Your partner is in labor, you've rushed out the door, and now you're in the emergency room. Your mind is focused on Mom, not hospital admission forms.
Have you ever entered the doors of any large institutions that didn't require you to fill out paperwork?
Medical staff will start testing and monitoring your partner and the baby as soon as you arrive. This "triage" procedure helps them determine how imminent delivery may be or whether there are immediate problems with the childbirth. In most cases, this leaves you in charge of the paper. If your partner is whisked off while you're handling admission forms, find out the following:
• Where they are taking her
• Where she will be after you're done filling out forms
• Whether you can defer some or all of the paperwork until after you've helped your partner settle in and you get a better handle on where you are in the labor process
Make sure you're already carrying your health insurance cards and identification at all times, as you'll need those right away at the hospital.
A growing number of hospitals and birthing centers allow you and your partner to fill out some forms weeks ahead of time. This may reduce—but not eliminate—the info you must provide and papers you must sign upon your arrival.
The hospital will want proof of insurance, contact information for you, the name of your physician(s), etc. You may also need to sign release forms to give permission for the facility to treat your partner, takes tests, and provide other services. If you have questions or are unsure about the information they’re seeking, arrange to provide the material later, after the birth.
You may also need some determination if you're not married and encounter resistance about your role, responsibilities, and access from any staff. Be patient (yelling only increases resistance) while asserting your place and your voice.
Adapted from Idiot's Guides: Pregnancy for Dads by Joe Kelly, copyright 2014 Alpha Books and used by permission.