Don’t leave it up to your partner to make sure that you’ll have everything you need at the hospital. “You definitely have to take care of yourself, because it could be a long labor and you have to be there for it,” says Armin Brott, author of Father Knows Best: The Expectant Father, Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be.
And don’t assume you’ll have time while she’s in labor to get a bag together. Paul Oswald from Conyngham, Pennsylvania, and his wife rushed to the hospital one Sunday evening sure that the baby was on its way. But her labor was progressing slowly, so with his wife’s blessing he left the hospital around midnight to get some things together at home. “The nurses later told me that they could literally see my shadow getting on the elevator when my wife screamed out in pain,” he says. Oswald got home to find a message on his machine announcing the birth of his son.