Danielle Ewing was supposed to give birth Wednesday, but she went to a party instead.
With her mother by her side, Ewing traveled two hours from her home in St. Marys, Ga., to the Sea Pines Country Club on Hilton Head Island, for a baby shower.
Her baby shower.
Also 18 other women's baby shower.
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Thrown by strangers.
For the first time ever in South Carolina.
On her due date.
"Everyone knows about this," Ewing said of the event. "Everyone wants to do this."
Operation Shower, a nonprofit that has thrown showers for more than 5,000 military moms whose husbands are deployed or have been seriously injured, teamed up with the PGA TOUR Wives Association, Birdies for the Brave and Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes, the local charity that sponsored the event, for a catered luncheon to celebrate each woman.
The event was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing golf tournament, which continues through Sunday, April 15, at Harbour Town Golf Links.
"Let's be honest," Ewing said, "my mom did a wonderful job on my shower, but it didn't look like a Hobby Lobby. Most of us don't get to experience anything this fancy."
She gestured to the sunny room at the country club, which appeared to have been professionally decorated but was put together by volunteers with Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes.
Russ Spicer, a Bluffton resident and founder of the foundation — which has raised nearly $1 million over the past seven years to provide things like scholarships, comfort dogs and mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans — said this is the organization's first venture into motherhood.
"We had a retired lieutenant colonel ironing sheets to put over the tables," he said, laughing.
Each woman attending the event Wednesday received about $1,000 in gifts — a mixture of fun items like baby sunglasses and necessities such as onesies and diaper bags — in addition to a gift certificate for a professional family photo session.
"I'm sorry," Jenny Jaquez-Yulee of Beaufort smiled, as she wiped away tears.
Jaquez-Yulee's husband, a Marine, was deployed Tuesday. He will, she hopes, return in time for the birth of their first child.
"I'm sorry," she said again, dabbing at her eyes and holding up the gift certificate. "This is so nice."
In addition to a few Oprah-esque moments ("Everyone gets a gift!"), there were shower games, or "forced moments of connection," as Amy Bell Isle, chief event planner for Operation Shower, accurately called them.
"We're playing for a SoundBub ... I don't know what that is," Cara Canington of the PGA TOUR said to laughter before shouting out trivia questions.
All stages of pregnancy seemed to be represented at the shower, from Jaquez-Yulee, who was just 11 weeks pregnant, to a woman having twins, to a woman who gave birth two months ago, to Ewing, who was the talk of the party because, hey, maybe she'd give birth right there.
Ewing, however, didn't see that happening.
"He's big," she said, rubbing her stomach before lunch was served. "And he's just getting bigger. They say your first is always late."
But what if? What if she went into labor before dessert?
"I'd just go to a hospital," she said.
Soon after that, a man wearing blue scrubs arrived at the party.
"Are you here just in case someone gives birth?" he was asked.
"No," he said, explaining that he was there with Canington, who is his sister.
Lance Canington lives in Charleston. He works for a medical device company and coincidentally had a work appointment nearby. So he decided to stop by and see her.
Out of context, his work uniform took on a new meaning.
"I'm the one in scrubs," he said, laughing again, "which is a dangerous thing to be in a room full of pregnant women.
"I'm not even a nurse. I'm a salesman."