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Linda Murray: It helps to map out the most direct route to the place where you'll give birth and an alternate route or two in case of bad traffic or other problems. Make sure you always have plenty of gas in the car, starting about a month before your due date, since you may have to leave in a hurry.
Buy and install an infant car seat. You can't drive your baby home without one. Car seats can be tricky to install, but groups like Safe Kids USA, AAA, and your local fire department want to help you do it right and will inspect it for you when you're done. Many will even help you for free. Tackle seat installation a month or so before your due date so you're not faced with the last-minute rush.
Pack a bag to bring with you to the hospital or birth center. The truth is you'll probably have plenty of time during early labor to get this stuff together, but it gives many women peace of mind to have it done ahead of time. Of course, some of the things you use every day will have to be added at the last minute. Make sure to include your driver's license or ID, insurance card, and any hospital paperwork, along with your birth plan, if you have one. You'll also want to tuck in your cellphone and charger, eyeglasses, basic toiletries, a camera, a nursing bra, and comfortable clothing for you and the baby for the trip home.
Mom 1: The child seat is in the backseat of the car, and so the front-seat passengers push way up, and he's 6’-3”, 220, and so his driver’s seat's pushed way back, and we're like, “Where am I going to fit?” I'm this pregnant girl, and I'm like squished in the way back seat of the car, just going, "Can you hurry up? We're ready to go."
Dad: I heard this, "Oh, no," and I run out, and there's amniotic fluid all over the floor, and it was six weeks early, and we hadn't really prepared anything, so I was just throwing random items into the birth bag—the birth bag, which was like the knapsack that just happened to be there.
Mom 2: So he gets in the backseat first, and I just—there was no choice but to lay down with my head on her lap, because that was the best position just to deal with the pain, and my husband started driving. He's trying to tell me where we are, and I'm like—I’m just—the pain was really strong then, so I think there was some yelling.
Mom 3: So I kind of went from this like leisurely, long time from everybody relaxing to like, "Oh my goodness, we have to rush to get out of the house." Nobody packed snacks, food. Like there's a whole list of things you're supposed to pack and get ready, and they were packing up everything at that moment while I was in the shower, which was lovely. It was probably the most excruciatingly long trip. It was the best time of my husband's life because he felt like he was able to drive fast, right? And it didn't matter.