A very common fear among fathers to be is failing to get their partner to the hospital on time when they go in to labour. The reason for this is quite simple, you have no idea where or when your partner is going to go into labour. It could happen while you are at home one evening, maybe while she is at work, or it could be on a commuter train in the middle of rush hour. It is pretty much impossible to know. Whilst part of this fear comes from hoping your partner and baby have a safe delivery, the overriding fear is that much like a movie scene, you may end up needing to deliver the baby in a Starbucks toilet at 9am because there is no way to make it to the hospital in time with the rush hour traffic. As a result, it is important to prepare well in advance.
What is the fastest route?
The first part of the planning process is quite simple, you need to work out the fastest route from all potential locations. If it happens while you are at home, where is the hospital? How long will it take you to get there? Are you driving, getting a taxi, phoning an ambulance, waiting for your uncle to come and drive you? Factor all of this into the route time. The same plan should be put in place for all common locations that you could possibly be. What is the fastest route from your partners workplace? Would you meet her at work and then go to the hospital together or would you meet her there? If so, how does she get to the hospital? What happens if she goes in to labour on the commute? You get the idea, but you will be amazed at how few people plan for this adequately.
What if it all goes wrong?
The next step is contingency planning. What do you do if it doesn’t go to plan? You may have made a plan to get a taxi to the hospital if you are at home, as you don’t have a car, but what do you do if Uber doesn’t have any cars nearby? What if rush hour means there is no way to get through traffic? What if there is an accident and the road is closed, or the train is cancelled? None of this is going to worry you, because you will have planned like a boy scout and know exactly how to navigate the backstreets and cut through the nearby forest to get to the hospital with plenty of time to go because you put in place contingencies. Then when you think you have it covered, prepare contingencies for your contingencies.
Do you know where the entrance is?
This may seem pretty obvious, but do you know which entrances are open at 2am at the hospital? Are you supposed to go to A&E, the main reception, straight to the maternity ward? Its highly likely the only time you have been to the hospital up until this point is during business hours. It looks very different at night! I know from personal experience, my wife and I arrived at the hospital after midnight and we realised pretty quickly that the entrance we would have normally used was closed and everything was pitch black! After lots of swearing, panicking and doing a lap of the outside of the hospital, I finally realised that we were supposed to use the same entrance, but there was a little cabin opposite the entrance where the night guard would sign you in and then take you in through the locked entrance. It would have been great to know this in advance and it would have been a lot less stressful!