WHEN she first fell pregnant, Beth Dempsey was determined to find out everything she could about giving birth – but that didn’t quite go to plan.
The mum-of-two, 27, a blogger and ward clerk from Wolverhampton, says pregnancy literature is way too focused on the baby – and tells you almost nothing about what will actually happen as a mum.
Here, Beth, who’s mum to Oscar, 4, & Eden, 1, reveals what the experience is REALLY like, so no woman has to give birth unprepared…
When I first fell pregnant five years ago , I expected to be glowing, grow a Malteser-style baby bump and only throw up in the mornings – but soon realised I’d been mis-sold the experience.
Determined the same wouldn’t happen with labour and birth, I made it my mission to be informed, aware and ready for what was coming.
As a result, I spent my maternity leave watching back to back episodes of One Born Every Minute, with a side dish of Knocked Up.
I thought I was seeing the drama, the supportive partner, even some of the pain these women were going through. I felt prepared, maybe even a little smug. “There’s no pulling the wool over my eyes,” I thought.
But when I woke up leaking milk from my boobs at just under 30 weeks pregnant, it was unexpected to say the least. For the first three nights, I genuinely thought I’d developed an extreme dribbling problem.
I’d heard many women have to wait until three days after giving birth for their milk to come in, so I definitely wasn’t expecting this.
The leaking t*ts continued to haunt me – my most memorable moment being when everyone at work was staring at me, then spying myself in the mirror and realising my sports bra and work shirt had soaked through, so much they were practically see-through.
I wish I could say that was the ONLY pregnancy mishap to happen at work, but sneezing and pissing myself was a regular occurrence, to the point I always had spare pants in my bag.
I’d planned to keep my pregnancy a secret, but how I’ll never know. I suppose I just wasn’t expecting any of this.
Naively, I thought I knew it all after watching pregnancy documentary after pregnancy documentary. But I’d never seen an episode where someone turned up thinking they were in labour at 34 weeks, only to find out that they just needed to fart….
The midwives were very kind and told me it happens ALL the time, I think they were trying to spare me the embarrassment. Having to text my boss to tell her it wasn’t premature labour, but a fart was the icing on the cake!
Five weeks later, I found myself sniffing my pants to see if my waters had broken or I’d just peed myself. After convincing my partner Dean to have a whiff of the sodden pad too, we confirmed it was the latter.
Despite those two scares, I ended up going into labour and dot on my due date – July 30, 2016.
Labour was everything BUT what I’d expected – 72 hours of pure exhaustion, agony and irritation at all the well-meaning texts asking if I’d actually given birth yet.
I’d romanticised the experience of using a birthing pool but ended up looking like Winnie the Poo crossed with a mooing cow.
While birthing a baby might be a magical experience for some, watching a midwife play a low budget game of Hook a Duck collecting my floating poop from the pool wasn’t something I would label magical or empowering.
When he finally arrived, my 7lb 5oz baby Oscar got stuck straight on my burger nips, barely giving me time to shout “he’s bloody huge – quick take him” before I vomited everywhere.
At around 20 weeks pregnant, my nipples had overnight turned into giant burger patties which were constantly poking out of the bottom of my crop top.
I’ll also never forget biting a towel during my first post-birth toilet trip and only finding out AFTER I could have taken stool softeners to make the whole experience more bearable – it felt like I was giving birth to a hedgehog from my arse.
After recovering from the whole ordeal, I wrote my book, So You’re Pregnant, Now What?! so no woman would have to give birth unprepared.
I didn’t want anyone else to face the embarrassment of thinking a fart was a contraction and wanted to let women know s***ting yourself during labour is totally normal.
Giving birth was definitely not my favourite experience, but it was easier the second time round – thanks to my newfound knowledge.
Bethany has also written So You’ve Got a Newborn, Now What?! You can buy Bethany’s books here.
Read about how this 12lb 9oz baby – and how TWO doctors had to pull him out.
Plus, this mother gave birth to her triplets 5 DAYS apart – they were born in different decades.
And this mother who thought she was hungover after a night on the tiles – but ended up giving birth to a surprise baby.
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