When My Water Broke During Labor it was Bright Green! What That Means and How it Changed My Birth

by Megan Mangiaracino

When My Water Broke During Labor it was Bright Green! What That Means and How it Changed My Birth

Going into birth, I had a plan. I knew that there was a chance that it wouldn’t go according to my one-pager typed up and handed to every nurse and doctor on the floor. But I felt empowered knowing that I had made my wishes clear in advance of the labor haze.

Birth started out surprising for me, because I progressed more quickly than I expected as a first-time mom. After just a couple of hours of at-home labor, my contractions were close enough together to need to go to the hospital. When I arrived, I was already 6cm dilated.

Before they admitted me to a labor suite, they wanted to check my vitals and dilation to be sure I was truly “in labor.” (I guess my very vocal contraction management wasn’t selling it.) While on the bed in the pre-labor area, my water broke. And it shocked me to see that it was BRIGHT GREEN! A spitting image to the green beer we enjoy every St. Patrick’s Day.

“Is that normal?” I remember asking. “Not usually…” the timid new nurse replied. When the more senior nurse returned, she explained to me what it meant. My baby had a meconium (he pooped in the womb and it mixed with the amniotic fluid) and the fear was that he might inhale it (meconium aspiration).

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) can be serious, but it usually is not. It can partially or fully block baby’s airways, making it difficult to breathe. It was our hospital’s protocol to have a neonatologist present for the birth, to ensure that my baby did not aspirate.

The nurse did a wonderful job explaining all of this to me, without causing panic. At this point, my labor was all systems GO and I didn’t have time to freak out. I was just focusing on breathing (and doing bedside squats – though that’s a story for another day) through every contraction.

Better Than Beethoven

Soon (err, relatively), it was time to push. This was another surprising experience. After I pushed his head out, it was only one more half-push and the rest of his body slipped right on out. I guess I expected him to be half-in, half-out for a while! In one swift move the baby was mid-air, upside down, the umbilical cord was cut and he was on the table with the neonatologist.

But, he wasn’t crying.

My husband immediately went over to the baby and watched (a few feet back) as they quickly suctioned his throat and nose. To be honest, it all happened so fast (and I was still in shock by what my body just did) that just as the panic began to rise up, his cry filled the room. And it put Beethoven’s Fifth to shame (IMHO).

Because he was already over on the little work table (I’m sure there’s an official name for that), the doctors and nurses went ahead and weighed/measured him and wrapped him in a blanket with the quintessential pink and blue hat. They handed him to me like this.

Birth Plan Disappointments

A happy ending? Of course. But it came with some birth plan disappointments. I was hoping for immediate skin-to-skin time after delivery. I had requested his umbilical cord to not be cut right away (to allow his heart to have more cord blood access) and for my husband to have the option to cut the cord. I wanted to delay newborn procedures (like measuring, weighing, etc.) to give us more time to bond and acclimate.

And yet, I’m eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses at our hospital for how they prioritized my baby’s health and safety while still honoring my birth plan wishes whenever it was possible. It didn’t all go as planned –and green beer will never be the same– but I feel so lucky!

Did something surprise you at your birth? Share your story with us and #babyboldly.

Interested in seeing my birth plan? Message me on facebook or insta (@BabyBoldly) and I’m happy to share it with you!

Bold Momma on the Blog Today

Megan is co-founder of Baby Boldly and a full-time nonprofit fundraiser in Florida. She has been married to Mike for 3 years and (if you don’t count her furbaby, Max) she became a mom to Bennett in 2017. Megan believes strongly in supporting women (especially working mothers), the power of optimism and generosity, and the sacred tradition of Showtunes Friday in her car.

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