Stop the wedding I’m having a baby
Kim Clayton, 31, couldn’t wait to be her best friend’s chief bridesmaid, but then her baby decided to make an early entrance…
I t was my first day in a new job and as I walked into the office, my stomach churned. Desperate to find a friendly face, I scanned the room until one popped up from behind a desk. “Hello, I’m Sam!’’ blurted a friendly face with a huge, beaming smile. “I’ll show you around.’’
We clicked immediately. Sam Holpin told me who to avoid and who to be nice to – and we soon realised we had the same sense of humour.
With our desks side by side, our friendship blossomed. Both committed to long-term relationships, we loved going to the cinema and both had close-knit families. That was why I understood her fear when one morning she told me her mum was ill.
“It’s cancer,’’ she said. “It doesn’t look good.’’ I saw instantly the agony she was going through. But we hardly talked about it at work. For Sam, the Kent Police office where we worked as financial investigators in the UK was an escape from all the heartache, and I respected that.
Weeks after her mum died, I wanted to do something special for Sam. Her 30th birthday was coming up so I planned a surprise.
I asked her partner Daniel to pop round with her swimming costume, and dad smiled as we all walked down the aisle.
Since Sam’s mother had died of cancer, my mum Lorraine treated Sam like another daughter. We all loved her. She was my best friend with icing on the top.
Bradley and I started trying for a family straight away. But Sam and Daniel were drifting apart. “We’ve decided to get divorced,’’ she told me sadly. I gave her a hug.
“You’ll get through this,’’ I reassured her. She did and two years passed quickly. Finally I was able to tell her the news I’d hoped for. “I’m pregnant!’’ I grinned.
Sam was thrilled. It wasn’t a straightforward pregnancy; I was hit with pre-eclampsia – high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine, which if left untreated could be fatal.
But as soon as baby Mia arrived safely, Sam was so relieved she flung herself through the hospital doors with flowers and chocolates.
Things were looking up for her too. She’d had a couple of dates with Stuart, a childhood sweetheart.
“I think he could be Mr Right!’’ she said. Stuart was fantastic and we all became close friends, spending all our spare time together.
In winter 2011, all five of us – including Mia – went to a Christmas market in Cologne, Germany, while on holiday.
Stuart took me to one side for a private chat. “I’m going to propose,’’ he told me. Delighted, I promised to keep his secret.
We were all wandering around Cologne’s cathedral when Stuart and Sam disappeared. When I saw them minutes later, they were both in tears. “We’re getting married,’’ they said. “And we want you to be our bridesmaid, Kim.’’ Excited, I accepted,
‘We’re getting married,’ they said. ‘And we want you to be our bridesmaid, Kim’
then I picked her up at home.
“Come on,’’ I said. “We’re off for a spa day – my treat.’’
Her face lit up. By the end of the day, I could see a little bit of Sam’s spark returning.
Months passed. Soon we had a celebration to plan. “We’re getting married,’’ announced Sam one day. “It’s going to be a small do in Malta.’’
My partner Bradley was best man and I was her bridesmaid. I was a blubbering mess as she said her vows.
Then it was my turn to make an announcement.
“Bradley’s popped the question,’’ I told Sam.
“Fantastic!’’ she replied, throwing her arms around me. “Now I have a hen night to sort out.’’
Sam took charge. It was a spa weekend in Cheltenham for six close friends. In the evening we all dressed up as policewomen – an obvious theme given Sam and I both worked for the police service.
On my wedding day, Sam was bridesmaid, along with my two sisters and another friend. My mum
and a date for the big day was set: September 7, 2013.
My mum and I run a wedding company alongside our regular jobs so we offered to set up the venue on the day; make the cake and its topper – little fondant models of the bride and groom.
Then, nine months before the big day, I started to feel weird. I did a pregnancy test. “Oh no!’’ I gasped. “It’s positive!’’ I went to my GP to check on the dates. “Now let me see…’’ said the doctor. “We’re looking at a due date of September 19.’’
I gulped with half delight, half dread. Mia had been three weeks early – there was every chance this baby could arrive before or during the wedding. What was Sam going to say?
“I’m so sorry Sam but I’m pregnant – and the baby’s due in September!” I blurted out the next time I saw her.
But she was thrilled for me. “Let’s
‘Hang on until after the wedding,” I told my bump. But then I started having contractions
just hope you’ll make the wedding,’’ she said.
A pregnancy plan was put in place. We bought a size 18 bridesmaid dress instead of my normal size eight.
“Wouldn’t it be great if it arrived on the day?’’ everyone joked. I wasn’t laughing. I wanted Sam’s day to be absolutely perfect.
“Hang on in there until after the wedding!” I told my bump. Then, one morning, a week before the wedding, I started having contractions. We went to the hospital, where I was having contractions every two to three minutes.
“Still not regular enough,’’ said the doctor. “Go home.’’
By now I was willing the baby to arrive. If it came now, I could make the wedding. I ate curries, did lunges – anything to bring on the birth.
But the contractions kept coming and then stopping. With the wedding looming on Saturday, by Thursday I was praying I’d make it.
Sam would ring every day. “Still pregnant,” I’d tell her.
But on the wedding morning the contractions were back. As I had my hair done, I clung on to the dressing table in pain.
My greatest fear was my waters breaking during the ceremony.
“You can’t come now,’’ I told my bump. “You have to stay put.’’
Just before the ceremony, I put on my dress and held Mia’s hand. She was Sam’s flower girl.
“Just keep smiling,’’ I told myself.
We walked into the room, both looking radiant. All eyes were on Sam – then the bump!
Sitting on the front row, I took deep breaths as the contractions came. I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter.
I was so relieved when the ceremony was over and I was able to give Sam a hug.
“Are you all right?’’ she asked. “Yes, yes, fine,’’ I smiled. The contractions were still hit and miss. I kept breathing deeply, willing the baby to stay put. I smiled through contraction after contraction, clapping as they cut through the wedding cake. I even managed a quick dance with Mia.
By 10pm, I gave Sam a big hug as I left to go upstairs to my room in the hotel where we were staying.
“I’m so tired,’’ I said. “What a fantastic day!’’
Flopping on to the bed, I turned to Bradley and said, “You’d better pack a bag ready for hospital – just in case.’’
The contractions continued through the night. At 6am, I rang mum who was also staying at the hotel, to come and get Mia.
Bradley drove me to the Pembury Hospital, TunbridgeWells, and two hours later, at 8.19am, I pushed a beautiful baby girl into the world nearly two weeks early. We called her Belle.
“Will you let Sam know please?’’ I asked my mum.
I was discharged from hospital with Belle the same day. Sam and Stuart were able to visit us at home the next day.
“She’s beautiful just like her name,’’ said Sam, glowing with happiness. “She really has made our day very special.’’
That’s Sam all over. The most generous, fabulous best friend you could ever have.
Kim was hoping the baby would stay put until the wedding was over
Kim, left, looked stunning despite being gripped by contractions
Kim, Bradley and Mia are delighted with the arrival of baby Belle