NEW PORT RICHEY — She saw his profile photo on tagged.com and thought he was cute. A bit nerdy, as he wore a suit. But handsome. So Holly Woolverton sent him a message and hoped for a response.
James Vazquez wrote back on Dec. 31, 2008 — New Year's Eve. It turned out he lived in Port Richey, too. They chatted online and then on the phone. Neither had plans that night, so they agreed to meet at a pier at Anclote Gulf Park.
"I fell in love with her instantly," said Vazquez, 26.
The time flew. They rang in the new year and kept on talking. Then they realized it was 5 a.m. She had never met someone she felt so comfortable with.
"We could talk forever," said Woolverton, 20. "We never run out of things to say."
They shared their hurts. He was born blind in one eye and that eye drifts to the side. He was picked on about it growing up. She never noticed his bad eye until he told her.
As a teenager, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder. Doctors told her that she would likely never have children. He didn't care, as long as he had her.
A few months later, Woolverton found out she was pregnant. They felt blessed and excited. Vazquez read a stack of baby books. He bought her an engagement ring — white gold with a blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. She said yes.
He's working at Slice of Life Pizzeria in Trinity. She works at the VCA Little Animal Hospital in New Port Richey. She's been living with her mother in Port Richey, but will move in with him soon. They're saving money to buy a house. Their plan is to take turns going to college, so someone will always be home with the baby. Both want to be nurses.
The pregnancy was easy, she said. But in December her feet and legs swelled. Her blood pressure was dangerously high. Her due date was Jan. 6, but her doctor admitted her into Community Hospital on Wednesday. The plan was to induce an early labor.
But the baby wouldn't come. Vazquez was there with her, sleeping on the hard couch. After two days of misery, Woolverton went into labor a little after 1 p.m. Friday.
It was over in 15 minutes, at 1:26 p.m. It was a girl. Bailee Rose Vazquez. Seven pounds even. Nineteen inches long. A full head of thick, dark hair. Dad cried. He kept kissing her face.
"This gives me new meaning in life," he said.
Bailee was the first baby born in Pasco County in 2010. James and Holly thought it was nice she was born on the anniversary of the end of their first date — and the beginning of their new life together.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.