What things end up surprising people after baby is born? Today, two nurses are going to dive into the surprises you might see (and now, you won’t be surprised by them!).
Today’s guest is Mother Baby Nurse Jessica She is a mama herself and she’s been a mother baby nurse for over 6 years. She love helping postpartum mamas and their newborn babies. She has a passion for educating and empowering women. She says — “You don’t know what you don’t know. But wouldn’t it be amazing to easily find out?” Find her on Tiktok.
This episode was inspired by my postpartum recovery posts.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. STOP THE SURPRISES And get a class that shares just what you’ll need to know in just a few hours (and is meant to have your partner watch it with you).
In this episode
Things that surprise people after they have a baby:
Postpartum bleeding after a cesarean
Swelling after baby
How some prenatal classes don’t prepare you for life after baby.
What can be helpful after baby.
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.190] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 137, we are talking about what to expect after you have the baby. So much of our time is spent talking about what to happen during pregnancy, but there’s a whole life that you have after the baby. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:25.710] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast, where we untangle pregnancy, parenting, home, and even travel. We know there’s no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:47.530] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, before we get started, you might have found this on my website or Instagram or whatever. Go ahead, open your favorite podcast player and subscribe to the Pulling Curls Podcast: Pregnancy and Parenting Untangled, so that you can get every single episode.
[00:01:01.660] – Hilary Erickson
Today’s guest has been a postpartum nurse for six years. That means she’s the nurse that you have after you have the baby. And I’ve actually found her on TikTok. I want to introduce today’s guest, mother baby nurse Jessica.
[00:01:16.310] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours, you can be prepared for the confident, collaborative delivery you want. You’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page from Bump to Bassinet. Join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15% with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes.
[00:01:51.450] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Jessica, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:01:54.110] – Jessica
Hi. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:55.660] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. So I met Jessica on TikTok. You have so much good postpartum information because you are a straight up postpartum nurse. Right?
[00:02:02.500] – Jessica
Well, I’m a mother baby nurse, so I work with moms postpartum after they have their baby and their newborns as well.
[00:02:08.760] – Hilary Erickson
Right. Just so you guys know, depending on what hospital you deliver at, it’s always called something different. Couple care, postpartum mother baby, you name it. Yeah. After baby. Yeah.
[00:02:19.630] – Jessica
They like to keep you on your feet.
[00:02:21.870] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Although I bet mother baby is going to go away. You think with all the verbiage changes?
[00:02:27.410] – Jessica
I don’t think so. I hope that it doesn’t because I don’t know. And I’ve worked in hospitals where it’s separate, where you have a postpartum nurse and a baby nurse. And I’ve worked in.
[00:02:37.990] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, no, I mean the name mother baby.
[00:02:40.150] – Jessica
Oh, the name mother baby. I hope not.
[00:02:45.270] – Hilary Erickson
It’s a better than like, postpartum or couple of care. So kind of like sterile, so who knows? So that’s where you go after you have a baby. You guys are confused. So I would deliver you in labor delivery. And then I would hand you off to a great nurse like Jessica.
[00:02:59.010] – Jessica
Yes. About 2 hours later.
[00:03:00.730] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. One of my hospitals that I worked at, we only got 1 hour. So it’s different for everybody at 2 hours seems to be the norm for most people anymore. I feel like, yeah.
[00:03:09.620] – Jessica
I think that’s kind of what a one standard a lot of times talks about is 2 hours.
[00:03:13.960] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay. So today we want to talk about these things that seem to catch everybody by surprise about postpartum, which I think a lot of things. I think you’re just like the baby’s out and it’s Sunshine and rainbows and just amazing. And there’s still some bumps in the road as you had after the baby, for sure.
[00:03:31.650] – Jessica
It’s funny, C section, moms. I think they’re always very shocked that they’re having postpartum bleeding. They’re like, well, I didn’t have a baby come out like that way. Why would I have bleeding? I’m like, no, you’re still going to have bleeding during your postpartum period. And a lot of times they’re just completely blown away by that.
[00:03:50.270] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Because most of your bleeding actually doesn’t come from your vagina. It comes from uterus.
[00:03:56.310] – Jessica
And everyone has one of those, whether you had a baby vaginal or C section.
[00:04:00.630] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. I would actually say my bleeding was the least on my fourth degree tear versus, like my third baby. Just because every baby bleed more, your uterus gets tired. Do you have babies at home, Jessica?
[00:04:11.820] – Jessica
I have a two year old daughter.
[00:04:13.500] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. So she’s done this too. All right. So I thought it would be fun for each of us to kind of go back and forth and talk about the different things that seem to surprise people. So I’m going to give my number one is because my blog is called Polly Curls Hair Loss. I felt like I was on chemotherapy and I was going to be both for sure.
[00:04:33.230] – Jessica
What’s funny about that is it doesn’t actually hit until like a couple of months postpartum. And so people think, oh, I’m in the clear. My bleeding is done. I’m good. And you’re like, wait, what’s happening?
[00:04:44.380] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. So you grow this luscious Mane while you were pregnant and you get all this extra hair. It’s probably from all the blood flow and the hormones and you’re just growing lots of things when you’re pregnant. And then those disappear and boom, goodbye, luscious lot. But you’re really just going back to the hair you had before? Most likely.
[00:05:01.270] – Jessica
Yeah. You don’t shred as much hair when you’re pregnant.
[00:05:04.440] – Hilary Erickson
[00:05:04.920] – Jessica
It all stays in there.
[00:05:06.400] – Hilary Erickson
[00:05:06.670] – Jessica
So it’s because you don’t shred all that hair and then you do goodbye hair. So you’re playing catch-up.
[00:05:12.650] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And then a lot of times people will see they get the Wispies, like on the top of their head. They’ll be like, here’s my little postpartum. So all that’s super normal. And just to be expected and get one of those things for your drain so your husband’s not mad when you plug it.
[00:05:27.510] – Jessica
Oh, that’s a good tip. Yeah, for sure. One of my things talks about, like, swelling if you had a vaginal delivery. Like, even if you didn’t tear, a lot of women do tear. Even if you had no tears or small tears, you’re going to feel like you’re walking around with a ball between your legs. You sometimes feel just uncomfortably swollen. And that’s totally normal. Ice will be your friend.
[00:05:51.300] – Hilary Erickson
Yes, man, I love me a good ice pack. And that’s so normal because as the baby comes through, there, the tissues stretch, and then when it’s done, the tissues get a little angry. That that happens.
[00:06:03.390] – Jessica
[00:06:04.530] – Hilary Erickson
So I always keep an eye. I tell all my patients, if you’re not feeling it cold anymore, ask for a new ice pack, obviously, and you’re not asleep, ask for a new ice pack because. Yeah, just change them out as much as you can for sure.
[00:06:14.930] – Jessica
It will really help with that swelling.
[00:06:16.870] – Hilary Erickson
And it’s weird.
[00:06:17.580] – Jessica
A lot of women, on the second day, they complain of being sore down there, and they weren’t sore the day before. And I’m like, have you been using your ice? Well, no. I thought that I was done with it. You use your ice, it will help even on the second day.
[00:06:30.020] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And there’s those padsicles you can make ahead of time that are like witch Hazel. And what else do you put in alloe…
[00:06:36.070] – Jessica
Aloe witch Hazel. I like the diaper trick. I think that’s like one of my favorite things.
[00:06:43.170] – Hilary Erickson
[00:06:43.620] – Jessica
Where you cut a diaper and you put ice on it and it absorbs the ice and it absorbs any bleeding. And you don’t have to make them ahead of time if you’re not like a super DIY mom. Right.
[00:06:53.750] – Hilary Erickson
I think I saw somebody made them like a padsicle, which would be handy because as a padsicle, thoughts, like a regular postpartum pad is not going to absorb all that, which will plus your blood. So you’re going to have some leakage. But if you just use a diaper, don’t use a newborn one. Use like a size one, and they get in there that it will absorb all that and you won’t end up leaking. So I thought that was a smart idea. Okay, awesome. All right. I actually thought of swelling in your legs when you were saying swelling, because that’s super normal. When you have a C section or vaginal delivery, we just pump you full of fluids in labor and delivery, especially if you had an epidural. We give you extra fluids to make sure that your blood pressure stays up and you will find that your legs are just swollen and it’ll totally go away. And you’ll pee like a racehorse and it’ll be totally fine. But don’t be surprised if you’re like, wow, I thought this was going to go away.
[00:07:42.210] – Jessica
Yes. Bringing an extra pair of bigger shoes is like one of the things I tell people in your hospital bag. No one tells you that you may need bigger shoes to leave the hospital because their feet may be so swollen.
[00:07:53.520] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Or just some street worthy slippers will probably be a welcome addition. A lot of people end up bringing flip flops to the hospital anyway. So you just cramped out in those, I guess when you’re done. Okay. Do you have another one?
[00:08:04.970] – Jessica
Another one would be the postpartum cramps. And you’re a mum of multiple babies, so you probably remember how the more babies you have, the worse those postpartum cramps are for each one. It’s a lot worse whenever you’re, like breastfeeding or pumping. And those are normal things, like going to often can really help with it and like a heating pad.
[00:08:24.760] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, that’s good. Those are good advice. Yeah. On my third baby, I was like, that’s when I need the epidural, where is my anesthesiologist? I almost called one of my anesthesiologists to be like, hey, I know I’m at home, but any chance you just buy because they are.
[00:08:39.760] – Jessica
Yeah. It gets tired like that baby, it’s open, it’s gone back down. It’s gotten big and small over and over again. And it’s doing a lot of work. And you’re filling that work.
[00:08:52.440] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And you bleed more and you have bigger clots. Just your uterus.
[00:08:56.390] – Jessica
[00:08:56.990] – Hilary Erickson
It’s tired and it’s longer. The bleeding took longer on each baby, at least for me. I have heard some people that are like, well, it’s the same for everyone. And I’m like, man, your uterus is top notch. Yeah. I was going to say pain, because a lot of times those postpartum cramps come especially with breastfeeding. And so when we latch the baby on, you get like a little dose of oxytocin, which is a lot of times what we give you to induce you. So your body all of a sudden clamps down on your uterus began so that you don’t die. I mean, all of this is meant to keep all that blood inside your body, which is where we like to keep our blood not outside our body. So, yeah, it’s not fun, but just expect it. You can take ibuprofen. I love what Jessica said, heating pack and Heing. Because a lot of times if your bladder is full, your uterus doesn’t clamp down as easily.
[00:09:45.150] – Jessica
Yeah. Your bladder is right next to your uterus. So if you think about it filled up, it pushes on the uterus and that’s more work. So you got to fill that work. I always tell Moms, before you breastfeed, get up, go pee, change everything, and then feed baby. And hopefully everyone can get a nap after.
[00:10:01.600] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And then you’ve already peed. Yes. Good job. I think that’s such a smart idea. I like those tips because also I was thinking probably on my third baby, I held more urine because I was just busier, right?
[00:10:13.080] – Jessica
[00:10:13.980] – Hilary Erickson
Trying to get the things done, that’s for sure. All right. Another one of mine is depression, and I think it’s really it’s really normal to have these baby Blues, which can feel very much like depression, especially on day three to four, for things to just feel like they’re falling apart, like the sky is falling. This is never going to get any better. The adrenaline of delivery is over, and you’re welcome to your new reality.
[00:10:35.730] – Jessica
Yeah. And it’s crazy because you can have those happy tears and sad tears. Like, people think of baby Blues and they think of just feeling, like sad. But I remember crying about my Taco being good and being like, what is wrong with me? Why am I crying about this? And I’m not a crier, happy, tear, sad tier, totally normal. But if it’s lasting longer than those two weeks, you definitely need to get it checked out. And what’s crazy to me is I actually had a therapist friend of mine who says she sees more people around four to six months postpartum for actual postpartum depression and anxiety because you have another hormone shift that happens around them. They kind of think if you’re breastfeeding, that’s related to also starting solid around that time. I think it’s because you’re exhausted at that point. You’ve been on no sleep for so long. So just because you’re bleeding, son, don’t think that you can’t have, like, postpartum depression and anxiety.
[00:11:29.350] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I had Stephanie Mama therapy from TikTok on, and she said it’s like up until the first year, they can call it postpartum depression. Take care of yourself. And don’t be surprised when it happens. My friend who just had baby number ten, she’s always like, oh, this is the part where I just feel like crap and I need to just watch myself but know that this is normal and I’m going to get through it. So I think that’s such a good way to look at it.
[00:11:51.420] – Jessica
Yeah. And it’s nothing like Moms do wrong. Sometimes I think there’s this notion if I’m feeling sad or anxious, I’m not handling it well. It must be something I’m doing wrong. And you don’t have to have any kind of history of it. You don’t have to have anything that you’re doing wrong. It’s just postpartum, and it kind of stinks sometimes.
[00:12:10.390] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Well, and I think a lot of that hormone is Mother Nature giving you an intense love for that baby. She’s making strong emotions for tacos and babies and husbands.
[00:12:21.690] – Jessica
It’s how the world goes around. Like, you take care of your baby, your husband, you’re eating, you have all these weird emotions.
[00:12:29.730] – Hilary Erickson
I may have cried over a Taco, not even after a baby. I mean, tacos can be really good.
[00:12:35.070] – Jessica
Yeah, for sure.
[00:12:36.520] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Did you have another one?
[00:12:37.730] – Jessica
Yeah. Talking about hormones, those night sweats. Oh, my goodness. You have such a big crash of hormones happening postpartum that I remember waking up and it was around the time my milk came in. And it’s like, you got milk everywhere. You’re sweating everywhere. You need to change everything down there. And you’re like, well, this is super attractive. I feel disgusting. But postpartum night sweats are totally normal. And some women think I must be running a fever. Like something must be wrong. And it’s those postpartum floods. They’re intense.
[00:13:11.440] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Obviously, if you think you have a fever, just quickly check your temperature. But most likely it’s postpartum because usually if you have a fever, you’re going to have, like the achiness in addition to the night sweats. But yes, your sheets. And then you’re like, did I pee my bed? Because my sheets are wet. I don’t know what’s going on here.
[00:13:29.190] – Jessica
Don’t use your favorite sheets.
[00:13:31.310] – Hilary Erickson
And make sure I always tell people in the third trimester to make sure they put a waterproof mattress cover on their mattress just in case stuff comes out.
[00:13:38.800] – Jessica
I need it.
[00:13:41.670] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. And I think some of that is probably related to the fluids we give you. So the swelling I was talking about, some of it comes out in those night sweats. Your body is just releasing all of it and all that extra fluids you had during pregnancy. Your body is just like, let’s get rid of this. We don’t need it anymore, which Amen I’m not sad about that. Yeah. Anyway, did you have any other ones? Jessica?
[00:14:03.040] – Jessica
Something that I didn’t even think about until after I had my daughter is how common postpartum thyroid issues are. And postpartum gallbladder issues. I actually had my gallbladder taken out postpartum about nine weeks after I had my daughter. You have that, like, pain that’s at the base of your chest that is super intense, kind of out of nowhere. Usually it’s after you eat. And it was worse than labor pains for me, for sure. And when I went to the doctor to get it looked at, they’re like, oh, yeah, you’re postpartum super common. You’re going to have to have that removed. And I was like, oh, this is a common thing that everybody has. Yeah. And I was a postpartum nurse for like four or five years before I had my daughter and had no clue about that. And then my sister had postpartum thyroid issues and her doctor was like, yeah, this is super common. Who would have known?
[00:14:48.070] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Well, I mean, in our defense, we really don’t see you after sometimes like two weeks. We’ll get a mom readmitted, but that’s pretty much it. We don’t see you much after that’s.
[00:14:57.220] – Jessica
Pretty much it. Yeah. But it wasn’t a common thing that I heard about beforehand. And so if you feel like something’s wrong with your body, if you feel like something’s up, something’s not right, then go and get it checked out.
[00:15:09.760] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Especially because that could have been like a pulmonary embolism. Like blood clots are not uncommon after you have a baby. And then also I always get my eyes checked, like when baby is about six months old and dental visits once, you can leave babies safely for a period of time just because baby can mess with, like, all sorts of things.
[00:15:27.630] – Jessica
That is so true. Yeah. We go through a lot to have those babies.
[00:15:31.430] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I’ve been seeing them. So a lot of people whose teeth have been ruined by pregnancy.
[00:15:38.130] – Jessica
[00:15:39.550] – Hilary Erickson
Anyway, just be prepared for the postpartum period. When I started teaching prenatal classes from my hospital, Jessica, it really was like, it’s just Sunshine and rainbows. It was just like a whiff of a chapter about postpartum. And I was like, oh, no. And I just think it’s like almost the whole night where I was just like, let’s be really realistic about what you’re going to be facing when you go home. So then when I started teaching my own, I was like, we are not going to slide over that topic, people. We need to be aware.
[00:16:06.130] – Jessica
Yeah. That’s so important. Butterflies and rainbows.
[00:16:08.850] – Hilary Erickson
[00:16:09.070] – Jessica
People think that. And like breastfeeding. I actually had a dad once get really frustrated. He’s like, they told us it was going to be all butterflies and rainbows. Those were his exact words. He’s like, and it is not like, oh, no, it’s not. I’m sorry that you were told that, because that is a lie.
[00:16:24.150] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I think my prenatal class was in 2000, but it was literally just like, breastfeeding will just be natural and beautiful and you will enjoy it. And I was like, nothing like that at all.
[00:16:35.400] – Jessica
[00:16:36.450] – Hilary Erickson
I think getting prepared for your postpartum period is just as important as preparing for pregnancy. So you can take a lactation class. Get prepared. So follow Jessica on TikTok also for lots of good information.
[00:16:48.370] – Jessica
Yes, mother, baby, nurse. Jessica, I talk about all kinds of weird stuff. People are really obsessed when I talk about pee and stuff postpartum.
[00:16:57.030] – Hilary Erickson
I just don’t think we talk about it. Well, first off, a lot of people don’t talk about pee in public, unlike nurses who are just like, why would you not talk about pee in public?
[00:17:05.710] – Jessica
Yeah, it’s normal.
[00:17:06.950] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. But I think the more we can be like, this is totally normal. Just expect it. Here are some ways you can like you were saying, just use a heating pad and pee before. And then there are things we can small things we can do to make it easier. And I love it when we discuss stuff like that.
[00:17:20.760] – Jessica
For sure, the more you know ahead of time and have a good support system in place because you’re going to need that support postpartum more than you will, probably during pregnancy. A meal train is super helpful if you have friends that will put together a meal train. We didn’t make food at our house for like two weeks, and it was amazing.
[00:17:37.450] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Food trains are also super helpful and as a friend of pregnant people, I love that’s such an easy way to help out. It doesn’t take a lot of time for my own life. I just double a recipe and bring it over so yeah, take people up for sure. Thanks for coming on, Jessica.
[00:17:51.580] – Jessica
I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:17:54.400] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, guys, I hope you found that episode helpful because like I said in the beginning you’re postpartum for I’m like so postpartum I’m 20 years postpartum right now and when I die I’ll be 80 years postpartum so you have a lot more postpartum life than you do pregnancy life, if that makes sense. So get prepared. That’s why I have those two chapters in my class. I have one on what to expect postpartum in the hospital and one on what to expect in those weeks and months once you go home so definitely get prepared.
[00:18:22.240] – Hilary Erickson
Don’t miss next week’s episode where we are talking about your organization questions. I got them off social media and through my email list and I’m going to answer them on next week’s episode. And if you’re looking for more pregnancy information we’re talking about refusing exams during pregnancy the week after that.
[00:18:37.690] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly and until next time we hope you have a tangle free day.