A New Jersey couple expecting their first baby had plans to get married in a small civil ceremony two weeks before their child arrived. Their baby, however, had other plans.
Michael Gallardo said he and his fiancee, Marie Margaritondo, were in the middle of moving into a new home when Margaritondo went into labor on Memorial Day. It was two weeks before the baby's June 10 due date and two days before the wedding ceremony was to take place.
Gallardo, 45, said they rushed to Morristown Medical Center and were given paperwork to sign listing Gallardo as Margaritondo's fiance, not her husband.
"What really sparked it is when they had brought in the paperwork and said because you weren't married he wouldn't be able to be my proxy," Margaritondo, 44, said.
Gallardo told CNN they asked whether there was a chaplain in the hospital so they could exchange vows before the baby arrived, and "the doctor thought we were joking." But once he realized they were serious, the hospital staff sprang into action.
Gallardo said one nurse went online to see whether she could get ordained, one went outside to pick flowers for a bouquet and one went in search of a chaplain.
"They went above and beyond," he said of the nurses who helped them that day. "Luckily I had already picked up the marriage license."
Someone managed to track down the medical center's on-call chaplain, according to a hospital spokesperson, and the chaplain married the couple in front of their mothers and the hospital staff. "We literally said 'I do' and the doctor was like 'let's go' and wheeled the bed into the OR," Gallardo said.
Soon after, Michael Preston Gallardo entered the world via cesarean section. "It goes to show you can't map out and plan life," Gallardo said.
The couple have been together for three years and got engaged last summer. They met at a mall, where Margaritondo was working as a stylist and Gallardo was a personal shopping customer.
They call their son a "miracle baby" and say they want to have a bigger wedding celebration in 2020, maybe on the baby's first birthday -- unless Michael Preston has other plans.