A Scottish bride who gave birth on her wedding day says the early arrival of her unexpected little guest is the perfect wedding gift.
As a former wedding planner, Rebecca MacMillan knows better than most that timing is everything when it comes to planning your special day.
But when she and partner Nick Cheetham got the unexpected news of their impending parenthood just four weeks after their scheduled dream wedding, they were sure they had some free time.
Tiny wedding interloper Rory has other ideas.
To her surprise, Rebecca gave birth on the morning of her wedding.
She was delivering her baby son by emergency C-section just when she was supposed to be getting ready to walk down the aisle.
She believes that little Rory obviously doesn’t want to miss his parents’ special day.
“Every bride wants an unforgettable wedding, and Rory made ours more memorable than most,” said Rebecca.
“We didn’t end up getting married, but we had the most beautiful baby boy.
“We may have lost most of our wedding money, but the joy of having a son is priceless.”
Hairdresser Rebecca, 32, and skills and competency manager Nick, 36, got engaged last July after meeting and dating online for five years.
The Stirling-based couple booked their wedding at Gartmore Village Hall in the heart of the Trossachs National Park on Saturday, May 21, and set about organising everything from catering to videographers.
Rebecca is convinced she is unlikely to give birth a month before her baby’s June 20 due date.
She said: “When I was a wedding planner, I never worked with pregnant brides. I don’t think most people are crazy enough to get married while pregnant – just me.
“When we first found out we were going to have a baby, we were actually going to postpone the wedding, but after going through the coronavirus pandemic, we realised that life was too short and decided ‘let’s go for it’.
“We used to joke that our kids would arrive on their wedding day – never thought it would happen.
“I also have daily conversations with my hairdressing clients, and I always say ‘As long as I get it right’ — but it’s not.”
Rebecca, who was planning to have eight bridesmaids at her wedding, said the unwanted pregnancy caused them to change some wedding plans.
She said: “I had to buy a new wedding dress – four sizes were too big for me – because my original wedding dress was small.
“My hen weekend plans had to be designed around my pregnancy – but we still had a great time, in Port Patrick, where we had aromatherapy workshops, dressed up as rock and pop stars, and went out to dinner.
“But other than that, I’m probably a little naive, believing that everything will be alright, and I’ll be rocking the wedding dance floor.”
Rebecca said she became concerned that their baby might arrive early the day before the wedding, as she and Nick and family decorated the hall where they held the reception.
She said: “I woke up on Friday morning feeling great.
“Friday afternoon, we set up the lobby.
“Our mums started setting the table, setting up the bar, and we got all the chairs for the ceremony.
“Everything looked great and had a nice buzz, but I didn’t feel right.
“At night, I became paranoid, the so-called midwife.
“She assessed me and said my symptoms were fine at the time and I should be fine, but if there were any changes I would call me.
“We had a pre-wedding dinner with my parents and then I slept in a B&B for the night while Nick stayed at a nearby hotel.”
Rebecca woke up early in the morning because her water had broken.
She calmly called the hospital, packed her bags, and called Nick to tell him she was on her way.
She said: “As I was leaving, I knocked on the bridesmaids’ door and told them I was going to hospital.
“I had to drive myself because I was the only one who didn’t drink at dinner.”
Driving to the hospital, Rebecca said both she and Nick wanted to be told they could go ahead with their wedding plans because her contractions hadn’t started.
But upon arriving at Valley Forth Hospital in Rabert, they were told her child was on the way.
When Nick contacted their wedding supplier to cancel their big day, their family did their best to contact all 200 guests.
Rebecca said: “All the nurses and midwives knew our story and told us how sorry they were for the wedding. All the hospital staff were so kind and absolutely amazing.
“Our local family and friends gathered at the venue to start dismantling the wedding – collecting my clothes, decorations, jewelry, cakes, you name it, and putting it all back in storage for the next big day.
“It’s really lovely that everyone is worried and excited for us. Some people think it’s an end.”
When medical staff noticed that Rebecca’s unborn baby’s heartbeat began to drop with each contraction, worryingly, the decision was made to send her to the operating room for an emergency C-section.
Baby Rory Ian William Cheetham was born at 11.40am, weighing 5lb 3oz, for his parents’ wedding.
Many wedding guests gathered at the wedding venue organized drinks and toasts for the newly-weds.
“We had a Facebook page for our wedding, so we posted a picture of Rory and told everyone he was here,” Rebecca said.
Rebecca and Nick believe that delaying their wedding hours before it was due could cost them up to £12,000.
They hope to eventually marry and continue their dream wedding sometime in the future.
They’ll make sure their youngest son grows up knowing the chaos and expense of his dramatic early arrival.
Rebecca, who attended an informal wedding cake-cutting ceremony at the hospital with Nick and her midwife, said: “We paid the final balance two weeks before the wedding.
“We paid for the venue, catering, band, photographer, videographer, humanist celebration, cake, kilt hire, bar, flowers, hair and make-up and Nick even booked me a surprise piper.
“Piper and the photographer said they would be happy to move our booking to a new date.
“Our caterer also offered to transfer the date – a baby hug from Rory – for a small fee.
“Hopefully some others will do the same because I’m not sure how we’ll be able to afford it again.
“I’ve spoken to Rory and he knows he won’t get his pocket money until he’s 18.”