Driving to the hospital question

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nori_garsi's picture
Joined: 10/31/06
Posts: 2069
Driving to the hospital question

So Chris brought up some concerns tonight and he suggested I ask you all for advice.

Chris works about 16 miles away from home but with traffic it can be an 1.5 hour commute. The hospital is another 10 miles from his work, 40 minutes to an hour away from the house.
He's concerned about having to drive home during rush hour if I go into labor(anywhere from 3-7), not to mention that once he got here it would be another hour before we could get to the hospital.

Since I didn't really labor on my own last time and I never felt my contractions I have no idea what to expect. Is it possible to drive yourself before things start getting super intense? One scenario we had was me driving to his work (the only bad time of day would be morning rush hour between like 7-10) and then he would drive from there. Is this something that sounds reasonable or do I have my head in the clouds? It's hard to know what it will be like since everyone and every birth is different, but we're kind of just talking through things trying to formulate a plan.

In an ideal world I would either go into labor in the middle of the night when there's no traffic and Chris is here or I would get admitted after an appt. when I'm right next to the hospital.

Any thoughts?

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

With DD1, I wouldn't have been able to drive myself and it was only a 15 minute drive. My contractions started off pretty strong. By the time i got to the hospital they were 4 minutes apart. They didn't hurt as much as at the end but I was definately past the point of thinking of anything else during a contraction.

Our plan this time was I would take a cab and DH would meet me here if we thought I couldn't wait for the 1+h r for him to get home + 30 minutes to the hospital.

cherylfhorn's picture
Joined: 08/24/08
Posts: 600

I drove myself 2 weeks ago but the contractions were tolerable. My doc said not to call them at this point till.they are 5 min apart & I can't function. So I know I won't be able to drive then. Is there a neighbor or someone you can call to drive you if necessary? My back plan is 911, original I know, lol, but its safer then getting in an accident during a contraction.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

good question! hmm, with ds1&2 I went in to labor very early in the morning, like 4am and 5am. So DH was home and he just drove me to the hospital, and our hospital is only about 5minutes from our house.

I would say it depends on how far along the labor is going, usually for me, I will walk around the house for 4-5hrs before we go to the hospital. If I were you, maybe start heading to the hospital sooner? I'd suppose it might be ok to drive yourself as long as the contractions are too strong yet..if anything I would call 911 and have an ambulance take you to the hospital, they can sure get you there quicker. Smile

Joined: 07/12/06
Posts: 831

We have the same scenario here. DH's commute is about 45 min. - 1 hr. in good traffic and then 1/2 hour from the house to the hospital. And our "sitter" is from Slovakia and doesn't have her American driver's license yet... she's working on it. So, hopefully, I go into labor when her husband is home and he can bring her over. Or DH can swing by on his way home from work and pick her and her baby boy up. And then she'll stay home with the kids while we go to the hospital. Thankfully, my labors have started out really slowly... I know I'm in labor, but it comes on slowly. I could see myself possibly driving to the hospital in early labor... but, we'll see how this one goes.

Roobear's picture
Joined: 03/26/08
Posts: 343

Hmm..we haven't really thought about this. My MIL lives 5 min from us, and we have good friends next door, and DH's work is only about 20 minutes away. We have a couple of options.

As far as calling 911, I'm not sure how it works in the US, but up here you don't get a choice where the ambulance takes you. We have a hospital with a maternity department less than 5 minutes from our house, and that is where they would take me even though I would have to be half dead to agree to go there! So keep that in mind if you are calling 911 for a ride to a specific hospital, find out if you even get a choice!

mandi04's picture
Joined: 08/10/03
Posts: 2272

I drove myself with DD1. I have yet to wait until they are unbearable to go to the hospital, my contractions really don't get unbearable until transition though and transition is quick, I wouldn't make it to the hospital if I waited until then since we live a good 30min from the hospital (in non-rush hour good weather traffic). I'll probably do what I did with DS this time around, when I started having contractions that seemed to be the real thing we drove into town and walked around some stores that were on the same street as the hospital till dh started panicing because I had to stop and breathe through them Lol I could have waited a bit longer but he was nervous. DH works a lot, so if I go into labor pretty much any day except Wednesday or Sunday there's a good chance he won't be home and he works past where my hospital is, so if he left his work and drove here to pick me up it'd probably be close to 2 hours until we actually got to the hospital. So I'm hoping that he's home when I go into labor, but if he's not I guess I'll either drive myself or call someone who is close to see if they can drop everything and get here right away. I have to call my mom or ILs anyways about the kids. I'm just not sure how it'll work, hopefully I'll go into labor at night or something.

heatherliz2002's picture
Joined: 02/02/08
Posts: 2273

I think that part of this question depends on how early you want to get to the hospital. I plan on waiting a while (assuming that things don't start out really fast... like you I didn't go into labor on my own last time, so I don't really know how my body will handle it), so I assume that there will be plenty of time not only for DH to get home (if he's at work) but also for my friend who is taking Catie to get to my house. If things go super fast I'm not really sure what will happen, but I don't really expect that to be the case. But I do plan on waiting to go in until I definitely could not drive myself. I'm hoping that by that time, DH and my doula will be with me, and DD will be at my friend's house.

nori_garsi's picture
Joined: 10/31/06
Posts: 2069

Thanks for your input ladies.

Our situation is a bit frustrating. We have no friends or family close by and because of our travel and busy schedules, we haven't had a chance to get to know our neighbors yet. We also have no sitter for Brandon so if no one is here at the house with us I'll have to call MIL or BIL & SIL to pick up Brandon at the hospital (BIL & SIL are about 30 minutes from the hospital, MIL about 2 hours).

I can't call 911 or they will take me to the hospital 5 minutes away, I don't have a choice. I would do it in an emergency but it's not really an option.

I do like the taxi idea. That might work if I can't drive myself to his work.

We do have plans for MIL and my dad to take shifts visiting in the weeks leading up to the birth but they can't be there all the time so we're trying to plan for the various scenarios.

Hopefully I will go into labor when Chris is here and we won't need to go through all those crazy scenarios.

Nell4Him's picture
Joined: 10/25/06
Posts: 2455

So does this mean you get your VBAC? Smile

With both my boys I never got the point in labor where I needed to worry about going in. I ended up being augmented medically (pit the first time, cervadil the 2nd). So I'm kinda in the same boat as you, but my hospital is only 20minutes away in the worst traffic and there's a bunch of side roads we could take.

My plan is (if DH isn't with me) to call my parents (they are child care for us anyway) and if only one of them is in town (like this weekend) then call my birthing coach to drive me there and DH will meet me there. My dad took notice of how DH rides his bike to work and said "He needs to start taking his truck!" But honestly, he can get to the hospital from his work faster on his bike than his truck and we can just car swap later. We'll have 2 or 3 days before I (and baby) get released. I don't leave the hospital without baby (provided we aren't transferred to the hospital with NICU), so if that means I stay one more day like last time, so be it.

ekcanada's picture
Joined: 05/06/09
Posts: 1707

I was thinking about this on the bus going hime yesterday in rush hour, what I would do if my water broke. I would definately call the ambulance. Even if I was term I think...

Maelani's picture
Joined: 01/09/10
Posts: 275

I have already got this figured out. Right now, DH is gone, so if I do happen to go into labor early, I have a friend in the wings ready to come in and pick me up and take me to the hospital if I am unable to drive myself. My last two pregnancies, I didn't drive myself, but I COULD have. The hospital is only about 15 minutes away from me, and there really isn't much of a "rush hour" around here, so unless labor really sneaks up on me and hits hard, I shouldn't have a problem driving myself. At the very least, they want us to wait a couple of hours before going in, so I could drive down to my friends house who lives about 2 blocks from the hospital very early in labor before the contractions start distracting me, and just labor there.

Most doctors want you to labor at home at least a couple of hours before you go in. So when you know "this is it" call your DH! That should give him plenty of time to get home and help you get ready, even in rush hour.

LizzyLaw06's picture
Joined: 05/20/07
Posts: 497

i'd rather use an ambulance than drive myself. maybe if contractions aren't bad. i was induced with DD, so i have no idea what the natural labor will be like so that worries me itself.

lamonsgrl's picture
Joined: 09/18/04
Posts: 1023

I have no advice for you. I was a scheduled c/s so I didn't have to worry about it. I'm worried a little about going into labor this time. There is road construction EVERYWHERE!!! Can't go anywhere here in town without it. Hope I don't go into labor and need to hurry to the hospital.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I think since you haven't gone into labour it is hard to say. I'm now 2/2 for having contractions start to being painful in a very short time. In most cases, you should have several hours where you have contractions in which case you would have enough time for your husband to get home and take you in.

Given that this time I had about an hour from when the monitor started detecting contractions to delivery, DH thinks if we go for 3 kids I should just call an ambulance when i start contracting Wink

I would have several options to fit the different senarios.

turtnjay's picture
Joined: 02/24/09
Posts: 2095


Is there somewhere near tge hospital (or DH's work) that you could walk around? I ask because if contractions start but are bearable and far apart, you could drive down and just let him know to meet you at point A and walk for a while to get things to a certain point.

On my last BB, a woman was trying to VBAC and her plan was to drive to a WalMart that was very close to the hospital and just walk the store until things got unbearable to which her DH would then drive her to the hospital. (She wanted to be sure she didn't get there too early.)

Cherrykitten's picture
Joined: 07/03/08
Posts: 700

Too funny I actually brought this up with the DR yesterday at my appointment. I'm an hour from the hospital and DH works right by it so when if I call him and tell him to come home I have anywhere from 1.5-3 hours until i get to the hospital. Doctor said if I am seriously concernened about it to head down at the first signs of labor to get checked out. If it's "time" then we are good to go and if it's not they will more than likely keep me for an hour or two of monitoring just in case so I don't have to drive back and forth.

I am lucky however that my MIL & SIL live about 15 minutes from the hospital so i will more than likely drive to there house with DS at the very first signs of labor and then labor at SIL's until DH gets there and everything gets moving. We've even contemplated heading down there around 39 weeks just in case so i don't have to tempt fate by being so far away :eek:. and if I called an ambulance they would take me to the closest hospital and i refuse to go there so I would be billed for the transfer to the other hospital. when i did that when DS was sick they charged me almost $400 and it wasn't covered under my insurance!