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Juliet Smith was ready to walk across the stage at Guilford College in North Carolina and graduate with her peers but that didn’t happen. She was a no-show because she went into labor. She went to a local restaurant with her mom and fiance and that’s when her water broke. Her baby Milo was born at the Women’s Hospital.

Here she was thinking she was just going to have her diploma delivered and her dean and professors ended up surprising her at the hospital.

According to Today Parents she said:

“The waiter came over with our food, and he asked, ‘Who ordered the salmon salad?'” Smith told TODAY. I said, ‘Wait, no!’ He said, ‘You didn’t order it?’ I said, ‘No! Listen! I think I’m in labor!'”

“He just stood there with his mouth open. And then the entire restaurant started cheering.”

“I was just really upset at first, honestly. I think I even said something to the doctors along the lines of, ‘Can you stop this? Can we push this to after graduation?'” she revealed to TODAY with a laugh. “I was just so excited to walk across the stage the next day and get my diploma.”

Dell told Smith’s mother that she would plan something to make up for it.

“I had absolutely come to terms with not being able to go to commencement, and I had this beautiful baby to stare at, too,” said Smith. “I may have been upset at first, but now, look what I had in my arms. So at that point, I was just expecting someone to come and drop off my diploma.”

The next thing Smith knew, she was being wheeled down the hospital halls to a private room downstairs followed by an entourage of a dozen teachers, deans, and other faculty.

The entire processional was flanked by geology professor Dave Dobson, who played “Pomp and Circumstance” on his tuba.

He later played “Happy Birthday” to the newborn.

“They were still wearing their graduation regalia and went through the whole commencement in 25 minutes, giving abridged versions of their speeches and even talking to me about becoming an alum,” smiled Smith. “How amazing is that?”

And as for those initial mixed feelings?

“I had forgotten completely about any bit of being upset,” she said. “Because as special as it would have been to be able to walk across that stage, what I have now is undoubtedly a much richer memory.

“After all, I got to share it with my son.”

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