Your partner is having a baby, and you suddenly realise the due date is imminent…it’s okay, you think, you’ve completely sorted the route to hospital (timed it, driven it before) so you are ready. That’s all you needed to do right…right?
Before panic sets in, read below these 4 practical things that you can do before labour starts to be prepared. Check back on the blog in a couple of weeks for a list of 5 items to consider during labour.
Make sure the car is ready
Sounds simple right. I had a nightmare situation when (for our second baby) we switched cars at the last minute, and as I was driving to the hospital in the middle of the night I realised the petrol gauge was on zero (the fact that I am writing this will tell you that I was fortunate enough to find a petrol station that was open, although my wife never lets me forget what could have happened!). If you have more than one car, make sure each has enough petrol!
Your partner will most likely be in the back seat on the way to the hospital. Make sure you have sheets over the back seats in case of an emergency (it also protects the upholstery in case the waters are still breaking, but best not to mention that as a reason!).
Depending on which stage of labour your partner is in, she may prefer to sit in a different position than normal (it is common to be on all-fours). Therefore have pillows already in the car so you/she can arrange them as needed at the time.
Parking / Coins at the hospital
It would not go down well if you get to the hospital and then are trying to read the signs about where you can park, how much it is etc., particularly if it is in the middle of the night!
Usually there is a short-term parking next to the triage area – find out from the hospital where it is, how long you can park there for, and what you can do if it is full (usually it is only two/three spaces).
Then find out where you will need to go to long-term park, and how to get to the maternity ward from the main car park.Have a bunch of coins ready to pay for parking – the machine may not give change, or accept notes. Some hospitals now allow payment by an app – make sure you have downloaded the app and registered your vehicle and a payment card. That way you can park, pay and be with your partner as soon as possible.
Know how to time contractions
There are lots of apps which you can use to time contractions, some are very simple and some are all singing-all dancing.
One of your roles during labour will be to time contractions, so do your research beforehand, download an app you like, and figure out how to use it so you are ready when called upon. Try to go for something simple, as it may be a long labour, and you may be using the timer on and off for a while.
Know your hospital’s triage practice
Once your partner’s waters break, or once contractions are advanced, you will need to call the triage centre at the hospital to let them know that you are in labour. If you don’t know already, find out where your partner’s hospital file is, check where the triage number is located (or better yet save it down on your phone).
It is also useful to have discussed with your partner beforehand what questions you will need to ask the triage centre at that point.
The last thing you want is if your partner is in labour and you are asking them to help you find the file.
Next week’s blog will give you four more practical tips to consider.