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getting to London hospital - no car

(21 Posts)
babyphat Sat 09-Aug-08 21:16:28

i had planned for a homebirth so hadn't bothered thinking about how to get to hospital - figured the only way i'd be going in was in an ambulance if i needed to be transferred. Now because of bleed at 28 weeks have to have babe in hospital.

Any Londoners used minicabs to get there or do I need to rope in a friend who won't mind being woken in the middle of the night? I'd really rather not have to go with the friend route tbh - the ones I have in mind are the slightly over-involved type and i'd rather be puffing and panting in anonymity...

I'm assuming calling an ambulance wouldn't go down too well (they clearly thought I was overreacting when I did call one at 28 weeks )

Oh, and I do have a car seat for the drive back, courtesy of SIL, so at least that bit is sorted. Again, any thoughts on cabs for that bit?

WhyIsItRaining Sat 09-Aug-08 21:47:31

We jumped in a black cab. But be warned, lots of cabs/ minicabs are reluctant to take a heavily pregnant panting woman. Can't imagine why...

vannah Sat 09-Aug-08 22:04:21

how far are you (driving) from the hospital? Isnt there a local cab company you've used a few times that you know and trust?
You could get practising with them...
I would have done that, its only a 6-7 min drive to our local hospital..

nellyonthetelly Sat 09-Aug-08 22:06:39

Hiya! I had my first baby at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson which is part of UCLH, its just off Tottenham Court Rd... The thing I was most concerned about was timing - although it was only 5 or 6 miles from my old flat in Wood Green, as you'll know thats going to take vastly different times as different times of the day, was lucky in that I needed to go in at about 8:30pm - A black cab is probably your best bet. I'm not sure how I'd have got into an ordinary car at that stage of my labour. I really wanted to go into hospital at about 6pm, but when you ring them, they'll probably keep putting you off til ur contractions are 3 minutes apart (or whatever I can't remember exactly. But it was awful being left alone whilst my partner ran round to the High St to flag down a black cab... and to be honest the fact that for ages b4 I kept thinking, hes going to have to go and leave me soon, made me really anxious so I'd recommend you either have more people with u so you don't get left alone or getting some numbers if thats possible. But believe me a black cab will give you the most room to manoevre. Also make sure partner knows the route well, and try to avoid speed bumps! My waters only broke in the latter stages of labour, but if it makes you feel more secure just bring an old towel to sit on. About getting home, I'm not sure what the rules are, although in a cab you are allowed to travel with a baby on your lap - I recall somehting about the hospital not discharging you without a car seat. Easiest thing since you're borrowing car seat is probably to make sure you can install it and book a cab and install it in the cab. Most car seats should be ok in most cars... isofix maybe more of a issue. I did meet a women who gave birth in the back of a people carrier that is a local taxi firms, she says its really wierd when she sees it sat outside their offices! Apparently there was quite a mess, and her Mother in Law dropped round some money to cover cleaning the next day. Final tip - I never have cash lying around but I'd stick however much you'd expect cab to be in your hospital bag, then you won't be looking for a cash dispenser on the way. Hope that helps in someway! At the end of the day you'll get there, and if it is in the rush hour, jst ignore the MWs and get the cab when you really think you need it. Good Luck XXX

Janni Sat 09-Aug-08 22:17:02

I got a minicab from Brockley to Guy's Hospital with DS1...and brought him home on the train, much to my mother's disgust - it was fine though!!!

WhyIsItRaining Sat 09-Aug-08 22:20:49

I wouldn't bother sending dp out to flag a black cab - call one up. Here's the info taken from the cabwise website;

"you can access 7,000 black cabs via just one telephone number – ‘One Number’ on 0871 871 8710. This new taxi booking service combines all six of London’s radio taxi circuits, allowing you to telephone 24 hours a day if you need to ‘hail a cab’."

WhyIsItRaining Sat 09-Aug-08 22:21:49

Just don't tell them you are in labour when you call up...

cthea Sat 09-Aug-08 22:30:54

Yep, that'll fool them

quickerthistimeplease Sat 09-Aug-08 23:02:18

I phoned my local minicab firm before I had DD to check if they'd take us (parking at Chelsea and Westminster hospital is about a million pounds an hour). They laughed and said would be fine. In the end I didn't use them but think would have been OK. Was mainly worried that Chelsea would be playing at home the day I went into labour and all the roads would be closed...
I actually nearly got the bus on my own as taxi said they'd be half an hour and I didn't actually realise I was in labour-just felt a bit 'odd' grin. In the end I phoned my sister who happened to be nearby. (DH was at work oblivious to all the goings on)

quickerthistimeplease Sat 09-Aug-08 23:04:04

I'd get a friend for the drive home- you want someone who will drive at about 3 miles an hour which a cab probably won't do. I've never known DH to drive so slowly.

theyoungvisiter Sat 09-Aug-08 23:07:32

According to my antenatal teacher, most London minicabs will take you in labour. Her tip was "they always like it if you take your own towel to sit on" - mmmm!

Poohbah Sun 10-Aug-08 18:59:23

I walked to Chelsea and Westminster.

notcitrus Sun 10-Aug-08 20:34:27

My antenatal teacher said check with local minicab firms first (so if eg it's 2am on a Saturday night you get priority!), and sit on a binliner and towel to reassure both you and the driver... Don't forget to have cash on hand for either cab or hospital car park (and hospital phones/food etc)

But failing that, call an ambulance.

pixsix Sun 10-Aug-08 20:48:06

I've been watching this thread with interest (even though I'm not due until December grin, I like to be prepared!)

Does anyone know, if you can't get a taxi or friend to take you and you have to call an ambulance, will they take you to the hospital that you're booked in to or do they just take you to the nearest one?

I'll be moving house at 36 weeks, currently booked at St Thomas' which is my closest hospital at the moment, and want to give birth there but it will be about 5 miles away from my house in Greenwich when I move and Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals will both be closer I think.

pudding25 Sun 10-Aug-08 22:14:50

I think the ambulance will take you to the nearest hospital.

I also had DD at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and in laws practised the route 500 times! (ended up getting induced which avoided the mad panic dash).

I was tempted to use a cab as my mil drives at 2 miles per hr and has a tendancy to get lost.

babyphat Sun 10-Aug-08 23:15:10

thanks everybody, very reassuring. i'll ring round a couple of minicab firms in advance but try for a black cab. V good to know I won't need to wake friends in middle of night. And good point re rush hour Nelly, for some reason i have just been assuming it will be 3 in the morning...

gladders Tue 12-Aug-08 14:27:46

pixsix - had similar query - booked at st thomas but in emergency at 23 weeks dashed to lewisham - they said an ambulance would always take you to the closest one...

think st sthomas is more than 5 miles away? certainly felt it in rush hour when we finally went! but don't panice - i did have a night in lewisham and it was fine - i seriously thought about transferring there just to make journey easier...

Alexa808 Wed 13-Aug-08 05:09:04

I would call Addison Lee and pre-pay by credit card. They have Volvos or whatever it is: black, slightly like SUV, very comfy.

Tel: 0207 387 8888.

pixsix Wed 13-Aug-08 16:36:50

Thanks for your message gladders, I thought it was about 5 miles but my geography is notoriously rubbish so you're probably right!

If I was already in Greenwich I would transfer to Lewisham but I'll be over 36 weeks by the time we move and I've already moved once and had to change hospitals at 20 weeks and I've now been to St Thomas for booking and an emergency appointment and will have ante-natal classes there. I'd like to go there for the birth as I'll know a bit more about it and I really don't want to change hospitals again!

However, if it comes to an emergency, I'm sure I won't mind which hospital I go to as long as my baby is ok.

e14mum Thu 14-Aug-08 17:27:11

second Addison Lee. They were great at 3:30am. No issues or questions.

Midwinter Thu 14-Aug-08 19:26:28

Third Addison Lee. No problems what so ever with them and I was in very full blown labour. Arrived at hospital 10 cm dilated. Took a towel and rubbish sack to sit on but didn't need them

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