn’t know.
Shanna Micko: It’s all I’ve heard.
Laura Birek: This something we should be doing, Shanna?
Shanna Micko: Well, I’ve talked about it with my husband, like maybe a little side income, but I definitely have heard that people do that, because they want positive pregnancy tests for all kinds of reasons, to scam people for presents or to fake out a boyfriend or who knows what? I think it’s a thing.
Laura Birek: I wish I didn’t have ethics, Shanna, because that’s the easiest money I’ve ever heard of.
Shanna Micko: I know. But then you have to do a transaction with the kind of person that wants to buy a positive pregnancy test and that’s kind of weird.
Laura Birek: That is kind of scary.
Shanna Micko: But that does seem like easy money or should I say peasy money, because you pee on a stick.
Laura Birek: What? She went there. That is a great pun. Anyway, that’s my obsession. I check in with her every once in a while to see what she’s doing and there hasn’t been anything about the pregnancy not continuing or anything, so we’ll see.
Shanna Micko: Fascinating.
Laura Birek: How about you? What have you been internet stocking lately?
Shanna Micko: As I mentioned, my board that I do, I do it on an app is the What to Expect app with the baby boards and also, I’m a lurker. I don’t really comment much. I just like to see what people are chatting about and so one the other day along the lines of like worries, concerns that pregnant women have, she wrote in and said, “You guys, I raised my arms above my head the other day and I’m freaking out, because I heard that it’ll wrap the umbilical cord around my baby’s neck.” I was like, “No, that’s not true.” So people are chiming in like, “That is an old wives tale. That’s not true. You don’t have to worry about that.” It got me thinking about other pregnancy wives tales that have just been around for a while. Have you heard of any old wives tale? Tell me one.
Laura Birek: Oh, yeah. First of all, just to take a step back. That is a really sad and kind of scary old wives tale to like, you can’t raise your arms above your head?
Shanna Micko: Yeah.
Laura Birek: Wow.
Shanna Micko: I wonder where that comes from. Someone must have come up with that somewhere somehow.
Laura Birek: Do you think all of these are just designed by the patriarchy to keep women from doing anything useful? Like, ladies don’t put your arms over your head or your baby will die.
Shanna Micko: Then how are the men going to get their curtains and blinds cleaned and their ceiling fans when the wife is pregnant? That doesn’t seem like a logical one to me.
Laura Birek: Good point. I hadn’t heard that one. That one’s real doozy. I have heard a lot. Have you heard about how your baby steals your beauty?
Shanna Micko: I have not. What is this? No.
Laura Birek: Here’s the thing. It’s supposed to be a way to tell the gender or the sex of the baby.
Shanna Micko: There’s a lot around gender.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, there’s so many about gender. There’s like, if you carry high, it’s one gender. If you carry low, it’s another gender. All these things that just don’t hold up. But the stealing your beauty one I think is really interesting. First of all, I’ve heard it both ways. When we went out to dinner, I was with my husband and I and her and her husband and we said, “Oh, we’re pregnant. We’re having a boy.” She was like, “You’re so lucky. When I had my girls, they just stole my beauty. You don’t lose your beauty with your boys. Like girls just steal your beauty.”
Shanna Micko: She was joking around, right?
Laura Birek: Oh, no.
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: I think she wasn’t like. First of all, we’re like, you’re beautiful. Clearly they didn’t. But you know what I mean? This is a thing and I think our friend, Jen, who we’re going to have on the show eventually, she told me that when she was pregnant with her boy, she learned that if people come to you and say like, “I bet you’re having a boy.” It’s essentially an insult, because of this idea that boys steal your beauty. If they’re coming up to you it’s like, “You look like shit. So I bet you’re having a boy,” which I think is hilarious.
Shanna Micko: That’s so bad. Honestly, what steals my beauty is lack of sleep, not getting a shower, not having the energy to put on makeup and that’s genderless.
Laura Birek: They all steal our beauty equally.
Shanna Micko: Exactly. One I have heard about is that if while you’re pregnant you have heartburn, your baby’s going to be hairy.
Laura Birek: Oh my God, is my baby going to be a werewolf?
Shanna Micko: Are you having a lot of heartburn?
Laura Birek: Well, I’ve always had a lot of heartburn. I’ve been to specialists. I’ve had heartburn my whole adult life, so I’m not one to judge, but yes, it’s been worse since I’ve been pregnant.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no.
Laura Birek: But you know what’s funny? I’ve heard that one too, because I’ve read everything there is to read about heartburn in pregnancy and apparently there’s actually some truth to that. There’s a little bit of evidence that women who experience more heartburn end up having babies with more hair.
Shanna Micko: Like hair on their head or hair all over their body?
Laura Birek: Dear God, I hope it’s hair on their head. I’m pretty sure it’s hair on their head.
Shanna Micko: I was picturing just hair all over. I really was.
Laura Birek: There is a genetic disorder that I don’t know if you’re born with it or if it develops later, but that makes you have hair all over your body. Like long lots of hair. I remember my mom telling me about it when I was a kid, because my mom’s a geneticist. So she always told us kid’s real fun, bedtime stories about all the genetic disorders you could get.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God, that sucks. That’s fun to hear about.
Laura Birek: But with the heartburn I’ve been having, I’m probably having one of those kids.
Shanna Micko: That’s good: a good lustrous head of hair. That’s fantastic. I have not been having very much heartburn yet, knock on wood. So maybe I’ll have a baldy.
Laura Birek: You’re so lucky. Well, your daughter, she didn’t really have any hair when she came out, did she?
Shanna Micko: She did. She had hair. It wasn’t like a ton or anything like that, but definitely enough for us to know what color her hair was and everything.
Laura Birek: That’s right, because she came out and you were like, redhead. I loved it so much. As a person who works very hard to have red hair, I was very jealous.
Shanna Micko: It’s so cute. Now, we’ve told her that her hair is strawberry blonde and she knows that. If you ask her what her hair color, she’s two and a half, she goes, “Strawberry blonde.” It’s just really cute.
Laura Birek: She’s the cutest. I miss her. I want to hang out with her soon.
Shanna Micko: Okay. Let’s do it.
Laura Birek: All right. Now, it’s time for our weekly segment where we discuss our BFPs and BFNs, our big fat positives and big fat negatives for the week. Shanna, what you got for us this week?
Shanna Micko: I have a BFP.
Laura Birek: Oh, good.
Shanna Micko: As I mentioned during my check-in, I’ve been hungry, so hungry and something that helps that situation are free snacks at work. My office, they have in each kitchen, like a big supply closet full of chips and cookies and we get LaCroix in the fridge and all this stuff. I have never eaten more Doritos, Cheetos, Oreos in my life than I have the last couple weeks, because like I said, I’m feeling a little bit freer about what I eat and stuff and I do love Doritos and Cheetos. I just love them, but I don’t eat them very often, because I don’t feel like they’re very healthy for me, but now they’re free. I’m pregnant, I’m starving and I am just wolfing down all of these treats.
Laura Birek: Look, I know that there’s a lot of sacrifices to working in corporate America, but one of the upsides is on the free food and free snacks. So I say you take all of them.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, baby.
Laura Birek: I don’t get that working from home and for myself. I must provide my own snacks.
Shanna Micko: What about you? What’s yours this week?
Laura Birek: You know what? It’s so funny we kind of ended up talking about it and didn’t realize, but my BFN was supposed to be heartburn. It’s something I’ve been dealing with basically my whole adult life, which is not normal, I guess. I thought it was one of those things where everyone gets heartburn until I was about 20 and then I thought, oh, wait. None of my friends are complaining about heartburn. Part of it is genetic. My dad has bad reflux. So does my mom. So I just thought, okay, we’re a family with heartburn. At some point I think right after grad school, I was probably like 25, 26, I went to a specialist and got an endoscopy. I went to this guy an ENT, ear, nose, throat doctor and he kept using the word cancer. He kept being like, we need to rule out cancer. We need to make sure there’s no cancer in there. I think what he was really trying to do was there’s a specific bacteria that you can have in your stomach that can make heartburn worse and it’s also an indicator of cancer. I think esophageal. Maybe also stomach cancer. He wanted to rule that out, fair enough. When you do an endoscopy, you can sort of get a sample. But all I heard was cancer this, cancer that. So I signed up for the endoscopy without getting a second opinion or anything. I remember calling my mom afterwards and saying, “I’m going to get an endoscopy,” and she was like, “What? You’re 25.” I was like, I should have listened to her. But I was like, no, no, no. Trying to go to another doctor. When you have parents who are doctors, you end up relying on their advice a lot and I was trying to be like an adult who goes to a doctor, not just calls their mommy every time like they have a health problem. But anyway, I got the endoscopy and lo and behold, everything was normal except for the bill I got at the end, because the anesthesiologist was out of network.
Shanna Micko: They always are.
Laura Birek: I did have to run to mommy after that and have her talk down my fee. I remember she was like, “No, no, no, you’re not paying that. I’m going to call them.” She did the talking too. The point is I’ve had it my whole life, but now with a baby growing inside of me pushing all my organs around, smashing my stomach and the relaxing hormone that you get, which is the hormone that relaxes. This is very appropriately named your smooth muscles. It relaxes the sphincter, which is always a fun word. The sphincter at the top of your stomach that stops the stomach acid from going up into your throat, which I think is part of the reason with morning sickness you throw up so much easier, because there’s not that thing stopping it. It just kind of comes up. I don’t know if you had that experience.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no. I didn’t luckily. But that doesn’t sound pleasant.
Laura Birek: The history of it, plus the organs being smashed plus having the relaxed sphincter just means that my heartburn is out of control. It’s really unpleasant and part of the problem too is I’m supposed to stop eating all this stuff. Like, I’m not supposed to eat tomatoes and I’m not supposed to drink coffee, but those things give me life and it’s tomato season. Eventually, it’ll probably get bad enough that I will have to do those things, but I’m looking for solutions. Also, my doctor says, it’s fine to take a Pepcid Complete every day.
Shanna Micko: Oh, good.
Laura Birek: So I’ve been doing that and that definitely helps keep it under control, but it’s just a real bummer. I think it’s affecting the way my voice sounds. It’s making my voice kind of rough, because after the heartburn it’ll irritate my vocal chords.
Shanna Micko: Right.
Laura Birek: That’s my BFN. That’s my complain fest.
Shanna Micko: Oh, babies. What they do to us, but it’s all worth it.
Laura Birek: Is it?
Shanna Micko: Yes.
Laura Birek: I’m really asking.
Shanna Micko: Okay. Good.
Laura Birek: I know it’s going to be, but you’ve been there. So I just like reassurance.
Shanna Micko: Yes, it’ll be a distant memory once you’re holding your little baby in your arms.
Laura Birek: I’m excited for that. I just have to think. All right. Well, I guess that’s our show, Shanna, isn’t it?
Shanna Micko: It is. That’s it. We’d love to hear from you: what are your BFPs or BFNs for the week or what you noticed online that would be considered an internet insanity in the world of pregnancy? We would love to hear from you. Laura, where can our listeners reach out to us?
Laura Birek: You can find us on Facebook. We have a community for Big Fat Positive Podcast. On Twitter and Instagram, we are at BFP Podcast. We also have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com and make sure you subscribe in whatever podcast app you use.
Shanna Micko: We’ll see you next week. Thank you for listening.
Laura Birek: Thank you so much for listening. Bye-bye.
Shanna Micko: Bye. Big Fat Positive is produced by Shanna Micko, Laura Birek and Steve Yager.